File Tax Extension Electronically for Free

As always, I am still working on our 2008 tax returns even as the deadline to file 2008 income taxes, which is April 15th, 2009, is just a week away. Despite the delay, we already have all the files and documents we need, therefore, we won’t seek an extension to our filings. In our case, I am just not that eager to send Uncle Sam a big check.

However, in any event that you need a little bit more time to complete your tax returns, you can file an automatic extension of 6 months (the request is usually granted as long as you ask). There are services available for you to file an extension. For example, FileLater lets you file a federal extension for $17.95, which can be done on April 15, the tax day. I use TurboTax Premier to file my tax which also allows me to request an extension, though I don’t really need it. If  you don’t want to pay to get an extension, then you can use IRS’s free e-filing service. Currently, the IRS has two options for taxpayers seeking an extension: On IRS Free File page, you can either

  • Traditional free file, or
  • Free file fillable form

to request an extension electronically. Even though there’s an income limit (less than $56,000) to use IRS Free File to file federal income tax, the Free File is free for any taxpayer, regardless of income, to file a federal extension request from a home computer by April 15. As any other electronic services (such as direct deposit), using e-filing to get an extension is fast, secure and convenient. Of course, you can always fill out the paper Form 4868 and mail it to IRS if you choose to do so :)

BTW, to qualify for an extension, you must

  1. Properly estimate your 2008 tax liability using the information available to you,
  2. Enter your total tax liability on line 4 of Form 4868, and
  3. File Form 4868 by the regular due date of your return.

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