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Published: March 28, 2019   |   Last Updated: September 23, 2020

Filing, Requesting an Extension of Time to File and Payment Options

The tax return filing deadline is almost here. Have you filed yet? The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019 for most taxpayers. Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17, 2019 to file their returns.


So, if you haven’t filed yet, you should file timely to avoid possible penalties and interest. See below for tax return filing help.

Filing Help

If you need assistance with filing your 2018 tax return still, see our TAS Tax Tip: Tax Filing Help Information. You can also visit the Filing for Individuals pageOnline tools and resources can help or Free tax preparation available for millions of families pages on IRS.gov.

If you haven’t filed yet and you cannot do so by the due date, you can request more time. See below for how to request more time to file. Please be aware – there are consequence to not filing at all.

Requesting an Extension of Time to File

To request more time to file your tax return, individuals can file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. This allows you six more months to file. However, if you can file sooner, do it and don’t wait the whole six months. Instead of filing Form 4868, you can apply for an automatic extension by making an electronic payment by the due date of your return. You can pay online or by phone.

See Extension of Time To File Your Tax Return on IRS.gov for more details and for information on filing extension requests for special situations.

An Extension to File Does Not Mean You Can Wait to Pay

The IRS urges people with a filing requirement and a balance due to file by the April deadline even if they cannot pay in full. Taxpayers in this situation should pay what they can and consider a payment plan for the remaining balance. This is because any monies paid after the due date will incur interest and penalties (up to the maximum allowed by law) until the balance is fully paid. There are certain instances when some or all of the penalties charged can be waived, but interest isn’t generally waived for any reason other than an IRS delay.

Payment Options

There are several payment options, but you need to review them all and understand the consequences of each before you choose. You can visit our I can’t pay my taxes for more information on where to start.

Other great resources are, IRS provides various payment options for taxpayers who owe but can’t pay in full and Paying Your Taxes.

Don’t Wait

The worst thing you can do is take no action! Get help for filing, paying or both from the IRS, a Tax Return Preparer or the Taxpayer Advocate Service, if appropriate.

Other TAS and IRS Resources: