Every year, millions of American taxpayers mark April 15 (April 18 in 2022 due to the observance of Emancipation Day) as the deadline for filing their income tax returns. While the vast majority of taxpayers meet this deadline, it is actually possible to request an extension to file your tax return. For those taxpayers, the final deadline to file their taxes is Oct. 17, 2022 (usually Oct. 15). Here we review the process of requesting an extension and what happens if you miss the final deadline.
How Do You Get a Tax Deadline Extension?
Taxpayers who know they will be unable to make the April 18, 2022 deadline for filing their income tax can request a six-month tax deadline extension by filing Form 4868 before the deadline. Once the IRS receives your extension request, the deadline for filing your taxes is pushed back to Oct. 17, 2022.
Military extensions may extend beyond Oct. 17. While the majority of U.S. taxpayers are required to file by the Oct. 17 deadline, some military members may be eligible for an automatic extension if they were deployed to a tax-free combat zone for part of the previous or current tax year. There are several rules for this extension, so be sure to visit the IRS website for specific information.
Note: According to the IRS, this extension may “also apply to individuals serving in the combat zone in support of the U.S. Armed Forces, such as merchant marines serving aboard vessels under the operational control of the Department of Defense, Red Cross personnel, accredited correspondents, and civilian personnel acting under the direction of the U.S. Armed Forces in support of those forces.”
Why File an Extension?
In most cases, a person files for an extension when they have a tax liability they owe, yet are unable to pay or file by the April deadline. It is important to note that while you are granted extra time to file your taxes, you do not get an extension for paying taxes owed. When you request an extension to file, you will avoid the penalty for failing to file; however, you are still liable for any taxes that are owed. Taxes owed that are not paid in full by April 18, 2022 will accrue interest and penalties until they are paid in full.
What You Need to Know About the Oct. 17 Deadline
If you have requested an extension, it is very important that you file your taxes on or before the final deadline. The IRS has already granted additional time to prepare your tax return, and any filers who miss this extended deadline will be subject to a failure-to-file penalty that can be as high as 25% of the amount owing, depending on how long it takes them to pay, and additional penalties. For this reason, it is imperative that anyone who has not yet filed get their taxes in order and filed before the deadline passes.
Options for Those Who Owe Back Taxes
If you do not have the money to pay taxes owed by the deadline, consult with a tax professional to learn what options are available to you. Again, the most important thing to remember in this situation is that an inability to pay cannot justify not filing your taxes by the established deadlines. The IRS views failure to file as a serious offense, which may be punishable by one year in jail and large fines. To avoid this, you need only file your taxes in a timely manner. A tax specialist will be able to help you navigate the many options available to taxpayers who owe taxes but are unable to pay in full. By filing on time, you reduce the penalties and fees and possible jail time that results from failure to file.
There Are No Other Extensions
Oct. 17, 2022 marks the deadline for filing extended tax returns. There are no additional extensions offered to individuals who fail to file by that date, except those noted above regarding combat-zone tax extensions. If the IRS does not receive your tax return by the deadline, they may file a return for you. Understand that when the IRS files a “Substitute for Return,” you are not off the hook for taxes owed. Any tax liabilities owed remain your responsibility and will grow over time until the issue is addressed and resolved. See more about penalties for not filing taxes.