When To File Form 4868 for 2011 Federal Tax Return – Due Dates, Penalties and Interests

File Form 4868 by April 17, 2012. Fiscal year taxpayers, file Form
4868 by the regular due date of the return.

Taxpayers who are out of the country. If, on the regular due date
of your return, you are out of the country and a U.S. citizen or
resident, you are allowed 2 extra months to file your return and pay
any amount due without requesting an extension. For a calendar
year return, this is June 15, 2012. File this form and be sure to
check the box on line 8 if you need an additional 4 months to file
your return.
If you are out of the country and a U.S. citizen or resident, you
may qualify for special tax treatment if you meet the foreign
residence or physical presence tests. If you do not expect to meet
either of those tests by the due date of your return, request an
extension to a date after you expect to qualify using Form 2350,
Application for Extension of Time To File U.S. Income Tax Return.

You are out of the country if:
• You live outside the United States and Puerto Rico and your main
place of work is outside the United States and Puerto Rico, or
• You are in military or naval service outside the United States and
Puerto Rico.
If you qualify as being out of the country, you will still be eligible
for the extension even if you are physically present in the United
States or Puerto Rico on the regular due date of the return.
For more information on extensions for taxpayers out of the
country, see Pub. 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident
Aliens Abroad.

Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ filers. If you cannot file your return by
the due date, you should file Form 4868. You must file Form 4868
by the regular due date of the return.
If you did not receive wages as an employee subject to U.S.
income tax withholding, and your return is due June 15, 2012,
check the box on line 9.

Total Time Allowed
Generally, we cannot extend the due date of your return for more
than 6 months (October 15, 2012, for most calendar year
taxpayers). However, there may be an exception if you are living
out of the country. See Pub. 54 for more information.

Filing Your Tax Return
You can file your tax return any time before the extension expires.
Do not attach a copy of Form 4868 to your return.
Interest
You will owe interest on any tax not paid by the regular due date of
your return, even if you qualify for the 2-month extension because

you were out of the country. The interest runs until you pay the tax.
Even if you had a good reason for not paying on time, you will still
owe interest.

Late Payment Penalty
The late payment penalty is usually ½ of 1% of any tax (other than
estimated tax) not paid by April 17, 2012. It is charged for each
month or part of a month the tax is unpaid. The maximum penalty
is 25%.
The late payment penalty will not be charged if you can show
reasonable cause for not paying on time. Attach a statement to
your return fully explaining the reason. Do not attach the statement
to Form 4868.
You are considered to have reasonable cause for the period
covered by this automatic extension if at least 90% of your actual
2011 tax liability is paid before the regular due date of your return
through withholding, estimated tax payments, or payments made
with Form 4868.

Late Filing Penalty
A late filing penalty is usually charged if your return is filed after the
due date (including extensions). The penalty is usually 5% of the
amount due for each month or part of a month your return is late.
The maximum penalty is 25%. If your return is more than 60 days
late, the minimum penalty is $135 or the balance of the tax due on
your return, whichever is smaller. You might not owe the penalty if
you have a reasonable explanation for filing late. Attach a
statement to your return fully explaining the reason. Do not attach
the statement to Form 4868.

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Extensions of Time to File Your Tax Return – Form 4868

There are three ways you can request an automatic extension of time to file a U.S. individual income tax return:

  • you can electronically file Form 4868 (PDF), Application For Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Tax Return;
  •  you can pay all or part of your estimate of income tax due using a credit or debit card; or
  •  you can file a paper Form 4868 by mail.

If you file your Form 4868 electronically you will receive an acknowledgement or confirmation number for your records and you do not need to mail in Form 4868. If you need to pay additional taxes when filing Form 4868 electronically, you may do so through the outside service provider or through e-file. You can refer to your tax software or tax professional for ways to file electronically using e-file services. Several companies offer free filing of Form 4868 through the Free File program that you can access on the IRS.gov website. If you wish to file electronically, be sure to have a copy of last year’s tax return. You will be asked to provide the Adjusted Gross Income from the return for taxpayer verification.

A second way of requesting an automatic extension of time to file your individual income tax return is to pay part or all of your estimate of income tax due by credit card or debit card. You may pay by phone or Internet through one of the service providers listed on Form 4868. Each service provider will charge a convenience fee based on the amount of the tax payment. At the completion of the transaction, you will receive a confirmation number for your records.

You can also request an automatic extension of time to file your individual income tax return by completing paper Form 4868 and mailing it to the appropriate address provided on the Form.

Extension of time to file is NOT an extension of time to pay.

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