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Tax payment extensions: Can you file an extension if you owe taxes?

2 min read

2 min read

Yes, you can file an extension if you owe taxes. It’s as simple as filing Form 4868 before the filing deadline. But it’s important to keep the following distinction in mind. Tax extensions can allow you more time to file your tax return, but they do not allow more time to pay any income tax due.

In other words, the form you file gives you a tax filing extension, but not an extension to pay taxes.

 When you request a tax filing extension, what should you count as your tax payments?

When you file an extension using IRS Form 4868, the IRS expects you to pay the taxes you owe at that time. To know what to pay, you must estimate your taxes and subtract what you have already paid. Tax payments are the payments you’ve already made that include:

  • Withholdings from your paychecks
  • Estimated tax payments you made during the year

To figure your balance due or refund:

  1. Figure your taxes. Our tax return calculator can help.
  2. Subtract the tax payments you already made.

Extension to pay taxes: How to request additional time

If you owe taxes and can’t pay right away, you can request a short-term extension of time to pay up to 180 days. This can be done using the Online Payment Agreement application on www.irs.gov.

Taxpayers who request and are granted an additional 180 days to pay the tax in full generally will pay less in penalties and interest than if the debt were repaid through an installment agreement over a greater period of time. There is no fee for this short extension of time to pay.

Once the Internal Revenue Service grants your extension, the IRS will send you a letter with your total pay-off amount calculated through the tax extension deadline. If you can’t pay the full balance by that date, contact the IRS before the deadline to request an installment agreement (a type of extension payment plan or long-term payment agreement).

Note: You may still owe a failure to pay penalty and interest even if you request an installment agreement.

Learn all the options you may have if you can’t pay your taxes.

Get help from H&R Block

Our H&R Block tax experts are ready to help you better understand your unique tax situation or to answer any questions about requesting a tax payment extension. Make an appointment with an H&R Block tax professional for help today.

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