1997 Tax Help Archives  

Extensions of Time To File Your Tax Return

This is archived information that pertains only to the 1997 Tax Year. If you
are looking for information for the current tax year, go to the Tax Prep Help Area.

If you are unable to file your 1997 tax return by April 15th, you may get an automatic 4 month extension of time by filing Form 4868 by April 15, 1998. However, this extension is only an extension of time to file your return; it does not give you more time to pay the taxes you owe. You will be charged interest on anything owed but not paid by April 15th. You may also be charged a late payment penalty. If you need the extension of time to file, you may be able to avoid paying interest by estimating how much tax, if any, you'll owe, and including that payment with your Form 4868.

If you owe an additional amount of tax when you file your return, you will be charged interest from April 15th on the unpaid balance. You will also be charged a late payment penalty if the amount you owe is more than 10 percent of your actual tax liability. The deadline to file with an extension is August 17, 1998. You can apply for an additional 2-month extension either in a letter or by filing Form 2688 by the extended due date of the return. Your application should be mailed early because this extension is not automatic. You will be notified by IRS whether your application has or has not been approved and how to file your return. Interest on any unpaid balance is charged from April 15th until the date paid. An extension of more than 6 months will not be granted if you are in the United States.

If your return is completed but you are unable to pay the tax due, you should not request an extension. File your return by April 15th and pay as much as you can. The IRS will send you a bill or notice for the balance of tax due. You may also request an installment agreement by completing Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. You will be notified if your request has been approved, or if additional information is needed. You will be charged interest and may be charged a late payment penalty on the tax not paid by April 15th, even if your request to pay in installments is granted. If your request is granted, you must also pay a fee. Topic 653 gives information on notices and penalty and interest charges from IRS.

If you are a U.S. citizen, resident or a member of the armed forces, whose home and main place of business or post of duty is outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico on April 15, 1998, you are allowed an automatic extension until June 15, 1998 to file your return and pay any tax due for 1997. If you use this automatic extension, you must attach a statement to your return saying that your home and your main place of business or post of duty are outside U.S. and Puerto Rico on the date of your return. For more information, see Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad. You can order Publication 54 and Forms 4868, 2688, and 9465 by calling 1-800-829-3676.

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