If you are unable to complete and file your federal individual tax return by the April 18, 2001 deadline, you can request an extension of time to file. By filing for this extension, you will automatically be given until October 17, 2011 to submit your tax return to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
By filing an extension you are given an additional six months to complete and file your tax return. It’s important to note, however, that requesting an extension to file your tax return doesn’t give you an extension of time to pay any taxes that you may owe. Any amount that you will owe for your 2010 taxes must be paid by April 18, 2011.
In order to get a tax filing extension, you need to file Form 4868 (PDF) with the IRS. If you do not want to print it out and file it through snail mail, you can also electronically file Form 4868 through IRS Free File or Free File Fillable Forms. There is no cot to use Free File to prepare and electronically submit Form 4868 to get an extension, regardless of your income. The IRS will only provide an acknowledgement of your extension request if you e-file or Free File the request.
As mentioned before, a request for an extension is for extra time to file, not pay the taxes you owe. When filing an extension, you’ll also need to estimate your tax liability and pay any balance due by the April 18 deadline. If circumstances are such that you’re unable to pay the total amount that you owe, you should pay as much as possible and apply for an installment agreement. When you do get around to filing your taxes, you may want to use free tax software.