Tax Day 2024: Can’t file by April 15? Here’s how to get an extension

Tax Day is the annual deadline for filing your income tax returns, and it’s a significant event for millions of individuals and businesses across the United States. 

Whether you're a seasoned taxpayer or a newcomer to the process, understanding the ins and outs of Tax Day can help you navigate this annual obligation with confidence. 

While the tax filing deadline is April 15, if you still need to file by then, don't panic. You can request an extension, granting you additional time to submit your information.

Here’s everything you need to know: 

What extensions are available?

If you're unable to file your taxes by the April 15 deadline, applying for a tax extension is an option. It's important to clarify that a tax extension doesn't postpone the deadline for paying what you owe to the IRS. 

Any taxes owed are still due by the deadline, though payment plans are available. You must request a tax extension by April 15. The extension provides extra time to complete your return without incurring penalties, which can amount to 5% of your unpaid taxes per month, up to 25%, according to the IRS.

If you need more time to file your taxes, you can request an extension by filing Form 4868. This extends your filing deadline to October 15th. However, it's important to note that an extension to file does not grant an extension to pay any taxes owed.

Is there a penalty for filing an extension? 

Filing for a tax extension incurs no penalty, provided it's submitted before the deadline. However, if you're anticipating a refund, it won't be issued until your taxes are filed. The IRS recommends electronic filing as the fastest method for tax submission.

What happens if I miss the deadline? 

If you find yourself in the situation of missing the tax deadline, it's essential to be aware of the potential penalties you might encounter.

Should you neglect to file your taxes promptly, the IRS may levy a failure-to-file penalty. This penalty typically amounts to 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month your return is overdue, up to a maximum of 25% of the total balance owed.

It's worth noting that penalties for missing state tax deadlines can vary significantly, depending on your state's regulations and policies. Therefore, it's advisable to familiarize yourself with your state's specific penalties and consequences for late filings.

When will I get my refund? 

When will you receive your tax refund? If you file your taxes promptly, you can typically anticipate receiving your refund in approximately 21 days.

Based on recent IRS data, the average tax refund amounted to $3,081.

To keep tabs on the status of your refund, you can utilize the IRS' "Where's my Refund?" tool, which allows you to track the progress of your refund online.

Don't stress

Above all, maintaining composure is crucial when handling taxes. Whether seeking guidance from a tax professional or consulting with a knowledgeable family member, actively seeking support can alleviate stress, especially if you're filing near the deadline.

Furthermore, if you're grappling with mental health challenges, numerous resources are available to connect you with professional assistance.

In the U.S., you can dial 211 to speak with a mental health expert, confidentially and for free.

Other mental health resources include:

  • Veterans Crisis Line: call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Crisis Text Line: Text the word ‘Home’ to 741-741
  • The Trevor Lifeline for LGBTQ Youth: 1-866-488-7386
  • The Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860

The Associated Press contributed to this story.