Not Ready to File? How to Get an Extension for Your Taxes

You promised yourself you'd file your tax returns in January this year. Then, February rolled around and you told yourself you still had time. March passed in a blur. Now, it's April, and the filing deadline (April 17) is just days away.

If you don't have enough time to get everything together by then, there is a way to save your hide — get an automatic filing extension. It will allow you six extra months; you must file by Oct. 15.

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Just remember, an extension to file a return does not also mean an extension of time to pay your tax liability. If you don't pay the tax shown when you file for the extension, you're going to be subject to interest and penalties.

According to J.K. Lasser's "Your Income Tax 2007," here's how to buy some extra time:

Mail it in. Download and complete Form 4868 from and mail it in by Tuesday, April 17. File online. You can electronically file the extension through tax-preparation software, online filing services or with your tax preparer.

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Because the IRS doesn't directly accept payments via credit card, you will have to use a third party, such as online software, to make the payment. You'll probably be charged a fee for the service.

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