Your Takeaways:

  • You can get a 6-month extension to file your taxes by submitting IRS Form 4868, giving you until October 15th to file your return.
  • Filing for an extension electronically through a service like IRS Extension Online provides instant confirmation that your extension request was received.
  • While an extension gives you more time to file, it does not extend the deadline to pay any taxes you owe, which is still April 15th.
  • Use the extra time from an extension to gather documents, consider getting help from a tax professional if your taxes are complex, and start working on your return early to avoid last-minute stress.

Life, as they say, can be full of surprises. One of those unexpected moments might be when the tax filing deadline is quickly approaching, and you realize you’re not quite ready to submit.

Maybe a W-2 form has gone missing, or you’re still wrestling with a mountain of receipts to tally up. Perhaps the intimidating task of calculating itemized deductions has you pausing. Whatever the reason, the pressure can build, making the task seem like a looming challenge.

But there’s a smart, safe, and perfectly legal way to give yourself some breathing room: a tax filing extension.

This lifeline helps alleviate some pressure and triggers a sigh of relief that says, “more time, yes!” But once you’ve sent off your extension request, you might wonder, “Did they receive it?”

Filing for a Tax Extension: Form 4868

IRS Extension Form 4868

A tax filing extension is a straightforward process. You’ll need to fill out IRS Form 4868, also known as the “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File US Individual Income Tax Return.”

This form can be submitted in several ways: by mail in, with the assistance of a tax professional, tax software, or with the help of a dedicated e-file provider.

When you file for a tax extension, you’re awarded an additional six months until October 15th (depending upon the current year’s tax deadline) to file your federal tax return.

But once your tax filing extension has been submitted, how can you stay informed about the status?

Tracking Your Tax Filing Extension

It’s natural to want to keep tabs on your tax extension after it’s been filed. Currently, the IRS does not offer a dedicated tool to track the status of a tax extension.

However, one of the beauties of filing electronically, either by yourself or through a dedicated IRS e-file tax preparer like, is that you receive an electronic acknowledgment once the IRS accepts your extension. This added level of assurance can further reduce stress during tax season.

If you don’t submit your extension through an online service and instead send your extension request via mail, the only way to confirm that your extension has been received and accepted is to call the IRS. 

Trying to get a hold of a real person at the IRS during the busy tax season is nearly impossible. Therefore, it may be difficult to confirm that the IRS has accepted your extension request before it’s too late.

Filing Your Extension With Confidence: IRS Extension Online

One of the best ways to ensure your application is filed accurately and on time is by submitting your tax-filing extension request through Our convenient platform is designed to streamline the process, allowing you to file Form 4868 quickly and easily.

One of the primary benefits of using is receiving immediate confirmation that your extension was filed. This feature provides peace of mind, ensuring you’re not left wondering whether your request was received.

Additionally, offers an intuitive interface and dedicated support from a team of tax professionals, making the entire tax extension filing process as stress-free as possible.

Does the IRS Deny Tax Extension Requests?

In most instances, the IRS does not deny tax extension requests; however, there are some instances where the IRS asks you to revise an extension request, including:

  • Typo in your date of birth or social security number
  • A wrong or mismatched address

If the IRS rejects your extension, you will receive a notice from the IRS informing you of the decision. You can correct the errors and resubmit your extension if there is still time. However, if it’s already past the filing date, you may need to get moving on submitting your tax return.

Are Tax Extensions Automatic?

If you file your tax extension accurately (i.e. without errors) and by the filing deadline, a tax extension approval is automatic. Therefore, if you want to ensure that your tax extension is approved, you should use an online filing software that checks for errors and ensures your extension is approved upon submission.

What Happens if My Tax Extension Is Not Approved?

Ensuring that your tax extension is approved is paramount to avoid paying the IRS a ton of money in unnecessary penalties and fees. If your extension is not approved and you fail to file your taxes by the filing deadline, then you are penalized as if you didn’t file your taxes at all. 

The failure-to-file penalty is a whopping 5% of the taxes owed per month that your tax return is late. The penalty is capped at a total of 25% of your total taxes owed. 

This means that if you owe $5,000 in taxes, and you don’t file by the tax-filing deadline of April 15th (or you fail to file an extension to extend your tax filing deadline to October 15th), then you could owe an additional $250 per month in penalties for as long as your tax return remains outstanding. This is in addition to any interest that may be charged on the total outstanding amount you owe.

Since the failure-to-file penalty can end up costing you much more money, it’s imperative that you either file your taxes by the deadline, or you file an extension to get an additional 6 months to file. (If you file an extension, you will not incur the failure-to-file penalty, as long as you file by October 15th, or 6 months after the original tax-filing deadline.)

Since the IRS does not send confirmation that your tax extension has been approved, there is no way to be 100% certain that your extension has been accepted if you file by mail. When filing online using, you receive a confirmation notification so that you know your extension has been accepted.

Tracking Automatic Extensions

In some specific instances, taxpayers are granted an automatic tax extension without needing to file for an extension. 

There is no way to “track” these automatic extensions because they are automatically approved. However, you’ll need to know the key dates for these extensions and when you’ll need to file your extension to avoid penalties. 

Military Members

If you serve in the military, you may qualify for an automatic extension to file your taxes if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • Those on active duty outside of the United States are granted an automatic two-month extension to file their taxes.
  • If you are serving in a combat zone or are hospitalized outside of the United States, you have 180 days from leaving the combat zone or from when you are discharged from the hospital to file your tax return.

In both instances, as long as you attach a statement explaining how you qualify for the automatic extension when filing your tax return, you should not need to take any further action and will not be penalized for filing late.

Disaster Victims

If the IRS determines that you live in a disaster area, then you may qualify for an automatic extension. The additional time and extended due date of your tax return varies based on the area you live in. 

To check if you live in an area that qualifies for an extension as a result of a natural disaster, visit the IRS Disaster Relief Page

Expats Living Outside of the US

If your primary residence is outside of the US, but you still pay US taxes, then you may qualify for a two-month automatic extension. However, determining if you actually qualify for the automatic extension can be difficult. Therefore, in these instances, it’s best to file for an extension regardless to ensure you avoid any potential penalties.

Tracking the Status of Your State Tax Extensions

Most states automatically extend the due date of your state tax return with the approval of your federal extension request. However, some states require a separate form to request an extension for your state tax return. Therefore, you will want to check your state’s tax site for information on tracking the approval of the extension.

Making the Most of Your Tax Filing Extension: What's Next?


Securing a tax extension is a significant first step, but it's just that: a first step. Here's how you can make the most of the extra time:

Gather Your Documents: Begin by assembling all of your tax-related documents, such as W-2s, 1099s, and receipts for deductions. Having all your documents readily accessible ensures a smoother, more accurate tax return process. This will also make it much easier and faster to file your return when you’re ready to do so.

Consider Professional Help: If you’re dealing with complex tax issues, such as self-employment income, itemized deductions, or rental properties, it might be time to enlist the help of a tax professional. They can guide you through the intricacies of tax law, optimize your tax return, and even uncover deductions you might have missed (which can help save you money in the long run).

Avoid Procrastination: It’s tempting to wait until the last minute to start working on your tax return, even with an extension. It’s a trap many fall into, but you should resist. It’s highly recommended to start as soon as you have all your tax documents in order. Remember, the extension is there to provide relief, not to create a tax panic in the fall!

Is It Beneficial to File a Tax Extension?

Filing a tax extension and tracking the approval status of your extension is easy with Once you submit your extension, you get to enjoy all of the benefits that filing a tax extension has to offer. 

Some of the major benefits of filing a tax extension include:

  • Avoiding penalties – Filing for an extension helps you avoid the massive 5% per month failure-to-file penalty. Taking a few minutes to file a tax extension could end up saving you thousands in the long run. (Remember, if you owe $5,000 in taxes and don’t file your tax return on time or you fail to file an extension to get an additional 6 months to file your tax return, you will incur a failure-to-file penalty of $250/month for each month your return is late.)
  • Taking extra time to make elections – If you’re waiting until close to the April 15th deadline to start your tax return, you may not have enough time to thoroughly consider all of your available credits and deductions. Filing an extension gives you extra time to see what you might qualify for and ensure that you’re getting every tax deduction and credit available to you.
  • Improving the accuracy of return – Even a small mistake on your tax return could cost you big time if the IRS catches it. Taking extra time to comb through your return for potential mistakes and errors is a huge benefit to filing an extension.
  • Reduce preparation fees – Some online tax-filing services and tax accountants may increase the prices of their services in March and early April (as you get closer to the filing deadline). If you file an extension, you can wait until the prices drop to get a quality accountant or access to filing software at a deep discount.
  • Fund self-employed retirement plans – Individuals who have a self-employed retirement plan get extra time to add money to their retirement accounts if they file for an extension. Therefore, if you haven’t hit the contribution limit yet, it’s a no-brainer to file for a tax extension to continue funding your account.

Most of the benefits of filing a tax extension can be summed up with one word: time. A tax extension gives you the extra time you need to properly file your tax return without being penalized.

Are There Cons to Filing a Tax Extension?

If you do it accurately and confirm that your extension has been approved, there aren’t any major disadvantages to filing a tax extension. However, depending on your individual situation, the following impacts of filing a tax extension may negatively affect you:

  • Extra time to file doesn’t equal extra time to pay – If you expect to owe taxes as part of your tax return, then you need to pay your taxes when you file your tax extension. Failing to pay your taxes on time comes with a penalty even if you file for a tax extension. Check out our tips on what to do if you can’t afford to pay your taxes when filing an extension.
  • You have to calculate your taxes owed – In order to file a tax return, you have to do some work to get a good estimate of how much you expect to owe in taxes. However, this is generally pretty easy if your income or living situation hasn’t changed much from the prior year (as you can simply use the total you paid in taxes for last year as your estimate for the current year).
  • You still have to file your return. If you’re filing an extension simply because you’re a major procrastinator, you, unfortunately, still need to file your taxes by October 15th. However, you will get an additional 6 months (from April 15th) by filing a tax extension.
  • It will delay your refund – Delaying the submission of your tax return will also delay receiving a tax refund if you’re owed one.

As long as you pay any taxes that you expect to owe by April 15th and use the additional time to accurately complete your tax return by October 15th, there should be no real disadvantages to filing a tax extension.

What to Track During the Extension Period

Just because you’ve been approved for a tax extension doesn’t necessarily mean that you can put your feet up and forget about taxes until the extended filing deadline. There are key dates and items you’ll need to keep track of during the extension period.

Estimated Payment Dates

Even though you’ve filed an extension for your previous year’s tax return, you still need to stay on top of your current year’s tax payments. Prior to the extended deadline for your tax return, you should make sure to pay your first, second, and third-quarter estimated tax payments, if your taxes are not automatically deducted from your paycheck (i.e. you’re self-employed or have side-gig income, etc.)

Outstanding Tax Forms

If you requested a tax extension because you hadn’t received all of the documents you need to complete your tax return, don’t wait until the extension deadline closes to collect the forms. Make sure to keep an eye on the status of any overdue forms and continuously reach out to your employer or companies that owe you tax information. 

The Extension Deadline

Most importantly, you’ll want to track the extended filing deadline, which is October 15th, unless that date falls on a federal holiday or a weekend. Then, the extended deadline is pushed to the next business day.

Keeping track of the extended deadline is essential because, in most cases, you cannot file for a second extension. Therefore, filing your tax return by October 15th is paramount to avoiding late filing penalties. 

Tracking the Status of Your Tax Return

While tracking the approval status of your tax extension may be important, tracking the status of your tax return may be even more important. You want to make sure that your tax return has been not only accepted by the IRS but also approved by them as well. 

To check on the status of your tax return, you can use the IRS’s free Where’s My Refund? tool. Your return generally goes through 3 key statuses:

  • Return Received by the IRS – Within 24 to 48 hours, your return should be received by the IRS. This just means that the IRS has received your return and is in the process of reviewing it.
  • Refund Approved by the IRS – If your return gets moved to “Refund Approved” status, then this means the IRS has checked your tax return, and determined that you are, in fact, owed a refund and your return is correct.
  • Refund Sent – If you’re owed money back via a refund, then this status means that you should either expect to receive your refund check via mail in the next few days or have it deposited in the bank account you provided.

If the IRS finds issues with your return at any point during this process, then you will receive a notice from the IRS informing you of the rejection. If the rejection is on or very shortly after the day of the deadline, you will have five days to amend the return and resubmit.


The digital age we live in means waiting in uncertainty is a thing of the past. By filing your tax extension electronically through, you’ll receive an acknowledgment of your extension’s approval, giving you the peace of mind you deserve.

Use the extra time wisely, and remember: an extension to file is not an extension to pay. If you owe taxes, they’re due by the original tax filing deadline, which is typically April 15th. So, sit back, breathe a sigh of relief, and begin using your extra time productively.

Happy filing!

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