The instructions below are from the IRS webpage instructions, found here.
US citizens and residents living abroad receive an automatic extension for filing and paying any tax shown on their return; this extension runs through June 15th. Still, many US expats need additional time to organize the foreign documents required to settle their US tax filing obligation. This article will break down how to file a free extension.
E-file Your Extension Form for Free
Individual tax filers can use IRS Free File to request an automatic tax-filing extension electronically regardless of income.
Filing this form gives you until October 15 to file your return.
- If October 15 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is delayed until the next business day. This is the case in 2023, making the extension valid through October 16th. Your return is considered filed on time if the envelope is properly addressed, postmarked, and deposited in the mail by the due date.
- To get the extension, you must estimate your tax liability on this form and should also pay any amount due.
Get an extension when you make a payment
You can also get an extension by electronically paying all or part of your estimated income tax due and indicating the payment is for an extension. You can make a same day payment using online account services. A payment can be scheduled with Direct Pay using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) or with a credit or debit card. If the indicator is selected when making your payment, you won’t have to file a separate extension form and you’ll receive a confirmation number for your records.
Working with a professional tax preparer?
If you are already working with a professional tax preparer, they will likely file an extension on your behalf and may advise you to make an additional tax payment, if required. Be sure to reach out to them if you are unsure if the extension has been filed.
Extension of time to file, not an extension to pay
Remember, an extension is only an extension of time to file, it is not an extension of time to pay. The IRS interest rate is determined quarterly and is the federal short-term rate plus 3%; interest compounds daily. In a rising interest rate environment, you should be making a reasonable IRS payment with your extension to avoid additional interest rate charges.
Not sure if you should file an extension or make a payment? Please contact your accountant or Connected Financial Planning to discuss your unique situation. Arielle Tucker is a Certified Financial Planner™ and IRS Enrolled Agent with Connected Financial Planning. She’s spent over a decade working with US expats on US tax and financial planning issues. She is passionate about working with US expats and their families to help secure their financial future reflective of their core values. Arielle grew up in New York and has lived throughout the US, Germany, and Switzerland.