Pros and Cons of Getting a Tax Extension

It's easy to extend your tax return deadline to October by requesting a tax extension…but should you?

picture of a pro and con list for a tax extension
(Image credit: Getty Images)

This year, federal income tax returns are due by April 18 for most people. However, if you can't file your return by the deadline for whatever reason, it's pretty easy to get the due date extended to October 17. All you have to do is request a tax extension by filing a simple IRS form or paying your taxes electronically (see Tax Extension: How to Get More Time to File Your Tax Return for details). Make sure you act before the original due date, though.

Since the process is relatively simple and straightforward, the question often becomes "should you get a tax extension?" There are both advantages and disadvantages to requesting an extension and pushing back your tax filing deadline. So, whether you should get an extension really comes down to your own situation and preferences. What makes sense for you? To help you answer that question, here are a few pros and cons of waiting to file your tax return.

Rocky Mengle
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rocky is a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger with more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, he worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.