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File a Tax Extension Now to Beat Today's Deadline

If you need more time to file your federal income tax return, you need to act now to avoid interest and penalties.

Federal income tax returns are due today (May 17)! However, if you can't submit your return before the stroke of midnight, you need to request a filing extension instead. The extension is automatic – you don't even need a reason for putting off your tax return – but you still have to ask for it. Once you do that, you won't have to file your 2020 federal tax return until October 15, 2021.

You still have to pay any taxes due, though. The extension is just for filing your return…not for paying what you owe. So, estimate how much tax you'll owe (if any) when you do file your return and pay that amount now. But make sure you don't estimate too low, because the IRS will charge you interest if you're short. Penalties might be tacked on, too.

You can request an extension by filing Form 4868 or by making an electronic tax payment. Either way, you need to act by midnight tonight.

For more information, see Tax Extension: How to Get More Time to File Your Tax Return.

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