Last Minute Tax Tips - How to File an Extension For Your Personal Tax Return .
Tip 1: Relax. This form is one of the easiest tax forms on the planet.
Tip 2: Go to the IRS website to print out a copy of Form 4868. Or you can use your tax preparation software program to fill it out. Either way, have a copy of the form in front of you as you read the rest of this article.
Tip 3: Do you know your full name, address and social security number? That's all there is to Part I. Put your name and address on Line 1, your social security number on Line 2, and your spouse's social security number on Line 3 (if you are married and are filing jointly). On to Part II. (There are only two parts to this form. I told you this would be easy.)
Tip 4: For Part II, you must provide the following four numbers:
Line 4 - An estimate of your 2008 tax liability. For some folks, this is the only challenging part of the form. You may have to do some number crunching here to come up with a reasonably accurate amount. But remember this is only an estimate, and by definition an estimate need not be exact. If you are pressed for time, do the best you can and keep moving.
Line 5 - Total tax payments you made for 2008. The three most common sources of federal tax payments include: Form W-2 withholdings (go to your W-2 Box 2 to find that); Form 1099-R withholdings (if you received any retirement plan, pension plan or IRA distributions, you should have been sent a 1099-R by now. Check in Box 4 to see if any federal income tax was withheld); quarterly estimated tax payments made via Form 1040-ES (self-employed folks often make these payments, so look in your checkbook register to see if you made these payments; they were due on April 15, June 15, September 15 and January 15).
Line 6 - Balance due. Calculate this by subtracting Line 5 from Line 4. If Line 5 (your payments) is greater than Line 4 (your tax liability), you don't have a balance due. Yeah! But if Line 5 is less than Line 4, you have a balance due and if at all possible, you should send a payment for that amount to the IRS with Form 4868.
Line 7 - Amount you are paying. If you have a balance due, pay as much of it as possible now. Ideally, you want to make the entire payment. Otherwise, you'll eventually receive a bill from the IRS for late payment penalties and interest (assuming your tax return reports a similar tax liability to the Line 4 amount).
Tip 5: Be sure to send the form and, if applicable, the accompanying payment, to the IRS on or before April 15. Make your check payable to the U.S. Treasury and check the form instructions for the correct IRS mailing address. You can also pay by credit card or electronic funds withdrawal; check the form instructions for guidance on that. If you are using a tax preparation software program, you may be able to e-file the form.