If you are due a refund you do not need to file an extension; you have three years from the filing deadline to file the return and claim your refund. Returns filed after the filing deadline cannot be e-filed, they must be printed and mailed. Taxpayers have three years to file a return after the filing deadline.
After this three-year period taxpayers will not be able to claim any over payments or credits. However, the IRS can collect any unpaid tax for any tax year. There is no limitation of time given to the IRS to asses unpaid tax obligations.
If you expect to have an amount due for your Federal return, and cannot meet the mid-April deadline, an application for extension is necessary to avoid a penalty for late filing. Form 4868 Application for extension is used to apply for an additional 6 months to file your tax return. Filing an application for extension of time does not allow additional time to pay any tax due. The extension will prevent you from owing penalties for failure to file if filed in the 6-month window. However, you may still face failure to pay penalties if your tax due is not paid by the deadline. Additionally, the IRS begins assessing interest on unpaid taxes on top of penalties.
To receive the automatic extension, file Form 4868, Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, with the IRS by the mid-April deadline, or make an extension-related electronic payment. You can file your extension request through our website, by phone, or by mailing the form in to the IRS.