March 27, 1991
Extensions Available for Those
Who Can't Make the Deadline
With fewer than three weeks left in the 1991 tax season, some
taxpayers may be thinking about getting more time to file their
federal income tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service expects
about five million taxpayers to request an automatic extension of
time to file this year.
To receive the extra time, taxpayers must file Form 4868,
"application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual
Income Tax Return", by midnight, April 15, and including any
expected balance due. This gives them until August 15 to file the
return. No reason must be given for the extension.
The IRS cautioned that an extension of time to file is not an
extension of time to pay the tax due. Taxpayers must make a
reasonable estimate of their total tax liability and pay any balance
due, or the extension will not be granted.
If any additional tax is owed when the return is finally filed,
interest is charged on he overdue amount. In April, that interest
rate drops to 10 percent, compounded daily. There is also a late
payment penalty of one-half percent per month if less than 90
percent of the total tax is paid by the deadline. The penalty for
those who file late without an extension is 5 percent per month of
the balance due, with a minimum penalty for returns over 60 days
late of $100 or the full balance due, whichever is less.
Form 4868 is available at most IRS offices and by calling --
toll-free 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).
This is the last year that Form 4868 will be used. Starting in
1992, the automatic extension will be based on the amount of tax
paid by April 15, with no need to apply separately for an extension.
If the full amount of the previous year's tax liability, or 90
percent of the current year's, is paid by the due date, an automatic
extension will be granted for returns filed by August 15.
The IRS also said today that the filing season continues at a
smooth pace. Over 55 million returns were received by march 22, up
1.6 percent from the same point last year. About 6.6 million
electronic returns had been filed, an 80 percent increase. Over 35
million refunds, worth $31.3 billion, had been certified. At $895,
the average refund is up 5.8 percent.
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