IRS Pub. 17, Your Federal Income Tax
April 15, 1999, is the due date for filing your 1998 income tax
return if you use the calendar year. For a quick view of due dates for
filing a return with or without an extension of time to file
(discussed later), see Table 1-5.
If you use a fiscal year (a year ending on the last day of any
month except December, or a 52-53 week year), your income tax
return is due by the 15th day of the 4th month after the close of your
When the due date for doing any act for tax
purposes--filing a return, paying taxes, etc.--falls on a
Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is delayed until the
next business day.
Filing on time.
Your return is filed on time if it is properly addressed and is
postmarked by the due date. The return must have enough postage. If
you send your return by registered mail, the date of the registration
is the postmark date. The registration is evidence that the return was
delivered. If you send a return by certified mail and have your
receipt postmarked by a postal employee, the date on the receipt is
the postmark date. The postmarked certified mail receipt is evidence
that the return was delivered.
Private delivery services.
If you use a private delivery service designated by the IRS (rather
than the U.S. Postal Service) to send your return, the postmark date
generally is the date the private delivery service records in its
database or marks on the mailing label. The private delivery service
can tell you how to get written proof of this date.
The following are designated private delivery services.
- Airborne Express (Airborne): Overnight Air Express Service,
Next Afternoon Service, and Second Day Service.
- DHL Worldwide Express (DHL): DHL "Same Day" Service and
DHL USA Overnight.
- Federal Express (FedEx): FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx
Standard Overnight, and FedEx 2Day.
- United Parcel Service (UPS): UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day
Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, and UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.
Private delivery services cannot deliver items to P.O. boxes. You
must use the U.S. Postal Service to mail any item to an IRS P.O. box
If you do not file your return by the due date, you may have to pay
a failure-to-file penalty and interest. For more information, see
Penalties, later. Also see Interest under
Amount You Owe.
If your return is filed late, the postmark date does not determine
the date of filing. Your return is considered filed when it is
received by the Internal Revenue Service.
If you are a nonresident alien and earn wages subject to U.S.
income tax withholding, your 1998 U.S. income tax return (Form 1040NR
or Form 1040NR-EZ) is due by:
- April 15, 1999, if you use a calendar year, or
- The 15th day of the 4th month after the end of your fiscal
year if you use a fiscal year.
If you do not earn wages subject to U.S. income tax withholding,
your return is due by:
- June 15, 1999, if you use a calendar year, or
- The 15th day of the 6th month after the end of your fiscal
year, if you use a fiscal year.
Get Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, for
more filing information.
Filing for a decedent.
If you must file a final return as an executor, administrator,
legal representative, or surviving spouse of a taxpayer who died
during the year (a decedent), the income tax return is due by the 15th
day of the 4th month after the end of the decedent's normal tax year.
In most cases, for a 1998 return, this will be April 15, 1999. See
Final Return for the Decedent in chapter 4.
Table 1-5 When To File (Extensions)
Extensions of Time To File
You may be able to get an extension of time to file your return.
Special rules apply if you were:
- Outside the United States, or
- Serving in a combat zone.
These rules are discussed separately.
If you cannot file your 1998 return by the due date, you may be
able to get an automatic 4-month extension of time to file. To get the
automatic extension, you must file Form 4868, Application for
Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax
If your return is due on April 15, 1999, you will have until August
16, 1999, to file.
If you want the IRS to figure your tax, you cannot use the
automatic extension of time to file. Nor can you use it if you are
under a court order to file by the regular due date.
When to file.
You must file Form 4868 by April 15, 1999. If you are filing a
fiscal year return, file Form 4868 by the regular due date for your
return. You can file Form 1040EZ, Form 1040A, or Form 1040 any time
before the 4-month extension period ends.
Time to pay not extended.
An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.
You must make an accurate estimate of your tax for 1998 and send any
necessary payment with your Form 4868. If you find you cannot pay the
full amount due with Form 4868, you can still get the extension. You
will owe interest on the unpaid amount.
You also may be charged a penalty for paying the tax late unless
you have reasonable cause for not paying your tax when due. See
Interest and penalties are assessed (charged) from the original due
date of the return, which, for most taxpayers, is April 15, 1999.
When you file your return.
Enter any payment you made with Form 4868 on line 61, Form 1040. If
you file Form 1040EZ or Form 1040A, include any payment you made with
Form 4868 in your total payments on line 9 of Form 1040EZ or line 39
of Form 1040A. Also print "Form 4868" and the amount paid in the
space to the left of line 9 or line 39.
Extension beyond 4 months.
If you qualify for the 4-month extension and you later find that
you are not able to file within the 4-month extension period, you may
be able to get 2 more months to file, for a total of 6 months.
You can apply for an extension beyond the 4-month extension either
by writing a letter to the IRS or by filing
Form 2688, Application
for Additional Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax
Return. You should ask for the extension early so that, if it is
not approved, you still will be able to file on time. Except in cases
of undue hardship, a request for additional time will not be approved
unless you have first used Form 4868 to get an automatic 4-month
extension. Form 2688 or your letter will not be considered if you file
it after the extended due date.
To get an extension beyond the automatic 4-month extension, you
must give all the following information.
- The reason for requesting the extension.
- The tax year to which the extension applies.
- The length of time needed for the extension.
- Whether another extension of time to file has already been
requested for this tax year.
You must sign the request for this extension, or it may be
signed by your attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, or a person with a power
of attorney. If you are unable to sign the request because of illness
or for another good reason, a person with a close personal or business
relationship to you can sign for you, stating why you could not sign
If your application for this extension is approved, you will be
notified by the IRS. Attach the notice to your return when you file
If the IRS later determines that the statements made on your
request for this extension are false or misleading and an extension
would not have been approved at the time based on the true facts, the
extension is null and void. You will have to pay the failure-to-file
penalty (discussed later).
Extension not approved.
If your application for this extension is not approved, you must
file your return by the extended due date of the automatic extension.
You may be allowed to file within 10 days of the date of the notice
you get from the IRS if the end of the 10-day period is later
than the due date. The notice will tell you if the 10-day grace
period is granted.
No further extensions.
An extension of more than 6 months will not be approved if you are
in the United States.
the United States
You are allowed an automatic 2-month extension (until June 15,
1999, if you use the calendar year) to file your 1998 return and pay
any federal income tax due if:
- You are a U.S. citizen or resident, and
- On the regular due date of your return (April 15, 1999, if
you use the calendar year):
- You are living outside of the United States and Puerto Rico,
and your main place of business or post of duty is outside the United
States and Puerto Rico, or
- You are in military or naval service on duty outside the
United States and Puerto Rico.
However, if you pay the tax due after the regular due date,
interest will be charged from the regular due date until the date the
tax is paid.
See When To File and Pay in Publication 54
If you served in a combat zone, see Individuals Serving in
Combat Zone, later, for special rules that apply to you.
If you file a joint return, only one spouse has to qualify for this
automatic extension. If you and your spouse file separate returns,
this automatic extension applies only to the spouse who qualifies.
How to get the extension.
To use this special automatic extension, you must attach a
statement to your return explaining what situation (see the situations
listed under 2, earlier) qualified you for the extension.
Extensions beyond 2 months.
If you cannot file your return within the automatic 2-month
extension period, you may be able to get an additional 2-month
extension, for a total of 4 months. You must file Form 4868 by the end
of the automatic extension period (usually June 15, 1999) to get this
additional 2-month extension.
This additional 2-month extension of time to file is not
an extension of time to pay. See Time to pay not extended,
Extension beyond 4 months.
If you are still unable to file your return within the 4-month
extension, you may be able to get an extension for 2 more months, for
a total of 6 months. See Extension beyond 4 months,
No further extension.
An extension of more than 6 months will generally not be granted.
However, if you are outside the United States and meet certain tests,
you may be granted a longer extension. See When To File and Pay
in Publication 54
for more information.
in Combat Zone
The deadline for filing your tax return, paying any tax you may
owe, and filing a claim for refund is automatically extended if you
serve in a combat zone. This applies to members of the Armed Forces,
as well as Red Cross personnel, accredited correspondents, and
civilians under the direction of the Armed Forces in support of the
For purposes of the automatic extension, the term "combat zone"
- The Persian Gulf Area, effective August 2, 1990, and
- The qualified hazardous duty area of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Croatia, and Macedonia, effective November 21, 1995.
See Publication 3, Armed Forces' Tax Guide, for
information about other tax benefits available to military personnel
serving in a combat zone.
The deadline for filing your return, paying any tax due, and filing
a claim for refund is extended for at least 180 days after the later
- The last day you are in a combat zone (or the last day the
area qualifies as a combat zone), or
- The last day of any continuous qualified hospitalization for
injury from service in the combat zone.
In addition to the 180 days, your deadline is also extended by the
number of days you had left to file when you entered the combat zone.
For example, you have 3 1/2 months (January 1 -
April 15, 1999) to file your 1998 tax return. Any days left in this
period when you entered the combat zone (or the entire 3 1/2 months if you entered it before January 1, 1999) are added to
the 180 days.
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