After a few years of tax day jumping around thanks to holidays in Washington D.C., tax day for 2019 is once again on April 15, 2019.
To avoid penalties, most Americans will need to file either their tax return or an request for extension by April 15 this year.
Tax Extension 2019
The IRS grants an automatic, no questions asked, extension to any filer who requests one by April 15 using Form 4868. Filing for a tax extension moves the due date for your taxes to October 15, 2019.
However, there is a catch. If you OWE money on your taxes — that is, if you are not getting a refund — the amount you owe is still due on April 15. Filing an extension does not give you extra time to pay, only extra time to file.
How does this work? On Form 4868, you’ll see a place to estimate how much taxes you are going to owe in 2019, for your 2018 tax return. You have to make a payment for this amount along with your extension form. If you overestimate how much you owe, you’ll get a refund when you do file, just like if you paid too much in and filed on April 15. If you underestimate, the amount you owe, then you will owe interest, and possibly penalties on the amount you did not pay on April 15.
For most people, it is in their best interest to pay too much and get a refund when the filing is finally ready than to get whacked with interest charges. In other words, you need to get a pretty close estimate.
For this reason, an extension often works best for folks who are already pretty sure of how the income portion of their taxes works, and are still in the process of adding in deductions, which would reduce your overall taxes. In this way, there is little chance of underpaying.
Still Time to Contribute
The April 15 date is also the deadline to make “late” contributions to things like IRA accounts or HSA accounts for 2018. Note that even if you file an extension, you do not get additional time to contribute to an IRA or HSA for 2018. Those are still due on April 15.