A Simple Guide to Filing an Extension

First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way: Filing an extension is no big deal.

Really, it’s not. If you need more time to get it right, it’s always better to extend than to file a return that’s not ready.

But before we get into the scenarios where filing an extension makes sense, let’s first talk about how to avoid getting into those situations in the first place. 

Participating in the process

It’s important to understand that your accountant can’t prepare your tax return without your help. To make the process smoother and more accurate for everyone:

  • Respect internal deadlines for when documents are due
  • Respond to any questions your accountant has in a timely manner

Sometimes submitting certain documents may be out of your control, and that’s OK. If you don’t have the document yet, you can’t send it. But the sooner you upload everything we need, the faster we’re able to get your return up next in the queue.

Note: If you are having trouble getting one or more of your documents together, be sure to let your accountant know. Maintaining an open line of communication is your best bet for being able to file on time when submitting documents after the deadline.

Scenarios where it’s smart to file an extension

  1. If you fail to get your accountant everything they need in time to prepare your return, filing an extension will be necessary.
  2. Sometimes, your accountant will request additional time to thoroughly review your situation. In these cases, rushing to finish quickly could lead to missing deductions, making mistakes, or filing an inaccurate return. It’s always better to file your best return the first time. Filing an extension gives your accountant time to deliver optimal results.

When filing an extension will potentially save you money or prevent having to file an amended return to fix mistakes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Tax extension deadlines

The deadline for filing an extension is prior to the date when taxes are due.

  • April 15: All individuals and most businesses
  • March 15: Certain business types, including partnerships, multi-member LLCs and S corporations
  • 15th day of the 4th month following the end of the tax year: Corporations that use a different tax year than the calendar year

If you need to file an extension, do not wait until the last minute. File an extension as soon as you think you might need it. If you file an extension and do not need it, this is not a problem. You can still file your return on time.

Extended tax filing deadlines & tax payment

Remember that both individuals and businesses must remit an estimated tax payment prior to the due date even if you file an extension. Failing to pay on time can result in penalties and fines. 

Your accountant can help you determine how much to pay to stay in compliance. Once your final return is filed, this amount will be reconciled with additional payment or a refund.

Extended return deadlines:

  • Corporations and partnerships – September 15
  • Individuals – October 15


Sometimes filing an extension is necessary to get your taxes right. If you need to file one, don’t worry about it. It’s not a bad thing at all. 

But do remember that an extension only moves the due date for your return. Your payment is always due at the original deadline. If you have any questions, we are here to help.

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