How to File An Extension to File for Your 2011 Tax Return

It's the last full week before April 17th (this year's tax filing deadline). If you are scrambling to get your tax return done, you may be compromising your tax return. It is never a good idea to send the IRS a badly prepared tax return. The best case scenario is that you miss out on credits and deductions that would have lowered your tax liability. The worst case scenario is that you wind up in deep trouble with the IRS. This is why it is sometimes a good idea to file an extension. The IRS has posted this helpful YouTube video on how to file your 2011 tax return extension.

Here's what you need to do to file an extension for your 2011 tax return.
  1. Fill out a 2011 Form 4868 with the usual contact & identification information.
  2. Don't forget to estimate what you owe the IRS in Part II.
  3. File Form 4868 before April 17th either by e-filing or through the standard mail.
You also need to pay your estimated balance before April 17th to avoid late fees. You can do this by credit, debit, EFTPS, or an old-fashioned check. If you do send a check, make sure that you write your social security number and the year you are paying for on the check itself. By filing a Form 4868, you will automatically have until October 15th to prepare and file an accurate 2011 tax return.