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Not ready to file your taxes? Here’s how to get an extension

(NEXSTAR) — There are only a few days left to gather your paperwork, calm your nerves, and hope for a good tax refund — but, if you already know you’re likely to miss the deadline, here’s how to get an extension.

The last day to file in 2022 for most people is April 18, but the Internal Revenue Service has a tax deadline extension for those who need a few extra months.

If you plan to extend your filing date, you can get an automatic six-month extension using the IRS. Form 4868just make sure you do it before the April tax deadline to avoid late penalties.

Your new deadline will be October 17, 2022, but the IRS may make an exception and push it even further for taxpayers living outside the country.

You can get a tax extension, but should you?

Filing for an extension can now be done easily online – you can use the IRS direct payment; the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System; or pay with credit, debit or digital wallet card — but there are some things to keep in mind before pausing your 2021 tax return.

A key consideration is that the extension is for paperwork, not payment. You will still need to estimate your tax payable and pay by April 18, using the same form.

The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking an extension that they must pay on time, even if they cannot give the full amount to reduce potential penalties.

While the late filing penalty is typically 5% per month, the late payment penalty is typically 0.5% per month. Interest on late payments, currently four percent per year, is compounded daily, according to the IRS. The IRS says it will work with people unable to make full payments, and most people can set up a payment plan.

It should also be noted that depending on your situation, you may already be able to file later in the year.

There is an automatic two-month extension for citizens and resident aliens who work and live outside the United States or Puerto Rico. Although they have until June 15 to file, they still have to make their tax payments by April 18.

Service members living outside the United States and Puerto Rico receive the same filing extension, and people serving in combat zones have up to 180 days after leaving the combat zone to file returns and pay all taxes due.

Finally, if President Biden were to make a disaster area declaration, the IRS can postpone taxpayer deadlines for residents and businesses.