Ain’t no shame if an extension is needed! Check out last week’s blog for foundational gems of filing an extension. Filing an extension on your personal tax return will give you until October 15 to file.
I always caution against sloppily rushing to beat the 4/15 deadline. It is better to extend the time to file so you have time and energy to gather documents. Also, you want a competent focused tax professional to do the job. Handing her your tax documents 24 hours before the April deadline will NOT prove successful. When we rush, we forget things and make mistakes… which can be costly when it comes to the IRS. If you’re not sure that you need to file an extension, you should have an answer by the end of this blog.
Reasons you SHOULD file an extension…
- You get more time to file
Think back to finals week in college. You put off that research paper that’s due at midnight and now you’re scrambling to write it. You rush to finish the paper and submit it by the deadline. You’re not even sure what you just wrote, but spell check said it’s good so you submit it. You get a poor grade due to disorganized thinking and grammatical errors.
Now imagine, your teacher grants you an extension. You’ve finished your other finals at this point and this research paper is the only task left to do. You focus on it and give proper energy to it. You write a compelling paper that gets a high grade.
Your taxes are the same way, but it’ll cost you big money instead of grades. More time means you can provide a more accurate tax return. You (or your tax professional) will have more time to determine which tax breaks apply to you.
- You’ll have more time to seek a refund later
Let’s say you file your tax return today and pay your taxes. In August of 2025, you discover a mistake on your tax return that results in a refund! In this case, you’re out of luck and cannot claim that refund. BUT, if you request an extension and push your filing deadline to October 15, you’ll still have time to request a refund when you discover that error.
The tax law allows three years from the time a return is filed to claim a refund related to the return. So, the later your file, the more time you have to file a refund claim later.
- Save money
Of course, you’re saving money by doing your taxes more accurately, but you also save money in other ways. Tax professionals maintain higher prices during peak parts of tax season. Clients are pressed to work with a professional which means higher prices during peak tax season. When tax professionals have lighter workloads in the late spring or summer, you’re likely to find better pricing!
Reasons you SHOULD NOT file an extension…
- Extra time to file DOES NOT mean extra time to pay
An extension will only provide you with additional filing time, but if you owe taxes those are still due by the original deadline. The point of an extension is to allow you more time to file. You will still have to estimate the amount of tax you owe and pay that amount by the original deadline. If you don’t, the IRS will charge you interest + penalties on the unpaid amount.
- If you are expecting a refund, it will be delayed.
This is simple: The longer you wait to file your return, the longer you’ll wait to get your refund. If you need that money now, then file your return by the deadline.
You can speed up your refund by e-filing your tax return. This option allows your refund to be directly deposited in your bank account. The IRS processes electronic returns much faster than paper returns, we’re talking days vs. weeks.
- You have more time to worry about your taxes.
Even though I’m a tax nerd, I know… nobody really likes to think about taxes. In fact, I’ve never seen anyone celebrate the coming oft tax season. Pushing your tax return filing until October means you’ll have SIX MORE MONTHS of thinking about your taxes. If you don’t NEED to file an extension, don’t. If you’re filing an extension simply because you’ve put off this stressful task, remember that the task of filing won’t be any easier by October. What you may need is the help of a tax professional to relieve that burden off