United States

Certain taxpayers are eligible for extensions without making a request

TAX ALERT  | 

On April 14, 2017, the IRS issued IR-2017-83, in which it announced that taxpayers in Presidentially-declared disaster areas, members serving in a combat zone and Americans living and working abroad qualify for automatic extensions to both file their returns and pay any taxes due without having to make a request. Individuals who do not fall into one of these three categories may request additional time to file by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Automatic extensions give those taxpayers until Oct. 16, 2017, to file. Tax payments, however, are still due April 18, 2017.

Victims of natural disasters

Taxpayers in several disaster areas in parts of Georgia and Mississippi have until May 31, 2017, to file their tax returns and pay any amount of tax due. With respect to Georgia, individuals who reside or have a business in Berrien, Cook, Crisp, Dougherty and Wilcox counties qualify. With respect to Mississippi, individuals who reside or have a business in Forrest, Lamar, Lauderdale and Perry counties qualify. Similarly, individuals who reside or have a business in Livingston or Orleans parishes in Louisiana have until June 30, 2017, to file and pay.

It should be noted that such extensions also apply to other tax-related actions, for example, the deadline for contributing to an individual retirement account.

Combat zone taxpayers

Military and certain military support personnel serving in a combat zone have at least 180 days after they leave the combat zone to file their return and pay taxes due. A full list of combat zones, which includes Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, can be found in IRS Publication 3.

Similarly to victims of natural disasters, combat zone taxpayers receive more time to file for a variety of other tax-related actions, including contributing to an IRA. The length of extension varies based on taxpayers’ different circumstances. Details related to the other tax-related actions can also be found in Publication 3.

Taxpayers outside of the United States

U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work outside the United States and Puerto Rico have until June 15, 2017, to file their returns and pay any taxes due. This deadline also applies to members of the military on duty outside the United States and Puerto Rico who do not qualify for the longer combat zone extension. Taxpayers are required to attach a statement to their return identifying which of the latter two situations apply. Though taxpayers abroad receive more time to make a payment, if payment of tax is not received on April 18, interest will apply to any tax payment received after April 18.

Other taxpayers

Taxpayers who do not fall into one of the above three categories can still receive an extension of time to file by requesting an extension on Form 4868. This automatic extension provides taxpayers with an extended due date of Oct. 16 to file. Even if an extension to file the return is filed, tax payments must be made by April 18 to avoid penalties and interest for the late payment of tax due. An extension of time to file the return can be requested electronically through IRS.gov or via a paper filing on or before April 18, 2017. The IRS will automatically process an extension when a taxpayer selects Form 4868 and makes full or partial payment electronically by April 18. If the taxpayer chooses to file the form via paper filing, it should be sent via certified mail.

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