To get started, you need the following information:
- Your personal details, including your Social Security number, address and the name and taxpayer ID number of your spouse
- A copy of your 2009 tax return
- A list of tax payments made in 2009
To prepare and file the extension for your federal income tax return, you'll need to select a method:
File a paper extension: Most taxpayers are eligible for an automatic six-month extension. To get the extension, you must file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Income Tax Return (you can download a copy from the IRS website once the 2010 forms are available) by April 18, 2011. Assuming you file on time, you'll be extended through Oct. 15. A longer extension may be granted if you're living out of the country.
File online: You can apply for an extension by filing Form 4868 online through a software preparation service like TurboTax or by hiring a tax professional who uses e-file. If you want to make a payment with your online filing, you can pay by electronic funds withdrawal or send a check to the IRS. As with a paper return, the extension must be filed before the end of day on April 18, 2011.
Pay by credit card. You can also apply for an extension by paying part or all of your estimate of income tax due by using a credit or debit card. To pay by credit or debit card, call toll-free or visit the website of one of the following service providers approved by the IRS:
1-888-658-5465 (Customer Service)
Official Payments Corporation
1-877-754-4413 (Customer Service)
RBS WorldPay, Inc.
1-877-517-4881 (Customer Service)
If you run into difficulty or need more information, the IRS can help. You can call 1-800-829-1040 for assistance, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).