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How Long Is a Tax Extension Good for?

The deadline for filing many IRS returns can be extended. The length of the extension varies from return to return. The following is a summary of IRS forms, grouped by filing status, which a taxpayer can use to apply for an extension as well as the length of each extension.


4868: Automatic six-month extension to file individual income tax returns (Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR, 1040NR-EZ, 1040-PR, and 1040-SS).

The filing deadline for people serving in a military combat zone is extended for the length of service in the combat zone plus 180 days.

U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live outside the United States on the date their return is due receive an automatic two-month extension to file.

2350 (for U.S. citizens and resident aliens abroad who expect to qualify for a foreign-earned income exclusion or a foreign housing exclusion or deduction by meeting either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test but not until after tax return is due) extension to 30 days after the date on which the taxpayer expects to meet the bona fide residence or physical presence test.

Estate and Gift Tax Extensions:

8892: Automatic six-month extension to file Form 709 (gift and generation-skipping transfer tax return) and/or to pay the gift tax or the generation-skipping transfer tax.

4768: Six-month extension to file Form 706 (estate tax return) and/or pay estate taxes and generation-skipping transfer taxes. An executor who is out of the country may request an additional extension by attaching a statement explaining why it is impossible to file and pay within six months.

Employee Plan Extensions:

5558: One-time extension (for a length of time designated by the filer) to file certain employee plan returns.

Exempt Organizations:

8868: Automatic three-month extension to file the tax-exempt organization return or a non-automatic additional three-month extension.

Information Returns:

8809: Automatic 30-day extension to file information returns, including Forms W-2 and 1099. A taxpayer may request an additional non-automatic 30-day extension by filing a second Form 8809 before the end of the first extension period.


7004 provides a five-month extension for business returns such as 1120 (corporation), 1065 (partnership) and 1041 (annual tax return for a trust or estate).

1138 (for corporations expecting net operating loss carry-back): Extension for paying tax, generally until the end of the month in which the return for the tax year of expected net operating loss must be filed. However, corporations can obtain a further extension by filing Form 1139 before the initial extension period ends.

Read about what can happen if you don't file on time or at all here.

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