As many are well aware, the federal income tax filing due date for individuals, for the 2020 tax year, will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021 to May 17, 2021. Although this offers additional time to file taxes, it still may not be enough time for everybody, especially following such an unusual year as 2020.

If you feel you need even more time, there’s no need to worry. Filing a tax extension is still an option, and truthfully, it’s not nearly as frightening as it may sound.

What Is a Tax Extension? 

A tax extension simply gives you extra time to file your taxes, six extra months to be exact (since the filing due date for individuals was extended for 2021, the tax extension only provides 5 extra months from the new due date). If you request an extension, it will be granted automatically, but the extension form 4868 must be filed no later than midnight on May 17th.

Benefits to Filing a Tax Extension

  • Believe it or not, filing a tax extension is typically free!
  • The extension provides you, and/or your accountant, with more time to thoroughly prepare and accurately file your returns with less pressure.
  • It helps you avoid the tax filing penalty that you may be subject to.


The most important thing to keep in mind when filing a tax extension is that, filing an extension does NOT give you more time to pay taxes that you owe! If you owe taxes, you are still 100% liable to pay the amount you owe by the tax deadline on May 17th of this year.

Taxpayers who file an extension will have until October 15th to complete their return, but they must pay what they owe by May 17th. On that day, interest and penalties will start to apply.

Not Sure How Much You Owe?

There’s a convenient online tool to help you figure this out. The Income Tax Calculator estimates the refund or potential owed amount on a federal tax return, or you can always consult your tax professional. 

Do You Owe, but Don’t Have the Money?

If you know you owe, but don’t have the money – this is important – STILL FILE YOUR RETURN!

Even if you can’t pay anything toward your taxes, you should still file an extension. The penalty is much higher for not filing your return than it is for not paying your taxes owed.

Deadline for Filing a Tax Extension

The tax extension deadline is always the same as Tax Day. For individual returns, the deadline is May 17th of this year. You will not be able to file an extension after the 17th of May 2021.

Wondering About First Quarter Estimated Tax Payments?

The postponement does NOT apply to first quarter estimated tax payments for 2021. As of now, the deadline is still April 15th. Interest and penalties on unpaid amounts will apply after the 15th of April.

Would You like Senter, CPA to File a Tax Extension for You?

If you’re planning to have Senter, CPA prepare your tax returns, and are interested in filing a tax extension, we would be more than happy to file the extension for you.

Here’s What We Will Need from You

  • Your Contact Information
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your last 2 Tax Returns
  • Your 2020 Tax Documents
  • Do you anticipate having to owe?
  • How much?
  • How much do you want to pay with your extension?
  • We highly recommend overpaying, if you’re able to, and then choosing to either receive the extra money back with your return or apply it to next year.

Once we have the requested information from you, we will still do our best to file your return by the May 17th deadline. But, in the event that we are unable to, then we will proceed with filing the extension. At that time, you will need to submit your payment with the extension, if you owe.


Tax time can be a scary time.

But it doesn’t have to be, especially when you have the right professionals on your team. 

Our team at Senter, CPA is always here for you. If you need any assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us.


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