The deadline for most folks to file their 2011 federal income tax returns is tomorrow, Tuesday, 17 April 2012. There are other dates for people who are living overseas or deployed to tax-exempt combat zones. Not in one of those two categories but not ready to file? It is easy and automatic to get an extension of time to file your 2011 tax return. Just go to the IRS website and click on the Free File link. Any of the listed providers can submit a free extension of time to file.
Important to note is that an extension of time to file does not mean an extension of time to pay any amount owed. You will have to estimate and pay your taxes before tomorrow, 17 April 2012, in order to avoid penalties and interest. As much as I hate to let the IRS get their hands on my money, it is important that you get the amount right, or pay too much, to avoid those nasty extra fees.
Even though my return is 99% complete, I don't want to submit it until my husband has a chance to review the return and he's away for a few days. Therefore, I've filed for an extension and I've paid the amount that we owe. Even though I'll probably submit it later this week, I still need to get the extension for those few extra days.
Better to file an extension, get your return done right, and not run into any problems. If you're not going to be done tomorrow, file for an extension today. You'll sleep better tonight.