How and When to File an Extension on Business Taxes
If you can't complete the tax return for your business by the April filing date, you can request an extension of time to file. Once you file the application for an extension, how much additional time does this give you to file?
Your taxes are due at the end of the extension period, subject to a few conditions:
- Even though you are filing an application for an extension, you must pay any taxes due by the regular tax return due date, depending on your business type.
- There is only one extension allowed per tax year. You can't keep getting multiple extensions.
- Note that tax return and extension due dates change each year, based on when the date occurs. If a return due date is on a weekend or holiday, the actual due date is the next business day.
Filing an Extension Application
First, you must file an application for an extension with the IRS no later than the due date of the tax return. The due date depends on the type of tax return. Some dates have been changed, effective with the 2018 tax return year (filed in 2019):
- Sole proprietorship and single-member LLC tax returns, filed on Schedule C and included with the owner's personal tax return are due on April 15, for the previous tax year. If you want an extension, you must file the extension application for a Schedule C and personal return by the tax return due date of April 15, 2019, for the 2018 tax year.
- Partnership tax returns are due on 15th day of the 3rd month after the end of the partnership's tax year (a month earlier than previously). Since most partnerships have a December 31 year end, partnership tax returns and extension applications are due March 15 of the following year.
- S Corporation tax returns are due the 15th day of the third month after the end of the company's fiscal (financial) year. All S corporations have a December 31 year end, so the due date for the extension application is March 15.
- C Corporation tax returns are due on the 15th day of the 4th month after the end of the fiscal year. For corporations with a December 31 fiscal year end, the extension application is due April 15.
If the tax return due date falls on a weekend, the due date is moved to the first following work day. For example, if the 15th of April is on Sunday, the due date is April 16.
You can file an extension application online or through your tax software or your tax preparer.
When Extended Tax Returns Are Due
The IRS sets different automatic extension times for different types of returns. The deadlines are for months after the original tax return due date for each business type. Due dates extensions are:
- 6 months for partnership returns (this includes multiple member limited liability companies filing as partnerships). For a partnership with a December 31 year end, the extended tax return is due September 15.
- 6 months for corporate returns and s-corporation returns. For a corporation with a December 31 year end, and for all S corporations, the extended tax return is due September 15.
- 6 months for sole proprietorships, who are filing Schedule C along with their Form 1040, and for single-member limited liability companies filing as sole proprietors. For sole proprietors, all of whom have a December 31 year-end; the extended tax return is due October 15.
If your corporation or partnership does not have a December 31 fiscal (financial) year end, you will need to calculate the number of months for the tax return due date, then add the number of months for the extension. For example, for a September 30 year end for a corporation, the corporate tax return is due February 15 of the following year, and the extended tax return is due August 15 of that year.
NOTE: Even if you extend the time for filing your tax return, you must pay the amount due for the tax year. An extension is for filing, not payment.
For More Information:
Common Questions About Filing Tax Extensions.