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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > IRS

IRS: Here’s Who Qualifies for a Tax Extension

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What You Need to Know

  • Taxpayers in combat zones or disaster areas automatically qualify for a tax payment deadline extension.
  • Taxpayers who file for an extension on Form 4868 still must pay their taxes by April 18.
  • Those requesting an extension will have until Oct. 17 to file a return.

The Internal Revenue Service announced Monday which taxpayers qualify for a tax extension.

Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Oct. 17 to file a return.

“Not everyone has to ask for more time, however,” the IRS points out — disaster victims, taxpayers serving in combat zones and those living abroad automatically have longer to file.

An extension of time to file “will also automatically process when taxpayers pay all or part of their taxes electronically” by this year’s April 18 due date, the IRS said.

Although taxpayers can file up to six months later when they have an extension, taxes are still owed by the original due date, the agency said.

The IRS lays out who qualifies for automatic extensions:

Disaster Areas

Taxpayers affected by the December 2021 tornadoes and flooding in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee have until May 16 to file their 2021 returns and pay any tax due, as do those who faced the Colorado wildfires and straight-line winds that began Dec. 30, the IRS said.

Also, those affected by severe storms, flooding and landslides that began on Feb. 4 in Puerto Rico will have until June 15 to file and pay.

The IRS states that it “automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in a federally declared disaster area when at least one area qualifies for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program. Ordinarily, this means that taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get disaster tax relief.”

This relief also includes more time for making 2021 contributions to IRAs and other plans and making 2022 estimated tax payments.

“In some cases, relief is also available to people living outside the disaster area if, for example, they have a business located in the disaster area, have tax records located in the disaster area or are assisting in disaster relief,” the IRS said.

For details on all available relief, visit the Around the Nation page on

Combat Zone Taxpayers

Military service members and eligible support personnel serving in a combat zone have at least 180 days after they leave the combat zone to file their tax returns and pay any tax due. This includes those serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other combat zones, according to the agency.

A complete list of designated combat zone localities can be found in Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide, available on

Combat zone extensions also give affected taxpayers more time for a variety of other tax-related actions, including contributing to an IRA.

Taxpayers Outside the U.S.

U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico have until June 15 to file their 2021 tax returns and pay any tax due, the IRS said.

This deadline “also applies to members of the military on duty outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico who do not qualify for the longer combat zone extension. Affected taxpayers should attach a statement to their return explaining which of these situations apply,” the IRS said.

“Though taxpayers abroad get more time to pay, interest — currently at the rate of 4% per year, compounded daily — applies to any payment received after this year’s April 18 deadline,” according to the agency.

For more information about the special tax rules for U.S. taxpayers abroad, see Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad, on

Other Taxpayers

Taxpayers who don’t qualify for any of these three special situations can still get more time to file by submitting a request for an automatic extension. This will extend their filing deadline until Oct. 17. But because this is only a tax-filing extension, their 2021 tax payments are still due by April 18.

Through IRS Free File on, anyone, regardless of income, can electronically request an extension on Form 4868, according to the agency.

To get the extension, taxpayers must estimate their tax liability on this form.


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