CPA Michelle Staebell of the New York State Society of CPAs discussed some options for filing for an extension on your tax return Monday on News 8 at Sunrise.

This year’s individual tax deadline is April 18.  For those who feel they will not be able to submit a return by then, Staebell said there is an option.  “There’s an automatic extension for for six months until October 16 this year,” she said. “It’s really easy to file. Anyone can file it. Because it’s automatic, you don’t even need to tell the I-R-S why you need the extension.”

Staebell said the actual form is a 48-68, but you can go onto the IRS’ website, which is, and free file online. You can print the form, or you can higher a tax preparer or professional to help you with it. There are lots of options. “New York has the same free option online,” she added. “It’s Go out to the New York State website. It’s the I-T-370. You can file it online, or print the form and fill it out on paper, or hire somebody to help you with it.”

There’s a few key pieces of information you’ll need in order to file for an extension.  “You just need your name, Social Security Number and address, and if you’re married filing jointly, you need your spouse’s name, Social Security Number and address,” said Staebell. “That’s it. It’s really easy to file, and like I said, there’s no reason to tell the IRS or New York, why you need an extension.”

Staebell said the extensions either have to be postmarked by April 18 or electronically filed by that time. “Keep in mind that this is an extension of time to file the return, not time to pay,” she noted. “If you’re filing the extension thinking you’re going to get an extra six months time to pay, don’t do that. Pay now and get on a payment plan instead.”

As long as you owe less than fifty thousand dollars, there’s an automatic agreement with the IRS that they’ll accept an installment plan. “That lets you pay over seventy-two months,” Staebell said.  “That relieves the penalty for not filing. Like I said, filing an extension extends your time to file — not time to pay — but you don’t want to get penalized. If you can, file and get on an installment plan.”

Staebell added, if all of this feels a little too overwhelming, talk to a professional. “They might be really busy right now, and might not be able to help you prepare your tax return, but they can most likely help you file an extension, and then help you after the April 18 deadline,” she said.

For more information, visit the New York State Society of CPAs website, click here.