Tax Return Extension Deadline for Most Filers: October 17, 2011 and Some Exceptions

October 17, 2011 is the deadline for most of those individual taxpayers who filed Form 4868 to request a six-month extension on filing of their tax returns. Traditionally, October 15 would have been the deadline, but it falls on Saturday this year. Therefore, the IRS extended the deadline until October 17, 2011.

Note that this deadline of October 17, 2011, includes U.S. taxpayers living abroad, even though their tax filing deadline is automatically extended to June 15. It is also important to emphasize that the extension to file your federal tax return does not in any way affect the obligation to file the FBARs by June 30, 2011.

Some taxpayers, however, are not subject to October 17, 2011 deadline this year. The two most prominent exceptions are qualified military personnel and victims of Hurricane Irene. Victims of Hurricane Irene will have until October 31, 2011 to file their tax returns. The new deadline primarily concerns residents of certain counties in Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Texas, and Vermont.

It is important to emphasize that an extension of time to file is not equivalent to an extension of time to pay. It is generally true that, under the relevant Treasury regulations and IRS Notice 93-22, individual taxpayers still can file a valid Form 4868 and obtain an automatic extension without paying the properly estimated tax in full – this means, of course, that no late filing penalty is likely to be assessed. However, the taxpayers will still owe interest on any past due tax amount and may be subject to a late payment penalty if payment is not made by the regular due date of the return.