Tax Guru-Ker$tetter Letter
Thursday, August 08, 2002
The first extensions for 2001 1040s expire on August 15. It is a simple task to obtain two more months, by sending Form 2688 to your IRS service center. If it is postmarked by August 15, you will be considered as timely requesting the extension.
The 2688 is a little different than the first extension (4868) that was sent in by April 15. The 4868 is for an automatic four month extension, and is supposed to include a payment for any tax expected to be owed with the 1040. It also has no place for a signature.
No money needs to be sent with the 2688. It extends the filing date by two months, to October 15. It needs to be signed by you or your representative. It also needs a reason. While many people think they need a fancy reason, the following language has been working well for the past 20+ years.
We are unable to assemble and compile all of the information that we require to prepare a complete & accurate tax return by August 15.
For a number of reasons, I am filing a lot more 2688s this year than I normally do. Because of months of computer problems, as well as several client emergencies that dominated my working time, I am extremely far behind with 2001 tax returns. I also have some clients who don't want to send IRS their tax returns until October so that they won't be among the 2001 tax returns from which IRS will be selecting 50,000 at pure random for its excruciating in depth examination, as I described here.
If you need more time after October 15, you may be able to receive official permission from IRS if you have a very good reason, or if a blanket extension is given for everyone affected by a big disaster, as was the case after the terrorist attacks last September 11.
If the next attacks don't come before this October 15, valid reasons accepted by IRS include most events that seriously affect your life, such as changes in marital status, deaths, health problems, and moves where your records are still boxed up.