Automatic Extensions Available to Most in 2006

Earlier this month, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced new regulations developed to streamline and simplify the procedures for taxpayers requesting automatic six-month tax-filing extensions. Beginning January 1, 2006 and effective for the 2005 returns filed in 2006, individuals will be able to use a single form (Form 4868) to get an automatic six-month extension rather than the current two-step process.

“Some taxpayers need a full six months for extensions as the law provides. This change simplifies the process so they can make the request just once, not twice,” IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said in a prepared statement.

The extension procedures have also been streamlined and made available to most non-corporate business taxpayers, including partnerships and trusts. Starting January 1, 2006 eligible taxpayers will use Form 7004 to request an automatic six-month extension rather than the three forms currently being used.

The streamlined procedures are expected to save taxpayers between $73 million and $94 million annually, according to an IRS press release. The Associated Press reports the number of taxpayer requesting extensions has increased to nearly 9 million annually but cautions that the extensions apply only to filing. Any taxes due must be paid by the April 15 deadline.

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