Calculate your estimated tax liability before you file your extension. If you are a sub-contractor, you will need to figure your total taxes on your own. If you are a contractor but paid with a W-2, you need to calculate your liability based on the taxes withheld.
Use the federal tax brackets to figure your liability. As of the 2009 tax season, the federal tax percentage brackets are: 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35. For example, if you made $95,000 at your contracting job in 2009, 28 percent of that income is taxable. Therefore, $26,600 is your tax liability. See Resource 1 for all tax brackets.
Obtain Form 4868. This is available online or in Resource 2. This is a simple form. Enter your name, address and Social Security number. In Part II, enter your total estimated tax liability from your contracting work. Enter any payments already made (through estimated tax payments or withholdings in your pay check). Calculate your estimated taxes due. Make sure to check the box indicating that you are out of the country.
Decide what your state of residence is when you are living in the United States. You will need this in order to determine where to send Form 4868. For example, if you reside in Alabama, your extension will go to the IRS office in Austin, TX. See Resource 2 to determine the correct mailing address.
File the extension form. You may want to contact your local IRS office, too, to report that you are filing an extension.
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