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How to File an Extension for Your Local Income Tax

State Taxes

1.

Complete your federal tax return. You can complete your return with a certified public accountant or you can e-file through the Internal Revenue Service or with a private online tax preparer. You must finish your federal return to file an extension with your state.

2.

Review the extension policy for your state. Many states offer an automatic six-month extension through Oct. 15. However, this may not apply. Look up your state's guidelines on extensions (see Resources).

3.

Do not file any extra forms if your state grants you an automatic extension. However, you will need to pay any federal and state taxes due by April 15. You must pay with an estimated taxes form if you will not be filing your state taxes by April 15.

4.

Contact your tax collector, as a precautionary measure, before you delay your return (see Resources). This is not required, but you want the tax collector to know you plan on filing late. (This is especially helpful if there is a problem with your tax extension form.)

5.

Search for the tax extension form on the department of revenue's website if your state requires paperwork. This form will probably need you to indicate all of the following: name, address, Social Security number, estimated tax liability, estimated taxes due and when you will file.

City Taxes

1.

Review your prior-year taxes to determine whether you must file city income taxes. Some cities, like New York City, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Lansing, Michigan, collect these municipal taxes.

2.

Review the tax-filing rules for your city. For example, in Lansing, Michigan, taxpayers who wish to extend their returns must complete city Form LXT, Application for Extension of Time to File Lansing Income Tax Return. The rules for extension should be found on your city's department of revenue web page. If not, call your income tax collector at city hall.

3.

Calculate your estimated city taxes due. While most cities allow for extensions on filing, nearly all cities require tax payments to be made on April 15. Subtract any payments made throughout the year from your total city taxes due to figure your estimated tax liability.

4.

File your extension form with your city tax collector. You must either mail a check or bring one directly to the tax collector at city hall. Most cities allow for a six-month extension on filing.



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