How To File an Extension on Business Taxes

Gabrielle Sinacola | Feb 22, 2024

How To File an Extension on Business Taxes

Staying abreast of tax obligations is essential when running a small business or startup in the United States. One often overlooked aspect is the option to file for a tax extension. This involves strategic planning and ensuring accuracy in your tax affairs.

Understanding this process becomes even more crucial for businesses spread across multiple states or hiring remotely. This guide is designed to demystify tax extensions, helping you to make informed decisions that best suit your business’s unique needs.

What Is a Business Tax Extension?

At its core, a business tax extension is a formal request to the IRS for additional time to file your tax returns. It’s important to note that this is an extension of time to file, not to pay any taxes you might owe.

The primary purpose of this extension is to provide your business with the necessary breathing room to gather all the relevant information and documents needed to complete your tax filing accurately.

It’s important to understand that while an extension grants more time to file your taxes, it does not extend the time you have to pay any taxes due. This means that if you anticipate owing taxes, you’re expected to estimate and pay this amount by the original due date. This distinction is key to avoiding any potential penalties or interest on taxes owed.

When Is a Business Tax Extension Useful?

If your business is facing a period of financial uncertainty or hardship, like economic downturns, cash flow difficulties, or operational disruptions, a business tax extension might be particularly helpful.

Business tax extensions can also be beneficial during business mergers or acquisitions when a company’s financial circumstances are likely to be going through significant changes or upheaval. A tax extension gives your business some extra time to prepare and submit tax returns, and can help you avoid penalties and consequences for late filing if you would be otherwise hard-pressed to submit on time.

How To File Form 7004 for Automatic Extension

Form 7004 plays an important role for businesses seeking a tax extension. Officially known as the Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns, this form is your gateway to gaining extra time for filing your business tax returns.

It’s designed to ease the pressure by providing up to six additional months, depending on your business type:

1. Determine Eligibility: Ensure your business entity type is eligible for an extension using Form 7004.

2.Gather Information: Compile your business details, including your tax identification number and the specific tax form you’re requesting an extension for.

3. Estimate Taxes Owed: If applicable, calculate and prepare to pay any estimated taxes owed by the original due date.

4. Complete the Form: Fill out Form 7004 accurately, providing all required information.

5. Submit Before Deadline: Ensure you file Form 7004 by the due date of your original tax return.

Once you’ve successfully submitted Form 7004, keep a copy of the form and any confirmation received for your records.

What Are the Tax Extension Due Dates for Different Business Structures?

The tax extension deadlines vary depending on your business structure. Here’s a breakdown:

  • S Corporations: The tax return or extension is due by March 15 for a calendar year S corporation. A calendar year S corporation, for example, must file its 2023 tax return or extension by March 15, 2024.

  • C Corporations: For a C corporation on a calendar year, the extension is due by April 15. If your C corporation’s tax year ends on December 31, 2023, for example, you must file a 2023 tax return or extension request by April 15, 2024.

  • Partnerships: Partnerships must file their return or extension by March 15. As an example, a partnership on a calendar year must file its 2023 tax return or extension by March 15, 2024.

If your business operates on a fiscal year rather than a calendar year, adjust your due dates accordingly based on these guidelines.

What Are the Penalties for Late Filing or Underpayment?

Missing deadlines or underestimating tax payments can lead to significant financial penalties. It’s essential for small businesses and startups to be aware of these consequences to avoid unnecessary costs.

Consequences of Late Filing

Businesses that file their tax returns late without an approved extension can face a penalty. The penalty typically amounts to a percentage of the unpaid tax and accrues each month the tax remains unpaid.

Underpayment Penalties

If a business fails to estimate and pay the taxes owed by the original due date, it may incur an underpayment penalty. This penalty is calculated based on the underpaid tax amount and the time it remains unpaid.

Avoiding Penalties

To avoid these penalties, it’s crucial to file for an extension on time if necessary and accurately estimate and pay any owed taxes by the original due date.

At Mosey, we understand the complexities of payroll compliance and tax extensions, especially for businesses operating across multiple states or those hiring remotely — and our compliance management platform is designed to simplify these challenges.

Our system uses your payroll data to determine exactly which payroll accounts and compliance obligations apply to your business, helping you manage diverse compliance requirements across different states.

Are There Tax Extension Special Considerations for S Corporations and Partnerships?

S Corporations and Partnerships have unique tax requirements that are essential for business owners to understand. These requirements can significantly impact how taxes are filed and what information must be reported.

S Corporations

S Corporations are generally considered pass-through entities for tax purposes, meaning the corporation itself does not pay income taxes. Instead, the income or losses are passed through to the shareholders and reported on their personal tax returns.

It’s important for S Corporations to provide a Schedule K-1 to each shareholder. This schedule details each shareholder’s share of income, deductions, and credits.


Like S Corporations, Partnerships are also pass-through entities and do not pay income taxes at the business level. Partnerships must provide a Schedule K-1 to each partner, outlining their share of the partnership’s income, deductions, and credits.

Importance of Schedule K-1

The Schedule K-1 is essential for both S Corporations and Partnerships as it ensures each shareholder or partner accurately reports their share of income or loss on their individual tax returns.

Failure to provide Schedule K-1s or inaccuracies in these documents can lead to penalties and complications with individual tax filings.

The Mosey Advantage

Mosey is specifically designed to simplify and streamline compliance processes for you. By leveraging our expertise and automation capabilities, we make compliance manageable and less time-consuming.

While managing federal tax extensions is one part of the equation, state tax extensions are equally crucial and slightly more nuanced. Each state has its own set of rules and deadlines for tax extensions, making it essential for businesses to be well-informed about their specific state requirements.

At Mosey, we recognize the importance of staying informed on these varying state guidelines. Our platform provides the necessary resources and information to help you understand and manage your state tax needs.

With Mosey, you can focus more on growing your business and less on the intricacies of tax and compliance. We invite you to book a demo today to see what we can do for you.

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