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What is Form 8868?
Purpose of the form
Form 8868 is used by an exempt organization to request an automatic 3- month extension of time (6 months for a corporation required to file Form 990-T) to file its return and also to apply for an additional (not automatic) 3-month extension if the original 3- month extension was not enough time. You cannot apply for both the automatic 3-month extension and the additional (not automatic) 3-month extension at the same time.

Also, the trustee of a trust required to file Form 1041-A or Form 5227 must use Form 8868 to request an extension of time to file those returns. These instructions apply to such trusts unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

Use Part I to apply for an automatic 3-month extension of time to file an organization’s return, and submit the original form to the IRS (no copies are needed).

Part II is used to apply for an additional (not automatic) 3-month extension. Only file the original form with the IRS (no copies needed).

The automatic 3-month extension (6 months for a corporation required to file Form 990-T) will be granted if you properly complete this form, file it, and pay any balance due on line 3c by the due date for the return for which the extension applies.

An organization will only be allowed a total extension of 6 months for a return for a tax year.
General Instructions
Effective January 2011, Form 8868 can be filed electronically to request either the Part I, automatic 3-month extension (6 months for a corporation required to file Form 990-T) or Part II, additional (not automatic) 3- month extension. Electronic filing can be used to request an extension of time to file each of the forms listed in both Parts I and II with the exception of Form 8870 which must be sent in paper format.
When To File
Generally, file Form 8868 by the due date of the return for which you are requesting an extension, or, in the case of an additional 3-month extension, by the extended due date of the return. When requesting an additional extension of time to file, file Form 8868 early so that if your request is denied you can still file your return on time.
No Blanket Request
File a separate Form 8868 for each return for which you are requesting an automatic extension of time to file. This extension will apply only to the specific return checked. It does not extend the time for filing any related returns. For example, an extension of time for filing a private foundation return will not apply to the return of certain excise taxes on charities (Form 4720).
Each Form 8868 filer who owes taxes for the year should file their own Form 8868, and pay only their share of the total tax liability due.
Also, black lung benefit trusts, their trustees, and any disqualified persons filing Form 990-BL must each file separate Form 8868.
Exempt Organization Group Returns
A central organization may apply for an extension of time to file a group return. Complete and check the appropriate box and enter the Group Exemption Number (GEN) after the area titled “Check type of return to be filed.” If the extension is not for all the organizations that are part of the group, you must attach a schedule to Form 8868 showing the name, address, and employer identification number of each organization that is included in this request for an extension.
Interest
Interest will be charged on any tax not paid by the regular due date of the return from the due date until the tax is paid. It will be charged even if the organization has been granted an extension or has shown reasonable cause for not paying on time.
Late Payment Penalty
Generally, a penalty of 1% of any tax not paid by the due date is charged for each month or part of a month that the tax remains unpaid. The penalty cannot exceed 25% of the amount due. The penalty will not be charged if you can show reasonable cause for not paying on time. Attach a statement to your return fully explaining the reason. Do not attach the statement to Form 8868.

If you receive an extension of time to file, you will not be charged a late payment penalty if (a) the tax shown on line 3a or 8a (or the amount of tax paid by the regular due date of the return) is at least 90% of the tax shown on the return, and (b) you pay the balance due shown on the return by the extended due date.
Late Filing Penalty
A penalty is charged if the return is filed after the due date (including extensions) unless you can show reasonable cause for not filing on time. The penalty is 5% of the tax not paid by the regular due date for each month or part of a month that the return is late, up to a maximum of 25% of the unpaid tax. For an income tax return filed more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is $100 or the balance of the tax due on the return, whichever is smaller.

Attach a statement to your return fully explaining the reason for not filing on time. Do not attach the statement to Form 8868.

Different late filing penalties apply to information returns. See the specific form instructions for details.
PART I. AUTOMATIC 3-MONTH EXTENSION
Line 1
The date that is entered on line 1 cannot be later than 3 months (6 months for a corporation required to file Form 990-T) from the original due date of the return.
Line 2. Short tax year
If you checked the box for change in accounting period, you must have applied for approval to change the organization’s tax year unless certain conditions have been met. See Form 1128, Application To Adopt, Change, or Retain a Tax Year; and Pub.538, Accounting Periods and Methods, for details.

Note
. All filers must complete lines 3a, b, and c, even if you are exempt from tax or do not expect to have any tax liability.
Line 3a
See the organization’s tax return and its instructions to estimate the amount of tentative tax reduced by any nonrefundable credits. If you expect this amount to be zero, enter -0-.
Line 3c. Balance Due
Form 8868 does not extend the time to pay tax. To avoid interest and penalties, send the full balance due with Form 8868.
Note. Be sure to see any deposit rules that are in the instructions for the particular form you are getting an extension for to determine how payment must be made.

No signature is required when applying for an extension of time to file under Part I.
PART II. ADDITIONAL (NOT AUTOMATIC) 3-MONTH EXTENSION
Line 4
The date that is entered on line 4 cannot be later than 6 months from the original due date of the return.
Line 6. Short tax year
If you checked the box for change in accounting period, you must have applied for approval to change the organization’s tax year unless certain conditions have been met. See Form 1128, Application To Adopt, Change, or Retain a Tax Year; and Pub. 538, Accounting Periods and Methods, for details.
Line 7
For the IRS to grant the organization an additional 3-month extension of time for filing a return, the organization must file an application on time and an adequate explanation why the return cannot be filed by the already extended due date. Describe in detail the reasons causing the additional delay in filing the return. We cannot approve applications that give incomplete reasons, such as “illness” or “practitioner too busy,” without adequate explanations. Generally, we will consider the application based on the organization’s efforts to fulfill the filing requirements, rather than on the convenience of your tax preparer. But, if your preparer is not able to complete the return by the due date for reasons beyond his or her control or, in spite of reasonable efforts, the organization is not able to get professional help in time to file, the IRS will generally grant the extension. If a request for an extension is made for no important reason but only to gain time, we will deny both the extension request and the 10-day grace period.

Caution. If an extension is granted and the IRS later determines that the statements made on this form are false and misleading, the extension is null and void. The organization will be subject to the late filing penalty explained earlier.

Note. All filers must complete lines 8a, b, and c, even if you are exempt from tax or do not expect to have any tax liability.
Line 8a
See the specific form and form instructions to estimate the amount of tentative tax reduced by any nonrefundable credits. If you expect this amount to be zero, enter -0-.
Line 8c. Balance Due
Form 8868 does not extend the time for paying tax. To avoid further interest and penalties, send the full balance due as soon as possible with Form 8868.

Note. Be sure to see any deposit rules that are in the instructions for the particular form you are getting an extension for to determine how payment must be made.
Signature
When applying for an extension of time to file under Part II, a signature is required. The person who signs this form may be:
• A fiduciary, trustee, or an officer representing the fiduciary or trustee of an exempt trust filing Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-BL, 990-PF, 990-T, or 8870.
• A principal officer of a corporate organization filing Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, 990-T, 4720, 6069, or 8870.
• A foundation manager, trustee, or disqualified person filing Form 990-BL or 4720 for their own liability.
• An individual filing Form 6069.
• A trustee or an officer representing the trustee of a trust filing Form 1041-A or 5227.
• An attorney or certified public accountant qualified to practice before the IRS.
• A person enrolled to practice before the IRS.