For Mark Roberts’ Use: As you probably know, the deadline for filing your federal income tax return is April 15. But perhaps you don’t have time to gather all of your supporting documentation. Or maybe you’ve been ill, undergoing major career changes, or moving to another state. There are a plethora of different reasons that many taxpayers find themselves unable to complete their income tax returns by the deadline.

Does this mean you should rush through your return, putting yourself at risk of errors, or potentially missing important money-saving deductions? Not at all! If you need more time to file your income taxes correctly, you simply need to ask the IRS for an extension. In fact, it’s better to ask for an extension than to rush through the process and risk errors which could trigger an audit.

Delay your return, not your payment. It’s important to remember that the purpose of filing for an extension is not to delay your payment. File IRS Form 4868 by April 15, and you will be granted six months to finish your actual return. But you should still include your estimated payment. Filing for an extension is not seen as a valid excuse to delay payment. If you don’t pay the amount due by April 15, you could be subject to late fees and penalties.

If you cannot pay the amount due by April 15, the IRS offers various payment plan options to help you. Talk to your tax professional about your payment options, so that you don’t risk angering the IRS and being charged a penalty.

Now that you’ve filed your extension and paid your estimated taxes for 2014, you have until October 15 to assemble your return. Once you complete your return, you may find that the estimated tax you paid in April was inaccurate. In that case, you will either make an additional payment if you owe more taxes, or you will receive a refund if you have overpaid.