(CNN) – Waiting until the last minute is not usually a good idea, especially when it comes to filing your taxes.
Is April 15 the absolute deadline to file?
Yes, unless you live in Maine or Massachusetts. Taxpayers in those states are granted an extension until April 17 due to the Patriot’s Day holiday.
If it feels like Tax Day has a habit of moving around on your calendar, you’re right. The holiday’s date can vary based on certain circumstances. For example, if the 15th falls on a Saturday, Sunday or civil holiday, the deadline is extended to the next working day.
By the way, Tax Day used to be March 15. In 1955, as tax law was becoming increasingly complex, the federal government pushed the deadline back to April 15 to give Americans more time.
How can I file for an extension?
Need more time to prepare your federal tax return? The IRS recommends you file for an extension if you need one.
Filing an extension will help taxpayers avoid paying penalties for filing a late return. Extensions provide more time to file, but not more time to pay any tax owed.
“Information about free e-file options, such as IRS FreeFile, how to request an automatic six-month filing extension or fast, secure ways to pay any tax due using IRS Direct Pay are available online at IRS.gov.,” the agency says.