Do I need to file an extension if I'm getting a refund?
Technically no, at least when it comes to your federal return.
Because the IRS calculates the late-filing penalty off of any additional taxes you owe ($0 in your case), there's no penalty because $0 × anything = $0.
However, it's best to go ahead and file an extension anyway, for 3 good reasons:
- If you end up owing (e.g., you corrected an error, forgot to enter a W-2, got a revised 1099 form, etc.) an extension protects you from the late-filing penalty.
- Some states require that you file a federal extension to get a state extension. More info
- It only takes a few minutes, and it's free!