What to Do and Expect When Filing Taxes Late

file late taxes

If you didn’t complete and submit your return in April, the final day to electronically file your taxes is October 15th, 2018 for tax year 2017. Whether you requested an extension or just forgot to file, it’s the same deadline for everyone.  

How do I file taxes late? 

Fill out your income tax return exactly as you would have in tax season. Enter your W-2, 1099, or other income and tax reporting forms into TaxSlayer. Also, have any personal information on hand. For a complete list of useful documents to have on hand, look at our checklist. The only thing that might be different from filing during tax season is the fees you will owe if you did not file for an extension in April. 

How do I file a State Return late? 

If you did not file a state tax return by the deadline in April, you can still file one late. There will most likely be some fees associated, but it is better to file than not file at all. Fill out the return on TaxSlayer exactly as you would during tax season. Some states have deadlines that are different from the federal one, so make sure you know when your state return is due.

How do I know if my return was accepted? 

Once you e-file your return, you should receive an email from the IRS within 48 hours that says whether your return was accepted or rejected. If your return was rejected, log back into your account, make any corrections, and resubmit it. If you file your late tax return by October 15th and it is rejected, you will have until October 20th to make any corrections. Read more here.

Do I need to file taxes if I am going to receive a refund? 

If you estimate your taxes and find that you are going to receive a refund, you are not required to file taxes. However, you must file your return within 3 years to receive any refund or earned income tax credit. 

If I didn’t file for an extension do I owe a penalty? 

Yes, if you did not file for an extension, you will owe a fee or penalty. It is usually 5% of the tax owed for each month, up to 25%. You will also owe interest on your late payments, at a rate of one-half percent (0.5%) per month, up to 25% of the unpaid tax balance. 

If I didn’t pay estimated taxes in April do I owe a penalty?

If you did file for an extension in April but did not estimate your taxes owed on Form 4868, then you will also owe a penalty. Read more here.

How can I pay my taxes and/or penalties? 

There are several payment options when filing your taxes. Pay via credit card, debit card, or have the funds directly withdrawn from your account. Most IRS offices will even accept cash. If you need a grace period, there is a penalty relief of six months for taxpayers with a certain income. Read more about the plans here.

Are there payment plans for late filers? 

Yes, there are three payment plans: one short-term and two long-term. The short-term plan is less than 120 days. There is no set-up fee, but charges may apply if you pay by card. Both of the long-term plans are for periods longer than 120 days. One plan is for direct debit and the other is for any other electronic payment, check, or money order. The direct debit plan has a $31 set-up fee, while the alternate plan has a $149 set-up fee. If you qualify for low income, your fee may be reduced to $43 for this plan.  

Should I pay the taxes and penalties in full? 

If you are filing your taxes late, try to pay them all or set up a payment plan as soon as possible. This will save you from penalties and interest that may result from continuing to put off payment. 

What happens if I don’t file my taxes? 

If you choose not to pay taxes by the deadline, the IRS will continue to fine you and charge you interest until the full amount is paid. In many cases, the IRS will calculate your amount due based on a substitute return. This return will be calculated based on information they receive from other sources and usually will not come out as favorable as your self-prepared return due to the lack of exemptions and deductions. Once the IRS establishes an amount due they can place a levy on your wages or bank account or a lien on your property. If things progress, they can send you to jail. 

Paying your taxes by the deadline in October will always be better than putting it off.

This article is up to date and accounts for tax law changes for tax year 2018 (tax returns filed in 2019). Learn more about tax reform enacted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act here

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