What Happens If I Don’t File My Taxes on Time?

What happens if I don't file my taxes on time?

There are two tax deadlines each year: Tax Day and late filing day. But what happens if you miss both deadlines? Will you be fined? How will you get your refund? It is important to file as soon as possible, but in case you forget, here are a few tips. 

When do taxes have to be filed? 

Tax Day is on April 15th every year, unless that day falls on a weekend. In that case, the due date is moved to the following Monday.  If you file an extension, your taxes are due October 15th. If October 15th is on a weekend, the due date is Monday immediately following the weekend.  

What happens if I miss the tax deadline? 

If you miss the tax deadline, the IRS will continue to add penalty fees and charge interest on your taxes until you pay the amount. The good news is that they will accept a return three years after it was due. So even if you miss the deadline by a week or a month, you can still file. Learn more about getting an extension and filing your tax return late here 

How do I get a refund if I miss the tax deadline?  

As long as you file your tax return within three years of when it was due, the IRS will give you your refund. They will usually mail a check to you unless you choose direct deposit.  

What if I file on time but can’t pay on time? 

One option is to sign up for a payment plan. That way, the tax is not due all at once, but you won’t keep incurring fines.  There are several payments plans, including Individual and Business. Your unique tax situation will determine if you are eligible for a plan or not. For each type of plan, you can choose full payment, short-term, or long-term. If you are a sole proprietor or a contractor, you need to apply as an individual, not a business. Read more about payment plans here.

If you don’t choose a payment plan, the IRS will continue to add interest to your return until it can be paid.  

How do I make sure I meet the deadline? 

There are several ways to remind yourself of the deadline.  

  • File your taxes as soon as you get your forms in the mail, so you don’t forget. 
  • Set a recurring reminder on your calendar or your phone. 
  • Follow TaxSlayer on social media to see reminders in your feed. 
  • Get a friend to keep you accountable.  

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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