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

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

The information in this article is up to date through tax year 2019 (taxes filed in 2020). 

It is important to file by the tax filing deadline to avoid fines and possible penalties. But in case you forget or simply can’t submit your return on time, 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, holiday, or the IRS makes an exception.  You can file an extension and get six extra months to submit your return. In that case, 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.

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

It’s important to note that if you are expecting a tax refund, you won’t be penalized for filing your taxes late. You simply won’t receive the money you deserve until you file.

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 payment 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.  

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