What to do if you missed the tax filing deadline


File photo of US tax forms.


What happens if you missed the filing deadline

If you owe taxes, delay in producing on time may result in penalties and interest this could increase your tax bill by up to 25%. The Internal Revenue Service will send you a notice or letter if you owe a penalty.

“The failure to file penalty applies if you do not file your tax return by the due date,” according to the IRS. “The penalty you have to pay is a percentage of the taxes you didn’t pay on time.”

The penalty for not filing on time is 5% of unpaid taxes for each month late, plus interest. Late tax payment penalties will begin on tax day and accrue until taxes due are paid. So, if you missed the deadline, it is important to file your return as soon as possible to avoid steep penalties. You can attach a statement to your return requesting relief from penalties for reasonable cause such as death, illness, natural disaster or loss of documents, or if you usually file and pay on time.

If your return is more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is $435 or 100% of the tax to be reported on the return, whichever is less.

What if I can’t afford to pay my taxes on time?

If you can’t pay your taxes by the deadline, you could be hit with a Non-payment of penaltycalculated based on how long your overdue taxes remain unpaid.

“The default penalty applies if you don’t pay the tax you report on your tax return by the due date or the approved extended due date,” according to the IRS. “The penalty you have to pay is a percentage of the taxes you haven’t paid.”

The penalty for non-payment is 0.5% of unpaid taxes for each month the tax remains unpaid, capped at 25% of your unpaid taxes.

You may be eligible for a online payment plan which allows you to pay your taxes over time.

These payment plans include:

  • Long-Term Payment Plan (Installment Arrangement): You owe $50,000 or less in taxes, penalties, and interest combined, and have filed all required returns.
  • Short-term payment plan: you owe less than $100,000 in taxes, penalties and interest combined.

Is there a penalty for refunds?

There is no penalty for late filing a tax return if you expect a federal or state tax refund. But if you wait too long, you may lose your refund. Your return must be filed within three years of the deadline.

For 2021 returns, this would be April 18, 2025. After this date, you will no longer be able to claim your 2021 refund.

“After the expiration of the three-year period, the Refund Act prevents the issuance of a refund check and the application of any credit, including overpayments of estimated or withheld taxes , to other tax years that are underpaid,” according to the IRS.

After filing, check the status of your refund online.

How to Request a Natural Disaster Extension

If you are in a FEMA disaster area, you can request an extension to file your federal taxes after the deadline. Print and post Form 4868, Request for Automatic Extension of the Filing Deadline for U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns. Find out where to submit your form here.

The extension will give you until October 17 to file your return. Be sure to pay the tax you owe in time to avoid penalties and interest. If you can’t, subscribe to a payment plan online so you can pay over time.

How to Contact the IRS for Help

IRS customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at 800-829-1040.

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Dalia Faheid is a reporter in Star-Telegram’s service journalism team. She is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.