You missed the April 18th tax filing deadline this year. Work got in the way, or there was a family crisis, or you were worried because you knew you didn’t have the money to pay the taxes you owed. You never got around to filing the request for a tax filing extension either—and since it’s past the deadline, you don’t have that option any more.
So how should you proceed?
If you’re due a refund, don’t worry. Although you will have to file a return to get that refund, the IRS doesn’t penalize you in any way for sending in your tax forms late. (After all, they’re in no real hurry to give back your money, just to get it.) But don’t wait forever to file your 2016 return; the IRS says you could forfeit your rights to a refund if you don’t file within three years.
However, if you’ve made a mistake in calculating your taxes and actually owe the government money, you’ll be subject to late filing fees and to late payment penalties as well. So it’s probably best to file as soon as possible just to be on the safe side.
If you owe taxes, the news isn’t as good. You’ve already incurred late filing and late payment penalties, and the longer you procrastinate in filing your tax forms the more money you’ll owe.
- The late filing penalty is normally 5 percent of the taxes you owe—and that’s 5 percent each month! If you file more than 60 days late, there’s a minimum penalty of $135 or 100 percent of your unpaid taxes (whichever is smaller).
So if you owe $100 to the IRS, and don’t file by June 17th, you’ll end up owing them $200–$100 in taxes, and $100 in penalties.
- The late payment penalty is 0.5 percent each month. But if you have to pay both the late filing penalty and the late payment penalty, the maximum you’ll owe is 5 percent per month.
- You’ll also owe interest on the unpaid taxes; that rate varies, but is set at the short-term interest rate plus 3 percent.
What to do now:
- File your return as quickly as possible to avoid paying late filing fees and late payment penalties if you owe money, or to get your refund if you’re owed one. If you don’t have all the necessary information now, do the best you can. You can always file an amended return later.
- If you owe $50,000 or less to the IRS, and can’t pay all you owe, you can try to work out an installment plan. But you will have to pay a fee for this service. This IRS webpage explains your options: https://www.irs.gov/payments.
If you need assistance with your IRS Tax Deadline or any additional IRS deadlines, please call at 720-398-6088.