What to do if you missed the tax deadline

What to do if you missed the tax deadline

October 19, 2021

The October 15, 2021 Federal Income tax deadline to file your 2020 personal tax return has come and gone. Did you miss it? Depending on your situation that could be cause for an “oops” or it could mean you need to take action ASAP to avoid owing any more to the IRS.

If you missed the tax deadline but are due a refund there is no penalty. The government is happy to hold on to your money, interest-free, for a bit longer. In fact, you have up to three years from the filing deadline to complete a return and get that refund.

Don’t delay too long though. This is especially true if you get a Premium Tax Credit to help pay for insurance. Failure to file a tax return could jeopardize that credit, so it’s better to act soon. You can still make an appointment at an H&R Block office or start online.

If owe taxes and missed the deadline, there’s good news and bad news.

Bad news

You can’t file an extension at this point.

More bad news

You will be charged failure-to-file and failure-to-pay penalties for missing the deadline.

By definition the IRSA says a failure to file penalty is charged on returns filed after the due date or extended due date, absent a reasonable cause for filing late.

  • The combined penalty is 5% (4.5% late filing and 0.5% late payment) for each month or part of a month that your return was late, up to 25%.
  • The late filing penalty applies to the tax that remains unpaid after the due date. Unpaid tax is the total tax shown on your return reduced by amounts paid through withholding, estimated tax payments, and allowed refundable credits.
  • If after five months you still haven’t paid, the failure to file penalty will max out, but the failure to pay penalty continues until the tax is paid, up to 25%.
  • The maximum total penalty for failure to file and pay is 47.5% (22.5% late filing and 25% late payment) of the tax.
  • However, if your return was over 60 days late, the minimum failure to file penalty is the smaller of $205 or 100% of the tax required to be shown on the return.

Remember, the penalty for failing to file your tax return is 10 times as much as the penalty for failing to pay

There is some good news

You can still file. Ok, that might not seem like great news. But, think about this, the sooner you file, the less you’ll pay in penalties.

Generally, the IRS charges penalties on a monthly basis, but they can be prorated for a portion of a month. So it’s a good idea to file as soon as possible to limit the charges you may incur. After 60 days pass, you will incur an established minimum penalty that is the lesser of $205 or 100% of the unpaid tax you owe.

So there is a simple solution: Get that tax return filed and make it a priority now.

To learn more about how to file back tax returns and how to reduce penalties and interest if you qualify, contact Louis Mamo & Company today and get help from a trusted IRS expert firm that has been helping clients for almost 40 years.