You’ve Missed the Filing Deadline. What now?

Tax Tips

We all have those times where we realized we didn’t do something we were supposed to do.  Fortunately, missing the filing deadline isn’t as bad as forgetting to pick up your girlfriend at the airport.  The IRS is much more forgiving.  And unlike forgetting to pay the electric bill, it won’t get anything turned off until you pay.

First question many people ask: “Should I file an Extension?”

No.  By now they’ve already figured out you’re late.  Just go ahead and file your return.

Second question is: “Will there be any penalties?”

Depends.  If you already paid all the money you owe by the 15th or are due a refund, no.  If you still owe money, yes.

Now, let me expand a bit on that last answer.

If you want your refund, you need to file before 3 years after the deadline if you want to get your money.  Later than that and the IRS gets to keep it.  An added incentive this year is that if you qualify for the stimulus rebate, you can’t get that until you file your return.  It’s a long process to get that money, so the sooner you file, the sooner you’ll get it.  Choose direct deposit for fastest results.

If you owe money, every day delayed can mean more money you need to pay.  A previous entry written by Lee mentions that it can increase what you owe by as much as 25%. Ouch.  If you’ve been postponing because you can’t pay, don’t.  The IRS has an installment agreement to help you pay off your debt.  You can bet a lot of people will be doing that this year.

Many years there are exceptions to the IRS filing deadline.  Natural disasters are usually the cause.  This year, if you lived in Mississippi and were affected by the storm and flood damage, your deadline has been extended to July 7th.

For the latest on disaster deadlines, check out the IRS Newsroom.

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