How Long Do You Have to Pay Taxes (1440 x 600 px)
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How Long Do You Have to Pay Taxes?

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As a taxpayer, you have to file and pay your taxes by the IRS deadline — but tax deadlines vary based on the type of taxes you’re paying.

There are different deadlines for personal income tax, estimated tax, estates and trusts, and farmers and fishermen.

So, how long do you have to pay your taxes? Let’s go over the details to make sure you’re filing and paying your taxes on time.

When are taxes due?

Are you filing your taxes for the first time or filing under different circumstances and wondering when your tax return is due? Tax due dates can vary based on your employment status, how much you earn, and the type of income you earn.

The deadline for filing your personal income tax return is April 15. You can request an extension to file your tax return, but your total tax due will still need to be paid by April 15.

Your tax due date can vary based on your employment status and what you do for a living.

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For self-employed filers

Self-employed filers usually have to pay estimated taxes, which are quarterly taxes you pay when you don’t have an employer withholding taxes.

If you’re self-employed, there are four quarterly deadlines you need to remember for tax year 2024:

  • 1st quarter: April 15
  • 2nd quarter: June 17
  • 3rd quarter: September 16
  • 4th quarter: January 15, 2025

You can use Form 1040-ES to calculate your estimated quarterly taxes. You can make payments when it’s convenient for you as long as you pay the total estimated taxes you owe by each quarterly deadline.

Farmers and fishermen

Tax due dates and regulations are slightly different for farmers and fishermen. If at least two-thirds of your income is from farming or fishing, there are two ways you can pay your taxes:

  • You can pay all of your estimated taxes by January 15, or
  • You can file your tax return and pay your taxes by March 1

If you file and pay your taxes by the March 15 deadline, fill out Form 2210-F to figure out if you paid the estimated taxes you owed. If you didn’t pay the amount you owed, you can attach Form 2210-F to your tax return when you file.

For estates and trusts

Tax due dates for estates and trusts are circumstantial.

If you’re filing a tax return for an estate or trust and using the standard calendar year, your deadline to file is April 15. When you file using your fiscal year, your deadline is the 15th day of the 4th month after the taxable year ended.

If you’re filing a tax return for a bankruptcy estate with the standard calendar year, you have the same April 15 deadline. If you file using your fiscal year, you have a fiscal year period to file after receiving income, but the period cannot exceed 12 months.

International filers

Your deadline is later if you file a tax return while living or traveling outside the U.S. If you’re outside of the U.S. on April 15, you have until June 17 to file and pay your taxes.

You can still request an extension as an international filer. If you need more time to file, the IRS will grant you an automatic extension to December 16 to file your tax return, but you will need to send the IRS a letter requesting this extension.

Even if you’re requesting an extension to file, you should pay your taxes by the June due date in order to avoid paying tax penalties for not paying on time.

How long do you have to pay taxes after the due date?

The official deadline to file and pay your taxes is April 15. The good news is that the IRS is more than happy to work with you if you need an extension to file your tax return.

You can file an extension with TurboTax or by completing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You can also use the IRS Free File to request an automatic extension.

When you request an extension, you have until October 15 to file your tax return. Keep in mind that you still have to pay your taxes by the April 15 due date — this is just an extension to file the return.

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How to request a payment plan

If the amount of tax due is substantial and you just don’t have the money available to pay what you owe in full, you may want to look into setting up a payment plan with the IRS.

To set up a payment plan with the IRS, file Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. You’ll need to let the IRS know how much you’re able to pay each month and provide your routing and account numbers if you want to make your payments by direct debit.

You can also choose to make payments by payroll deduction if you can’t afford to make monthly payments. On Form 9465, check the box on line 14, then complete and attach Form 2159 when you apply for an installment agreement.

If you owe $50,000 or less in taxes, you may be able to set up a payment plan online instead of filing Form 9465. Use the Online Payment Agreement application to save time and pay a reduced user fee.

Payment options

If for whatever reason you don’t set up an installment plan, you can always use funds from alternative sources to pay your tax bill in full. For example, using some emergency savings is an option if you have that available to you. 

What you typically don’t want to do is tap into sources of money that will penalize you or charge you interest. An example would be paying with a credit card. Unless you have a zero percent interest rate or very low interest rate card, the interest charged on a credit card may outweigh the penalties assessed by the IRS. 

Another thing people mistakenly do is tap into retirement accounts to pay Uncle Sam. Use caution if you think you need to take this route. Most retirement accounts will penalize you for early withdrawals, and you may owe even more taxes on that amount next year when you file your taxes.

What happens if you don’t pay taxes?

Each year, your taxes are due by the April 15 filing deadline. If you don’t pay your taxes on time, you may have to pay back taxes plus any penalties the IRS charges you with.

The penalties you owe are a percentage of your unpaid taxes. The failure-to-pay penalty is 0.5% of your unpaid taxes each month — with a maximum penalty of 25%.

What if you also owe taxes for a prior year?  How long do you have to pay those back taxes? The length of time will depend on the arrangement you’ve made with the IRS, but the longer you take to pay back your tax debt, the more it will cost. The IRS charges interest on back taxes equal to the federal short-term rate plus 3%. Interest compounds daily, so your tax bill increases the longer it goes unpaid.

Penalties and interest are typically the worst consequences of unpaid taxes. The IRS can garnish wages and seize property, but these actions are usually rare. As long as you’re compliant and try to pay your unpaid taxes, the IRS will usually help you find a solution.

If you have unpaid taxes, the best thing you can do is start making payments. Paying off back taxes eliminates stress and helps you minimize penalties and interest.

29 responses to “How Long Do You Have to Pay Taxes?”

  1. hi, I did my taxes on turbotax and received a small refund. But, it is also says I owed a penalty for cashing out my 401k. But, I haven’t received a notice and it didn’t tell me how I can pay it. It was also just a pop up type of notice instead of anything that said I owed money. How can I check if I really owe this money and then how do I pay it if I never received a notice?

    • Hi Angela,
      There typically is a penalty for cashing out your 401K before you turn 59-1/2. The penalty is 10% additional tax unless you qualify for a hardship. The penalty is calculated with your other tax liability. You would see it on page 2 of your 1040 form under Other Taxes line 59.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  2. i filed my retun and I also owe money. I didnt know Turbo tax was going to pay my money directly as i dont see anything on the tax return and they gave me vouchers attached to the return so i thought i set up a payment plan and money wont be deducted. I went into the IRS epay and paid my money in full as I had the funds available. Now my account shows that the withdrawal of that same amount twice. What is going on? No where on the turbo tax website under my account do i see that there was a payment processed and status doesnt show anything either. I dont know if IRS does a hold of the same amount. I need to resolve this asap because I paid the amount twice is what it seems like on my account and I need to resolve this ASAP. Its a big amount and I cant get ahold of anyone. Please assist.

  3. i owe 206$ federal this year mostly because of the health care penalty.

    if i were to just not pay how much would it be by next return? and estimate would be nice.

  4. Last year when I filed with TurboTax, I received some money back from Federal and broke even on the State tax. Now a year later, I receive a letter from the State saying I owe them over $500. Now I don’t know what to do. How can we (TurboTax) and I be off by that much? The deadline is fast approaching, yet I don’t know how to file, what to do about that money the state says I owe…. HELP>>>>


  6. Filed with turbotax this year and owed the state. I believe I set up payment thru turbo tax, but can’t remember. (Lot of family strife at the same time) how do I find out if it’s been set up?

  7. The IRS sent a letter in December 2014 saying I owed money for gambling not reported in 2013 and for taking a credit for my sons college which turbo tax said I indeed can take. I sent ammended return which showed win loss statement for gambling and an itemized schedule, which showed they owed me money. The IRS sent me a letter in response to my ammended return saying they will contact me again once resolved , I need not do anything for now. I did THIS years tax return and its says received and approved return with full amount of refund for this year and a date they will deposit refund.How can that be when they say I owe money from last year?

    • Hi Jojo,
      They may have agreed with your amended tax return or they initially approved your 2014 tax refund and did not match up your previous amount they said you owe. If you did send in your amended return I would follow up with them regarding the status.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  8. I efilled and it was accepted on Jan 29th. I owed for fed & state tax and wanted it withdrawn out of my Checking account immediately but it hasn’t. Its showing it will be direct debit on 04/15/2015. HOW DO I CHANGE WITHDRAW DATE FOR MONEY I OWE. I want to pay it now. Thanks

  9. I owe the state money and set up to have the money come out on April 15. I won’t have the money in my account until the 18th. Is there someone I can call to push the date out to the 18th?

  10. I e-filed my federal return and it was accepted. I owed and amount and printed the 1040-v form,but do I need to enclose a copy of my return and w-2′ 1099’s? I thought it said somewhere not to send them because I e-filed?

    • Hi Diane,
      No you don’t need to enclose a copy of your tax return if you e-filed. Make sure you include your social security number and tax year payment is for.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  11. What if I did my turbo tax and it said I owe money for state. I set it up to come out on the 1st of the month but it has not came out yet. What do I need to do.

  12. why does it say we owe taxes we’ve done everything the same as last year. cause nothing has changed, and how do they figure we owe that much, and how can we speak to someone about it. it’s just not making since why we owe foe?

  13. IRS says I still owe money! I used turbo tax. What went wrong? How can I speak to a person? I can’t find a phone number to call!!!

  14. I have always received a refund via Turbo-Tax, but this year I owe the IRS. Can I complete the transaction electronically through Turbo-Tax (essentially the reverse of a refund)? Or do I have to print it out and send in a check?

    • Hi Eric,
      You can file electronically whether you owe or receive a refund. TurboTax will guide you on how to send what you owe.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  15. This may help Evelyn as well as others. I find that I owe more than expected so here is a tip for others. If you do have a well-established credit card they periodically send you interest free “checks” you can deposit into your bank account and write a check for your taxes once the credit card “Check” clears your bank. Around this time of year checks are around 0% for 12 mos or 1.99% for about 18 mos. BUT there is a 4-5% transaction fee for the entire amount borrowed. It takes awhile for these checks to clear so if you need it faster call your credit card company to get them to electronically deposit them into your checking account. Same rules apply or so. A bank “interest only” loan against one’s home gives time to pay off the principal and the interest is tax deductable. I’m in no way a tax advisor so get professional advice before you try any suggestion. All I really know for sure is I HAVE TO PAY UNCLE SAM INSTEAD OF VACATIONING this year!!!!

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