Taxes are no one’s favorite thing to do, but they are a requirement. Even if the federal government owes you money when you file your income tax return, you must still file. If you are owed a refund and you miss the tax filing deadline, you’ll have very little to worry about. If you owe money to the Internal Revenue Service, you’ll want to be sure you file your income taxes on or before the deadline. The filing deadline for personal income taxes is April 15 each year, but sometimes that date changes due to the fifteenth falling on a weekend or a federal holiday. Your return must be postmarked or submitted online on or before the end of the day on the due date, otherwise it’s considered late. You still have time this year but if you miss the deadline, there are four things you must do now to file your taxes late.
1. File Immediately
If you’re late, do not take on the opinion you can file and pay when you have some free time. Each day you are late paying your income taxes is one more day the Internal Revenue Service adds interest to the amount of money you owe. In addition to interest tacked onto the amount you owe the IRS, you’ll also pay additional penalties each day your return is late. File immediately, and do not wait until you have more time or until life calms down. Being late with a tax return is not like being late to something else. You will get there eventually, but there are costly consequences associated with filing your income tax return late.
2. Work Out a Payment Arrangement
If you owe, you’ll want to pay all that you owe at once. If you cannot afford to make the payment all at once, don’t forgo filing your return while you save up to make a large payment to the IRS. There is an online tool for those who owe money to the government that allows you to apply for a monthly installment payment program. Pay as much as you can immediately, and pay as much as you can each month. The IRS is good about working with taxpayers who cannot afford to make an entire payment all at once, and it’s something you should take advantage of when you have the ability.
3. File for a Refund
If you are owed money, you won’t incur penalties for filing late. Some people are owed so little they decide it’s not worth their time to file, but this is a mistake. “While the immediate consequences are not all that devastating, it’s a good idea to file immediately,” said Appletree Business Services LLC. If you are owed a larger refund in future years, you’ll find you won’t get that refund if you failed to file an income tax return this year. You might file late without penalties, but don’t let that stop you from filing at all.
4. Take Advantage of E-File
It’s free, and it’s easy. If you are filing late, this might be the easiest way to minimize the penalties you owe the IRS. Mailing your income tax return not only takes weeks longer for the IRS to receive, it also takes them weeks longer to process. Each day they have no record of your return being filed is one more day they add interest and penalty fees to your account.
Additionally, filing online allows you proof your return has reached the IRS and has been accepted by them. Mailing your income tax return requires paying additional for deliver confirmation and a signature, which means you might not know for a week or more if your return arrived safely at the IRS. That’s more penalties you’ll pay.
Filing an income tax return isn’t a fun or enjoyable process, but it’s one you must go through. Even if you are owed a small refund, you must file. It’s a federal requirement, and you must have your income tax returns filed each year. You never know when you might want to apply for a mortgage or refinance and the bank needs copy of your current income tax return. File now, even if you’re late. You shouldn’t put it off any longer.