This Is What Happens If You File Taxes Late

what happens if you file taxes late

What are taxes? A tax is a mandatory contribution made to a government entity, such as a province, state, or country, by an individual or business. Tax revenues are used to finance public works and services such as schools, roads, or other government activities, including health care and social security programs.

In economics, a tax is levied on the person who bears the tax, whether it is a taxable entity, such as a business or an end consumer of a business’ goods. From an accounting perspective, you need to consider a variety of taxes, including state and federal taxes, payroll taxes, and sales taxes.

Now that we have defined taxes let’s dig deeper into it and the requirement of filing your taxes each year.

What Day Is The Last Day You Can File Your Taxes?

If your tax year ends on December 31st, the tax deadline for filing tax returns is usually April 15th every year. If the envelopes are appropriately sent, your declaration will be deemed to have been submitted on time. This is because it was entirely frank, postmarked, and deposited at the post office on time.

For electronic submissions, the date and time of the return submission in the time zone determine the timeliness of the return. Later, you will receive an electronic confirmation that the IRS has accepted the electronically submitted returns.

This period is commonly referred to as tax season.

Understanding The Tax Season

what happens if you file your taxes late

The tax payment season is when all income taxes must be submitted by the deadline. The deadline is usually April 15th each year, as stated earlier. However, if this day falls on a weekend or public holiday, it will be postponed to the next business day. For example, April 15, 2018, was a Sunday, and Monday, April 16, 2018, was a holiday – it was the day of liberation.

Therefore, taxpayers were required to file their 2017 tax returns and pay the applicable taxes by Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Late payments are levied on tax returns submitted after this date. During the tax season, companies and organizations are required to provide contract workers, employees, and others with tax documents.

Filing Your Taxes Late

Filing your tax return late can be a costly task. Delayed submission may result in negligence penalties and a late payment penalty. Many taxpayers file their tax returns on time, but there is no need to postpone them until the very end. In fact, early tax returns make sense for many reasons.

First, there is a reason to start preparing as soon as possible without submitting it early. Starting the filing process early will give you the time to collect the evidence needed to claim all deductions. Avoid the headache of highlighting numbers and receipts late at night.

Your tax preparer has a more flexible schedule and may be able to start working immediately with your account. In addition, early submission can shorten potential personal information thieves.

What Happens If You File Taxes A Day Late?

what happens if you file your taxes a day late with a calendar

It is important to remember that paying your tax returns late has consequences. Each month you are late for tax payment, you will have to pay an additional 5% penalty on the total amount you owe. It is also important to note that one month does not mean 30 days for the IRS.

The Penalty For Filing A Tax Return Late

If you submit your return one day late, you will be fined a late payment penalty. In addition, you also pay interest, which only increases your fees. Also, submitting more than 60 days late makes things a little more complicated. This is another reason to submit a return as soon as possible.

If you are unable to pay the total amount you owe at the time of filing, you must pay as much as you can and check your tax payments plan with the IRS rather than paying nothing.

The Maximum Penalty For Filing Taxes Late

An unfilled penalty, also known as an undeclared penalty or a late filing penalty, is usually 5% of the tax payable monthly or part of a late return month. According to the IRS, the maximum penalty is 25% if the income return is delayed by more than two months.

However, you may not be penalized if you have a sufficient explanation for the delay in submission. Returns can include a statement explaining why the submission was delayed.

Additional Penalties

Tax liabilities include things like a delinquency penalty. This penalty is not the same as the delayed penalty. Delayed submission penalties affect those who fail to submit tax forms and other important tax documents on time. Overdue penalties affect those who are late in paying taxes.

Unpaid/delinquency taxes are paid at 0.5% of the monthly unpaid taxes plus interest.

Can You Go To Jail For Not Paying Taxes?

Another common fear among taxpayers is serving jail time for not paying their taxes. For some, it may have been entirely harmless. For example, you forgot to pay the tax for a year. One year then become several years. Or maybe you don’t have the money to pay your debt, and now you are worried about going to jail for not paying taxes.

Well, according to the IRS, you will not go to jail for merely not submitting your taxes. But if you lie on your tax return form, you will definitely go to jail.

The Minimum Penalty

When you file your tax returns two months after your tax deadline, the minimum penalty is 100% of your unpaid tax or $210, whichever amount is lower. The non-payment penalty is 0.5% of the balance of each month or part of the month for which tax is not paid.

Should You File For An Extension?

If, unfortunately, you missed the deadline, did you know that you can apply to the IRS for an extension of your tax return? These extensions aren’t just those waiting at the last minute to submit their files. There are various reasons why submitting a tax extension could be beneficial to those who need it. Acquiring an extension is easy and free.

However, some taxpayers who have requested a “compromise” on their previous filing deadline must submit it during the five-year trial period by the April deadline. If not submitted by the April deadline, the IRS may withdraw the offer and reinstate the original unpaid amount.

How To File For An Extension

how to budget when you're behind

You can successfully apply for a tax extension correctly by filling out the IRS Tax Form 7004 (for business tax returns) or IRS Tax Form 4868 (for individual tax returns). You can sign up for any reason whatsoever, and the organization can automatically compromise with you.

Sending an application for an extension of your tax return can be beneficial. Here’s why you need to apply for a tax renewal:

  • It gives you more time to fill out your taxes perfectly: When a new year begins, the tax season begins, and everyone can feel like they are filing their taxes on time. Applying for an extension not only relieves the stress of submitting on time but also gives you time to organize your paperwork. You also have the option of working with an accountant when they can focus more on you and your needs, rather than trying to handle hundreds of clients and all taxes on time. This is an excellent option for self-employed people.
  • It saves you a lot of money: Most tax preparers maintain a higher tax rate during the tax season and raise it further during the deadline week. They tend to lower prices significantly in late spring and summer. By filing a tax return with your accountant at this point, you will pay much less. Tax extensions give you additional time to make various choices on your tax return and receive a tax refund when you submit it after the extended deadline.
  • Helps you avoid the hectic tax season: The more time you submit, the more accurate your returns will be. Both accountants and taxpayers are very busy during the tax season and can make mistakes. Many accountants may be overwhelmed during the tax season and miss significant deductions that can save you money. Applying for an extension will help you avoid an insane rush and take the time to ensure that your taxes are filed correctly.

Extra Filing Time Doesn’t Mean Extra Paying Time

Renewal will give you an additional deadline for submission, but even if you are obliged to pay taxes, it will expire by the original deadline. Extensions reduce penalties and help you find more deductions, but delinquency penalties (0.5% per month) and interest (currently 3% per annum) will be charged to the unpaid amount.

How Long Is The Extension Good For?

As soon as you apply for an extension, you will be automatically extended (automatic extension) for another six months from your original registration deadline. This means that the tax will be due on October 15th.

What If You Don’t Ask For An Extension?

finding out what happens if I don't ask for a tax extension

If you have not applied for an extension of time and are expected to pay the IRS, the IRS will collect unsubmitted and fine non-payment fees after the tax deadline. If you do not submit a penalty or default penalty, it will be 5% per month (or part of the month). The upper limit is 25%.

The situation gets worse 60 days after the tax date. The IRS claims it did not impose a fine of at least $135. For example, if you don’t submit an extension and borrow only $1 from the IRS, you will be fined $135 if you exceed the 60-day period.

What To Do If You Are Getting A Refund

Tax refunds are a cause for celebration. However, in practice, it often means that you have made the mistake of paying more income tax returns than you need. The state or federal government will refund any surplus paid.

Avoid overpayments by correctly filling out employee tax forms and estimating or updating your deductions more accurately. There are many reasons why taxpayers get a refund, and in other cases, they owe the state. 

If you work for an employer, you have to fill out a W4 form when applying for a job. On this form, you indicate the amount of tax to be withheld from each paycheck. Taxpayers will receive a refund when too much is withheld at the end of the year.

If you are self-employed, you will receive a tax refund if your estimated tax amount is overpaid. You might think of this extra income as free money, but in reality, it looks like a loan that pays no interest to the IRS. Conversely, if you underestimate your taxes, you will be in debt to the government.

Finance experts recommend using tax refunds to pay off credit card debts and balances.

What If You Have A Balance Due

The unpaid balance is a tax obligation to be paid to the government. The first is to file a tax return that shows your liability to the outstanding balance. For example, if taxpayers file their tax returns and they owe up to $10,000 – this creates a balance within the system.

Here are some payment options in which you can pay these balances:

  • Installment payment plan: You may be able to make monthly payment plans, but you must first submit the required tax return.
  • Electronic cash withdrawal: Please pay via your financial institution when submitting a return.
  • Debit or credit card: You can pay your taxes on mobile devices, online, using debit or credit cards.
  • Direct payment: Pay directly from your bank account or savings account for free.

In The End, What Happens If I Don’t Pay My Taxes?

As we have seen in this article, failure to file your tax return by the due date may result in additional fines, interest from the due date, among other disasters. Non-payment may also be punishable by law. The IRS is aware of some violations related to the evasion of assessments and payment of taxes.

A deliberate attempt to evade tax under Section 7201 of the Internal Revenue Code could lead to one paying a fine of $250,000 or being sent to jail for some time, not exceeding five years. For most tax evasion violations, the government has a deadline to file a criminal complaint against you.

If the IRS wishes to prosecute tax evasion or related charges, it usually must be prosecuted within six years of the due date of the unpaid tax return.


Interest and fines for not paying taxes can be considerable. If you are likely to be owing money, we recommend that you consult an experienced tax accountant before filing your late tax return.

Lawyers can negotiate with the IRS or the state tax authorities to develop a reasonably compliant payment plan. It may also be possible to reduce the fines and fees imposed on you. However, as a responsible citizen of the United States, you should pay taxes in accordance with the laws of our great country.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you file your taxes late and are due a refund?

There is no penalty for filing late if you are eligible for a refund. However, you will not be able to receive a refund unless you file a tax return. If it takes too long to submit, you risk losing your refund altogether.

Can you still file taxes after the deadline?

As a taxpayer, you should know that the deadline for filing to the IRS is April. You still have to file your taxes if you miss the deadline, but the late filing of interest and penalties can cost you more.

Can I file taxes two years later?

Filing can be done at any time. The IRS will not deny your reimbursement. However, if you claim a refund for the tax year, you have only three years to file, the IRS can act against you after six years.

What happens if you file taxes three years later?

After three years, you may file your tax returns, but you cannot claim your tax refunds for that year. However, if you have to pay taxes, you must file your tax return as soon as possible and repay your taxes and fines (monthly late filing penalty for not filing your tax return).

Do you lose your tax refund if you file late?

There are no penalties for not filing your tax return when the refund deadline is reached. However, if you take too long to submit, you may lose your refund. Taxes must be submitted within three years of the due date to be eligible for a refund.

Would a diagnosis of a mental illness be a reasonable explanation for filing late?

The IRS will investigate all legitimate reasons for filing a tax return, paying a down payment, or failing to pay taxes by the due date. These reasons include fires, accidents, natural disasters, inability to keep records, serious illness, i.e., mental illnesses, among many others.