I Missed The April 15 Deadline – Now What?

I Missed The April 15 Deadline – Now What?


Another April has come and gone, and you are going about life as normal when you suddenly realize: I missed the April 15 tax deadline! This can feel like an overwhelming and stressful problem, especially when you know that the IRS has a reputation for being an extremely aggressive collector. However, things happen, and the IRS understands that — to an extent. We’ve put together this quick guide as a reminder of what to do if you file your taxes late.

What Happens If You File Taxes Late

First of all, it’s good to know what happens if you file taxes late. The late filing penalty is significant: 5% for each month that the return is late, capped at 25%. With that in mind, it’s obviously in your best interest to get this taken care of as soon as possible. If you’re not sure where to start or haven’t filed a return for a while, it may be best to consult with a tax attorney to discuss your rights and options.

What To Do If You  Missed The Filing Deadline

If you miss the cutoff date for filing (usually April 15, though it was April 18 in 2017), you still have options.

  • If you are due a refund, be aware that you will probably be able to avoid a penalty. The penalty is calculated based on tax owed.
  • If you do owe tax, you’ll need to take care of this as quickly as possible, because you could be accruing a late-payment penalty on top of your late-filing penalty. However, if the failure-to- file penalty and the failure-to- pay penalty both apply in any month, the maximum amount charged for those two penalties that month is 5 percent, the failure to pay penalty can continue to accrue after the failure to file penalty has capped at 25% of the tax owed.
  • Consider negotiating or reducing your amount owed with the help of a CPA or tax attorney. This can take the form of an “Offer in Compromise”, as well as the possibility of payment plans and penalty abatements. Penalties accrue at a lower rate when a client is on a valid installment agreement.
  • Occasionally, the IRS will grant time extensions for making payment. The most important thing is to stay in touch with them, whether that is personally or by proxy with the help of a tax attorney or your CPA.


If you missed the April filing deadline and don’t know what to do, consider enlisting the help of a tax attorney to settle your tax issues so that you can take a “hands off” approach and feel confident that your tax problems are being resolved.

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