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What Happens If You Miss Your Tax Deadline?

May 18, 2018

There can be multiple reasons for an individual or business owner not filing their taxes on time, and the following information seeks to show what might happen if you miss the deadline, irrespective of why you may have done so. However, the penalties that can occur when individuals miss their tax deadline, vary depending upon whether the taxes haven’t been filed, or they’ve been filed but not paid on time.

Not filing your taxes

This will get you a failure-to-file penalty, the cost of which is calculated at 5% of your unpaid taxes for every month that your tax return is late, and can reach up to 25% Filing your taxes more than 60 days past the deadline will see you getting hit with a further fine of $135 at the minimum, or 100% of the taxes that you owe, depending upon which is lowest.

Filing your taxes but not paying them

The IRS will slap you with a failure-to-pay penalty, which is usually 0.5% of your unpaid taxes for every month in which you fail to pay, which can be up to 25%. Your unpaid taxes will also be subject to interest, the rate if which is equal to the federal short-term rate, plus 3%

To summarize, even if you are behind on your taxes only by a month or two, the penalties can quickly build up, particularly when you take fees and interest into account.

Missing your tax deadline may also see you missing out on a potential refund, too, and the IRS have stated that they have almost $1 billion in refunds that haven’t been claimed. Each refund is said to average around $700, which is a lot of money in most peoples’ eyes.

If you’re unable to pay your taxes for any reason, you should still be sure to file them, as the penalty incurred for failing to file at all, is up to 10 times more than what you would be fined if you don’t pay your taxes. There are options available for those who are struggling to pay their taxes, one of which is a payment plan devised by the IRS to help you manage and resolve your debt.

Continue to ignore your taxes, either by not filing or not paying them in a timely manner, and the IRS may:

  • Have the capacity to claim your property by filing a notice of a federal tax lien
  • Claim or seize your property
  • Force you to forfeit your refund
  • File charges against you for evading taxes
  • Revoke your passport

Whether you agree with having to pay your taxes or not, the reality is that you cannot escape paying them and if you do, then you certainly won’t escape the penalties, which can be costly and wholly unnecessary. For more detailed help and guidance on how and when you should file your taxes, seek professional help and ensure that you never miss a deadline, never incur a penalty, and always stay on the right side of state and federal laws. 

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