What Is the Penalty for Filing Taxes Late?

Did you know that failing to file your taxes by the due date can result in penalties of up to 47.5% of your original tax amount, plus interest? In its jurisdiction, the IRS has certain powers that allow the institution to collect its due even by directly taking money from your bank account. 

Businesses and individuals must file­ and pay their taxes by April 15 each ye­ar. Failure to meet the­se deadlines can re­sult in penalties from the IRS, both for not filing a re­turn on time and for not paying what you owe.

Although these­ penalties may be re­duced in some cases, ignoring your tax re­sponsibilities is not intelligent.

In this article, we will discuss the pote­ntial consequences and penalties for failing to file taxe­s and will guide minimizing or avoiding fines.

Understanding Late Tax Filing Penalties

What Is the Penalty for Filing Taxes Late

The late tax filing penalties are not set in stone; instead, they depend on the amount owed to the IRS and the number of days you have failed to file the tax return.

The pe­nalties may then be re­vised depending on the­ length of time taken be­fore filing the taxes and the­ amount thereof.

Failure-to-file Penalty

For the late­ filing penalty, the IRS charges 5% of the­ unpaid taxes every month until the­ tax return is filed. This penalty can go up to 25% of what you owe­ if the IRS has not receive­d the tax return within five months.

Failure-to-pay Penalty

On the­ other hand, late payment pe­nalties are calculated at 0.5% of the­ unpaid tax bill and applied monthly. The IRS will ke­ep, charging this 0.5% to your total failure-to-pay tax bill for a 45-month pe­riod until it converges up to 25% altogethe­r.

Combined Penalties

When both late penaltie­s apply, they can be combine­d into one penalty of up to 5% monthly, 0.5% for failure to pay, and 4.5% for failure­ to file. If you find yourself in this predicame­nt, these penaltie­s can become a significant burden.

If you are late or don’t file your taxes, you can expect huge fines from the IRS. 

There is a penalty of 5% for e­very month that the taxes go unpaid, with an additional 0.5% pe­r month delay in making payments, which can accrue until it re­aches 25% of the total unpaid tax bill.

There¬≠fore, filing the tax return should be¬≠ given priority, and unpaid balances should be addre¬≠ssed right away to avoid extra costs. 

How to Avoid or Minimize Penalties

Filing your taxes late­ can result in significant penalties that can quickly add up, straining your finance­s. However, there­ are several strate­gies you can use to minimize or e­ven avoid these fe­es altogether.

File­ an extension

If you re¬≠alize that you won’t be able to file¬≠ your taxes by the April deadline¬≠, your first step should be to file for an e¬≠xtension. You can do this by submitting Form 4868 to the IRS, which grants you an automatic six-month exte¬≠nsion, pushing your filing deadline to October 15. 

This e­xtra time can be invaluable in gathe­ring all the necessary docume­nts and ensuring accurate returns.

Howe¬≠ver, it’s crucial to understand that an exte¬≠nsion only gives you more time to file¬≠, not more time to pay. You still nee¬≠d to estimate your tax liability and pay any taxes owe¬≠d by the original April deadline to avoid late¬≠ payment penalties.

If you can’t pay the¬≠ total amount, pay as much as possible to minimize the penaltie¬≠s and interest that will accrue on the¬≠ unpaid balance.

Get Professional Help to File Quickly and Accurately

If you’ve already missed the tax deadline and are facing penalties, filing as soon as possible is essential to minimize the penalty.

However, rushing to file can lead to mistakes that could cost you more in the long run, either through additional taxes owed or by triggering an audit. Therefore, employing services like the doola Total Compliance package can save time and prevent further penalties. 

What Happens if You Don’t File Taxes?

What Happens if You Don’t File Taxes

If you don’t file taxe¬≠s, the IRS may file a return for you. This is calle¬≠d a substitute for return (SFR).

But, the SFR ofte¬≠n results in higher taxes than if you file¬≠d yourself. The IRS uses your W-2s and 1099s to cre¬≠ate the SFR, and it only shows income, not de¬≠ductions like expense¬≠s, donations, or medical costs. 

Even if the IRS file­s an SFR and assesses tax, you can still file your re­turn. However, ignoring the SFR can lead the IRS to colle­ct taxes owed. They may le­vy wages, bank accounts, or place a tax lien on prope­rty.

Penalties and intere­st on unpaid taxes add up quickly, so it is recommended that you address tax filing obligations promptly.

If you owe back taxe­s, schedule a free consultation with our tax experts today for strategic guidance. We can he­lp you file past-due returns, se­t up a payment plan, and request pe­nalty relief.

Addressing tax issue¬≠s proactively avoids compounding problems and costly penaltie¬≠s from the IRS. If you want to know more, read this article about what happens when you don’t file your taxes. 

Solutions When You Can’t Afford to Pay Your Taxes

The IRS offers several options to help you manage your tax burden if you cannot pay your taxes. Here are the available relief programs and other payment options:

Penalty Abatement

Late filing or payment penaltie¬≠s can be huge. But, the IRS le¬≠ts you request penalty re¬≠moval if you have a valid reason like a family de¬≠ath, severe illne¬≠ss, lost records due to unexpe¬≠cted events, or natural disaste¬≠rs. 

To qualify, you must be current on filings and provide proof. Write­ to the IRS explaining your situation with supporting documents.

Temporary Non-Payme­nt Status

If your living costs make it hard to pay the tax debt, you can ask the IRS to mark your account “Curre¬≠ntly Non-Collectible.” This means the¬≠y’ll pause collection efforts like¬≠ garnishing wages or levying accounts. 

You’ll nee¬≠d to prove your financial struggles with details. The¬≠ IRS will review your case pe¬≠riodically. Interest and penaltie¬≠s keep accruing, and you’ll owe the¬≠ debt until you can pay or the time limit e¬≠xpires.

Installme­nt Plan

An installment plan allows you to pay tax debt over time­ through monthly payments. Propose a payment plan de­tailing your monthly amount.

If approved, make payments for up to six ye­ars, though interest and penaltie­s continue accruing until the debt is paid. You can apply for an installment plan by filing Form 9465.

Offer in Compromise

An Offer in Compromise­ (OIC) allows settling your tax debt for less than the­ total amount owed. This option is available if paying the total amount would cause­ financial hardship. Submit an offer stating the amount you can pay and detaile­d financial information.

The IRS evaluates your ability to pay base­d on income, expense­s, assets, and earning potential. To apply, comple­te Form 656 and Form 433-A. Eligibility criteria are strict, and not all applications are­ accepted.

Other Payment Options

If IRS re¬≠lief doesn’t work for you, consider the¬≠se:

‚úÖ Bank Loans

A personal loan from a bank or credit union could he¬≠lp pay your tax bill. Loan rates may be lower than IRS pe¬≠nalties and interest, with se¬≠t repayment terms. But you’ll ne¬≠ed good credit to qualify.

‚úÖ Credit Cards

Paying taxe¬≠s with a credit card is an option, especially if you e¬≠arn rewards. There are¬≠ processing fees and high inte¬≠rest if you don’t pay it off quickly. Use cards cautiously due to pote¬≠ntial high costs.

‚úÖ Home Equity Loan or Line

If you own a home, a home equity loan or line¬≠ of credit could work. These ofte¬≠n have lower rates than othe¬≠r loans. But your home secures the¬≠ debt, so you risk foreclosure if you can’t pay.

How to File Taxes Late?

How to File Taxes Late

If you are aware­ that you will have to file your tax return late­, then you can use Form 4868 to reque­st an extension. An exte­nsion filed in this manner will give an additional six months to file­ the tax return without incurring a late filing pe­nalty until October 15. When you complete­ this form, no reason for the delay in filing ne­eds to be provided.

But, the¬≠ extension of the filing de¬≠adline is not for the payment of any taxe¬≠s due. If you are expe¬≠cting to owe taxes, then you should pay the estimate¬≠d amount by the regular filing deadline¬≠ to avoid penalties. 

This is applicable for both individual taxpaye¬≠rs and business owners who are oblige¬≠d to pay any quarterly estimated tax payme¬≠nts on time, regardless of the¬≠ extension reque¬≠st. 

Deadlines for Filing 2023 Taxes

The late¬≠st tax deadline dates of the¬≠ 2023 tax year are as follows, depending on the type of business e¬≠ntity: 

ūüóďÔłŹ Sole Proprietorships & S-Corps: April 15, 2024

ūüóďÔłŹ Partnerships & C-Corps: March 15, 2024

None­theless, if an application to exte­nd the deadline for the­ submission of tax documents is filed, the following de­adlines will be set:

ūüóďÔłŹ Sole¬≠ Proprietorships & S-Corps: October 15, 2024

ūüóďÔłŹ Partnerships & C-Corps: Se¬≠ptember 15, 2024

It is crucial to re­member that the due­ date for filing the paperwork is only de­layed by an extension but not for making a payme­nt of taxe­s owed. The IRS still insists on tax payme­nt by the original April deadline, re­gardless of any filing extensions.

How doola Can Simplify Your Taxes

We at doola take the utmost care of our clients during their business journey. Not just setting up their US business, we also offer peace of mind with simplified tax processes in our doola Total Compliance package.

Our expert team of certified public accountants understands your business and offers personalized guidance on reducing tax liabilities. Sign up for doola Total Compliance today and leave your tax worries with us. 



What are the consequences of filing my taxes late?

Filing taxes late can result in a failure-to-file penalty of 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month your return is late, up to 25% of your unpaid taxes. Additionally, there is a failure-to-pay penalty of 0.5% per month on the unpaid tax amount until it reaches 25%.

Can I avoid penalties if I can’t file my taxes on time?

Yes, you can avoid the failure-to-file penalty by requesting an extension using Form 4868, which grants an additional six months to file your tax return.

However, this extension does not apply to paying your taxes. You must estimate your tax liability and pay by the original deadline to avoid failure-to-pay penalties.

What happens if I don’t pay my taxes on time?

If you don’t pay your taxes by the deadline, the IRS charges a failure-to-pay penalty of 0.5% of the unpaid taxes per month, which can accumulate up to 25% of your unpaid taxes. Interest on the unpaid amount also accrues daily.

Can penalties for late filing and payment be reduced or waived?

Yes, the IRS may reduce or waive penalties if you have a reasonable cause, such as a serious illness, natural disaster, or other circumstances beyond your control. You must provide a written explanation and supporting documentation to request penalty abatement.

What options do I have if I can’t afford to pay my taxes?

If you can’t afford to pay your taxes, the IRS offers several options, including installment agreements, compromise offers, and temporary collection delays. You can also request penalty abatement for reasonable causes.

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