Is There a Penalty for Missing the Tax Deadline? It Depends on This

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Tax Day (April 18) has come and gone. Did you fail to file your taxes for any reason?

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Sometimes life gets in the way and you miss a tax deadline. Maybe you had a death or illness in the family, got sick yourself, or maybe you were missing tax paperwork. Whatever the reason for not filing, however, the penalties (or lack thereof) will be the same.

Once you realized you couldn’t file your 2021 taxes by April 18, 2022, you should have filed a tax extension. That would eliminate any failure-to-file penalties you might incur.

But if you don’t owe any money on your taxes, you won’t suffer any penalties by waiting to file. In fact, you have up to three years to file your taxes and claim your refund before your money gets sent to the U.S. Treasury. After three years, you won’t receive and tax refunds owed.

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What Happens if I File After Tax Day?

If you file after April 18, your refund might be slightly delayed, according to CNET, but you should still receive your money within four to six weeks. It’s in your best interests to file as soon as possible, because you could be using that money to pay down high-interest debt, add to your investments, or enjoy yourself on a vacation.

If you owe the IRS money, however, not filing your taxes can cost you more than missed opportunities.

The IRS charges two penalties if you fail to file your taxes on time and owe money: the failure to pay penalty and failure to file penalty.

The failure to pay penalty equals 0.5% of the unpaid taxes for each month — or part of a month — that you haven’t paid taxes owing. It continues to accrue until you reconcile your unpaid tax debt. It can’t exceed 25% of your total tax bill.

The failure to file penalty equals 5% of the unpaid taxes due for each month (or part of a month) that you haven’t filed. The penalty can’t exceed a total of 25% of your unpaid taxes, according to IRS.gov.

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The failure to file penalty is reduced by the amount of failure to pay penalty, when both are applicable. In such a case, your failure to file penalty will be reduced to 4.5%, up to a total of 25% of your total taxes due. The IRS charges interest on the amount you owe, as well as on the tax penalties.

Tax Filing Extension Deadline

If you filed an extension, you have until Oct. 15, 2022, to file your taxes. If you owe money, you may still be subject to failure to pay penalties, unless you have already paid an estimated amount of (or over) what you ultimately owe.

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If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, start gathering your paperwork and make it a top priority to file as soon as possible.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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