Don’t Panic – There’s Still Time to Act if You Missed the Tax Filing Deadline
Did you run short on time for a tax return this year?
If you missed the tax filing deadline, know there’s still time to act. You may not have as much to worry about as you think.
To start, do you know if you’re getting a refund? If you’re confident that based on previous returns and current circumstances you’ll be receiving money back this tax season, filing by this year’s April 17th deadline isn’t as mission critical. Your returns actually have until October of 2021 to be filed. It makes sense if you think about it – the government’s in less of a hurry to pay you back. So, if you miss that April deadline, you have three years to get to it.
However, if you know you owe money or aren’t quite sure if you do, make filing your top priority. Just because you missed the tax deadline doesn’t mean you don’t have to file. Rather, the sooner you can file and the more goodwill you can make toward a payment, the better.
Tip #1: If you know in advance you’re not going to be able to file for a return on time, the IRS will give you a six-month extension free of penalty if you complete Form 4868 by April 17th. That gives you plenty of extra time to file free of worry. Just remember the form must be submitted by the day taxes are due and that this is not an extension to pay your taxes.
Tip #2: If you missed the deadline and didn’t file Form 4868, you should still file as soon as you can, even if you know you won’t be able to pay what you owe all at once. It’s worse to file late than to pay late. Also keep in mind that you will acquire interest on money paid late, so better to start paying off sooner than later.
Tip #3: If you can’t make a payment in one lump sum, agree to make payments online through the IRS’s Online Payment Agreement Tool. You’ll need to fill out Form 9465. Participating in a payment plan saves you the interest and penalties that would otherwise accrue on your late balance.
Tip #4: Use the IRS’s E-File option, which is available to you through October 15th. This method allows you to file your taxes completely online, and is (not surprisingly) faster than filing by mail.
Tip #5: If you couldn’t pay on time because of circumstances that were out of your control, such as being out of the country for work, the IRS will give you an extension without penalty. Be sure to let them know when this situation is warranted.
Tip #6: Ask to make an offer in compromise. If your situation makes participating in a payment plan difficult, you can petition the IRS to lower the amount you owe. This is a slightly more complicated option, and has some criteria along with it, such as having filed all previous returns and having received at least one bill from the IRS for what you currently owe.
While tax deadlines aren’t something to take lightly, if you do fail to file a return on time know that there are options. Explore which solution is best for your situation. If you’re not sure what could make the most sense, consider working with a tax professional like the experienced team at Tobin & Collins. Contact us today to make sure you adhere to all tax season deadlines and requirements.