I Can’t File My Taxes By The Deadline – Now What?

Behind On Payroll Tax

Aside from getting an audit, missing the tax deadline is a taxpayer’s worst nightmare. As the weeks pass by closer and closer to the big day, few things can inspire panic like realizing that you don’t have the time, resources, or information needed to get your taxes done on time. What can be done? Is all hope lost?

Hacker Accounting has some good news: Missing your tax deadline isn’t the end of the world. There are things you can do to mitigate it and save yourself some IRS grief. Here’s what you should do if you can’t file your taxes by the deadline.

Related: The Lowdown On Deadline Extensions: When To File One And Why You Should

File An Extension

The first thing you should do if you think you’re going to miss the deadline is to file for a tax extension. Tax deadline extensions are automatic: They don’t cost you anything and you don’t have to explain why you need the extension. The extension will give you until October 15th to file your taxes.

You Still Have To Pay

An important thing to keep in mind about tax extensions: It doesn’t mean you have more time to pay your taxes. If you owe money to the IRS, that is due on April 15th. The extension extends the filing date: It does NOT postpone payment. If you miss paying any monies you owe, you could be hit with fines and penalties.

What Happens If I Don’t Owe Any Money?

The good news is that you won’t be penalized if you miss your deadline IF you don’t owe the IRS any money. You should still file your return- especially if you’re due for a refund. The IRS won’t send your refund until you file your taxes. So if you want to get money back, it’s in your best interest to file as soon as possible.

What Happens If I Owe Money?

If you miss your deadline and you don’t pay any monies you owe the IRS by April 15th, you will be subjected to penalties and fines. These penalties are no joke: They can wreak utter havoc on your financials. There is also an additional penalty for failing to file an extension if you miss your deadline.

What If I Can’t Pay?

In the event that your resources are tapped and you can’t make your payment by April 15th, you can ask to make arrangements. In most cases, the IRS will set you up with a payment plan. However this is not a guarantee. If there’s any way you can pay your taxes on time, you should do so.

Related: Best Tax Tips For New Employees

Looking for more information on how to handle a late tax return? Give Hacker Accounting a call at 602-375-5251.


Chris Hacker
Chris has been working in the bookkeeping and accounting field for over 15 years preparing business, income and payroll taxes. Chris has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State and is an Enrolled Agent with the Internal Revenue Service.