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PERSONAL FINANCE

What if You Forgot to File Your Taxes?

Laura Joszt | Monday, April 15, 2013
Oh no — you were so busy that you never got around to filing your taxes and now April 15 has arrived (and possibly gone when you read this). Never fear! You can always file late even if you didn’t file for an extension, according to H&R Block.
 
If you don’t owe any taxes, then you have three years to claim your refund, which gives you until April 15, 2016 to file your back taxes. No worries about filing late. But what if you owe the government money?
 
According to H&R Block, if you don’t file on time and you owe the government, then you’ll be subject to a late filing penalty, which is 5% of your unpaid balance per month or part of a month up to a maximum of 25%. Ouch. On top of that, there is also a late payment penalty of 0.5% each month or part of a month until the balance is paid in full.
 
You may have heard something about an extension. If you absolutely know you won’t be able to file today, you can always file an extension. But the deadline to file is the same day as Tax Day! Unfortunately, an extension isn’t a cure all for procrastinators or the eternally busy.
 
Let’s say you did file an extension; the form simply extends your deadline to file a tax return to Oct. 15, 2013. The IRS would like to remind you that “an extension of time to file is NOT an extension of time to pay.”
 
Your payments, if any, are still due April 15 and any made after Tax Day are subject to penalties and interest. So you’d be better off estimating your liability and making your payment today. You have three years to amend that return.
 
If you really couldn’t help it, then there’s hope for you; but it’s better to simply get the pain over with quickly. H&R put it best:
“If you owe, the sooner you file, the smaller your penalty. If you’re due a refund — well, what are you waiting for? Get ’em done already and get that refund in your hands!”

Read more:
Extension of Time to File Your Tax Return - IRS
What Happens if You Miss the Tax Deadline? - H&R Block



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