Is it Too Late to File My Taxes?

tax tips | June 30, 2017 | By Susannah McQuitty

Taxpayers sit down to file a late return at a café.

Life happens, people, but we’ve got good news: It’s not too late to file your taxes. The April deadline doesn’t cut you off from filing your return; it marks the date when penalty fees start being added to your taxes owed.

Not everyone will have late fees, depending on how much tax you paid during the year, but you won’t know for sure until you file. You definitely want to get on that as soon as possible.

How do I know if I have late fees for not filing my taxes yet?

If you’re expecting a refund, you won’t get the money until you file, but at least there are no extra fees. You can even file your tax returns from up to 3 years ago to get any refund you may have missed from not filing.

If you owe taxes, on the other hand, you’ll have failure-to-file and failure-to-pay penalty fees automatically added to your bill.

How do you know if you have a refund or owe taxes, then? You may be able to take an educated guess, but you won’t actually know until after you file your return, so it’s really important to go ahead and file as soon as you possibly can.

A coffee with cinnamon sits by a laptop for e-filing taxes.

What do I do if I can’t pay my taxes or the late fees?

Many taxpayers can opt to set up a payment plan with the IRS using their Online Payment Agreement tool. If you can pay your taxes owed within a couple of months and owe less than $50,000, an Online Payment Agreement is probably your best bet.

An Offer in Compromise, on the other hand, is an agreement between you and the IRS to settle for a smaller amount if it’s actually impossible for you to pay the amount of taxes and fees that you owe.

Filing an Offer in Compromise should be more of a last resort than a first choice, though. The process itself is expensive, and if the IRS doesn’t think your offer is appropriate, you have to start over. If at all possible, it’s better to go with the Online Payment Agreement.