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What should I do if I missed the tax deadline?

Try as they might, many taxpayers do not make the tax deadline on time. The reasons can vary: A busy schedule, a family crisis or simply forgetfulness. No matter the excuse, every year many Americans fail to submit their returns by the date mandated by the Internal Revenue Service.

If you have missed the deadline, you are probably wondering what to do next. Your options have not run out—you may still able to file your taxes with minimal penalties. The IRS has released a statement identifying the next steps for taxpayers who missed the deadline. 

Filing after the deadline

When you are filling out your taxes, be sure to calculate whether you will receive a refund. If you are owed a refund by the IRS, then you will not face a penalty for filing past the April 18 deadline. (Because there was a system error on April 17, the IRS granted taxpayers an extra day to file.)

Other taxpayers, however, will not be so lucky. You should still file a return as soon as possible to minimize the penalties. The longer you wait to submit your tax returns, the more fines and interest you will accrue.

Typically, the failure-to-file penalty equals 5 percent for every month that your deadline is past due. Two months overdue? Your fine will be 10 percent of the taxes that you owe. Once a return is more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty that you will pay is $210. The IRS could also charge you a fine that is equal to the full amount of taxes that you owe.

Minimize your penalties

It is important for taxpayers to file their past-due taxes as quickly as possible. It is also important for taxpayers to be proactive in reducing the penalties that they will face. Taxpayers should consider their legal options when it comes to filing taxes past the deadline. It may be possible to mitigate the penalties for filing late.

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