Missed the Tax Deadline? Here’s How to File Late

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Tax season can be stressful, and missing the deadline only makes it worse. Whether you missed the deadline due to confusion or simply procrastination, it’s important to file your taxes as soon as possible. However, filing late may come with consequences. In this article, we’ll provide valuable insights on how to file late for taxes while mitigating any potential negative outcomes.

Consequences of Filing Taxes Late

Filing taxes after the deadline may result in a variety of consequences such as:

  • Penalties: The IRS will likely assess penalties and interest charges for filing late.
  • Loss of Refund: If you’re owed a refund but fail to file on time, you could lose out on that money.
  • Negative Impact on Credit Scores: Unpaid tax bills can damage credit scores.

Steps to Filing Taxes Late

The following steps will help guide you through the process of filing your taxes late:

  1. Gather all necessary documents: Collect all forms and documents needed for completing your tax return including W2s or 1099s from employees or clients.
  2. Assess penalty fees: Determine whether there are any outstanding fines for failing to submit your tax returns by the original deadline date.
  3. Calculate your deductions and credits: You should still calculate any applicable deductions and credits even though they won’t reverse any penalties faced due to the lateness in submitting.
  4. Complete required forms: Fill out form 1040 (Individual Income Tax Return), including schedules A (Itemized Deductions) and B (Interest & Dividends), along with Schedule C (Profit/Loss from Business) if you’re self-employed.

Tips For Avoiding Future Penalties

Here are some tips that will help make sure that you don’t miss another tax-filing deadline again:

  • Mark deadlines down ahead of time so it’s not forgotten.
  • Use tax-filing software or hire an accountant for help in filing taxes.


Filing your taxes late may seem daunting, but it’s important to take action as soon as possible to avoid penalties and other negative consequences. By following the steps outlined above, you can mitigate any potential harm while ensuring your tax returns are accurately filed. Additionally, by marking deadlines ahead of time and using helpful tools like tax-filing software or hiring a professional accountant you can make sure that next year’s filing process is much smoother.


What are the penalties for filing my taxes after the deadline? Answer: If you missed the tax deadline and owe taxes, you will be subject to a late-filing penalty of 5% of your unpaid taxes per month (up to 25%) until your return is filed. Additionally, if you do not pay your owed taxes on time, you will be subject to a failure-to-pay penalty of 0.5-1% per month until your taxes are paid in full.

Can I still file my tax return electronically after the deadline? Answer: No, once the tax filing deadline has passed (usually April 15th), electronic filing is no longer available for that particular year’s tax returns. However, taxpayers can still file their return by mail using paper forms.

Should I wait for the IRS to contact me before filing my late return? Answer: No, it is generally advisable not to wait until you hear from the IRS regarding an unfiled or late tax return as this may increase interest and penalties over time. It is best practice to file your late or unfiled returns as soon as possible and pay any outstanding balances owed upon receipt of notice from the IRS concerning payments due on those returns.