April 15 is not a date that goes unnoticed by most people, but it can be easy to miss the Internal Revenue Service’s tax filing deadline when life gets in the way. Many individuals and businesses that miss the deadline did mean to file their returns. However, waiting until the last minute or trouble getting that last piece of information means they don’t get the return filed or mailed on the right day.
Once you pass the April 15 deadline, penalties start to accrue, as does interest if you are going to owe taxes. Inability to pay your taxes is not a reason to hold off on filing because the interest charged on late tax payments is much less than the penalties for not filing at all.
If you can’t file your return on time, you can file for an automatic extension of several months. In most cases, you don’t even have to provide a reason that you need the extension. It’s important to note that interest still accrues on owed taxes, even if you are granted an extension.
For many individuals and small businesses, the idea of filing a return becomes more and more overwhelming as the months go by and interest and penalties pile up. Since the IRS doesn’t usually call or send many notices in the early months, it can be easy to sweep the entire problem under the rug. This is a mistake. It only causes you to owe more when you eventually face the problems — and you will have to, sooner or later.
If you are overwhelmed with tax issues or unfiled tax returns, then seeking outside assistance may be a good idea. There are options for reducing what you owe through offers in compromise and other negotiation vehicles. Having legal assistance makes the process less scary.