Missed the Tax Filing Deadline? 3 Reasons to Take Care of Your Late Filing Today

The Tax Day countdown has passed for this tax year, but not all taxpayers have made it across the finish line with their IRS Form 1040. If this is you, you may be panicking that you missed the tax filing deadline. Take a deep breath and know that we’re here to help! So, what happens if you miss the tax deadline? We’ll answer that question below but know this: while it’s not the end of the world, there are a number of good reasons you’ll still want to file — and sooner rather than later.

1. The Sooner You File, the Less You’ll Owe in Penalties

One of the most pressing reasons to file your taxes as soon as possible after missing the deadline is to minimize the penalties you'll owe. The IRS imposes two types of penalties for late filers: the failure to file penalty and the failure to pay penalty.

Failure to File Penalty:

This penalty is typically 5% of your unpaid taxes for each month (or part of a month) that your return is late. The penalty caps at 25% of your unpaid taxes, but that's still a significant amount.

Failure to Pay Penalty:

The penalty for failing to pay your taxes on time is 0.5% of your unpaid taxes for each month (or part of a month) that your taxes remain unpaid. This penalty also accrues until you pay in full, adding to your financial burden.

Interest on Unpaid Taxes:

In addition to the penalties, you'll also owe interest on any unpaid taxes. The interest rate is determined quarterly and is the federal short-term rate plus 3%. The interest compounds daily, which means the longer you wait to pay, the more you'll owe.
By filing your taxes sooner rather than later, you can reduce these penalties and the accumulating interest. This can save you a substantial amount of money in the long run.

2. Preparing for the Next Tax Season

Filing your taxes late isn't just about avoiding penalties; it's also about setting yourself up for success in the next tax season. By doing your taxes now, you can spot any issues with your paycheck withholding and make necessary adjustments.

Check Your Withholding:

If you owe more than expected, it could be because you withheld too little from your pay. Updating your W-4 form early in the year means you'll have the rest of the year for the new withholding to apply. This can help ensure you don't face the same issue next year.

Avoid Repeating Mistakes:

Filing your taxes allows you to review any mistakes you made and take steps to avoid them in the future. This might include keeping better records, understanding deductible expenses, or seeking professional advice to optimize your tax situation.

Maximize Deductions and Credits:

Filing your taxes allows you to take advantage of all available deductions and credits. If you don't file, you could miss out on these opportunities, which could mean paying more than necessary.

3. Claim Money Owed to You

Even if you don’t make enough to have to file taxes, you may still get a tax refund. It could be that you overpaid in taxes through paycheck withholding. Or, maybe you qualify for money back from a refundable credit such as the Child Tax Credit or the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Tax Refunds:

Many taxpayers are owed refunds but don’t realize it. If your employer withheld too much from your paycheck, the only way to get that money back is to file a tax return.

Refundable Credits:

Refundable credits can provide significant financial benefits. Credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) are designed to help low- to moderate-income taxpayers. Even if you owe no taxes, you could receive a refund if you qualify for these credits.

Unclaimed Refunds:

According to the IRS, millions of dollars in tax refunds go unclaimed each year. If you don’t file, you might miss out on money that’s rightfully yours.

How to File Back Tax Returns

Filing back tax returns might seem daunting, but it's essential to get it done to avoid further penalties and interest. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to file back tax returns:

Gather Your Documents:

Collect all necessary documents, including W-2s, 1099s, and any other income or deduction records for the tax years you need to file.

Download Tax Forms:

Visit the IRS website to download the tax forms for the years you need to file. Each year has specific forms, so ensure you get the correct ones.

Complete the Forms:

Fill out the forms as accurately as possible. If you’re unsure about any part of the process, consider seeking help from a tax professional.

Mail the Forms:

Once completed, mail the forms to the appropriate IRS address. Keep copies of everything for your records.

Set Up a Payment Plan:

If you owe taxes and can’t pay in full, consider setting up an installment agreement with the IRS. This can help you manage your debt more effectively.

What Happens If You Miss the Tax Deadline?

Not getting your taxes done on time if you owe means you’re subject to two types of penalties from the Internal Revenue Service: the failure to file penalty and the failure to pay penalty.
If you happened to file for a tax extension by the original tax deadline, you’ll only have to worry about the failure to pay penalty if you owe.

Filing for an Extension:

The deadline to file an extension is the same as the deadline to file taxes. Unfortunately, if you’ve missed the date to file your tax return, you’ve also passed the deadline to file an extension. If the filing deadline has passed, you should file your return as soon as possible to avoid penalties.

Can I Still File My Taxes for 2023 After the Deadline?

Yes! You can still file your taxes for 2023, but you may not be able to avoid penalties. If you’re getting a tax refund, you won’t have to worry about being charged any penalties or interest. If you owe taxes, the two penalties mentioned above may apply.

While a late filing penalty can be unsettling, the sooner you file, the better.

What If I Can’t Pay?

If you can’t pay your taxes in full, don’t worry. You have options to manage your tax debt.

Installment Agreement:

You can request to pay your taxes in installments with an IRS payment plan. This allows you to spread out your payments over time, making it more manageable.

Offer in Compromise:

In some cases, the IRS may accept an Offer in Compromise, which allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe.

Temporarily Delay Collection:

If you’re experiencing financial hardship, the IRS may temporarily delay collection until your financial situation improves.

What Happens If I Miss the Tax Deadline for My Child’s Return?

If you need to report your child’s unearned income, the information should be reported on Form 8615 at the same time as the tax deadline for your personal return. Missing this deadline can result in penalties, so it’s important to file as soon as possible to minimize potential penalties.

Rely on Taxmagic for Help Finishing Your Taxes

While taxes can be stressful, you don’t have to go it alone. Trust the expertise of Taxmagic to help you file your taxes. Our experienced professionals can guide you through the process, ensuring you maximize your deductions and credits while minimizing penalties and interest.

File with Taxmagic to Get Your Max Refund:

File Online:

Use our user-friendly online platform to file your taxes from the comfort of your home.

File with a Tax Pro:

Schedule an appointment with one of our tax professionals for personalized assistance.


Missing the tax deadline can be stressful, but it's not the end of the world. By filing as soon as possible, you can reduce penalties, prepare better for next tax season, and potentially claim money owed to you. Whether you need to file back tax returns, set up a payment plan, or seek professional help, Taxmagic is here to assist you every step of the way. Don’t let a missed deadline derail your financial stability. Take action today and secure your financial future with Taxmagic.


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