Can You File Taxes Late?

by Virginia A. Gorg

Income taxes are a necessity to nearly every person living in the United States. You are expected to file your taxes in a timely manner, but you can file your taxes late, though certain restrictions reply. Some people wait until the last day to even think about filing their taxes. At that point, they can hurry and file or request to file late.

Time Frame

Generally, taxes are due on April 15 of each year.


If a tax return is not filed within three years of the due date, the taxpayer can lose the right to claim a refund. Self-employed individuals will not receive disability benefits or Social Security credit. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could impose a 25 percent penalty for late filing.


Filing late is beneficial in some cases such as the taxpayer will be out of the country at the filing deadline. Incorrect W2 information can cause a legitimate delay in filing. If you believe you have a legitimate reason to file late, request a Form 4868 from the IRS.


Many people believe filing late means any amount due can also be sent in late. That is not true. In fact, the tax due must be paid by April 15 or penalties and interest might be added. Alternative payment plans are available, but only when the return is filed in a timely manner.


The IRS will prepare your tax return if you do not file. But you might not receive credits for deductions or exemptions. Upon preparation of your return, if you owe money, the IRS will send you a bill plus applicable interest and penalties. Repeatedly refusing to file your return might result in further action by the IRS.

About the Author

Virginia Gorg is a writer and self-published author. She is a grant writer as well and contributes articles to various websites. Gorg works full time as well as maintains a part-time position as a seasonal tax preparer and was strategically involved in a successful campaign for a local State Representative.

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