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What to Do if You Missed the Tax Deadline

Taxpayers who missed the April 15 tax filing deadline should not panic. Here is some advice from the IRS.

  • File as soon as possible. If the taxpayer owes taxes, the taxpayer should file and pay as soon as possible. This will help minimize the interest and penalty charges. There is no penalty for filing a late return if the taxpayer is due a refund.
  • IRS Free File is the best option. Everyone can use IRS Free File to e-file federal taxes for free. If the taxpayer’s income was $58,000 or less, the taxpayer can use free brand-name software. If the taxpayer made more than $58,000 and is comfortable preparing a tax return, the taxpayer should use Free File Fillable Forms to e-file. This program uses the electronic versions of paper IRS forms. IRS Free File is available through October 15 only through
  • IRS E-file is still available. IRS e-file is available through October 15. E-file is the easiest, safest and most accurate way to file tax returns. With e-file, the taxpayer receives confirmation that the IRS received the tax return. If the taxpayer uses e-file and chooses direct deposit of any refund, the refund will normally be received within 21 days.
  • Pay as much as possible. If the taxpayer owes tax but cannot pay it all at once, the taxpayer should try to pay as much as possible when filing the tax return. In addition, the taxpayer should pay the remaining balance as soon as possible to stop further penalties and interest.
  • Make a payment agreement online. If the taxpayer needs more time to pay taxes, the taxpayer can apply for a payment plan with the IRS. The easiest way to apply is to use the IRS Online Payment Agreement tool. Taxpayers can also mail Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. The tool and form are both available on
  • A refund may be waiting. If the taxpayer is due a refund, the taxpayer should file as soon as possible to get it. Even if the taxpayer is not required to file, the taxpayer may still get a refund. This could apply if the taxpayer had taxes withheld from wages or the taxpayer qualifies for certain tax credits. If the taxpayer does not file a return within three years, the taxpayer could forfeit any right to the refund. For more information, visit