What Happens If You File Your Taxes Late For 2019? You Could End Up Owing More Money
In my opinion, aside from paying rent every month, doing laundry OTR, and buying groceries, paying taxes is one of the most stressful adult responsibilities I've yet to face. It involves a ton of diligence, lots of background knowledge, and — most importantly — punctuality. That's right: You should definitely pay them on time, but you might also be wondering: What happens if you file your taxes late for 2019? Let me be the one to tell you that it isn't something you want to risk. You could end up owing way more money than you would if you had paid on time.
If you have been part of the working world for at least a year now, you're most likely aware of the fact that taxes are due this year on April 15, 2019. That means you should file and pay all of your taxes by then. However, if you fail to meet that strict mid-month deadline, you can face a slew of (quite expensive) consequences. In fact, according to Yahoo! Finance, if you don't successfully send in your returns to the IRS by April 16, you will probably end up facing a (pretty hefty) fine which is called a failure-to-file penalty. The penalty deducts a minimum of five percent of what you might owe, and up to a 25 percent maximum of what you owe. Yikes.
These percentage fines (as low as five percent all the way up to 25 percent), however, only apply to the first 60 days beyond the April 15 deadline. If 60 days pass and you have still not filed your taxes, the charges will either increase to a $135 fee or 100 percent of the taxes you owe, according to Yahoo! Finance. This, on the other hand, would depend on whichever amounts to less for you. But there's an exception. If you find that you don't actually owe the government a tax bill, you will not face the late-filing fee. You won't get a refund if there's a return, though. And keep in mind if you receive a tax return, you only have about three years to claim it, per the IRS.
In terms of paying your taxes, you can actually get up to a six-month extension if you send in Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File by April 15, 2019, according to H&R Block.
Many U.S. citizens were super worried about receiving their 2019 tax refunds on time because of the government shutdown. Many said it would potentially affect some services, like in-person and phone-in IRS lines, because they were largely be suspended. So, they recommended planing accordingly. However, it wouldn't have been a problem for taxpayers that opt for electronic processing, which the IRS recommends. Using an electronic filing system as opposed to doing it on paper tends to speed up the refund process and minimizes errors when you're filing things.
Filing taxes can be incredibly confusing, frustrating, and an overall nuisance. However, filing them on time is super important — that is — if you want to avoid heavy fines. A failure-to-file fine can amount to hundreds of dollars, but it's very easy to avoid if you simply file your taxes before April 15, 2019. So, my friends, get on it, because tax season is upon us, and there's no harm in getting them done early. Happy filing!