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4 tax moves to make ASAP if you missed the filing deadline

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Most U.S. taxpayers filed their annual tax returns or got extension on Monday, April 15. 

But what about folks who missed the Tax Day deadline?

Don't panic, but don't procrastinate any longer.

The IRS is serious about hearing from you each April. It imposes three main filing-related penalties, the harshest of which is for not filing.

Here are four things late-filing steps you need to take ASAP.

1. File a return.
Yes, the filing deadline is over. But still get the IRS a return. Now.

You need to get something into the IRS system that will show the tax man that you realize, albeit belatedly, you have a tax responsibility and you're doing your best to meet it.

Maybe you really are waiting for some tax info necessary to fill out your 1040. Fine. But fill out the return as thoroughly as you can now and amend it later.

Once the IRS has your 1040 in hand, the non-filing penalty that started accruing on April 16 stops.

The fastest way is to file electronically. And if you qualify for Free File — you do if your adjusted gross income, regardless of your filing status, is of $66,000 or less — use it. The IRS-tax software industry partnership is still open.

2. Pay what you can.
If you didn't file because you can't pay your due tax bill in full, file anyway and pay as much as you can.

Paying even a portion of your tax bill will reduce the amount that's subject to the non-payment penalty and interest.

Again, as with filing, going electronic is your friend. It's faster than mailing a check, speeding up the penalty relief that begins when you file and pay.

Check out the IRS-approved e-payment options and use the one that works best for your situation.

3. Set up a payment plan.
If your tax bill is really, really big, consider an IRS payment plan.

You can set up an installment plan directly with the IRS, either by sending the agency Form 9465Installment Agreement Request, or by using the IRS' Online Payment Agreement Application.

4. File your state returns, too.
Most of the 43 states and District of Columbia that collect income taxes follow Uncle Sam's mid-April tax filing deadline. They also tend to use taxpayers' federal returns as the basis for state filings.

So if you didn't file your federal 1040 this week, then you probably didn't file your state return either.

Each state has its own rules and penalties for late- and non-filers, but they all mean that the longer you put off that tax task, the more you'll owe your state tax collector, too.

Check with your state tax department about the steps you need to take here to reduce those penalties.

New England deadline today: If you live in Maine or Massachusetts , you are in the midst of meeting your Tax Day deadline today.

It was pushed to April 17, thanks to back-to-back holidays in those New England states and Washington, D.C.

These 13 final filing tips should help keep you from ending up in the same past-due straits as some of your fellow taxpayers in the rest of the country.

Don't owe? Don't worry: If you don't owe the U.S. Treasury any taxes and didn't file your return, don't panic.

Although the IRS still wants your tax paperwork, your non-filing won't cost you.

Penalties are assessed based on any tax you owe. And interest charges on $0 tax due is obviously $0. Even I can do that math without a calculator!

File to get your refund: But most of us don't calculate and pay our taxes, either via withholding and/or estimated taxes, down to the exact penny every year. If you do, call me and share your calculation secret. Then call the Guinness World Records people.

That means if you didn't owe any taxes with your return, you're probably due a refund since few of us get our withholding and/or estimated tax payments down to the exact penny we owe every year.

So if you're getting a refund, what the heck are you waiting for!?!

The IRS isn't going to automatically send you your tax payment overage. You have to ask for by filing a tax return.

With taxes, it truly is better late than never.

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Comments

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Joel of GrowthRapidly

Thanks for this article! I just missed the deadline and was wondering what my options are. I usually do my own taxes, but this year I will consult a tax accountant as my finance is getting a little complicated, especially with being hit with a divorce. Overall, I am glad I found this article.

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