How to File Taxes After the Deadline

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To file taxes after the tax filing deadline, you must file an extension on or before the deadline. Individuals and businesses can file an automatic six-month tax extension if they are unable to meet the tax-filing deadline. Tax returns, both individual and business, are due April 15 (March 15 for some corporations). An extension is especially helpful if in cases of personal emergencies that may prevent you from filing by the deadline and for businesses whose accounts are not in order on tax day.

Estimate your tax liability. Calculate as accurately as possible using all information available to you such as your income and your tax bracket to estimate how much taxes you expect to owe. Bear in mind that if your estimate ends up being unreasonable, the extension becomes nullified.

Decide whether you want to file electronically or by paper. You can file electronically by using tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax. Follow the instructions provided by the software.

Decide how much you are able to pay. If you are able to pay some of the tax you owe, this will save you some money in interest payments later on. You can pay electronically through a checking account withdrawal, with a credit card by calling the special payment service employed by the IRS, or with a check or money order if you file a paper extension.

File the extension and send your payment. If you'd like to file electronically follow Step 2 . If you choose to file a paper extension you wil need to file IRS Form 4868 (see Resources).

File your return. When you are ready to file your tax return, you can do so any time before or by the extension deadline (October 15th). If you owe taxes, you will be required to pay what you owe plus interest and penalties. If you are due a refund, you will receive a refund.

Tips & Warnings

  • To get a tax extension, a business has to file IRS Form 7004 by the applicable tax-filing deadline. If you are self-employed and your business is not a registered entity, you have to file a personal tax return. See a link in Resources for more on business tax extensions.
  • It is important to note that an extension on filing business or personal taxes is not the same thing as an extension of payment. If you owe taxes after April 15th, interest will accrue for the period of extension. Taxes are always due on April 15, or March 15 for some corporations.

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