The April 18th tax deadline has come and gone. In a perfect world, everyone will have filed and already gotten their returns. But things happen, and taxes fall to the back of the list.

Many of you may have missed the deadline for one reason or another. If you haven’t been granted an extension and still haven’t filed your tax return, here’s what you need to know about the next steps to take.

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If you are owed a refund, just relax.

Don’t worry about rushing to file if you’re owed a refund. There’s no need to worry. When you are due to receive a refund, you have three years from the tax deadline to claim it. So, if file your claim by then, you won’t be subject to any late filing penalties.

If you don’t file within three years, the U.S. Treasury simply keeps your refund as a “donation.”

E-file is your best option.

If you want to get your refund as fast as possible, e-file is the way to go. The IRS e-file programs are available through Oct. 15. E-file is also the easiest, safest, and most accurate way to file. With e-file, you will receive confirmation that the IRS has received your tax return. If you e-file and are due to receive a refund, the IRS will usually issue it within 21 days.

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File as Soon as You Can

Filing as soon as possible is important for several reasons. First, it helps avoid the failure-to-file penalty, and it may help you prevent a failure-to-pay penalty. Though you may run into a penalty for filing late, it will probably be smaller than if you don’t file at all and filing sooner will help reduce what you owe in interest. The longer you wait to file, the bigger the interest penalty.

You should also file because you may have a refund waiting even if you don’t meet the IRS income threshold to require you to file your taxes. You should still consider filing if you had federal taxes withheld from your wages or if you were eligible for tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Set Up a Payment Plan

The reason people most often avoid filing their taxes is because they don’t have the money. They think it’s easier to put it off. However, the IRS doesn’t forget, so if you haven’t filed reconsider your approach.

Late filing (and especially failure to file altogether) only compounds the problem. Pay as much of your tax bill as you can, and then set up a payment plan.

What to do if you missed the tax deadline

Something to consider if you are thinking of trying to avoid the IRS: The interest charged for the IRS installment plan is usually very competitive, and may be less than what you will pay if you put your taxes on a credit card or use a payday loan.

The IRS offers installment plans that allow you to make easy payments. At Tax Pros Plus we can help you navigate this system and set you up with the system of payments that works best for your business or family.

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