Filing a Past-Due Tax Return

If you missed the date to file your tax return, do not panic. You can and should file a late return. It is important to file as soon as you realize you have missed the deadline. Once the IRS determines you have failed to file, you can be asked to take immediate action to pay the taxes you owe. This can bring about worse consequences than simply filing now even if you cannot afford your payment.

Filing Late

In reality, filing late is not that different from filing early. As long as you file within 3 years of the date you were supposed to file, you will receive your refund if you were eligible for one to begin with. The issue with filing late, though, is that your refund is likely to be delayed. Further, you may draw attention to your return, opening you up to audit. Even those individuals filing correctly and ethically often want to avoid an audit just because it is a tremendous hassle for a tax payer. Therefore, it is best to file as soon as possible after the deadline.

Setting a Payment Plan

Tax payers who are waiting to file because they cannot afford to pay their anticipated tax obligation may be eligible for a payment plan. You can set up an installment agreement with the IRS that will allow you to easily make payments as long as you owe less than $25,000 in debt. You can set this option up for yourself through the IRS's Online Payment Agreement Application. If you owe more than $25,000, you may still be eligible, but you cannot use the online application.

Failing to File

If you fail to file voluntarily, you will be forced to pay your tax obligation through other means. Notably, the IRS can place liens against your property. You may be forced to liquidate assets, including your home or business, and you will not have the option for a payment plan. The IRS can garnish your wages, place holds on your accounts and otherwise prevent you from pocketing income until you have repaid your current tax obligation. It is important to remember that tax debt is the most senior form of debt in the United States. If you file for bankruptcy, your tax debt will be the first to be paid off. It is rare for a judge to excuse any amount of tax debt in a bankruptcy case.

Avoiding Jail

Criminal complaints are not issued after a tax payer initially. The IRS gives every tax payer the chance to show he or she intends to repay the debt. However, if a taxpayer has a longstanding history of not paying or indicates he or she is not likely to repay the debt, then the IRS can file a criminal investigation against that individual. The main point of this investigation is to collect the taxes a person owes and get that person back in the tax system. Only if an individual shows a repeated and flagrant disregard for his or her obligation to pay the IRS after multiple criminal investigations are penalties including jail time possible.



Can you file past due tax returns online?



You have up to three years to file your late tax return and still receive your refund.

Missing a Tax Return

If you missed your return deadline, the IRS may have notified you about immediate actions needed to rectify the problem. However, this occurs more often if the IRS notes that you owe money, not if the IRS owes you. You may not receive immediate notice to file. In any case, filing as soon as possible will save you on potential penalties and assure that you receive a refund.

How to File Late

You may e-file or file by paper, whichever you prefer, for up to three years after the missed filing date. Simply send in your tax return as usual. It is beneficial to file online if you wish to track the status of your return. As soon as your return has been received and approved, you will receive payment. You may opt for a direct deposit or check in the mail. However, since you are filing late, you should note your refund may be delayed. The return typically takes only a few weeks if filed on time, but it may take as long as a few months if you are past due on the taxes.



Can not filing a previous year's tax return prevent you from purchasing a home loan?



If you fail to file your tax return on time, your credit report may reflect that you owe a balance to the IRS. Since tax debt is senior debt, owing on a return is a very serious problem for your credit score. It is best to file your taxes and pay any outstanding amount you owe prior to seeking a home loan.

Filing Late

To file a late tax return, simply file your return as usual. There is no end date to how long after the fact you can file. However, if you do not file within three years, you will not be eligible for any backdated refund. Additionally, if the IRS has contacted you and urged you to file immediately, you may receive penalties by failing to do so.

Government Loan Challenges

If you owe on your taxes, you will find it difficult to secure any loan, but this is particularly true in the case of government-sponsored loan programs. Owing the IRS will automatically disqualify you from securing student loans, home loans or business loans directly from the government or through a government guarantee loan program. You may even face penalties on existing federal loans if you fail to pay the IRS.



What if you missed filing your tax return but are due a refund?



You have up to three years to file your late tax return and still receive your refund.

Missing a Tax Return

If you missed your return deadline, the IRS may have notified you about immediate actions needed to rectify the problem. However, this is more likely to occur if the IRS notes that you owe money than if the IRS owes you. You may not receive immediate notice to file. In any case, filing as soon as possible will save you on potential penalties and assure that you receive a refund.

How to File Late

For up to three years after the missed filing date, you may e-file or file by paper, whichever you prefer. Simply send in your tax return as usual. It is beneficial to file online if you wish to track the status of your return. As soon as your return has been received and approved, you will receive payment. You may opt for a direct deposit or check in the mail. However, since you are filing late, you should note that your refund may be delayed. The return typically takes only a few weeks if filed on time, but it may take as long as a few months if you are past due on the taxes.

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