The IRS announced several options to assist taxpayers who missed the April filing deadline for their 2023 federal income tax returns. These include programs to help those struggling with payment and potential penalty relief for first-time offenders.

Taxpayers should pay as much as they can as soon as possible to minimize penalties and interest. The current interest on unpaid taxes is 8%, compounded daily. The late-filing penalty is generally 5% per month, and the late-payment penalty is usually 0.5% per month, both maxing out at 25%. If a return is filed more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is $485 or 100% of the unpaid tax, whichever is less.

Filing and paying electronically can help reduce penalties and interest. The IRS recommends using IRS Direct Pay, a free service available on Other electronic payment options are also available. Taxpayers should visit the “Make a Payment” page on the IRS website for more details.

Filing and paying as soon as possible can significantly reduce penalties and interest. An extension to file extends the deadline to October 15 but does not extend the time to pay. Penalties and interest apply to any taxes owed after April 15.

Some taxpayers may qualify for penalty relief. Those receiving a penalty notice should follow the instructions for requesting relief. Taxpayers who have filed and paid on time for the past three years may qualify for first-time penalty abatement. Others may qualify for relief if their failure to file or pay was due to reasonable cause.

Interest is charged on any tax not paid by April 15 and any penalties assessed. It stops accruing once the balance is paid in full. The law does not allow for interest abatement based on reasonable cause or first-time relief.

Taxpayers unable to pay in full by the deadline should still file their tax returns and pay what they can. The IRS offers several payment options, including online payment plans. Short-term payment plans are available for balances less than $100,000, giving taxpayers up to 180 days to pay. Long-term payment plans are available for balances less than $50,000, allowing monthly payments for up to 72 months. Direct debit is required for balances between $25,000 and $50,000.

Even with an installment agreement, interest and late-payment penalties continue to accrue on unpaid taxes. However, the failure to pay penalty is cut in half while the agreement is in effect.

Some taxpayers automatically qualify for extra time to file and pay without penalties and interest. This includes taxpayers in certain disaster areas, U.S. citizens and resident aliens living and working outside the United States and Puerto Rico, and members of the military on duty outside the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as those serving in combat zones.

To avoid future surprises, taxpayers should check their withholding annually. The Tax Withholding Estimator on can help individuals ensure they are paying the correct amount of tax. If adjustments are needed, taxpayers should submit a new Form W-4 to their employer.

By following these guidelines and utilizing available IRS resources, taxpayers can manage their obligations more effectively, even if they miss the initial filing deadline.

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This article, “IRS Options for Late Filers: Payment Plans and Penalty Relief” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source: Small Business Trends

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