The tax filing deadline for 2021 returns was April 18, 2022. The filing deadline has different consequences. If you owe money, there are financial penalties for not filing on time. If the U.S. Treasury owes you a refund, then you have up to three years to file and collect your refund.
Getting a Refund: The IRS estimates that millions of tax filers lose out on billions of dollars because they do not file for their refunds. If you are owed a refund, there is no penalty for late filing, but you must file a return within the three-year window, or you forfeit the refund.
If you owe taxes: File by the tax deadline or file for an Extension of Time to File to eliminate the Failure to File Penalty. The Failure to File Penalty is 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late. The penalty will not exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes. The IRS web site provides additional information about avoiding or getting the penalty waived.
Extension of Time to File will give you until October 15 to file the return. However, even if you file for an extension, pay as much you can. This is because there is a Failure to Pay Penalty.
The Failure to Pay Penalty is 0.5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month the tax remains unpaid. The penalty will not exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes. If both a Failure to Pay and a Failure to File Penalty are applied in the same month, the Failure to File Penalty will be reduced by the amount of the Failure to Pay Penalty applied in that month.
You can reduce the Failure to Pay Penalty by setting up a payment plan. The IRS has a variety of payment options. A short-term payment plan costs $0 to setup and you can use direct pay to avoid credit card charges. You can also revise existing payment plans. Find out more and apply online for a payment plan on the IRS web site https://www.irs.gov/payments/online-payment-agreement-application
Hillsborough County Extension is offering a link to free tax software to residents whose adjusted gross income doesn’t exceed $73,000. Complete a short form at https://go.ufl.edu/2021freetaxprep and get the link instantly. The free software is available through Oct. 15, 2022.