What's the IRS penalty if I miss the October 15 ex...

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What's the IRS penalty if I miss the October 15 extension filing deadline?

The IRS applies late penalties and interest on a case-by-case basis and will send a separate bill if penalties apply.

Because the IRS has the last word on penalties, we can't calculate the exact amount if your return is late. But the info below will give you an idea of what to expect in a worst-case scenario (courtesy ofIRS Tax Topic 653).

There are two types of fees that may apply, plus interest:  

  • Late filing penalties apply if you owe taxes and didn't file your return or extension by May 17, 2021, or if you filed an extension but failed to file your return by October 15, 2021.
    • The late filing penalty is 5% of the additional taxes owed amount for every month (or fraction thereof) your return is late, up to a maximum of 25%.
    • If you file more than 60 days after the due date, the minimum penalty is $435 (for tax returns required to be filed in 2020) or 100% of your unpaid tax, whichever is less.
  • Late payment penalties apply if you didn't pay taxes owed by May 17, 2021, regardless of whether you filed an extension or not.
    • The late payment penalty is 0.5% (1/2 of 1%) of the additional tax owed amount for every month (or fraction thereof) the owed tax remains unpaid, up to a maximum of 25%.
    • For any month(s) in which both the late-payment and late-filing penalties apply, the 0.5% late-payment penalty is waived.
  • Interest (compounded daily) starts accumulating on unpaid taxes one day after the due date of the return, until the bill is fully paid off. The current interest rate is 3% and is subject to change.

You won't face a penalty if:

  • You file by October 15, 2021 provided you filed an extension and paid your tax bill by May 17, 2021, or
  • You're getting a tax refund.
    • However, you must file your 2020 taxes by May 17, 2024 (or October 15, 2024 if you filed an extension). After that, any unclaimed tax refunds get turned over to the U.S. Treasury.

Example: Let's say you didn't file your return by the May 17 deadline and you owe the IRS an additional $1,000.

Scenario 1: You file an extension on or before May 17 and pay your $1,000 bill on May 27 (10 days late). Your penalty would be $5 (the 0.5% late-payment penalty applied to $1,000), plus another dollar or so for the interest.

Scenario 2: You didn't file an extension, and you file your return on May 27 (10 days late) along with your $1,000 payment. Your penalty would be $50 (the 5% late-filing penalty applied to $1,000), plus another dollar or so for the interest.

What if I submitted my return before October 15 but it was rejected?

You have through October 20, 2021 to fix and resubmit your return to the IRS without being subject to late filing fees. 

What if I miss the October 20th deadline to resubmit my 2020 rejected return?

You can still resubmit your rejected return through October 31, 2021 9PM PT, but your return could be subject to late filing or payment penalties

What if I miss the October 31st e-file deadline to resubmit my return?

No worries, you can print and mail your return, but late penalties may apply. Unfinished 2020 TurboTax Online returns can be transferred to the TurboTax CD/download software for paper-filing.

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