Picture this: you have less than 3 weeks to file and submit your tax return, but you’re too busy to find the time to do it. 

Your anxiety and stress levels increase as the tax deadline gets closer. What will happen if you file your taxes late? 

If this situation sounds familiar, know that you’re not the only one experiencing this problem. The good news is, there are ways to deal with late tax filings!

Now that you know there’s a solution, let’s tackle this together. 

Below, we’ve gathered the most practical tips on tax return delays so that you can avoid paying a lot of money in penalties.

Tax Form 1040

Tax Form 1040

If you know for sure that you’ll miss the tax deadline, immediately file for a tax extension to avoid any possible penalties. 

All you need to do is fill in and submit Form 4868 to the IRS either by mail or electronically—but there’s a catch. 

Filing an extension for tax return delays only allows you more time to file, not more time to pay your taxes. 

In other words, if you owe money to the IRS, you have to estimate and pay at least 90% of your tax liability with your Form 4868. Otherwise, you could face a late payment penalty. 

When is the deadline to file a tax extension? 

The deadline to file a tax extension is the same date to file a tax return, April 15, 2024. An extension will delay your filing deadline to October 15, 2024. 

What if I don’t file a tax return delay? 

This depends on whether you owe money to the IRS or the IRS owes you money. 

1. What happens if you owe money to the IRS?

If you file an extension without payment, you’ll be fined .5% of unpaid taxes for each month the taxes are unpaid plus 8% interest. The maximum penalty is up to 25%. 

Failure to file your return by the extension deadline will result in a failure to file penalty.

2. What happens if you have a refund from the IRS?

If you’re entitled to a refund from the IRS, you won’t suffer penalties for not filing your tax return by the deadline, even if you don’t submit an extension. 

That being said, if you don’t file your return within 3 years of the original due date, you’ll lose the refund.

How can I know if my tax extension is approved? 

Normally, you will receive a confirmation email from the IRS within a day of e-filing Form 4686. 

If you sent the tax extension request by mail, you won’t receive a confirmation and will have to call the IRS to check. 

The IRS only contacts you if there’s something wrong with your extension. 

Why might my tax return delay request be rejected?

Though this situation doesn’t happen too often, it’s still possible if you don’t fill out Form 4686 carefully. 

For example, if you make typos or provide information that doesn’t match IRS records such as your address, your request might be turned down. 

In this case, you can submit the form with the corrections by the tax extension deadline. 

Another thing that could lead to rejection is unrealistic tax liability estimates. Not only will you not get an extension, but you might even be fined.

Can I request a tax payment delay?

If you can’t make your total tax payment, pay as much as you can. This way you will at least pay less in penalties and interest.

The IRS may offer some payment options. They may allow for a short-term payment extension, which is usually 120 days or less, an installment agreement, an offer in compromise, or a temporary delay of collection. In addition, they may be able to waive some of the penalties, but not any of the interest charges.

If the taxpayer has suffered undue hardship, there is an application to fill out and submit for an extension of time for payment of tax due. 

Below is what you need to do in order to have some extra time to pay your income tax due to undue hardship:

  • File Form 1127 and submit it to the IRS on or before the date that the tax is due.

  • Provide a complete statement of all your assets and liabilities as of the end of the last month, plus an itemized list of income and expenses for the 3 months prior to the due date of the tax. 

  • Show that paying the tax by the original deadline would cause you extreme hardship (if you show it’s only an inconvenience, there’s little chance your request will be accepted).

  • Prove that paying the tax on time would result in a significant financial loss and that you don’t have the money or can’t raise it by selling property or borrowing.

Generally, you will get a 6-month extension if your request is approved.

Furthermore, the IRS requires some acceptable security before issuing a payment extension. 

Depending on your circumstance, the security could be in the form of a bond, a notice of lien, or even a mortgage.

Extensions are sometimes granted, particularly in the event of federally declared disasters. 

Additional relief information is available on the IRS Disaster Relief page.

How Shoeboxed makes tax season more manageable as a sole proprietor

Tax season can be very complex if you’re self-employed or a sole proprietor.

Since most business-related expenses are deductible, you should go over your bookkeeping carefully to lower your taxable income as much as possible. 

Having your paper receipts digitized will put you at a significant advantage when tax time rolls around.  

Shoeboxed is an online application that helps you clear your piles of documents off your desk and digitize them in just a click. 

Shoeboxed automatically extracts and categorizes important data from your receipts. 

You can scan your business receipts, manage expenses, organize receipts by category, store business cards, and track business mileage for tax purposes, helping you boost productivity and bring in more revenue. 

Quick, reliable, and trustworthy, Shoeboxed guarantees to organize your receipts in the best way possible!

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Bonus infographic: 4 steps for how to file a tax return delay

4 Steps to File for Tax Return Delay

4 Steps to File for Tax Return Delay

The bottom line 

Filing taxes isn’t fun, but there are ways to make the process easier. 

Always try to file your tax return as soon as possible. In case you can’t, make a tax return delay request. 

Remember that a tax extension will only give you more time to file your tax return, not more time to pay your taxes. 

If you think you’ve filed your taxes twice, don’t worry cause we have the perfect article for you here: Filing Duplicate Tax Returns? Here’s What to Know and Do

Agata Kaczmarek has held a passion for writing since early childhood. A professional writer for many years, Agata specializes in writing articles and blogs focused on finance as someone who holds a Masters Degree in Accounting and Finance.

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