Unfortunately, when it comes to leaving tasks until the last minute, other things tend to get in the way. And a lot of the time, only the very best of task-jugglers can pull off multiple last minute to-dos right before their deadlines. So what to do if you missed the paper filing deadline this past Monday?
First of all, don’t fret. If you’re not opposed to e-filing, just think of this as missing the practice test (that doesn’t count towards your grade) before the real exam. Sure, it might have helped to have gotten it done, but you’ve still got another chance to provide the information you have to the IRS.
If you decide to e-file instead of sending in your paper forms late, you don’t have to notify the IRS. All you have to do is e-file your forms by March 31, 2016. See? There're an extra 29 days to file without having to do anything at all! And you were going to start fretting.
BUT - and this is an MC Hammer sized “but” - if you’re staunchly against e-filing, you’ll need to complete and send in your paper forms AS SOON AS POSSIBLE because the IRS penalties have already begun.
You see, the IRS fines you for late forms based on when the forms are eventually, correctly, filed. If you get your forms filed within the first 30 days after your deadline (so, by March 29), you’ll only owe $50 per form. If you miss the 30-day deadline but file before August, your penalty goes up to $100 per form. And if you don’t file until after August 1 (or not at all), the IRS can charge you up to $260 per form. The maximum amount you can be fined by the IRS for late filing is $3,193,000 per year ($1,064,000 for small businesses).
Other than e-filing or paper filing as soon as possible, there’s not much else you can do to fix the fact that you’re filing late. There is, however, a small loophole in this whole late-filing-penalty-incurring process. Straight from the horse’s mouth (a.k.a. the IRS website):
“The penalty will not apply to any failure that you can show was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect...you must be able to show that your failure was due to an event beyond your control...You also must be able to show that you acted in a responsible manner and took steps to avoid the failure.”
In other words, get that excuse ready - and try to be a little more creative than just blaming the dog - because it could be the difference between paying $50 to $260 per form and paying $0 per form.
If you need help getting started e-filing, or have any questions about the tax filing deadlines, feel free to get in touch with ExpressIRSForms’s customer support team in Rock Hill, South Carolina. We offer support by phone, chat, and email, in English or Spanish, and we’re always happy to help!