So what, oh what, are these late filers to do?
E-file Your Returns ASAP
The most important thing now is getting your filing done as quickly and accurately as possible. Remember: if your forms get rejected for an error, you have to re-file them, making them even later. Also, remember that your penalty is determined by how long it takes you to file your returns (correctly). You’ll want to make sure you e-file; if you paper file your forms, the IRS will have to determine your penalty by the paper filing deadline (February 29, making them already over a month late) instead of the March 31 e-filing deadline.
Know What You’re Up Against
As we just said, the IRS determines your penalty based on when your forms are ultimately filed. This means that if you file
- within 30 days of the deadline, your penalty is $50 per form, not to exceed $532,000 a year ($186,000 for small businesses);
- after 30 days the due date but before August 1, your penalty is $100 per form, not to exceed $1,596,500 a year ($532,000 for small businesses);
- after August 1, or not at all, your penalty is $260 per form, not to exceed $3,193,000 a year ($1,064,000 for small businesses).
...but don’t count on them to keep your penalty amount zero. Most of the exceptions are at the discretion of the IRS, so it’s still best to file as soon as you can after the deadline. The IRS considers these three main exceptions when looking into late filing cases:
- If you can show that the late filing (or non-filing) was due to events beyond your control, or due to significant mitigating factors rather than willful neglect, the IRS penalty will not apply.
- Inconsequential errors or omissions that don’t prevent the IRS from processing the return aren’t considered failures to include correct information. Usually, these errors are related to a TIN, a payee’s/employee’s surname, and any money amounts.
- De minimis rule for corrections. In other words, if your correction forms were filed after the deadline but before August 1 and were to correct forms you filed before the deadline. If you meet these conditions, the penalty won’t apply to 10 information returns, or ½ of 1% of the total forms, whichever is greater, for your filing.
Hint: it’s not Ghostbusters. Give up? It’s us! Our friendly, US-based support team is here all year long, not just during tax season, to help you with any post-March-31st-at-midnight issues or questions you have. Just send us a live chat or give us a call at (704) 839-2270, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT. You can also email us 24/7 at support@ExpressIRSForms.com!