Do This If You Can’t File or Pay Your Taxes

The IRS received over 99 million tax returns and issued more than 77 million in refunds through April 3, 2015, with the average refund amount being $2,800. If you haven’t yet filed your tax return or paid your taxes, you should act now to avoid penalties. Here is how:
If you cannot file your tax return by April 15, you can request a tax-filing extension. You can do that by using the IRS Free File on This is a free service that provides you with an automatic extension of six months to file (until Oct. 15) on Form 4868. By filing this form, you avoid the late-payment penalty of 5 percent.

When filing for an extension, pay as much of your tax liability as you can to avoid the late-payment penalty of 0.5 percent. Even if you can only pay a small part of your tax bill, you must file your return. Any payments made with an extension request will reduce or eliminate interest and late-payment penalties. The failure-to-pay penalty is 0.5 percent per month and the interest rate is 3 percent per year, compounded daily.

Apart from free file, you can request an extension through a return preparer, tax-preparation software, or by filing Form 4868.

To pay your taxes, you may use the IRS Direct Pay facility or any other electronic payment option and pay your estimated tax liability by April 15.

If you owe taxes after filing season, you can set up a payment agreement with the IRS. If you owe $50,000 or less in back taxes (including penalties and interest), you may use the Online Payment Agreement feature on the IRS site to spread your payments over up to 72 months. If not, you can choose from a variety of payment agreements from the IRS, such as an Installment Agreement and Offer in Compromise, to resolve your back taxes.

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