How to Deal With a Missed IRS Deadline

Most American taxpayers are familiar with the fact that each year they need to file their taxes by a specific date. This date is the IRS deadline and it typically lands on April 15th. However, in cases where that date falls on a weekend like in 2023, it will be April 18th in most states. Some states have their deadline one day later, on April 19th. Taxpayers need to file by this deadline or they could be penalized. In 2018 about 1.5 million people were due an average return of $813! That adds up to about $1.5 billion dollars! Therefore, it is in the best interest of taxpayers to file as soon as possible to get their return.

However, if you didn’t file your taxes in previous years, there may still be some hope for you to get your refund! That is because by law, taxpayers have up to three years to file their taxes and get a return. However, keep in mind that the clock starts on the due date of that year’s taxes. For example, if you did not do your 2020 taxes, you have until April 15th, 2024 to file (April 19th in some states). Those that file for an extension will roughly have until October 2024. If you are struggling with filing your taxes on time, there might be ways to get some assistance!

What You Can Do if Don’t File Your Taxes by the IRS Deadline

In 2023, the three year window is up to file your 2019 taxes by the deadlines stated above. If you fail to file then you won’t be able to recover your return! Instead, the USDT (a.k.a the United States Department of the Treasury) would be the ones to get your funds. If you want to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, you can reach out to a tax specialist for help. Tax specialists not only assist with filing your taxes but can also help you get the best return possible. In addition, this could be especially helpful for someone with a more complicated tax situation.

The IRS Provides Opportunities for Tax Filing Assistance

Unfortunately most of us weren’t taught about filing taxes in school. If you are having trouble filing on time or you are overwhelmed by the process, you aren’t alone! This is a common problem for taxpayers. The IRS understands this and offers the following programs to help:

  • Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)

As you likely assumed by the name, this opportunity is only available to people that are 60 years or older. This IRS program is made possible thanks to volunteer staff! Usually the volunteers consist of individuals who are certified and have previous experience with nonprofits that receive IRS grants. With that being said, this program’s staff provide helpful tax counseling to the elderly. The counseling is on relevant matters like pensions and planning for retirement. The IRS manages TCE while IRS partners are responsible for overseeing the sites where the program is hosted.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

One free opportunity that people can take advantage of is VITA. Certain individuals can benefit if they:

  • Have difficulty speaking and/or understanding the English language
  • Have a disability
  • Earn less than $60,000 per year (usually)

People have been taking advantage of this program for decades. That is why it is surprising that many people still don’t make the most out of what’s available even when they are able to get support! Just like TCE, VITA relies on volunteer staff to help people who need it! Staff members provide the necessary tax counseling to those who benefit from the program. Volunteers typically have previous experience with other IRS grant funded nonprofits. Furthermore, this program is also managed by the IRS.

The IRS Might be Able to Help with Your Tax Debt

Tax debt is incredibly common. At the same time, it can make someone feel overwhelmed or even fearful to file their taxes. It is estimated that there is around $527 billion in overdue taxes in the United States. If you have debt that you cannot pay right now, there could be some help available to you. In fact, the IRS offers the Fresh Start Program which might be right for your situation. Through this program, the following support options are available:

Penalty Abatement

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned the possibility of being penalized if you miss an IRS deadline. While penalties can occur in a few ways, they are often in the form of fines. This means that if they are not dealt with they can grow your tax debt and make the situation worse. This program offers qualified applicants the chance to minimize or completely waive their penalties. If this sounds like a good option to you, you can consult a tax specialist to complete an application. Seeking help from a professional is recommended because the application contains IRS information that you might not be familiar with.

Installment Agreement (IA)

This option offers debtors the opportunity to come up with a payment plan that works for them. The payments are known as installments. This could be beneficial to you if you are unable to pay your entire debt at once. However, this opportunity is not available to those who do not meet the following:

  • Can show proof that they do not qualify for a loan to pay off the debt
  • All previous year’s tax returns are up to date
  • Can provide proof that they do not have the finances to pay off the debt up front

Currently Non-Collectible (CNC)

People who are unable to pay down their debt because they are struggling financially can benefit from CNC. This program is available to those that have a gross income that only covers their allowable expenses, with consideration of the national standard. This is because that is the criteria needed for the State and the IRS to recognize a taxpayer. The way that CNC benefits these taxpayers is by pausing their debt collection completely! However, it is important to note that in order to qualify for this program, you have to provide proof of your finances. Your records need to confirm that you’re experiencing hardship and can’t make your debt payments right now.

Offer in Compromise (OIC)

This opportunity is a good option for someone that has some money that they can pay their debt back with. With this program an amount can be negotiated to less than what they owe, or clear their debt completely. However, the IRS turns down a little more than 50% of OIC applicants each year. With that being said, consulting a tax specialist to assist with the application could better your chances of being accepted!

Wrapping it Up

Dealing with taxes can be complicated. Even more so if you miss an IRS deadline or have any tax debt. Fortunately missing an IRS deadline isn’t as world-ending as you think! The IRS allows taxpayers three additional years, after the initial deadline, to file taxes and get a return. If you are having trouble understanding your taxes on your own and need to consult someone but cannot afford to hire a specialist, the IRS may be able to help. There are programs that are made possible by volunteers, provided by the IRS. These programs include:

  • Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

In addition to the above, the Fresh Start Program helps taxpayers who have debt but need help dealing with it. No matter your situation, you may be able to benefit from assistance the IRS provides!