Oh no!  Is it already May??

Missing the tax filing deadline can be a stressful experience, but it’s not the end of the world. Whether you’ve encountered unexpected circumstances or simply procrastinated until the last minute and then realized you couldn’t get your tax filing together in time, there are steps you can take to rectify the situation and minimize any potential penalties. Here’s a simple guide on what to do if you find yourself late with filing your taxes.


1.  Don’t Panic, but Do Act Quickly


Realizing that you’ve missed the tax filing deadline can be unsettling, but it’s essential to keep a level head and take swift action. Panicking will only cloud your judgment and delay the resolution process. Remind yourself that this is a common issue that many people encounter, and there are steps you can take to remedy the situation.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure about how to proceed, don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or professional advisors. Sometimes, talking through your concerns with someone else can provide clarity and alleviate anxiety. 

Remember, while missing the tax deadline is less than ideal, it’s not the end of the world. By remaining calm and taking proactive steps to address the situation, you can minimize any negative consequences and get back on track with your tax obligations.  Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good here — just find some help quickly and get it done.


2.  File Your Tax Return ASAP


Even though you missed the deadline, you should still file your tax return as soon as possible and not wait until October 14 (the night before the next deadline!). The longer you wait, the more penalties and interest you may incur. Gather all necessary documents, including W-2 forms, 1099s, receipts, and any other relevant paperwork, and complete your tax return accurately.

If you didn’t file for an extension, or if you only filed for a federal extension, you’re likely to owe penalties on top of interest.  The closer to the deadline you can get your return filed, the stronger position you have to plead for a waiver of penalties with the IRS and state and local authorities.  “I missed it by just a few weeks” sounds a lot better than “I didn’t get around to it until September!”

If you did file for an extension, hopefully you also made an estimated payment of what you owe.   Otherwise even though the extension helps you avoid the penalty charges, you’ll still owe interest on any amounts you have to pay in taxes due.  It’s in your interests to keep that interest amount as low as you can by filing as soon as you can. 


3.  Pay What You Owe and Ask for Help

Speaking of interest, if you didn’t make a payment by April 15, whether or not you filed for an extension, it’s not too late to make an estimated payment.  You can even make one online or over the phone for the IRS and for your state and local payments – check out our handy contact guide and extension instructions here.  Paying down what you can a little bit at a time, while you’re trying to get your paperwork together, helps reduce the total interest and penalties owed in the end.   

If you don’t have a great estimate, it’s still better to pay something than nothing.  Take your best guess or talk to a professional.  A tax professional may also be able to help you work out a payment plan with the IRS or your state tax authorities, to minimize interest and help you get on a realistic schedule to pay off your total amount owed. 


4.  Prevent this from Happening Again 

Taking steps to make sure you don’t find yourself in this position again next year can help alleviate your anxiety right away.  Take advantage of technology to streamline your tax preparation process for future years. Consider using the BossTax app, a free mobile app designed to help individuals and families keep their tax paperwork organized throughout the year, that offers comprehensive professional tax filing as well. 

BossTax offers features such as tax document upload, automatic scanning and processing, free income and expense tracking for your self-employed business and rental properties, and live professional help all accessible from your smartphone. By leveraging this app, you can easily capture and categorize receipts, track deductible expenses, and stay informed about important tax deadlines.

Make it a habit to regularly input relevant information into the BossTax app as you receive documents or incur expenses. Connect your accounts to automate deduction and expense record capture, making your business bookkeeping a breeze.  By connecting your accounts, the app will help keep you up to date throughout the year, and you’ll save yourself the last-minute scramble and stress of gathering paperwork come tax season.

At tax time, file right from your phone with BossTax’s tax preparation capabilities.  Self-file or full professional filing preparation are both available for a fee, and you can have the reassurance of a live tax preparer putting together your filing and ensuring it’s accurate.  Sign from your phone and e-file your complete household and business income tax filings, and you’re done! 




While missing the tax filing deadline can be stressful, it’s not insurmountable. By taking proactive steps to address the situation and comply with IRS and state/local filing requirements, you can mitigate the impact of filing your taxes late. Remember to file your tax return as soon as possible, pay any taxes owed, and consider seeking professional assistance if needed.  And most importantly, learn from the experience to avoid encountering similar issues in the future.


Confused?  Talk to a tax professional through the BossTax app to get advice on your particular situation.  Go to Contact Us to chat or call for live help and tax advice.