Tax Tip 2024-36: If taxpayers missed the deadline to file a federal tax return, the IRS can help

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IRS Tax Tips April 23, 2024

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Issue Number:  Tax Tip 2024-36

If taxpayers missed the deadline to file a federal tax return, the IRS can help

Taxpayers who missed the April tax filing and payment deadline should file as soon as they can. The IRS offers resources to help those who may be unable to pay their tax bill in total. Those who missed the deadline to file but owe taxes should file quickly to minimize penalties and interest.

Taxpayers should keep in mind that payments are still due by the April 15 deadline, even if they requested an extension of time to file a tax return. An extension to file is not an extension to pay.

Depending on their circumstances, some taxpayers have more time to file and pay.

Taxpayers who owe tax
Taxpayers who still owe taxes should file their tax return and pay any taxes owed quickly to reduce penalties and interest. Until the balance is paid in full, interest and penalties accrue on taxes owed.

Even if a taxpayer can’t afford to immediately pay the full amount of taxes owed, they should still file a tax return and pay as much as possible. This reduces interest and penalties on the outstanding amount and may help avoid a possible late-filing penalty.

There are options for taxpayers who owe the IRS but cannot afford to pay. For more information see the penalties page on

Taxpayers may qualify for penalty relief if they have filed and paid timely for the past three years and meet other important requirements, including paying or arranging to pay any tax due. For more information, see the first-time penalty abatement page on

Taxpayers who don’t owe tax or are owed a refund
Taxpayers who choose not to file a return because they don’t earn enough to meet the filing requirement may miss out on receiving a refund due to potential refundable tax credits. Some examples are the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. Taxpayers sometimes fail to file a tax return and claim a refund for these credits and others for which they may be eligible.

There’s no penalty for filing after the April 15 deadline if a refund is due. However, taxpayers due a refund should still consider filing as soon as possible.

Members of the military community can still use MilTax
Eligible members of the military community can also file their taxes using MilTax, a free tax resource offered through the Department of Defense. Eligible taxpayers can use MilTax to electronically file a federal tax return and up to three state returns for free.

Some taxpayers have extra time
Some taxpayers automatically qualify for extra time to file and pay taxes due without penalties and interest, including:

  • Taxpayers in certain disaster areas. There’s no need for these taxpayers to submit an extension; extra time is granted automatically due to the disaster. Information on the most recent tax relief for disaster situations is available on the IRS website. 
  • U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work outside of the United States and Puerto Rico.
  • Members of the military on duty outside the United States and Puerto Rico, and those serving in combat zones.

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