Owed a refund? There’s no penalty for filing late
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Some good news for procrastinators: If you’re owed a refund and you don’t file your taxes by Tuesday, you won’t get hit with a penalty.
So if you are absolutely sure you’re owed a refund, you won’t get in trouble if you miss the filing deadline.
But if you’re wrong and you actually owe money, you’ll need to fork over a fine. By both failing to file and failing to pay on time, you will incur a maximum penalty of 5% for each month after the deadline. If you’re more than 60 days late, you’ll be fined $135, or 100% of the unpaid tax — whichever amount is smaller.
“Filing by the April deadline can save you from an unexpected surprise,” says Lynn Ebel, tax attorney at the Tax Institute at H&R Block. “If you wait to file … because you ‘know’ you are getting a refund and then find that you miscalculated and actually owe money, interest and penalties will have accrued on your debt [by the time you do file].”
And if you wait too long, your refund will become the property of the government. After three years, you can no longer claim a refund. This year, the IRS announced that more than 900,000 people still haven’t claimed refunds worth a total of $760 million from 2011. After April 15, they can no longer retrieve the funds.