What penalties do I potentially face for filing a late tax return?

If you don’t meet your obligations, you may face the following penalties:

  • Failure to File Penalty: 5 percent of the unpaid balance for each month or part of a month the return is late. The maximum is 25 percent. If the return is more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is the lesser of $135 or the tax due. There is no penalty if the return shows a refund.
  • Failure to Pay Penalty: 0.5 percent of the unpaid balance for each month or part of a month there is an unpaid balance. The maximum is 25 percent.

In certain circumstances, the IRS can take even more extreme action against you, such as revoking your passport.

To protect yourself from all of these consequences, consider talking to a tax professional about your responsibilities so you can make sure you are complying with all of the applicable laws. A tax professional can also help you resolve any problems you already have, such as unfiled returns or back taxes.

What if I made a mistake on a previously filed return?

You can amend your tax return to fix the error on Form 1040X. The primary statute of limitations expires three years after the filing date. If you are filing 1040X to claim a refund, you have two years from the payment of the tax or three years from the original (before any filing extension) due date of the return to make a refund claim.