The extended deadline for filing 2018 individual federal income tax returns is October 15. If you extended your return and know you owe tax but can’t pay the bill, you may be struck on what to do next.
File by October 15
First and foremost, file your return by October 15. Filing by the extended deadline will allow you to avoid the 5%-per-month failure-to-file penalty.
The only cost for failing to pay what you owe is an interest charge. Because an extension of time to file isn’t an extension of time to pay, generally the interest will begin to accrue after the April 15 filing deadline even if you filed for an extension. If you still can’t pay when you file by the extended October 15 due date, interest will continue to accrue until you pay the tax.
Consider your payment options
When must you pay the balance due? As soon as possible, if you want to halt the IRS interest charges. Here are a few options:
Pay with a credit card. You can pay your federal tax bill with American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa. Before pursuing this option, ask about the one-time fee your credit card company will charge (which might be deductible) and the interest rate.
Take out a loan. If you can borrow at a reasonable rate, this may be a good option.
Arrange an IRS installment agreement
You can request permission from the IRS to pay off your bill in installments. Approval of your installment payment request is automatic if you:
• Owe $10,000 or less (not counting interest or penalties),
• Propose a repayment period of 36 months or less,
• Haven’t entered into an earlier installment agreement within the preceding five years, and
• Have filed returns and paid taxes for the preceding five tax years.
As long as you have an unpaid balance, you’ll be charged interest. This may be at a much lower rate than what you’d pay on a credit card, or could arrange with a commercial lender.
Be aware that, when you enter into an installment agreement, you must pledge to stay current on your future taxes.
Filing a 2018 federal income tax return is important even if you can’t pay the tax due right now. If you need assistance or would like more information, please contact us. We are here to help!
About the author
Joe is a 2004 graduate of Mount Saint Mary’s University, with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He is also a 2000 graduate of Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware. Joe started with the firm in 2002 as a part-time intern, joining full-time in 2004.
Since then, he has worked with a myriad of clients, including entrepreneurial firms, agricultural businesses and nonprofit entities, including those with OMB A-133 audits. Joe, along with the firm, contributes to Toys for Tots, Goodwill Industries, as well as several other community organizations. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Delaware Society of Certified Public Accountants.