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Procrastinators: Here's what to do if you have not filed your taxes yet

If you’re filing by paper, it must be postmarked by April 15.
Tax Day.PNG
Posted at 6:01 AM, Apr 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-15 07:21:40-04

INDIANAPOLIS — April 15 is Tax Day, meaning your taxes are due before midnight if you’re filing electronically.

If you’re filing by paper, it must be postmarked by April 15.

If you’ve procrastinated, you’re not alone. An estimated 19 million taxpayers, or 12%, request an extension of time to file.

The Internal Revenue Service says if you ask for an extension, you will get another six months to file your taxes, or until October 15.

It’s free, you can request an extension at, and you don’t have to give a reason to get an extension.

You can use IRS Free File to request an extension.

Just be aware:

  • An extension of time to file your return does not grant you any extension of time to pay your taxes.
  • You should estimate and pay any owed taxes by your regular deadline to help avoid possible penalties.
  • You must file your extension request no later than the regular due date of your return.

“Paying late is one half a percent per month, or part of the month that you haven't paid in full up to 25% for not paying on time,” said Stacy Engle, an IRS spokesperson based in Indianapolis. “The failure to file penalty is 5% per month up to 25% so filing late is a lot bigger penalty than paying late.”
You can also get an extension by paying your estimated income tax due and indicate that the payment is for an extension using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment or a credit or debit card — this way you won't have to file a separate extension form.


Failure-to-pay penalty is charged for failing to pay your tax by the due date.

  • The late payment penalty is 0.5% of the tax owed after the due date, for each month or part of a month the tax remains unpaid, up to 25%.
  • You won't have to pay the penalty if you can show reasonable cause for the failure to pay on time.
  • 10 days after the IRS issues a final notice of intent to levy or seize property, the 0.5% rate increases to 1% per month.
  • The penalty rate is 0.25% for each month or part of a month in which an installment agreement is in effect.

Failure-to-file penalty is charged on returns filed after the due date or extended due date, absent a reasonable cause for filing late.

  • The failure-to-file penalty is 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late. The penalty won't exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes.
  • If both a failure-to-file and a failure-to-pay penalty are applicable in the same month, the combined penalty is 5% (4.5% late filing and 0.5% late payment) for each month or part of a month that your return was late, up to 25%.
  • The late filing penalty is calculated based on the tax that remains unpaid after the due date. Unpaid tax is the total tax required to be shown on your return reduced by amounts paid through withholding, estimated tax payments, and allowed refundable credits.
  • If after five months you still haven't paid, the failure-to-file penalty will max out, but the failure-to-pay penalty continues until the tax is paid, up to 25%.
  • The maximum total penalty for failure to file and pay is 47.5% (22.5% late filing and 25% late payment) of the tax.
  • If your return was over 60 days late, the minimum failure-to-file penalty is the smaller of $485 (for tax returns required to be filed in 2024) or 100% of the tax required to be shown on the return.