Penalties for Filing Your Tax Return Late

Stiff penalties await those who didn't file their return (or pay any tax owed) by the tax filing deadline.

picture of a notebook with "tax penalty" written on it
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We normally "celebrate" Tax Day on April 15, but it was pushed back to April 18 this year for most people because of the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C. (the due date was April 19 for residents of Maine (opens in new tab) and Massachusetts (opens in new tab) because of the Patriot's Day holiday in those states today). If you knew you weren't going to be able to file your 2021 federal income tax return in time, you could have requested an extension to file your return until October 17 (but you still had to pay the tax you expect to owe by your original due date).

But, of course, some people missed the Tax Day deadline and didn't request an extension. And, as you might guess, the IRS doesn't take that lightly and will make you pay a price. If you're curious about what punishment the IRS is going to bring down on you, here's a glimpse of the interest and penalties you may face if you didn't act before the tax deadline.

Rocky Mengle
Senior Tax Editor,

Rocky was a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger from October 2018 to January 2023. He has more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, he worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.