Still haven’t filed your 2019 tax return? Penalties are about to get steeper

Personal finance

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Penalties are about to get way steeper for taxpayers who still haven’t filed a 2019 income tax return and owe the IRS a balance.

July 15 was the deadline to submit your return and pay any taxes owed, as the Treasury Department pushed back the due date in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

While taxpayers can ask for a filing extension until Oct. 15, they still needed to pay Uncle Sam by July 15.

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Normally, taxpayers who fail to file on time face a penalty of 5% of the unpaid tax for each month or part of a month that the return is late, up to 25% of the unpaid tax. Interest also accrues on taxes that aren’t paid by the July 15 due date.

Penalties are about to go up for some taxpayers who continue to sit on their late returns, according to an announcement from the IRS.

That’s because a minimum penalty of $435 or 100% of the unpaid tax — whichever is less — applies after a tax return is more than 60 days late. This year, those penalties kick in after Sept. 14.

Failure to pay the IRS on time also comes with a hefty cost: a penalty of 0.5% of the unpaid tax for each month or part of a month that you’re late — up to a maximum of 25% — until you pay the balance in full.

Individuals who are due a refund face no penalties if they have a late tax return.

However, they can’t collect their check from Uncle Sam until they submit the return for that year.

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