What to Do if You Miss an IRS Deadline

When dealing with the IRS, you can expect to deal with deadlines in one way or another. However, there are actually lots of deadlines to be aware of. It can be hard to keep up with these deadlines, so it’s not uncommon that people miss them. For example, a recent deadline from the IRS was April 18th, 2022 (or April 19th, 2022 for some states or October 17th, 2022 for those who filed an extension).

This deadline was the last day that tax filers could submit their 2018 income taxes. However, if they didn’t submit this, they could have been missing out a tax return that was rightfully due to them. It’s no small amount either. For example, in 2018 alone, there were 1.5 million taxpayers that were due around $1.5 billion through tax refunds. The median payment for these refunds was $813. That means 50% of taxpayers were due more than this and 50% were due less.

So you may be thinking, “why was the deadline in 2022 for 2018?” Well that’s because there is a three year window that tax filers have when it comes time to submit their taxes for that year. This means that 2022 is the third year for 2018. However, this deadline passed so if you were someone, for example, that missed a deadline like this, you should know what to do next.

Next Steps if You Miss an IRS Deadline

If you find that you missed an IRS deadline, there are some steps you can take. However, the exact course of action will depend on your specific situation. For reference, if we look at the example mentioned above where you missed the 2018 three year tax-filing deadline, you would basically be out of luck. That’s because the funds from these unclaimed tax returns will be claimed by the United States Treasury. Which means ownership gets transferred to them! However, there are other instances where if you miss a deadline, there are still ways to benefit. Which is why you will want to get in touch with a tax professional if you miss a deadline. These professionals have the ability to help you best handle the true next steps you should take for your current situation.

Support for Filing Taxes

When it comes to filing taxes, it can be a stressful task to deal with. Luckily, there are programs available thanks to the IRS that help with tax filing. These free programs are:

  • Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)

Not everyone will be eligible for this tax filing assistance. That’s because it’s only meant to help those who are considered elderly (which in this case is anyone 60 years old or older). Through TCE, eligible seniors can get tax support on topics like retirement planning, pension, and more. Basically, any topic related to being a senior!

The IRS manages this support. However, the sites where the program operates are managed by IRS partners. At these sites, there are volunteers that have been certified by the IRS. These volunteers act as staff that can provide the actual counseling services.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

It may be surprising but this tax support has been around for decades. In fact, for more than 50 years! This is another free tax support opportunity. Just like TCE, only qualifying individuals can benefit. Which includes those that are:

  • Able to speak only a little bit of English
  • Disabled
  • Within income limits which is no more than $60,000 annually (usually)

Just like TCE, the IRS manages this program. However, the sites that the program operates are managed by IRS partners. At these sites, there are volunteers that are IRS certified. They will act as the staff that actually provides the counseling.

IRS Assistance for Tax Debt

Tax debt can be a reason that people choose not to file taxes. Regardless of the reason that people do not file their taxes, it happens often. In fact, there is around $527 billion tax debt that’s outstanding in the United States. What many people don’t know is that the IRS even provides support with tax debt. They can do this through the Fresh Start Program. The name of this program refers to debt support opportunities that the IRS offers. This include opportunities like:

Installment Agreement (IA)

Not everyone is in the position to handle paying the total amount of taxes that they owe. For people that aren’t able to handle this, an IA may be a great support opportunity to consider. That’s because this allows a person to handle repaying their debt in installments. Just like other support options on this list, only those that are eligible can qualify. This means people that are:

  • Current with their tax returns
  • Able to provide proof that they can’t repay their debt
  • Able to provide proof that they are unable to get funding from a lender

Currently Non-Collectible (CNC)

When people find themselves owing large amounts of money to the IRS, they may be able to benefit from CNC. That’s because CNC stops debt collection on a taxpayer’s file. In order to be eligible for this support, a person must be recognizable to the IRS as well as the State. They will only be recognizable if an individual has a qualifying gross monthly income. In addition, an eligible individual will need to provide proof that they can’t handle the debt they owe.

Penalty Abatement

IRS penalties are not uncommon to deal with. In fact, they are so common that it’s easy for them to add up quickly. Which can make it even harder to deal with the existing tax debt because it keeps growing! This can be an especially tricky application to fill out. That is why having a tax professional help you during this process will likely make a world of difference. The application will have information that can be confusing like IRS languages, codes, etc. If eligible for this support, a person will have their penalties removed entirely or at least partially reduced!

Offer in Compromise (OIC)

When people have taxes that are delinquent, they may be able to benefit from OIC. This program can help people settle their tax debt for a smaller amount than what was originally due. However, because this is a super supportive program, the IRS is very selective on who is accepted. In fact, every year just 50% of applicants are accepted by the IRS!


If you miss an IRS deadline, your next steps will vary depending on the deadline you missed. For example, there are cases where you may be out of luck. On the flipside, there may be opportunities for you to benefit even if the deadline was missed! The best course of action that you should take can be determined by a tax professional.

There are resources that the IRS provides that can help people with tax debt or the tax filing process. When it comes to tax filing, some support options include:

  • Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

When it comes to tax debt support, there is the Fresh Start Program. This program refers to multiple support options when it comes to tax debt like:

  • Installment Agreement (IA)
  • Currently Non-Collectible (CNC)
  • Penalty Abatement
  • Offer in Compromise (OIC)
  • There may be more hope than you realize. You just need to know what’s out there! Reach out to a tax professional if you have any further questions or need more information on missing an IRS deadline.

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