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What to do if you missed the April tax filing deadline

If you missed the April 17 tax filing deadline for your 2011 return, the IRS has some advice for you.

First, don’t panic. But do file your return as soon as possible. If you owe money on the return, the penalty for late filing and interest on the amount you owe will continue to grow until you file. E-filing is the fastest way to file, and this option is available on 2011 tax returns through October 15, 2012.

Second, pay as much of the tax you owe as you can. If you cannot pay the full amount of tax due with your return, you can ask to make monthly installment payments to the IRS. File Form 9465, “Installment Agreement Request,” or apply online using the IRS Online Payment Agreement Application available at the IRS website (www.irs.gov).

Third, any additional delay in filing will just increase any penalty and interest charges. These include a late filing penalty, a late payment penalty, and interest on taxes not paid by April 17.

If you haven’t filed your return, the problem will not go away by itself. File your return, and if you can’t pay the tax owed, inform the IRS of your current financial situation.

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