For 2022 the automatic extension for filing your 2021 IRS tax return ends on October 17th. In most years the extension runs until October 15th but a holiday gives taxpayers two extra days for getting their paperwork filed.

Even though there is an extension on paperwork, there was no extension or delay on the tax money you owed, and what you owed should have been paid back in April. But don’t worry about that right now because the interest rate that the IRS charges on unpaid tax debt is currently very low — but it will go up as the Federal Reserve keeps pushing interest rates up. However, with that said, the sooner you pay off your tax debt the better.


And before you start to panic about the October 17th deadline to file your paperwork, a word that might calm your fears. Even though there are penalties for filing late and these late filing or failure to file penalties are hefty (they can be as much as 5% of the money you owe each month for as long as five months, plus other interest and fees) you do not have to file a tax return if you don’t owe any taxes or if you are due a refund.

But be cautious with this information. Even though you don’t have to file a tax return if you don’t owe the IRS any money, you will not be able to claim a refund on overpayment of taxes unless you do file. And the IRS limits the time you have to claim a refund. Also, you might find out that you really do owe money to the IRS and you are actually being charged interest and penalties. So be careful. Be careful.


You should file as soon as possible if you have tax debt, or if you are eligible for certain credits and payments that were designed to help families as a result of the Covid pandemic. You must file to get the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and your must file to get the Child Tax Credit. You must file a tax return to claim those benefits.

Also, if you are seeking an IRS Fresh Start or an IRS Offer In Compromise having all tax returns filed is a requirement for those programs.

The first step to take to file is to try to file electronically. If you file by snail mail your tax return could be tied up for months before the IRS takes a look at it. That will hold up tax refunds and pandemic benefits and your application for an IRS Fresh Start and an IRS Offer In Compromise Program. With electronic filing, your tax return can possibly be processed in about two weeks or less. Otherwise you could be waiting for months and months — and possibly a year or longer. No kidding.


This is important so we’ll say it again. File your tax return even if you owe money. There are options available to pay the IRS late. The IRS has payment plans and you might be eligible for the IRS Offer In Compromise Program.

Yes, a lot of people file late because they didn’t have money to pay their taxes in April. You’re not alone. But filing — even if you still owe money — will resolve one of the big headaches.


Some people haven’t filed their 2021 tax return yet because their 2020 tax return hasn’t been processed yet. If that’s your situation the IRS has this advice: “Those waiting for their 2020 tax return to be processed can still file their 2021 return electronically by entering $0 for their 2020 AGI when prompted.” If you use a computer program to prepare your taxes, your computer program may auto-populate this on your 2021 tax return.


If you can’t manage your tax debt problem on your own and you can’t afford the IRS payment programs or you just don’t know what to do with your budget problems, you should find out if you are eligible for the IRS Fresh Start Program and the IRS Offer In Compromise Program that is a key part of the IRS Fresh Start Initiative.

We offer a free telephone conversation with a tax resolution specialist to discuss your situation to see if you are eligible for the IRS Fresh Start or the Offer In Compromise Programs. In 15 minutes or less, this friendly and casual conversation can give you an answer to many of your questions. You don’t need your exact financial figures to have this free consultation. This video tells you want to expect during your free consultation.

Here again is the direct phone number to call our senior tax resolution specialist Tom at our office: 949-359-0810

Or, you can call our general number on this page to reach any of our tax resolution experts about the IRS Fresh Start Initiative or the IRS Offer In Compromise.