The Consequences of Not Paying Taxes on Time: What Happens When You Miss a Payment Deadline

As the tax deadline approaches, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and forget to submit your taxes on time. However, missing a payment deadline can have serious consequences for both individuals and businesses. In this article, we’ll explore what happens when you miss a payment deadline and provide tips on how to get back on track.

The Consequences of Missed Payments:

  1. Penalties: The IRS charges penalties for late payments, which can range from 3% to 9% per year, depending on the type of tax owed.
  2. Interest: You’ll also accrue interest on the unpaid taxes, which can add up quickly.
  3. Audits: Missed payments can trigger an audit by the IRS, which can lead to additional fines and penalties.
  4. Wage Garnishment: The IRS may garnish your wages if you’re unable to pay your tax debt.
  5. Tax Liens: In extreme cases, the IRS may place a lien on your property.

What Happens When You Miss a Payment Deadline:

  1. Initial Penalty: The IRS will charge an initial penalty of 0.5% per month (6% per year) for individual taxpayers and 0.25% per month (3% per year) for businesses.
  2. Accrued Interest: Interest will accrue on the unpaid taxes at a rate of 4.75% per annum (as of January 2023).
  3. Additional Penalties: If you continue to miss payment deadlines, additional penalties may be applied.

Tips for Getting Back on Track:

  1. File an Extension: If you’re unable to pay your taxes by the deadline, consider filing an extension to buy more time.
  2. Pay as Much as You Can: Pay as much of the tax debt as possible to avoid further penalties and interest.
  3. Work with a Tax Professional: Consult with a tax professional or accountant who can help you navigate the process and minimize additional penalties.
  4. Develop a Payment Plan: Create a payment plan with the IRS to make regular payments and avoid further penalties.


Missing a payment deadline can have serious consequences for your financial well-being. By understanding the consequences of missed payments, individuals and businesses can take proactive steps to get back on track. Whether you’re facing a one-time tax debt or chronic issues, it’s essential to prioritize tax compliance and work with a qualified tax professional to minimize penalties and interest.


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