The reality is, filing taxes late can have serious consequences, and what happens if you file taxes late largely depends on whether or not you owe the IRS money—or you’re even required to file (more on that later).
Preparing your tax return can range from incredibly simple with a Form 1040 only listing your income, standard deduction, and pertinent personal information to extremely complicated with the need for hiring a tax professional.
This is especially the case if you have self-employment or freelance business income, make contributions to an IRA, or seek to add additional schedules for reporting more complex passive income investments or tax positions.
First things first. You’re going to get hit with penalties and interest. If you didn’t expect that right off the bat, you don’t know the federal government. These disincentives usually are enough to entice most to file a return without a fight.