Taxpayers Should File Their Tax Return On Time Even If They Can’t Pay Their Tax Bill In Full

Taxpayers should file their tax return by the deadline even if they cannot pay the full amount due.

If an individual taxpayer owes taxes, but can’t pay in full by the
May 17, 2021 deadline, they should:

File their tax return or request an extension of time to file by the May 17 deadline.

  • People who owe tax and do not file their return on time or request an extension may face a failure-to-file penalty for not filing on time. 
  • Taxpayers should remember that an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. An extension gives taxpayers until October 15, 2021 to file their 2019 tax return, but taxes owed are still due May 17, 2021. 

To get an extension to file, taxpayers must do one of the following:

Pay as much as possible by the May 17 due date.

Set up a payment plan as soon as possible.

  • Taxpayers who owe but cannot pay in full by May 17 don’t have to wait for a tax bill to set up a payment plan. 
  • They can apply for a payment plan on 
  • Taxpayers can also submit a payment plan request using Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request 

IRS: Tax Tip 2021-53 


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