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What You Need to Know if You Missed the Tax Filing Deadline

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Hopefully by now you have filed your federal tax returns. If not, you're late.

The good news is, missing the deadline isn't the end of the world, you won't go to jail and you won't automatically be audited.

According to the tax pros at Bergen Paulsen, if the government owes you money, you can really take all the time you want sending in your tax return -- you'll just have to wait longer for your refund. If you owe the government money, waiting to file will wind up costing you more, so the sooner you file and send them a check, the better.

"The government can charge you penalties and interest based on how many days it takes you to file and pay," said Becky Morgan, Bergen Paulsen Tax Manager.

The amount the IRS charges in penalties and interest varies by person.

Morgan says the best way to avoid late filing is to have a file just for tax papers, and put everything in that one file throughout the year, like W-2's and receipts for donations. Then when you're ready to file, everything is in one place, making the process faster and easier.

If you haven't filed your state return yet, there is still time. Iowa gives you until April 30 to file your state return.