Do You Have to Pay Your Tax Bill the Day You File Your Return?

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  • Taxes are due this year on April 18, but you may decide to file your return sooner.
  • If you file your taxes early, you don't have to pay your tax bill right away. 
  • You won't incur interest and penalties on your tax bill until after April 18.

It depends on when you file your return.

Taxes are due this year on April 18. If you haven't yet gotten started on gathering your tax documents, then you may find yourself running up against that deadline. But if you've already sorted out your various tax forms, and you have all of the financial information you need to file your taxes, then you may be ready to submit your return well ahead of the April 18 deadline.

If you're due a refund from the IRS, you may be extra motivated to get your taxes filed early this year. The sooner you submit your return, the sooner that money can hit your bank account

But what if you owe the IRS money for underpaying your taxes in 2022? In that case, you may be inclined to file your tax return at the last minute so as to not have to part with that money earlier than necessary.

One thing you should know, however, is that you don't have to pay your tax bill in conjunction with filing your tax return. So if you're submitting your taxes early this year and owe money, you really don't have to pay the IRS until April 18.

You should pay on time, but you don't need to pay early

If you owe the IRS money and are filing your tax return on April 18, then yes, you should pay your tax bill that same day. If you don't, you'll start to accrue interest and penalties on the sum you owe, thereby adding to your costs.

But let's say you manage to get your taxes done by March 15 because you want that task crossed off your mental to-do list. In that case, you do not have to pay the IRS what you owe on March 15. Instead, you can send a check closer to the filing deadline, or arrange for an electronic withdrawal from your bank account to go out closer to April 18, or on April 18. 

Now, if you only owe the IRS a small amount of money, and it's not a burdensome sum, then you may just decide you'll pay what you owe even if it's ahead of the deadline. But let's say you owe the IRS $500 and money is very tight -- so tight you're barely managing to pay your bills on time. In that case, you should probably wait until April 18 to pay that $500, as parting with that sum sooner could mean landing in debt temporarily or enduring some type of hardship. 

It pays to work on your taxes early

Many people expect to get a refund from the IRS only to learn that they actually owe the agency money instead. That sort of situation could constitute a financial shock, especially if money isn't abundant. 

That's why it really pays to get working on your taxes well ahead of the filing deadline. If you realize you owe the IRS $500 on April 14 and taxes are due on April 18, that's not a lot of time to scramble to come up with that cash. But if you complete your return on March 14, you have more than a month to come up with a game plan. And that could help you avoid interest and penalties when you have a balance due. 

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