I am a US resident and last night I e-filed my 2019 federal income tax return with TurboTax and I owed money.

(I know you should NEVER wait for the last day but it's been a couple of crazy weeks so I did not manage to do this before despite its criticality)

Due to issues with my bank blocking my cards payments while I was trying to e-file, I ended up filing (and paying) my federal return exactly one second after the deadline.

The report showed that I filed my taxes exactly on July 16th at 00:00:00. Will the IRS ask me to pay the 5% penalty??

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  • 4
    Just to clarify, was it midnight in your local time zone? The screenshots are a little unclear on this detail. Jul 17, 2020 at 13:54
  • 4
    Please follow up on this question when you find whether or not you were charged a fee!
    – Aww_Geez
    Jul 17, 2020 at 13:54
  • 2
    Isn't the deadline midnight local time? If so, you filed with 3 hours to spare.
    – chepner
    Jul 17, 2020 at 14:09
  • 3
    @Aww_Geez I suspect the deadline is related to the address that appears on your return; otherwise, I suspect every filing service would have a presence as far west as possible to cater to extreme procrastinators. (CA is UTC-8; Alaska and Hawaii are UTC-10, and there are some US possessions in UTC-11 and UTC-12.)
    – chepner
    Jul 17, 2020 at 18:37
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    @DavidHirsch: why are you spreading the news? Next year the OP will file his taxes 3 hours and one second too late... Jul 17, 2020 at 22:48

2 Answers 2


It certainly seems like they could consider this late, but that's really up to them to decide if they want to hold you to the second or not.

If they do, however, consider appealing the fee. From the IRS page on penalties:

The IRS may abate your penalties for filing and paying late if you can show reasonable cause and that the failure wasn't due to willful neglect. Making a good faith payment as soon as you can may help to establish that your initial failure to pay timely was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect. If you're billed for penalty charges and you have reasonable cause for abatement of the penalty, send your explanation along with the bill to your service center, or call us at 800-829-1040 for assistance (see Telephone and Local Assistance for hours of operation). The IRS doesn't generally abate interest charges and they continue to accrue until all assessed tax, penalties, and interest are fully paid.

Give that a shot and see what happens. They might well waive the fees, or at least reduce them, due to your asking politely.

  • 8
    One other note: it's not 100% clear to me that "midnight" means "midnight eastern". I've not seen it worded that way anywhere - always just "midnight", and historically back when you mailed it in the postmark had to be midnight local time for sure. So it's possible this isn't even considered late. All of the IRS documentation I've seen only specifies the date, no time component.
    – Joe
    Jul 17, 2020 at 5:08
  • 3
    @Gabe if you get anything back from this, consider adding an update or answer here to explain what happened. Jul 17, 2020 at 13:54
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    Most electronic systems I know have at least few seconds tolerance, to prevent arguments about clock differences and "but I clicked second earlier, not my fault your server got it a second to late" arguments. Thus, I believe that it would be reasonable to assume they will not "want to hold you to the second".
    – Mołot
    Jul 17, 2020 at 14:58
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    @UuDdLrLrSs ok I will post an update here if I have to pay a penalty
    – Gabe
    Jul 17, 2020 at 15:49
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    @Gabe I'd bet they have an internal policy of allowing e-filers to slip X minutes past the deadline, so they can avoid the paperwork and hassle of the penalty abatement process.
    – jpaugh
    Jul 17, 2020 at 18:29
  1. You’d need to check the exact wording of the relevant law: Did you have to pay before or not later than the deadline?
  2. How precise is the payment date recorded? It might be stored rounded To the nearest minute, so they only have proof you paid from 30 seconds before to 30 seconds after the deadline.
  3. Charging you means you will certainly complain, which will cost time and money. You might take them to court and win. If I made the decision, I’d only charge if my software said you were 2:30 minutes late, so you have no chance for a successful complaint. They are not going to make that much money from charging people in these 150 seconds.

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