The only thing scarier than filing taxes is what could happen if you don't file. The IRS penalty for not filing is actually worse than if you file but don't pay your tax bill in full. It'll cost you 5 percent a month on any unpaid tax if you haven't sent in a Form 1040. Send in the return but no money, and you'll only be charged one-half of 1 percent of the tax owed for each month.
The remedy: File! And file on time. Then make arrangements to pay. That way you'll avoid taking that hardest tax penalty hit, which could reach a cumulative 25 percent maximum penalty.
If you can't afford to pay your full tax bill, send Uncle Sam at least a down payment. As for coming up with the rest of the tax bill, consider using a credit card; just use the card that has the lowest interest rate. The IRS also has payment plans. Though these add interest charges to your tax bill, rates right now are low. And at least you can be assured that you're meeting your filing and payment obligations.