WASHINGTON — The calendar shows April 15, and you haven't even started on your federal tax return? Chances are, you don't need to fret.
If you're due a refund — and about three-fourths of filers get refunds — April 15 isn't much of a deadline at all.
The Internal Revenue Service doesn't like to talk about it, but penalties for filing late federal tax returns apply only to people who owe money. The penalty is a percentage of what you owe. If you owe nothing, 5 percent of nothing is ... nothing. But it doesn't make much sense to file late. If you are owed a refund, why wouldn't you want it as soon as possible? And if you have unpaid taxes, the late fees add up quickly.