The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

News: The Final Day to Pay Your Taxes Is Almost Here -

The federal tax deadline is on April 18 for most Americans. If you're still missing key forms and can't cover your balance by the due date, you can file a fee tax extension.

Many Americans procrastinate until the last moment with their taxes, whether due to complexity or stress. However, skipping the filing deadline is the mistake taxpayers should avoid. The reason is simple - penalties. The penalty for failure to file is 5% of unpaid balance per month (capped at 25%), plus interest.

You can avoid a penalty for late filing by requesting an extension before April 18. But note, that you still must pay your balance by the date to avoid a late payment penalty and interest. The late payment penalty is 0.5% per month (limited to 25%). However, if you live in areas that suffered from natural disasters, you'll automatically have more time to file and pay taxes. Here's a full list of areas with tax relief.

If you decide to file for a federal extension, you can use Form 4868 online via IRS Free File. Another option is to make an electronic payment and select "extension" as the reason. This way the extension is automatic and won't require you filing Form 4868. When you file the extension, you'll have an extra six months to submit your taxes.

If you have an unpaid balance, whether first time or older tax debt, you can apply for an installment agreement, a long-term monthly payment plan through the IRS. There's also a "currently not collectible" status, in which the IRS stops trying to retrieve unpaid balances, but only temporarily. After you've explored all payment options and didn't find the one for you, you have the option of offer in compromise. You will have to prove you've gone through financial hardship to reduce your balance through an offer in compromise.