What to do if you can’t afford to pay your taxes, Individual Income Tax returns are due May 17

May 13, 2021

The Individual Income Tax due date is fast approaching on Monday, May 17. If you have a tax bill and are worried you can’t pay, the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) wants you to know there are options.

Step one, the IRS advises, is not to panic. Both the IRS and the SCDOR offer payment plans that may be available to you.

What not to do:

  • Do not delay filing your return on time. Filing your return on time will reduce the amount of penalty and interest you will owe, which is added based on the amount of tax not paid by the due date (which is May 17 this year).
  • Do not believe paying installments to the SCDOR and the IRS is your only choice. Weigh your options.
  • Do not wait to begin paying your bill with an installment plan. Pay as much as you can by the due date so the interest charged on the balance going forward is lower.

Payment plans with the SCDOR

You may qualify for a payment plan with the SCDOR. If you want to request a payment plan agreement from the SCDOR, you must not have an active levy or garnishment with the agency, and you must first receive a notice.

As part of the agreement with the SCDOR you must:

  • File and pay all returns in full going forward.
  • Have a bank account.
  • Allow bank drafts for your payments. If a payment is rejected by your bank, your agreement will be in default.
  • File and pay any estimated income taxes.
  • Provide any additional information requested by the SCDOR.

Learn more

For payment plan details and specific qualification information, visit the SCDOR’s website at dor.sc.gov/payplan. For information about payment plans with the IRS, visit IRS.gov.  

To prevent future tax bills, determine what caused the bill, if unexpected. Consider adjusting your withholding or making or increasing quarterly estimated payments.

Don’t forget: Individual Income Tax returns are due May 17

Check out tips for filing your return:

  • File and pay online and choose direct deposit for faster and more accurate processing. Free and low-cost options, like SC Fillable Forms, are available for filing your South Carolina return. Visit dor.sc.gov/iit-filing to learn more.
  • Make sure you have your W-2s, 1099s, and other important documents before you file. Year-end pay stubs may not match what your employer reports to us, which can slow down your return and refund.
  • Make sure your current mailing address is included before submitting your tax return, even if you choose direct deposit for your refund.
  • Check your refund status online at dor.sc.gov/refund. Allow 6-8 weeks for your return and refund to process.
  • If you owe a tax bill, make a quick and easy payment online using MyDORWAY at dor.sc.gov/pay.