BUFFALO, N.Y. — April 15 is Tax Day, the day income tax filings are due for people across the U.S. If taxes and extensions are not filed by 11:59 p.m., people could face penalties. Financial planners offer their expertise to calm anxious filers.

“Take a breath. I know it feels like it’s life or death. I know it feels super overwhelming,” said Brett Koeppel, founder and certified financial planner at Eudaimonia Wealth. “They’re not going to necessarily throw you in jail if you do make a mistake. It’s more so a best guess — a best estimation of what you do owe.”

What You Need To Know

  •  April 15 is Tax Day

  •  Income tax returns and extensions must be filed by 11:59 p.m. 
  •  Those who do not file could face a penalty

Koeppel said not filing taxes is a bigger issue for people and businesses that owe money rather than those expecting returns. The most important thing to do is make an effort to file or get an extension by the end of the day on April 15. If not, you could face a Failure to File penalty, which is usually 5% of what is owed for each month the return is late. That is up to a 25% maximum.

Those who owe an amount they cannot immediately afford can get put on installment plans. Those who get refunds should see them within the next few weeks.

In 2023, the New York State Tax Department collected nearly $59 billion in personal income taxes. It is the biggest source of revenue for the state and funds things like education, health and public safety programs.

Federal income taxes are used to pay for things like national defense, social programs, law enforcement and interest on national debt, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Koeppel said if the idea of having to pay a lump sum of your income taxes every April is stressful, there is no shame in over-withholding throughout the year so you can count on a return.

"You got this. You’re going to be OK,” said Koeppel. “And if it does feel overwhelming in the future, reach out to a professional because they really speak this language and they can help you with making the best decision for your situation.”