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File the returns as soon as possible, even if you cannot pay immediately. You don't want the failure to file penalty to stop. IRS will not wait forever after the statute of limitation expires, they simply file a substitute return for you, using information they received from third parties like your employers, banks, investment companies, calculate your balance due and send you a bill.
Failure to file and failure to pay penalty can be up to 25%, in addition the interest will grow every days until you pay.
If you are self-employed and filing late, you have increased chance to be audited. But that just something you have to deal with. Waiting will just make it worse. If you are current on filing and you owe a huge amount you have other options like installment agreement or even offer in compromise. But you will have to get current and file all the missing returns.