Penalty Abatement

The IRS charges penalties for various reasons; however, a taxpayer may qualify for relief from certain penalties if the taxpayer tried to comply with tax laws but was unable to do so due to circumstances beyond their control.  

What is a Penalty Abatement?

A Penalty Abatement is a reduction of the penalties charged by the IRS when certain criteria are met. A successful penalty abatement results in a lower overall liability, which can help you overcome your tax issue quicker. 

Individuals and businesses may qualify for a Penalty Abatement. A penalty abatement request is more successful when you show that you have become compliant with your current tax obligations and have taken steps to resolve the outstanding tax liability. It takes a significant amount of time for the IRS to review and process a penalty abatement request, resulting in months passing before you receive a response. You have appeal rights if your initial request is denied.


How Can I Get a Penalty Abatement?

The IRS may give you one of the following types of penalty abatement depending on the penalty:

First Time Penalty Abatement

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  • You may qualify under this type of penalty abatement if this is the first time you have filed or paid a tax return late and you meet certain other requirements.
  • You can go to the IRS website First Time Penalty Abatement section for more information.

Reasonable Cause ​

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  • IRS will consider any reasonable situation that prevents you from filing your tax return timely, making a deposit, or paying your tax when due.
  • Reasonable cause situations include, but are not limited to: natural disasters, inability to obtain records, and serious illness of the taxpayer or family member.
  • You can go to the IRS website Penalty Relief Due to Reasonable Cause.

Statutory Exception​

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  • Certain types of tax legislation may provide a statutory exception to a penalty.
  • You may also qualify for this relief if you received incorrect written advice from the IRS.
  • You can go to the IRS website Penalty Relief Due to Statutory Exception section for more information.


There is a time limitation on when you must file a penalty abatement request in certain cases. We have to review your account in-depth to determine whether this could apply to your situation.

The IRS will reduce the interest assessed on any penalties that are abated. However, they will not remove the interest associated with the unpaid amount tax you owe.

You will need documentation supporting your reasonable cause claim that applies to the period when you failed to pay or file your taxes.