1. TurboTax /
  2. Tax Calculators & Tips /
  3. Tax Tips & Videos /
  4. Tax Payments /
  5. How to Deal With Penalties From Tax Non-Payment

How to Deal With Penalties From Tax Non-Payment

Updated for Tax Year 2017


OVERVIEW

If you don't pay your taxes when they're due, the debt doesn't go away. It may even grow as it accumulates interest and penalties each month it remains unpaid. The IRS will continue to attempt collection of the tax you owe, but it may be willing to waive or reduce the penalty charges if you can show you have a good reason.


Step 1: Look into abatement

Check whether your circumstances could entitle you to abatement. The IRS can consider waiving the penalties if your reasons for not paying on time are due to circumstances outside your control, such as a death in the family, illness, imprisonment, a hurricane or the destruction of your records. However, if your only reason for not paying is that you don't have sufficient funds, the IRS will not waive penalties because they hold you responsible for setting money aside for taxes. However, they may consider waiving penalties if you have been unemployed.

Step 2: Gather your proof

Find proof of your claims to present to the IRS. If you live in a federally-declared disaster area for which the IRS is offering residents penalty waivers, then gather some proof that you are in fact a resident of the area. If your reason for not paying is because you spent time in the hospital, then your medical bills or reports that can confirm the dates are helpful. Without any type of proof, the IRS is unlikely to consider waiving or reducing your penalties.

Step 3: Make your waiver request

Write a letter to the IRS requesting a penalty waiver. State the reason you weren't able to pay, and provide copies -- never the originals -- of the documents you're offering as evidence. You should mail the letter to the same IRS address that notifies you about your penalty charges. If you prefer, you can also speak with an IRS representative over the phone.

Step 4: If at first you don't succeed, try again

Appeal if the IRS refuses your request. The IRS will usually respond within 60 days of receiving your request. If you are unsatisfied with its response, you can always write back with more information requesting it reconsider. If your second letter still does not resolve the issue, you have the right to appeal the IRS decision to impose penalties. This allows you to meet with an impartial appeals officer who will reconsider all of your facts and circumstances.

Tips

  • If you run a small business and the employee responsible for filing your tax returns and making payments quits, this may be a valid reason to obtain a penalty waiver if it's close to the payment deadline.
  • In some cases, relying on an accountant's advice that was wrong may be sufficient for the IRS to eliminate your penalties.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99*
Sign In

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Absolute Zero $0 federal (1040EZ/1040A) + $0 state offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: File your 2016 TurboTax Self-Employed return between 4/19/17 and 10/16/17 to receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 10/31/18. Activation by 12/31/17 required. Sign in to QuickBooks Self-Employed via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax; e-mail address used for activation and sign-in. Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not purchase TurboTax Self-Employed by 10/15/18, you will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 10/31/18 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself (TurboTax Self-Employed): Estimates based on deductible business expenses calculated at the self-employment tax income rate (15%) for tax year 2016. Actual results will vary based on your tax situation.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or on-screen); not included with Federal Free Edition (but available for purchase with the Plus bundle). SmartLook on-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. TurboTax experts provide general advice, customer service and product help; tax advice provided only by credentialed CPAs, enrolled agents and tax attorneys. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Return Access, My Docs and My Analysis & Advice features: Access to all tax-related documents we have on file for you is available until you file your 2017 tax return or through 10/31/2018, whichever comes first. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • #1 rated online tax prep provider: Based on independent comparison of the best online tax software by TopTenReviews.com March 13, 2017.
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2016 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies; may require a free Intuit online account. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2016 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2012 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.