IRS Penalty Abatement Request Letter

IRS Definition

A penalty abatement request letter asks the IRS to remove a penalty for reasonable cause and contains an explanation of your circumstances.

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There are several standard items you should include in a letter to the IRS to request penalty abatement (removal) due to reasonable cause:

  • State the type of penalty you want removed.
  • Include an explanation of the events and specific facts and circumstances of your situation, and explain how these events were outside of your control.
  • Attach documents that will prove your case.

The IRS will review the facts of your case and consider the effort you made to file your tax return and/or pay your taxes on time. The IRS will also consider your prior history of filing and paying your taxes on time.

For example, a taxpayer wants to request penalty abatement because a fire destroyed his records, causing him to file his return after the deadline. In his letter, he would provide the date of the fire and any subsequent events and dates related to his situation. He would explain how he tried to recover the documents necessary to file his tax return. He would also include a copy of the report from the fire department and copies of letters or emails he sent requesting copies of his tax documents.

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