Negligence Penalty

IRS Definition

A component of the accuracy-related penalty involves a taxpayer’s negligence or disregard of rules or regulations — “negligence” is defined in tax law as any failure to make a reasonable attempt to comply with the provisions of the tax law, and the term “disregard” includes any careless, reckless or intentional disregard.

More from H&R Block

If the IRS has reason to believe that you made a careless, reckless or intentional mistake on your tax return, the IRS may charge you the 20% accuracy-related negligence penalty.

To find out whether the penalty applies, the IRS looks at several factors. For example, the IRS will look to see whether you:

  • Made the same mistake before
  • Kept adequate records
  • Have a reasonable explanation as to why you made this mistake

The IRS expects you to make a reasonable attempt to file an accurate tax return. If you can show you made a reasonable attempt, the IRS typically doesn’t charge the negligence penalty.

Learn how to address an IRS negligence penalty.

Get help from an expert

Your local H&R Block tax pro can look into your issue and deal with the IRS for you.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Or call 855-536-6504

Related Information

What To Do About the IRS Negligence Penalty

The IRS negligence penalty is 20% of the amount you underpaid your tax. Learn about your options to address it from the tax experts at H&R Block.

Don’t Pay an IRS Penalty Without Looking Into Penalty Relief

The IRS grants four types of penalty relief, but many taxpayers don't ever ask. Learn how to request penalty abatement from the IRS.

How Long Does It Take? IRS Penalty Abatement

How long penalty abatement takes depends on the type of penalty relief you’re requesting. Learn more from the tax experts at H&R Block.

How to Address IRS Penalties

Learn how to address and understand an IRS tax penalty from the tax experts at H&R Block.

How to Handle IRS CP2000 Notices (Underreporter Inquiry)

Learn how the IRS matches your information to generate CP2000 notices, and how to handle one of these underreporter inquiries if the IRS contacts you.