“To Err Is Human,” Your Guide to IRS Penalty Abatement

Marinela Prodan/freeimages
Marinela Prodan/freeimages

“To err is human, to forgive is divine.” In this case, the IRS could be the forgiving party in the equation. The First Time Abatement, or FTA, is available to you as a means of reducing or eliminating a tax penalty altogether.

Guidelines

The IRS will generally consider issuing a First-time Penalty Abatement if you have had no prior substantial tax penalties with the IRS within the past three years.  The IRS may grant you a First Time Abatement (FTA) in one of these two instances:

Reasonable cause would apply if there was a legitimate circumstance that prevented you from filing your tax return on time, such as a serious illness (sorry, having a bad case of the Mondays doesn’t count in this case) or disaster.

Complying with IRS regulations would be  nearly impossible under these circumstances, and the IRS will take that into consideration when deciding whether or not to grant you a one-time penalty abatement.

The IRS may also grant you the FTA if they made an error in calculating the amount of tax you owe. Be careful, though: the burden of proof will be on you in this case, so you’ll need to provide enough supporting documentation to prove your claim.

The FTA is a little-known program that can be of great help to you if you meet the guidelines. After all, why pay tax penalties if they were calculated in error or if circumstances such as illness or disaster prevented you from filing your taxes on time?

Time To Seek Help

As with any other tax matter, the IRS has a myriad of codes, regulations and requirements…in other words, you’ll need to jump through some hoops. In this case, having a knowledgeable tax attorney or Enrolled Agent by your side will help tremendously. They’ll interpret the IRS codes, requirements, and jargon for you, and they will let you know if you qualify for the FTA program.

Facing tax penalties due to circumstances beyond your control or IRS error is one instance where the IRS can be a little forgiving if you file for the FTA. This program can reduce or eliminate your tax penalty altogether if you are able to substantiate your claim with the right documentation.

If you’re facing tax penalties due to illness, disaster, or IRS error, don’t wait. We have tax attorneys and Enrolled Agents on staff who can assist you with the sometimes tricky process of filing for the FTA program. Get started today by clicking the white “Start Chat” button or by giving us a call. Don’t go it alone. We’re here to help.