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Sample letter to IRS requesting them to waive a penalty

Sample letter to IRS requesting them to waive a penalty

Definitely, no taxpayer would like to have tax penalties leveled against them, not even in cases when it is deserved due to certain actions carried out to violate the tax code by the taxpayer. No taxpayer also likes paying the imposed tax penalties, especially, when it is an extremely large amount to pay or when it seems to be unfairly imposed despite unavoidable circumstances on the part of the taxpayer.

Most taxpayers would even wonder why the tax penalties are being imposed anyways, but the truth still remains that more than the monetary need of the internal revenue service, the IRS enforces the tax penalties mainly to punish offenders and discourage non-compliance to the tax code among taxpayers totally.

For this reason, the IRS gave an allowance for taxpayers to be able to request a tax penalty waiver if they have a legitimate reason. If the reason given by the taxpayer for non-compliance is deemed reasonable enough, the waiver for the tax penalty can be approved. Additionally, there is an administrative tax penalty waiver available to taxpayers breaking the tax code and receiving a first-time tax penalty. It is called a first-time penalty administrative abatement waiver (FTA).

The opportunity to request a tax penalty waiver is mainly to help taxpayers that got penalized unfairly as well as those that are repentant for violating the tax code for the first time and are willing to comply. However, despite this available opportunity, many taxpayers do not know there is a way to save themselves from the hundreds or thousands of dollars they will likely spend on paying for the tax penalty by writing an abatement request letter and requesting a waiver.

What is a penalty abatement request letter?

A letter written to the IRS for this effect of waiving a tax penalty levied against the taxpayer, therefore, is what we call a penalty abatement request letter. This penalty abatement request letter is usually written to the IRS to ask the IRS to forgive a tax penalty for a reasonable reason. This letter also always contains detailed explanations about the unique situation that led to the non-compliance of the taxpayer alongside an explanation of reasons that qualifies the taxpayer for a waiver for the tax penalty.

A tax penalty waiver can be requested for varying IRS imposed tax penalties like the “failure-to-file” for taxpayers that default in filing their tax returns, “failure-to-pay” for taxpayers that refuse to pay the amount owed in tax liabilities, and the “failure-to-deposit” tax penalties.

To request that a tax penalty be waived, the taxpayer would be required to write a penalty abatement letter to the IRS to make this request. For taxpayers willing to write a penalty abatement letter to the IRS, you should know that there are a few necessary things that need to be included in the letter to be sent. Some of these important things to take note of note include:


  1. The taxpayer should clearly state the tax penalty levied that they desire to be removed.
  2. The taxpayer should write out with full details of the unavoidable events and specific situations that led to their non-compliance with the tax code that brought about the penalty.
  3. Documents can be attached to the penalty abatement letter to support your claims and as evidence of the unavoidable event stated. For example, this document could be a medical report in case of a serious medical issue or a fire department report in case of a fire hazard that led the taxpayer to default on their tax responsibilities.


Template for a penalty abatement letter

This template for a Penalty abatement letter can serve as a guide for taxpayers the have no idea how to proceed with their Penalty abatement letter. It’s an example of how your letter should look like.


  1. (Recipient Address)

To: Penalty abatement Coordinator,

Internal Revenue Service,

(Complete the address as stated on your tax penalty notice)


  1. Re: Request for Penalty Abatement


  1. From: (Senders Address)



  1. Date


  1. To Whom it May Concern:



  1. I am writing to request an abatement of penalties in the amount of _______ as stated in the notice for the  ______ tax penalty I received from the IRS dated ______. (State the amount of penalty, the type of penalty, and the date on the notice).


  1. The reason why I _________(filed my tax returns late, paid my tax late, etc) was because of (explain your reason for non-compliance fully)



  1. Please find attached to this letter the ______ documents (attach your supporting documents to your penalty abatement letter)


  1. I would like to appeal to you to please approve my request for the tax penalty abatement. You can also reach me at ____( phone number) for any additional information you might require).



  1. (State how you would like to make amends. It can be by sending your late tax returns or making a tax payment without the penalty charges, or simply coming to an agreement on an installment payment plan if you can’t pay the amount in full.


  1. Sincerely,



  1. (Your name)


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