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Requesting a waiver of penalties for late taxes

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When you were in high school or college, you likely had many deadlines to meet. Projects, papers and exams all came with a due date, and you either struggled to meet those deadlines or mastered the art of time management.

Now, however, missed deadlines come with consequences more severe than a lower grade. In fact, if you miss the deadline for paying your taxes, you will face penalties that can set you back financially. Fortunately, you may be able to do something about it.

A waiver of your penalties

Understandably, many people have negative opinions of the IRS. This government agency has the authority to collect debts that few other creditors have, and the penalties you may incur from an overdue tax bill can be just the beginning of long-term financial struggles. One positive factor about tax penalties is that the IRS also offers alternatives for dealing with outstanding debt and the fees that often accompany them. One example is the First-Time Penalty Abatement, which is a waiver of fees related to late tax filing or payment.

To qualify for an FTA, the following factors must exist:

  • The request for FTA may apply to penalties for one tax year only.
  • If you have penalties for any of the past three years, you will not qualify.
  • You have to file this year’s taxes and pay what you owe, or the IRS has to approve you for a payment plan.
  • You have a good excuse for missing the deadline.

A good excuse may include a family emergency, such as a death or serious illness, a fire in your home, or a natural disaster. Simply forgetting the deadline is not a valid reason.

Help with your FTA

If your missed deadline occurred because an IRS agent gave you incorrect advice, this may qualify as a statutory exception, which means you will need to take other steps to rectify this situation. Since you are limited in the number of times you can use an FTA, it is wise not to waste it on a penalty caused by an IRS mistake.

Requesting an FTA is not a complicated procedure, and you may do so with a phone call or letter. However, if the IRS denies your request, you will have to pay the fine or go through the appeals process. Having the assistance of a Missouri legal professional from the beginning may improve your chances of a successful abatement request.

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