How do I go about requesting tax penalty abatement from the IRS?

While filing and paying your taxes is an important responsibility of every adult, life sometimes gets in the way. When this happens, you may inadvertently miss a deadline and only realize it later when you have been assessed a penalty. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does grant abatements for these penalties on occasion.

How to Request Tax Abatement from the IRS

When requesting abatement from the IRS, there are three different methods to choose from including the following:

  1. File a written petition. This petition is essentially a letter to the IRS that states the reasons why you should qualify for penalty abatement. Applicants should include copies of evidence that support their abatement request along with the letter. Examples include the death certificate of a family member, a doctor’s notice of an illness, or an insurance claim that shows there was a theft, fire, or other natural disaster. A written petition is the most commonly used method for obtaining tax penalty abatement.
  2. Make the request verbally, over the phone or in person. Those who are unable to submit a written petition use this method. Instead of writing a letter, the applicant meets with a representative of the IRS in person or speaks with someone over the phone. The applicant explains to this person why he should be approved for tax penalty abatement. To take advantage of this option, contact your local Oklahoma City area IRS office to arrange for a face-to-face conversation.
  3. File IRS Form 843, “Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement.” This form is often submitted along with the written petition. It is also a good idea to include supporting documentation with the form.


If you are currently facing penalties from the IRS, do not feel embarrassed—thousands of Americans deal with this problem each year. We encourage you to share this information about how to request penalty abatement with your friends and family on Facebook. You never know who may be in need of this valuable information!