Traits of a Successful Tax Penalty Abatement Request Letter

If you are facing substantial penalties and interest as a result of a debt that you owe the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you may feel overwhelmed by the amount that you owe. The good news for taxpayers is that if you have reasonable cause, the IRS may forgive the penalties and interest associated with your tax debt. Obtaining a tax penalty abatement requires that you follow certain specific steps. One such step is to send a request letter to the IRS.

Traits of a Successful IRS Penalty Abatement Request Letter

Any potential for success as a result of this request letter requires that you provide the IRS with all of the necessary information to demonstrate reasonable cause for the abatement. What exactly is included in a typical successful letter? The following is an overview:

  1. The letter is addressed to the proper penalty abatement coordinator.
  2. The letter is addressed to the correct IRS campus as stated on the notice of tax amount due.
  3. The letter states the specific purpose of in the subject line, such as “Request for Penalty Abatement.”
  4. The letter includes the taxpayer’s social security number or tax identification number.
  5. The letter states that the taxpayer is requesting an abatement of penalties and lists the specific amount that has been assessed.
  6. The letter references the notice of tax amount due and the date of such notice.
  7. The letter states whether the taxpayer paid the tax late, filed the return late, or failed to report income.
  8. The letter states the specific reason for doing so, such as having a serious medical condition, a fire that burned down the taxpayer’s home, documents being stolen, the death of a close family member, or any other reason that prevented the taxpayer from complying with the requirements of the IRS.
  9. The letter lists the documents that are enclosed to support such reason.
  10. The letter requests that the IRS accept the taxpayer’s petition for abatement of penalties and notes that the taxpayer had reasonable cause.
  11. The letter provides a phone number that the taxpayer can be reached at in the event that the IRS has questions or requires additional information.
  12. The letter encloses payment for the taxes owed if the taxpayer has the ability to do so. Please note that there is no requirement that payment be submitted at the time of submitting the letter.


Data shows that penalty abatement requests have approximately a 50 percent success rate. Give yourself the best possible chance for success by seeking guidance from an experienced professional. We are here to help and encourage you to email us today.