Tax attorney Darrin Mish comments on IRS penalties and interest.

The abatement is the elimination or reduction of penalties by the IRS. Penalties and interest can be abated where a taxpayer can show reasonable cause. Reasonable cause is where you can show that certain circumstances existed whereby you could not comply with your tax filing or tax payment requirements.

Examples of reasonable cause include death, illness, a loss of tax records, divorce, etc. and other items that are not reasonably foreseeable. Is it reasonable that you could have known that this would happen.

In review of penalty abatement, the IRS will consider your prior tax history. Did you previously not file your taxes? Did you previously not pay your taxes? What is your track record?

Penalty abatement requests must be in writing to the IRS. You must outline what it is you are requesting to be abated and why your request should be approved. Typically, penalty abatement requests are either ignored or denied. Even when denied, you can appeal your request to the IRS, where an independent party will reconsider your request especially where you can provide new and otherwise supporting evidence of your claim.

There is no fee charged by the IRS for the consideration of penalty abatement, but your claim must have merit to be considered.