If your circumstances allow you to abatement, the IRS may waive penalties if your reasons for not paying on time are due to factors beyond your control, such as a death in the family, illness, imprisonment, a hurricane, or the destruction of your records. However, the IRS will not waive penalties if your only reason for not paying is because you don't have enough funds.
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Find some documentation of your claims to give to the IRS. If you live in a federally-declared disaster area for which the IRS is offering residents penalty waivers, then gather some evidence that you are actually a resident of the area. If your reason for not paying is because you spent time in the hospital, then your medical bills or reports are helpful. The IRS is unlikely to waive or reduce your penalties unless you demonstrate them.
Write a letter to the IRS requesting a penalty waiver. Provide copies of the documents you're requesting as evidence. The letter should be addressed to the same IRS address that notifies you of your penalty charges.
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If the IRS refuses your request, you may file an appeal in which the IRS will normally reply within 60 days of receiving your letter. If you are unsatisfied with the IRS' response, you may always write back with further information requesting that it reconsider. If your second letter still does not resolve the issue, you may appeal the IRS' decision to impose penalties. This allows you to meet with an impartial appeals officer who will examine all of your circumstances.
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