Sample IRS Penalty Abatement Request Letter

penalty abatement letter

Below is a sample IRS abatement letter template that can help you get started in crafting a letter to the IRS. Use the template only as a guide as it is for informational purposes only. It is highly recommended that you work with a tax professional when trying to abate tax penalties. If you are making a first-time penalty abatement request for a year, please see this page.  If you are requesting the abatement of a certain penalty for more than one year, you will need to have reasonable cause.

To: Penalty Abatement Coordinator
IRS Campus
(address is given on notice of tax amount due)

Re: Request for Penalty Abatement

From: John Doe
123 ABC Street
San Diego, CA 92109
SSN: 123-45-6789

February 3, 20xx

To Whom it May Concern:

I am writing to request an abatement of penalties in the amount of $3,673.67 as assessed in the enclosed notice that is dated 7/9/XX.

The reason why I _________(pick one)

  • Paid late
  • Filed late
  • Failed to report income was because

was because I ____________ (pick one)

  • Had a serious medical condition
  • House burned down
  • Documents were stolen
  • Death of a close family member
  • or any other reason that prevented you from complying with the IRS requirements

Please find the enclosed (describe the documents enclosed that support your claim above)

  • Death notice of a family member
  • Letter from a doctor stating the conditions of your illness that prevented you from filing or paying
  • Picture of house burned down in fire
  • Insurance notice of theft of private property and documents
  • or any proof you can enclose (a copy of) to prove your statement above

Please accept my petition for abatement of penalties owed for reasonable cause. If you have any questions or need anymore information, you can reach me at 212-222-3333 during business hours. I have also enclosed a payment that covers the amount of taxes I owe, less the penalty portion.


John Doe



You do not need to enclose a payment of taxes. It is a good idea to do if you have the money to pay. If you still do not have the money you can also apply for an installment agreement to pay back taxes owed over time. When enclosing your documents, be sure they are copies and not originals. The IRS is known for “losing” documents.