Sample IRS Penalty Abatement Request Letter

sample IRS penalty abatement letter

Here is a sample letter to request IRS penalty abatement. You can use this template as a guide to help you write a letter. However, if you want to improve your chances of your request being accepted, you should work with a tax professional. 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 provided 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 ____________ (pick one)

  • I had a serious medical condition
  • My house burned down
  • My documents were stolen
  • A close family member died
  • Any other reason that prevented you from complying with the IRS requirements

Please find the enclosed______ (describe your supporting documents)

  • 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
  • Any other proof or supporting documents

Please accept my petition for abatement of penalties owed for reasonable cause. If you have any questions or need any additional information, you can reach me at 212-222-3333. 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 include a tax payment. However, if you have the money, it is a good idea. It may even help your case. If you don’t have the money, you can apply for an installment agreement to make payments on your tax debt.

When you send your supporting documents, make sure to only send copies. The IRS is known for “losing” documents.