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What Is IRS One-Time Forgiveness?  

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In the intricate world of taxes, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) can be an imposing presence. Taxpayers often find themselves in sticky situations due to errors or misunderstandings when filing their taxes. However, there’s a glimmer of hope for those who have made mistakes in the past – the IRS offers a lifeline known as “IRS One Time Forgiveness.”

Understanding IRS One Time Forgiveness  

In this article, we will delve into what IRS One Time Forgiveness is, how it works, and whether you might be eligible to take advantage of this opportunity to alleviate your tax burdens.

What is IRS One Time Forgiveness?  

IRS One Time Forgiveness, officially known as the First-Time Abate (FTA) policy, is a special program offered by the IRS to forgive certain penalties associated with filing and paying taxes late. This program is designed to provide relief to taxpayers who have a clean compliance history and have made a genuine mistake that led to late filing or payment. Click here to learn more about the IRS debt forgiveness program.

Eligibility Criteria  

To qualify for IRS One Time Forgiveness, you must meet specific eligibility criteria:

1. Clean Compliance History

You must have a clean compliance history, meaning you haven’t incurred any significant penalties for the past three years. This includes penalties related to late filing or late payment.

2. First-Time Penalty Abatement

The IRS often grants penalty waivers for individuals who are first-time offenders. This is known as first-time penalty abatement. To be eligible, you need to have a track record of complying with tax filing and payment obligations. Additionally, you must not have utilized the first-time abatement within the past three years.

3. Reasonable Cause

You must have a valid reason, referred to as “reasonable cause,” for your late filing or payment. The IRS typically considers circumstances like illness, natural disasters, or circumstances beyond your control as reasonable causes.

Types of Penalties Eligible for Forgiveness  

Under IRS One Time Forgiveness, several types of penalties may be eligible for forgiveness:

1. Failure to File Penalty

If you fail to file your tax return on time, you may be subject to a failure to file penalty. This penalty can be substantial, but with IRS One Time Forgiveness, you may be able to have it waived.

2. Failure to Pay Penalty

If you filed your tax return on time but failed to pay the full amount owed, you may incur a failure to pay the penalty. This penalty can also be eligible for forgiveness under the FTA policy.

How to Request IRS One-Time Forgiveness  

If you believe you meet the eligibility criteria and qualify for IRS One Time Forgiveness, you can request forgiveness by following these steps:

1. File Your Outstanding Returns

First and foremost, ensure that you file all outstanding tax returns. This includes any returns that you might have missed in previous years.

2. Pay the Tax Owed

Pay the tax owed as soon as possible. While penalties may be forgiven, the IRS will still expect you to settle your tax liability.

3. Write a Penalty Abatement Request

Write a penalty abatement request letter to the IRS using Form 843. In this letter, explain your reasonable cause for late filing or payment and request the forgiveness of penalties. Be honest and provide any supporting documentation if available.

4. Submit Your Request

Mail your penalty abatement request to the IRS address provided on your penalty notice or the IRS website. Be sure to keep a copy of your request for your records.

Other Tax Relief Options 

1. Offer in Compromise (OIC)

An Offer in Compromise (OIC) is an understanding between the IRS and a taxpayer that allows the settlement of tax liability for an amount less than the total owed. To qualify, you must demonstrate that paying the full amount would impose a significant financial hardship on you.

2. Installment Agreement

If you are unable to pay your tax bill in full, you may request an installment agreement. This allows you to pay off your tax liability over time in monthly installments.

3. Currently Not Collectible (CNC) Status

If you find yourself facing financial hardship and are unable to pay your tax bill, the IRS has the option to classify your account as currently not collectible, providing temporary relief in such circumstances. This status will halt all collection efforts until you are in a better position to pay.


In conclusion, IRS One Time Forgiveness, also known as the First-Time Abate policy, can be a lifeline for taxpayers who have made genuine mistakes that resulted in late tax filing or payment. By meeting the eligibility criteria and following the necessary steps to request forgiveness, you can potentially save yourself from hefty penalties. However, it’s essential to remember that IRS One Time Forgiveness is not a guaranteed solution, and each case is reviewed individually by the IRS.

Now that you have a better understanding of IRS One Time Forgiveness, you can make an informed decision if you find yourself in a situation where you may qualify for this program.

If you need help from tax professionals regarding tax relief options, companies like Ideal Tax can assist you in navigating the complex world of taxes and help find the best solution for your unique situation we provide tax settlement services.

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