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Rev. date: 4/6/2016

IRS Notices and Bills, Penalties, and Interest Charges

Tax Topic 653
April 15 is the deadline for most people to file their individual income tax returns and pay any tax owed. During its processing, the IRS checks for mathematical accuracy on your tax return. When processing is complete, if you owe any tax, penalty, or interest, you will receive a bill.
You must file your return and pay your tax by the due date to avoid interest and penalty charges. Often, you can borrow the funds necessary to pay your tax at a lower effective rate than the combined IRS interest and penalty rate.
IRS electronic payment options are the best way for you to pay your federal taxes. Electronic payment options are available on However, if you decide to pay by mail, in order to make sure your payment credits properly to your account, be sure to return the tear-off stub on your bill and use our return envelope, if provided. Please ensure that you:
For more information about ensuring proper credit of payments, see Tax Topic 158.
The IRS may abate penalties for filing and paying late if you have reasonable cause and the failure was not due to willful neglect. Making a late payment as soon as you are able may help to establish that your initial failure to pay timely was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect. If billed for penalty charges and you feel you have reasonable cause for abatement, send your explanation along with the bill to your service center, or call us at 800-829-1040 for assistance. Generally, the IRS does not abate interest charges and they continue to accrue until all assessed tax, penalties, and interest are fully paid.
There are some exceptions to the general deadlines for filing a return and paying tax, such as:
It is important that you review your notice or bill. If, after reviewing it, you believe there is an error, write to the IRS office that sent it to you within the time frame given. You should also provide photocopies of any records that may help correct the error. You may also call the number listed on your notice or bill for assistance. If you are correct, we will make the necessary adjustment to your account and send you a corrected notice.
For more information about IRS notices and bills, refer to Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process. For more information about penalty and interest charges, refer to Part One, Chapter 1, Filing Information, of Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals.