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Rev. date: 6/26/2018

IRS Notices and Bills, Penalties, and Interest Charges

Tax Topic 653
Generally, 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 your tax return for mathematical accuracy. 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.
Electronic payment options, available on our Payments page, are the most convenient ways for you to pay your federal taxes. However, if you decide to pay by mail, be sure to return the tear-off stub on your bill and use our return envelope, if provided. In order to make sure your payment credits properly to your account, please:
For more information about ensuring proper credit of payments, see Tax Topic 158.
The IRS may abate your penalties for filing and paying late if you can show reasonable cause and that the failure wasn't due to willful neglect. Making a good faith payment as soon as you can may help to establish that your initial failure to pay timely was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect. If you're billed for penalty charges and you have reasonable cause for abatement of the penalty, send your explanation along with the bill to your service center, or call us at 800-829-1040 for assistance (see Telephone and Local Assistance for hours of operation). The IRS doesn't generally 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's important that you review your notice or bill. If after reviewing it you believe there's an error, write to the IRS office that sent it to you within the time frame given or call the number listed on your notice or bill for assistance. You should provide photocopies of any records that may help the IRS correct the error. If you're correct, we'll 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 Chapter 1, Filing Information, of Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals.