IRS Form 990 Penalty Help
Has your nonprofit organization received a penalty notice from the IRS for late filing of Form 990, or Form
990-EZ? Don't pay it yet! If you feel there was a good reason that you were late (perhaps you didn't know you had
to file) you should first convince the IRS that you had "reasonable cause," and that the penalties should be
I Can Help
I have a lot of experience in working with nonprofits that have received penalty notices and I have a very high
rate of success (100% so far) at having the penalties removed. Unless you willfully neglected your filing
responsibility, you should not have to pay the penalty. I can write a proper "reasonable cause" letter to the IRS
on your behalf requesting that penalties be abated (removed).
I do not advise calling the IRS or faxing a response to them to request abatement. (However, if you are
approaching the due date by which the IRS says you must respond, you should call the IRS and ask for more time.
They'll usually grant an additional 8 or 9 weeks). A well-written logical argument sent certified mail gets
much better results. If you have a simple situation and are a good writer, you may be able to just explain
that you are a new nonprofit and never had to file before and you just didn't know you had to file and
you'll never be late again, and this may work. Don't forget to explain how the organization intends to avoid future
If you'd prefer to have me write the letter, send me an email
and explain your situation to me and I'll determine if I can help you. Or call me at 727-345-4288, 9am to 6pm
Request a phone
consultation with David McRee, CPA.
My Fees to Write a Letter to the IRS
My fees for writing a penalty abatement request letter depend entirely on the complexity of the situation, and
whether the organization has been assessed penalties within the last few years..
Writing a successful penalty abatement request letter is a very detailed process and often takes an entire
day. I have written abatement letters that took more than a month of back and forth communications between a
nonprofit organization and its CPA and myself. Sometimes information gets dribbled to me one piece at a time. This
takes a lot of time.
My abatement letters generally range from four to twelve pages and leave no stone unturned. I ask a lot of
questions during my initial and subsequent interviews with you to make sure I uncover all the facts. I have to
construct what is essentially a legal argument that shows why, according to the law and official guidance, the
organization qualifies for penalty abatement. This often generates many back-and-forth emails, faxes, and document
transmissions. I have to read all the IRS correspondence, and often have to examine prior year tax returns.
Once the first draft is completed, it has to be spell-checked and edited for grammar, logic, clarity, accuracy
and completeness, and usually goes through two or three revisions. Once the letter is ready, I have to prepare the
attachments to document the evidence in favor of abatement, prepare a transmittal letter, Certified Mailing
documents and envelopes and make copies of everything.
Finally, I drive the letter to the post office and wait in line to have it hand-stamped with dated proof of
filing. Then a copy of everything gets sent to you.
If you'd like to write your own letter, but aren't sure how to make
the best argument on your behalf, consider purchasing my "Penalty Relief Manual" on how to
write a reasonable cause penalty abatement request letter. It tells you everything
you need to know to have the best possible chance of success.