Nonprofit Tax Help

David McRee, CPA

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 removed.

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 delinquencies.

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 Eastern Time.

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.

Do-It-Yourself IRS Penalty Relief

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.

Form 990 Late-Filing Penalty Abatement Book Cover