The FTF penalty is usually 5 percent of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late. This penalty will not exceed 25 percent of the unpaid taxes. If a taxpayer files his or her tax return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is the smaller of $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax.
If a taxpayer does not pay all taxes owed by the due date, he or she will generally have to pay an FTP penalty of one-half of one percent of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month after the due date that the taxes are not paid. This penalty can be as much as 25 percent of the unpaid taxes. The FTP penalty will continue to accrue after the initial assessment if the taxpayer fails to pay the total tax due when the tax return was due.
The IRS can abate both penalties under certain circumstances. Relief from these penalties is generally granted to taxpayers who show they exercised ordinary care and prudence, and failure to file or pay was due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect. However, beginning in Calendar Year 2001, the IRS began granting penalty relief under an Administrative Waiver known as the First-Time Abate (FTA). Using the FTA waiver, the IRS grants relief to taxpayers who receive an FTF or FTP penalty but have a compliant tax history for the prior three years. The FTA waiver applies only to a single tax year.For further background, see IRM 184.108.40.206.6.1 (11-25-2011), titled First Time Abate (FTA), here.