If you file or pay late... and you have been compliant for the last three years (that means you filed and paid on time), there is a little known program called FTA for First-Time Abate program.

You must REQUEST this relief since the program is NOT mentioned in the tax return instructions NOR on the balance due notices!

There are a few other technical issues BUT THIS IS A BIG DEAL!

The Code Sec. 6651(a)(1) failure to file penalty is usually 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late not to exceed 25% of the unpaid taxes. If a taxpayer files his tax return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is the smaller of $135 or 100% of the unpaid tax.