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Tax Penalties To Avoid: Taxes Are High Enough Already

By Sidney Kess
New York Law Journal
February 22, 2023

Tax penalties can be costly and are not tax deductible. There are more than 150 penalties, some civil and some criminal. According to Table 26 in the IRS Data Book for fiscal year 2021 (//, the IRS assessed $37.3 billion in civil penalties, $17.1 billion of which was assessed with respect to individual and trust and estate income tax returns. Some penalties are based on a percentage of a set amount, such as an underpayment of income tax; others are fixed dollar amounts that may be adjusted annually for inflation. The good news is that penalties can be avoided, minimized, or abated, if proper action is taken. The following are some selected penalties and what can be done about them.

Common Penalties

Obviously, penalties are easily avoided by taking the appropriate action in a timely manner. Nonetheless, things happen that prevent this—on purpose or inadvertently—and penalties arise. Some of the most common penalties are:


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