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San Jose CA tax debt lawyer for passportsFailing to pay your tax obligations can lead to major consequences. One problem you might run into is that you may not be able to obtain a U.S. passport or renew an existing passport. Carrying tax debt could also keep you from using your already issued passport. This can be detrimental for those who need to travel internationally for work or family reasons.

The IRS has prioritized the enforcement of this consequence of not paying back taxes for the past year. The law targets those with “seriously delinquent tax debts,” which is defined as a debt of $52,000 or more, including taxes, penalties, and interest.

If the IRS identifies you as being seriously delinquent, it will inform the State Department, which by law will deny a passport application or renewal. If you have in your possession a valid passport, the State Department also has the power to revoke the passport or limit your ability to leave the United States.

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San Jose tax penalty relief attorneyIf you have been hit with a penalty by the IRS, you might believe that you have no other choice than to pay. This is an incorrect assumption, as there are numerous circumstances where the IRS may not require you to pay a penalty. In order to take advantage of this relief, you must fully comply with certain IRS procedures.

Importantly, if you believe you may be assessed a penalty, you can preemptively apply for abatement when you act quickly. Also, if you have already paid a penalty, you may still request abatement. In all cases of tax penalty abatement, time is of the essence. 

Do You Qualify for Tax Penalty Abatement?

The IRS offers penalty abatement to those who have a reasonable cause for late filing, late payment, or accuracy-related issues (negligence penalties). Reasonable causes include natural disasters and medical emergencies. If the IRS has made a mistake with regard to your return, you may also qualify for penalty abatement. Depending on your specific circumstance, you may also qualify for a one-time abatement of a penalty.

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San Jose tax attorney, tax penalty abatement, FTA waiver, tax requirements., tax returnIf you are unable to file your tax return by the April 15 deadline, or if you cannot pay the taxes that are due at that time, you are likely experiencing financial hardship. Unfortunately, this hardship will only be compounded by the penalties that the IRS charges for failure to file or failure to pay taxes. However, you may be eligible for relief through a first-time penalty abatement (FTA) waiver.

What is FTA?

The IRS created the FTA waiver in 2001 to encourage compliance with tax requirements. Under this program, both individuals and businesses who have been compliant in the past can receive amnesty for penalties levied against them.

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