What Is IRS Form 843?

IRS Form 843 Explained

Taxpayer on sofa signs paperwork on coffee table

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IRS Form 843 is a written request asking the government to waive certain penalties charged to taxpayers. These include penalties for failure to pay, failure to file, and the failure of employers to make tax deposits as required by law. This provision for forgiveness has been in place since 2001. You can also use Form 843 to request a refund of certain assessed taxes.

Key Takeaways

  • Form 843 is an official request for the IRS to waive certain penalty fees. These could be for failure to file a return, failure to pay the tax due on a return, or the failure of an employer to make tax deposits with the IRS.
  • The form can also be used to ask for a refund of some assessed taxes.
  • This help is only provided to those who have a good record of filing and payments with the IRS.
  • You also have the option of submitting a letter to the IRS or making your request by telephone.

Definition and Examples of Form 843

Form 843 is the “Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement.” It asks the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for administrative relief from certain tax penalties under the terms of its First Time Penalty Abatement policy. “Administrative” means this tax rule isn’t provided for by statute or by law. It's left to the discretion of the IRS.

IRS Form 843: Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement

Eligible penalties include not filing your tax return on time, not paying the tax due, or not depositing required taxes with the government.

You must qualify for the waiver in a few ways:

  • You can’t have had any penalties in the last three years if you were required to file a return during that time.
  • You've submitted all returns that you've been required to file, or you’ve filed for an extension of time to do so.
  • You’ve either paid or made arrangements to pay any taxes you owe the IRS.

Your penalty and any resulting interest will be erased if your request is approved, but interest will continue to accrue until your balance is either erased or paid. Your interest will be reduced if your penalty is reduced.


You might also qualify if you’ve received incorrect advice from the IRS or if your penalty was the result of an IRS error or delay.

Let's say you failed to file your annual tax return on time. The monthly failure to file penalty is 5% of the tax that ends up being due on that return, up to 25% total. You or your tax professional can file Form 843 to ask the IRS to waive or reduce this penalty if your tax record has otherwise been spotless.

Who Uses Form 843?

Form 843 can be used by taxpayers requesting one of the following:

  • A refund of certain assessed taxes
  • An abatement of FICA or excise taxes
  • A refund of a branded prescription drug fee
  • A waiver of the failure to file, failure to pay, or failure to deposit penalties

This form can't be used to request a refund of overpayment of FICA or Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA) due to erroneous withholding. But you might qualify for a refund of these taxes if your employer refuses to adjust your withholding to arrive at the correct number. Speak with a tax professional if you think this is the case.

Nor can Form 843 be used to request a refund for gift tax overpayment, estate tax overpayment, the Additional Medicare Tax, or excise taxes resulting from nontaxable fuels. You can't use it to ask for a refund of an offer in compromise or lien fees.


The IRS provides a detailed complete list on its website of all taxes and fees that apply to Form 843, and the form itself includes instructions as to when it can and cannot be used.

Where To Get Form 843

The IRS provides an interactive Form 843 on its website. You can complete it online and print it out, or you can print it out and fill it in by hand.

How To Fill Out Form 843

IRS Form 843 begins with a section for your identifying information: names, addresses, and Social Security numbers for you and your spouse, as well as a daytime phone number. Employers who are filing must provide their employer identification number. Each line on the form is clearly labeled.

  • Line 1: Identify the tax year you’re asking the IRS to review.
  • Line 2: Enter the amount you want to be refunded or abated.
  • Line 3: Identify the type of tax.
  • Line 4: Cite the type of penalty you’re dealing with if you’re filing the form for this reason. You’ll have to include the appropriate Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section. This information is provided in the instructions.
  • Line 5a: Identify the reason you’re asking for relief. You can simply check the box that applies, or you can skip this section if none of the provided answers adequately explains your situation.
  • Line 5b: Enter the dates of any tax payments you made that you’re asking to be refunded if this is the reason you're filing.
  • Line 6: Identify the type of tax return you filed.
  • Line 7: Explain why you’re filing the form and why you're asking for relief. You can attach extra pages if there isn’t enough room here.

You (and your spouse if you’re married and filing a joint tax return) must then sign the form under penalty of perjury. The very bottom of the form is reserved for your tax professional’s signature and information if you decide to hire someone to assist you with your situation.


Filing Form 843 by letter or phone is sometimes an option for first-time penalty abatements. Have your tax preparer contact the IRS Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) to make this request.

Can Form 843 Be E-Filed?

The IRS provides no instructions for e-filing Form 843.

Where To Mail Form 843

Mail your Form 843 to the address cited in any notice you received that assessed a penalty fee. Send it to the IRS service center to which you would normally mail your tax return if no notice is provided or if you're filing due to reasons other than penalty abatement.

There are special addresses to use if you’re requesting abatement of a branded prescription drug fee, or if you’re filing on behalf of an estate. The IRS provides a full list of these in the instructions for Form 843.

Requirements for Filing Form 843

Filing Form 843 is a relatively simple matter of mailing in the completed form unless you’re dealing with an excise tax. You would also have to file Form 4720 in that case. The IRS provides detailed instructions for this form on its website as well.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the most common IRS penalties?

The failure to file and failure to pay any tax that you owe are two of the more common IRS penalties. The failure to file penalty is 5% of the tax that ends up being due on that missing return, up to 25% total, but that's only for the first 60 days after the return was due. The penalty increases to $435 or 100% of the tax due, whichever is less, after that deadline.

The failure to pay penalty is 0.5% of the tax due up to 25% of your unpaid taxes, but this is just for the first 10 days you're late. It increases to 1% per month or partial month after that.

How do I know if I owe a penalty?

The IRS will send you a notice or letter by mail. The agency will not email you about the matter. The notice or letter will tell you what the IRS thinks you did wrong and what you should do next. Take notice of any instructions or deadlines cited in the notice or letter. You can call the IRS for more information if you're confused.

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  2. Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. "IRS First-Time Penalty Abatement."

  3. IRS. "Collection Procedural Questions 3.”

  4. IRS. “Form 843: Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement.”

  5. IRS. "Failure to File Penalty."

  6. IRS. "Failure to Pay Penalty."

  7. IRS. "Penalties."

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