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How Do I Write an Abatement Letter?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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To write an abatement letter you should typically begin by having all of the necessary documents you need to reference or include, and make copies of those documents to send. You should then begin your letter by including the contact information for the addressee, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office you are contacting, and your own name and contact information. The letter should contain a clear and concise indication of the fees you have been charged that you wish to abate, and the reason why you feel you should not have to pay those charges. Your abatement letter should indicate that you did not act out of ill-will or malice, and demonstrate that you wish to settle the issue in a reasonable way.

An abatement letter is a letter written to an agency or company, often the IRS, in an attempt to seek abatement from penalty fees or other expenses the organization is charging you. You should include a number of documents with your letter, so make sure you have all of the necessary documents as you write it, and make copies of those documents to send with your letter. Do not send original documents with your abatement letter, as these can be lost in the mail. You should include a copy of, or reference, the letter you received that indicates what you owe, including a case number if applicable, and any documentation you have to corroborate your reason for abatement.

Your abatement letter should begin with the contact information for the company or office you are contacting, followed by your own contact information. If you know the name of a person at the company, such as the person who contacted you or an IRS agent, then you should address your abatement letter to that person, otherwise you can use “To Whom it May Concern.” You should then clearly state that you are requesting abatement for the amount you have been charged, and indicate the date of the letter you were sent and your case or account number if available. The reason you are requesting abatement should then clearly be stated and should be a legitimate reason such as a natural disaster, serious illness, or death in the family.

You should include documentation to support the reason you state in your abatement letter, such as photographs of the damage caused by a disaster, a doctor’s letter verifying your illness, or a death certificate for a family member. If possible, you should try to include some form of partial payment or a request for an installment plan to repay the amount that caused the penalty fee you wish to abate. This is a good faith gesture that is not strictly necessary, but may make your abatement more likely to be accepted. You should keep in mind that an abatement letter can be a legal document and that purposeful deception in such a letter can be grounds for fraud or perjury charges.

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