Resolving Underpayment Penalties with TurboTax: A Comprehensive Guide

Underpayment penalties can be a frustrating and unexpected surprise during tax season. Even if you ultimately receive a refund, the IRS may still assess penalties if you failed to withhold or pay enough taxes throughout the year. This guide will delve into the causes of underpayment penalties, provide step-by-step instructions on how to address them using TurboTax, and explore strategies to minimize or eliminate these penalties in the future.

Understanding Underpayment Penalties

Underpayment penalties are imposed by the IRS when you fail to pay at least 90% of your current year’s tax liability through withholding or estimated tax payments. This can occur even if you end up owing no taxes or receiving a refund when you file your return.

Causes of Underpayment Penalties

Common causes of underpayment penalties include:

  • Insufficient Withholding: Your employer may not be withholding enough taxes from your paycheck.

  • Inaccurate Estimated Tax Payments: If you are self-employed or have other sources of income not subject to withholding, you are responsible for making estimated tax payments throughout the year. Underestimating your tax liability can lead to penalties.

  • Changes in Income or Deductions: Significant changes in your income or deductions from year to year can affect your tax liability and potentially trigger underpayment penalties.

How to Address Underpayment Penalties with TurboTax

TurboTax offers a user-friendly platform to help you navigate underpayment penalties:

  1. Open Your Return: Begin by opening your TurboTax return.

  2. Navigate to Underpayment Penalty Section: Search for “annualizing your tax” within TurboTax. This will direct you to the underpayment penalty section.

  3. Follow the Guided Steps: TurboTax will guide you through a series of questions to determine if you qualify for an exception or reduction in your penalty.

  4. Choose IRS Calculation: If you do not qualify for an exception, you can opt to have the IRS calculate the penalty for you using Form 2210.

Strategies to Minimize or Eliminate Underpayment Penalties

  • Adjust Withholding: Review your withholding allowances on Form W-4 to ensure your employer is withholding the correct amount of taxes.

  • Make Estimated Tax Payments: If you are self-employed or have other non-withholding income, make estimated tax payments throughout the year using Form 1040-ES.

  • Consider Safe Harbor Rules: The IRS offers safe harbor rules that can help you avoid underpayment penalties. These rules allow you to base your estimated tax payments on the previous year’s tax liability or a percentage of your current year’s income.

Underpayment penalties can be a costly and avoidable burden. By understanding the causes of these penalties and utilizing the tools provided by TurboTax, you can effectively address and minimize their impact. Remember to regularly review your withholding and estimated tax payments to ensure you are meeting your tax obligations throughout the year.

How to Get the IRS to Forgive Your Penalties and Interest – Tax Hack


How do I waive my underpayment penalty on TurboTax?

To request a penalty waiver on your return, you can also enter the amount you want to be waived in parentheses on the dotted line next to line 19 (tax year 2023 form). Subtract this amount from your total penalty and enter the result on line 19.

Why do I have an underpayment penalty if I have a refund?

The IRS levies underpayment penalties if you don’t withhold or pay enough tax on income received during each quarter. Even if you paid your tax bill in full by the April deadline or are getting a refund, you may still get an underpayment penalty.

Can underpayment penalty be abated?

You can request First Time Abate for a penalty even if you haven’t fully paid the tax on your return. However, the Failure to Pay Penalty will continue to increase until you pay the tax in full. Example: You didn’t fully pay your taxes in 2021 and got a notice with the balance due and penalty charges.

Does Turbo Tax calculate tax underpayment penalty?

Turbo Tax is calculating an estimated tax underpayment penalty. However, one of the IRS exceptions applies to me. How do I override the penalty entered by Turbo Tax? Do you have an Intuit account? You’ll need to sign in or create an account to connect with an expert. No, you can’t override the penalty, but you can ask for a waiver.

Can a tax software calculate an underpayment penalty?

The tax software is only trying to be helpful in calculating the underpayment penalty for you. You can decline its help and let the IRS calculate the penalty and bill you if they decide to assess a penalty. The IRS actually often doesn’t assess a penalty when the tax software thinks you owe a penalty. You don’t have to volunteer the penalty now.

Do I get an underpayment penalty if I pay my taxes?

Even if you paid your tax bill in full by the April deadline or are getting a refund, you may still get an underpayment penalty. To possibly reduce or eliminate your underpayment penalty, open your return in TurboTax and search for annualizing your tax (use this exact phrase).

What is an underpayment penalty?

An underpayment penalty is a fine levied by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on taxpayers who don’t pay enough tax during the year through withholding and/or their estimated tax payments, or who pay late. Individuals generally must pay the lesser of 100% of last year’s tax or 90% of this year’s tax to avoid an underpayment penalty.

Leave a Comment