Question:

What is a frivolous return?

Filing A Frivolous Return

A frivolous return is one that does not contain enough information to calculate any tax. Or, the tax return can contain information that obviously shows the tax being claimed is erroneously incorrect. The IRS enacted this penalty in an attempt to lower the incidence rate of tax protest activities.
Tax protest activities include:

  • Protesting military expenses by claiming unallowable deductions
  • Deliberately using the incorrect Tax Table to calculate taxes
  • Submitting tax forms that were improper and/or not in order
  • Obviously inconsistent information found on tax returns. (Like claiming one exemption, but listing 50 dependents).
  • Crossing out or altering the printed tax form information.
  • Interfering with the administration of federal income tax laws
  • Deliberately delaying the processing of your income tax return
What is unique about this tax penalty is the fact it is the only one not based on your tax liability. If you are found filing a frivolous return by the IRS, you will be assessed the penalty immediately. This penalty is added to any other penalty as required by the IRS law. And, you may have to pay $500.

Even if you protest the tax penalty, the IRS requires that you pay it when you receive notice of it.

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