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No Relief From Late Filing Penalties Because of Prior Delinquent Filings

In a recent Administrative Law Division decision (William J. and Shirley C. Doughty, 03-1093), the taxpayers were prevented from receiving a waiver of late filing penalties even though they had what would have been considered reasonable cause in normal circumstances.

The taxpayers, who lived in Fairhope, filed their 1999 Alabama income tax return on October 25, 2001, more than a year past any possible extensions. The Department of Revenue assessed interest, late filing and late payment penalties, and the taxpayer appealed.

In his appeal, William Doughty asserted the exception for reasonable cause included in 40-2A-11(h), saying that he had been unable to timely file and pay his 1999 taxes because he had been busy caring for his seriously ill wife, who subsequently died in February of 2002. He also was providing care for his mother, who was 88 years old.

In his opinion, the Administrative Law Judge expressed sympathy for Mr. Doughty's circumstances. He pointed out, however, that ADOR records showed that Mr. and Mrs. Doughty had filed delinquent returns in every year since 1997. Because of the recurring nature of the late filing, reasonable cause didn't apply, and the penalties were upheld.

This page last updated 7/25/04

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