The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (PA DOR) may assess penalties and interest to taxpayer that fail to file a Pennsylvania state income tax return. Additionally, penalties may be assessed for late filing, underpayments, late payments, payments that cannot be collected and other reasons.
The Pennsylvania state income tax return is due annually on April 15 (if it should fall on a weekend, it is due the following business day). Pennsylvania residents, nonresidents and part-year residents are required to file a return if they received a minimum income in Pennsylvania (i.e., for 2012, the minimum income was $33). A return is required even if there is no tax due. A taxpayer may request an extension for up to six months. However, income tax that is due must be remitted at the time of the request. To file for an extension, taxpayers must submit Form 276, Application for Extension of Time to File by April 15.
Not filing or Late Filing
Taxpayers who fail to file their annual state income tax returns, or fail to file their returns by the due date, are subject to a penalty of 5 percent of the unpaid tax for each month the return is overdue, up to a maximum of 25 percent of the unpaid tax. The PA DOR may also prosecute a taxpayer for evasion under certain circumstances.
Underpayment or Late Payment
Underpayment or late payments may be assessed a penalty of 5 percent of the unpaid taxes. The PA DOR may assess an additional penalty of 25 percent of tax due on unreported income in excess of 25 percent of reported income. Taxpayers may be assessed for both late filing and late payment when payment is not submitted with the late return. The PA DOR may assess a 50 percent penalty of the underpayment for intention to defraud.
A separate and additional penalty may assessed by the PA DOR when a taxpayer remits a tax payment but the check bounces or an electronic transfer fails to clear. A penalty of 10 percent of the amount due maybe assessed at a minimum of $25 and a maximum of $1,000.
A penalty of $500 may assessed if a taxpayer files a frivolous return. A frivolous return may be one that does not contain enough information, has information that leads to an incorrect calculation of tax liability or is filed in such a way as to delay the tax process.
The PA DOR may seek criminal prosecution in cases of tax evasion, willful failure to file a return, or the provision of false or fraudulent information.
Interest for Nonpayment or Late Payment
Failure to remit tax payments or late payment will result in interest charges equal to the annual interest rate set by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.
Abatement of Penalties
Taxpayers may seek an abatement of penalties by submitting a petition to the Board of Appeals within 90 days of receipt of a penalty notice. Taxpayers must provide a reasonable explanation for non-filing, late filing, no payment or late payment.
- PA Dept. of Revenue: Penalty & Interest Calculator
- PA Dept. of Revenue: Board of Appeals Petition Form
- PA Dept. of Revenue: Individual Income Tax Return Instructions (PA-40 Instructions)
- PA Dept. of Revenue: Personal Income Tax Guide
- PA Dept. of Revenue: Board of Appeals FAQs
- PA Dept. of Revenue: e-Services Center