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How do I know if my return is on time?

The due date for each tax return is printed on the return itself. Tax returns are considered timely if the Post Office's postmark cancellation stamp is dated no later than the date the return and payment are due.

  If you are a mandatory Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) participant please check the EFT due dates chart to determine when your payment must be received by the state's bank.

What is my penalty if I file or pay a return late?

The Department of Revenue is required to assess a five percent late penalty if the tax due on a return filed by a taxpayer is not paid by the due date. Late penalties of 15 to 25 percent proceed as follows:

  • 15 percent penalty due after the last day of the month following the return's due date;
  • 25 percent penalty due after the last day of the second month following the return's due date.
  • Note: The minimum penalty for late payment is five dollars.


Does the Department of Revenue grant penalty waivers?

Yes, the Department has the authority to waive delinquent or late return penalties under limited circumstances.

  • When the underpayment of tax, or the failure to pay any tax by the due date, was the result of circumstances beyond the control of the taxpayer. These circumstances are discussed in WAC 458-20-228. Lack of funds, being unaware that taxes are due, or not receiving the return in the mail are generally NOT considered circumstances beyond the control of a taxpayer and would not qualify for this type of penalty waiver.
  • When a taxpayer has filed and paid on time all tax returns required for 24 months prior to the period in question, the Department has the authority to waive a penalty even when the late filing was not the result of a circumstance beyond the control of the taxpayer. This type of penalty is only available for one return within a 24-month period.


How do I request a penalty waiver?

If your return and/or payment is late and you feel you have a qualifying situation, you may request consideration for a penalty waiver. It's best if your request is submitted in writing with the late return and tax payment. Your request may also be attached to any notice of penalty due that you receive. Be sure to include or attach any information that should be considered when the penalty waiver request is being reviewed.

If a penalty waiver request is included with the tax return, please check the penalty waiver box on the tax return to speed up your request and prevent an automated penalty billing.

  The taxpayer has the burden of proving that the penalty waiver request is valid.