Penalty Waiver Requests

Tax Administration Policy for City of Portland Business License Tax, Multnomah County Business Income Tax and Preschool for All (PFA) Personal Income Tax, and Metro Supportive Housing Services (SHS) Business and Personal Income Taxes related to penalty waiver requests.

Tax Administration Policy - Penalty Waiver Requests

It is the policy of the Revenue Division (Division) to assist taxfilers with compliance and to encourage future voluntary compliance with Portland City Code 7.02, Metro Codes 7.05, 7.06, and 7.07, and Multnomah County Codes §§ 11 and 12. A waiver or reduction of a penalty amount may be appropriate in order to accomplish this objective.

The Division is authorized to assess, waive, or reduce assessed penalties consistent with written policy.

Waiver of a penalty for late filing/payment or underpayment may be granted for reasonable cause upon receipt of a written request. All taxes and interest must be paid for a penalty to be waived. Examples of reasonable cause include:

  • Death or serious illness of the taxpayer or in the taxpayer’s immediate family,
  • Unavoidable and unforeseen absence of the taxpayer from the State of Oregon in the two weeks prior to the due date of the return;
  • Destruction by fire, a natural disaster or other casualty (including theft) of the taxpayer’s records needed to prepare the return;
  • Reliance upon incorrect, written information from an employee of the Division, provided the taxfiler gave complete information about the matter to the Division and the taxfiler could not be reasonably expected to be knowledgeable in the subject matter. This would not include the filing due date of a return, unless the return is for a short tax period and there is a discrepancy between the due date for state/federal purposes and City/County purposes;
  • An action by a taxfiler that resulted in the penalty assessment on a single tax year which constitutes a first-time offense on the part of the taxfiler. This circumstance is only available to a previously compliant taxfiler and does not apply to a taxfiler with penalty assessments on multiple years;
  • Payment in full of the entire tax due (via credit carryforward or quarterly payments) by the original due date of the return and a federal extension request was filed with the Internal Revenue Service, but not separately filed with the Division; or
  • Any other extraordinary circumstance that prevented the taxpayer from complying with the City and County Codes. The determination that an event was extraordinary and entitles the taxpayer to a penalty waiver is solely up to the Division.

The Division may require proof and/or third-party substantiation in order to approve the penalty waiver request.

Generally, a penalty waiver will be granted for one tax period only per taxpayer. The Director of the Revenue Division or his/her management designee may approve a penalty waiver request. The Director’s designee may determine that it is appropriate to offer a reduction in penalty. Any reduction in penalty is at the sole discretion of the designee based upon the compliance history of the taxfiler and the circumstances resulting in the assessment of penalty. Generally, no penalty will be reduced below the initial penalty assessment of 5% of the tax liability.

1/31/2023                                    Thomas Lannom
Date                                              Director

Adopted: 1/26/1994
Revised: 1999, March 2004, October 2004, July 2006, July 2009, April 2020, September 2020, January 2023 (Added new programs)