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Level 2

Tax liabilities

Both during the federal and CA state process, I was notified that there are penalties being levied for tax liabilities. As far as I can make out from my 2019 return, there shouldn't be any penalties. What should I be looking for or reviewing in order to set this right?

Using TurboTax Premier 2020 online.

2 Replies
Expert Alumni

Tax liabilities

The federal underpayment penalty generally applies when you owe more than $1,000 in federal tax on your tax return. Per the IRS, most taxpayers will avoid this penalty if they either owe less than $1,000 in tax after subtracting their withholding and estimated tax payments, or if they paid at least 90% of the tax for the current year or 100% of the tax shown on the return for the prior year, whichever is smaller.


To review your federal underpayment, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Open your return.
  2. Search for underpayment penalty with the magnifying glass tool at the top of the page.
  3. Select the Jump to link at the top of the search results.
  4. Review your underpayment and see if you qualify for an exception.

For California, you will be assessed an underpayment penalty if:

  • you owe at least $500 or $250 if married/RDP filing separately and
  • your withholding and credits are less than the smaller of one of the following:
    • 90% of current year’s tax
    • 100% of prior year’s tax 

Estimated tax payments

Level 2

Tax liabilities

Thank you for the concise and intelligible answer!

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