20 CFR § 404.454 - Good cause for failure to make required reports.
(a) General. The failure of an individual to make a timely report under the provisions described in §§ 404.450 and 404.452 will not result in a penalty deduction if the individual establishes to the satisfaction of the Administration that his failure to file a timely report was due to good cause. Before making any penalty determination as described in §§ 404.451 and 404.453, the individual shall be advised of the penalty and good cause provisions and afforded an opportunity to establish good cause for failure to report timely. The failure of the individual to submit evidence to establish good cause within a specified time may be considered a sufficient basis for a finding that good cause does not exist (see § 404.705). In determining whether good cause for failure to report timely has been established by the individual, consideration is given to whether the failure to report within the proper time limit was the result of untoward circumstances, misleading action of the Social Security Administration, confusion as to the requirements of the Act resulting from amendments to the Act or other legislation, or any physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitations (including any lack of facility with the English language) the individual may have. For example, good cause may be found where failure to file a timely report was caused by:
(1) Serious illness of the individual, or death or serious illness in his immediate family;
(2) Inability of the individual to obtain, within the time required to file the report, earnings information from his employer because of death or serious illness of the employer or one in the employer's immediate family; or unavoidable absence of his employer; or destruction by fire or other damage of the employer's business records;
(3) Destruction by fire, or other damage, of the individual's business records;
(4) Transmittal of the required report within the time required to file the report, in good faith to another Government agency even though the report does not reach the Administration until after the period for reporting has expired;
(5) Unawareness of the statutory provision that an annual report of earnings is required for the taxable year in which the individual attained age 72 provided his earnings for such year exceeded the applicable amount, e.g., $1,680 for a 12-month taxable year ending after December 1967;
(6) Failure on the part of the Administration to furnish forms in sufficient time for an individual to complete and file the report on or before the date it was due, provided the individual made a timely request to the Administration for the forms;
(7) Belief that an extension of time for filing income tax returns granted by the Internal Revenue Service was also applicable to the annual report to be made to the Social Security Administration;
(8) Reliance upon a written report to the Social Security Administration made by, or on behalf of, the beneficiary before the close of the taxable year, if such report contained sufficient information about the beneficiary's earnings or work, to require suspension of his benefits (see § 404.456) and the report was not subsequently refuted or rescinded; or
(9) Failure of the individual to understand reporting responsibilities due to his or her physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitation(s).
(b) Notice of determination. In every case in which it is determined that a penalty deduction should be imposed, the individual shall be advised of the penalty determination and of his reconsideration rights. If it is found that good cause for failure to file a timely report does not exist, the notice will include an explanation of the basis for this finding; the notice will also explain the right to partial adjustment of the overpayment, in accordance with the provisions of § 404.502(c).
(c) Good cause for subsequent failure. Where circumstances are similar and an individual fails on more than one occasion to make a timely report, good cause normally will not be found for the second or subsequent violation.
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