When tax filing season comes, most Americans know they are required to complete their returns by April 15 and pay any outstanding debts to the U.S. Treasury Department, although people do have the option of filing for extensions.

This week, a tax attorney in New York, William Funk, also reminded people that if they had have had a personal tragedy or crisis or other situation that resulted in the need for psychotherapy, they may also be able to have any civil penalties lifted by the Internal Revenue Service.

"The IRS often makes allowances for people in difficulties, but takes a dim view of those who don't file. Last year the IRS assessed more than $6 billion in civil penalties against taxpayers who failed to file. Penalties for non-filing can be up to 25 percent of tax due, but they may be reduced or eliminated when evidence of treatment for a mental illness constituting a 'reasonable cause' for non-filing can be shown," said Funk.

Funk also noted that for some people, psychotherapy may be tax deductible as one of the many medical expenses that are qualified under the tax code.

Even if people are not planning to see a therapist, they can also consult with their tax preparer and the IRS to work out a payment plan or request an extension.

Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on your individual needs.