Those folks needn't pay the penalty first and then seek a refund, IRS says.
In the past, folks who failed to take a required minimum payout had to pay the 50% penalty up front, even if they had reasonable cause
Waiver of tax. The IRS can waive part or all of this tax if you can show that any shortfall in the amount of the distribution was due to reasonable error and you are taking appropriate steps to remedy the shortfall.
If you believe you qualify for this relief, attach a statement of explanation and file Form 5329 as follows:
*1. Complete lines 50 and 51 as instructed
*2. Enter "RC" and the amount you want waived in parentheses on the dotted line next to line 52 Subtract this amount from the total shortfall you figured without regard to the waiver, and enter the result on line 52
*3. Complete line 53 as instructed. You must pay the tax that is reported on line 53.
The IRS will review the information you provide and decide whether to grant your request for a waiver. If request is denied, IRS will send you a bill.