Procedures for IRS rulings, technical advice, etc., updated for 2014

BY SALLY P. SCHREIBER, J.D.

As 2013 drew to a close, the IRS was busy issuing annual updates to the revenue procedures that govern its operations and interactions with taxpayers. In particular, the IRS issued Rev. Procs. 2014-1 through 2014-6, all on Dec. 30, 2013. These include the list of “no ruling” areas in which the IRS will not issue letter rulings.

Rev. Proc. 2014-1, which supersedes Rev. Proc. 2013-1 and part of Rev. Proc. 2013-32, explains how the IRS provides advice to taxpayers in letter rulings, closing agreements, determination letters, and information letters. The procedure defines each of these items and details exactly when and how the IRS will issue them. It also reiterates that taxpayers may not rely on oral advice. This revenue procedure is effective Jan. 2, 2014. 

Rev. Proc. 2014-4 covers similar areas—i.e., the rules for issuing letter rulings, closing agreements, determination letters, and information letters—but also for opinion letters, compliance statements, advisory letters, and revenue rulings. Rev. Proc. 2014-4 applies to exempt organizations and employee plans effective Jan. 2, 2014, and supersedes Rev. Proc. 2013-4.   

Rev. Proc. 2014-2, which supersedes Rev. Proc. 2013-2, explains how the IRS Chief Counsel provides technical advice memoranda (TAMs) to an IRS director or Appeals area director. The IRS field office may request a TAM when the application of the law to the facts in any IRS proceeding is unclear. The revenue procedure explains a taxpayer’s rights when a TAM has been requested. It is also effective Jan. 2, 2014.

Also effective Jan. 2, 2014, Rev. Proc. 2014-5 contains the procedures for issuing TAMs in the Employee Plan or Exempt Organization areas. This revenue procedure supersedes Rev. Proc. 2013-5.

In Rev. Proc. 2014-3, the IRS updates the areas for which rulings and determination letters will not be issued, will ordinarily not be issued, will not be issued because the area is under study, or will not be issued because the area is covered by automatic approval procedures. This revenue procedure supersedes Rev. Proc. 2013-3 and part of Rev. Proc. 2013-32 and is effective Jan. 2, 2014.

And finally, Rev. Proc. 2014-6, which is not effective until Feb. 1, 2014, provides the rules for issuing determination letters on the qualified status of pension, profit sharing, stock bonus, annuity, and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), and the exempt status of any related trusts or custodial accounts under Sec. 501(a). This revenue procedure supersedes Rev. Proc. 2013-6.

Sally P. Schreiber ( sschreiber@aicpa.org ) is a JofA senior editor.

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