In these unprecedented times, no organization will go on without making some changes to the way they do business, including IRS — a government entity that was once relied upon as being one of the most consistent parts of our adult lives.
In order for taxpayers to safely submit requests for IRS government while adhering to current stay-at-home orders, IRS is temporarily allowing the electronic submission of requests for letter rulings, closing agreements, determination letters, and information letters under the jurisdiction of the IRS Office of Chief Counsel, and for determination letters issued by the IRS Large Business and International (LB&I) Division (Rev. Proc. 2020-29, modifying Rev. Proc 2020-1). These types of electronic submissions can be made via fax or encrypted email attachments.
Until IRS announces otherwise, requests for advice will be accepted, although IRS warns of delays in processing paper requests because of limited personnel. It is also permitting taxpayers who have a paper request pending to send an additional electronic one but asks that the request be marked as a duplicate.
However, this does not change the procedures for determination letters from IRS’s Small Business/Self Employed Division, Wage and Investment Division, or Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division, which continue to be governed by Rev. Proc. 2020-1 and are generally required to submit paper copies of written materials with “wet” signatures.
Taxpayers are encouraged to use secure fax services to transmit requests, in order to protect user privacy. For requests under the jurisdiction of any of the Associate Chief Counsel Offices, use 877-773-4950. For determination letter requests under the jurisdiction of LB&I, use 844-249-6231. Users must first pay required fees at pay.gov and submit a receipt with the request.
Taxpayers submitting requests by email are also required to complete and include an Acknowledgment of Risks of Email, which is attached to the revenue procedure. The statement acknowledges the risk that electronic transmissions, however encrypted, may be intercepted by unauthorized persons and holds the government harmless for any breach. The guidance also suggests that the requester not include any identifying information in unencrypted emails.
IRS will accept images of signatures (scanned or photographed) in one of the following formats: TIFF, JPG, JPEG, PDF, Microsoft Office suite, or Zip. It will also accept digital signatures that use encryption techniques to provide proof of original and unmodified documentation in one of the following formats: TIFF, JPG, JPEG, PDF, Microsoft Office suite, or Zip.
The revenue procedure is effective the date the guidance was released to the public (April 30) until it is modified or superseded. Please contact a representative at Milikowsky Tax Law for assistance with any of these procedures.