Rev. Proc. 2020-29 temporarily allows taxpayers to submit certain requests for letter rulings and determinations to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) electronically. Electronic submissions will be permitted until the revenue procedure is superseded or modified, but taxpayers may still make paper submissions.
Electronic submissions are permitted for requests for letter rulings, closing agreements, determination letters, and information letters from the Associate Chief Counsel Offices and for determination letters from the Large Business and International (LB&I) Division. However, procedures for submissions to the IRS Small Business/Self Employed Division, Wage and Investment Division, or Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division are unchanged.
The revenue procedure permits electronic submission by either fax or compressed and encrypted email, although the IRS prefers fax submissions for security reasons. Taxpayers submitting through email must include a signed Acknowledgment of Risks of Email, which include potential interception and access to sensitive or confidential information by unauthorized parties.
Taxpayers using the electronic submission procedures do not need to send multiple copies of documents. Any additional information or consent agreement required for a ruling or determination may also be submitted electronically. Taxpayers who previously submitted paper documents but have not yet received confirmation of receipt may resubmit the documents electronically for faster processing—however repeat submissions should be marked as such.
Practice Point: This new procedure is welcome news for taxpayers and the tax bar sitting at home frustrated about how to get their ruling requests to the IRS while stay-at-home orders are in place. Perhaps one good thing to come out of the current remote working environment is that the IRS’s electronic systems and procedures will enter into the modern age and be in more in line with today’s businesses. Hopefully Congress will allocate additional resources to the IRS to allow it to improve its technology.