The IRS has issued its annual revisions to the general procedures for ruling requests, technical memoranda, determination letters, and user fees, as well as areas on which the Associate Chief Counsel offices will not rule. The revised procedures are generally effective January 2, 2019.

Rev. Proc. 2019-1

This procedure explains how the IRS provides advice to taxpayers in the form of letter rulings, closing agreements, determination letters and information letters, and orally on issues under the jurisdiction of the various Associate Chief Counsel offices. It supersedes Rev. Proc. 2018-1, I.R.B. 2018-1, 1. In addition to changes made throughout the guidance, significant changes in the new procedure include:

  • Sections 1, 1.01, 3.07, 5.12, 5.14, 5.15, 6.08, 9.23, 10.07, 15.11, Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix C, Appendix D, and Appendix E have been amended to reflect the name change from “Associate Chief Counsel (Tax Exempt and Government Entities)” to “Associate Chief Counsel (Employee Benefits, Exempt Organizations, and Employment Taxes).”
  • Section 5.15(3) has been removed to reflect the transfer of authority to waive excise tax under Code Sec. 4980F to the Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division, Employee Plans Rulings and Agreements.
  • Section 8.02 has been amended to remove the exception for changes in accounting methods or accounting periods from the 21-day notification rule.
    Appendix A (Schedule of User Fees) has been amended with increased user fees to match the increase in costs incurred by the IRS. The new user fee schedule is effective February 2, 2019.
  • Appendix E (Church Plan Checklist) has been amended to add a new item 11 to reflect the requirement that an applicant include a representation as to whether an election under Reg. §1.410(d)-1 to apply certain provisions of the Code and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to the plan has ever been made.

Rev. Proc. 2019-2

This procedure explains when and how an Associate Office provides technical advice conveyed in a technical advice memorandum (TAM), as well as a taxpayer’s rights when a field office requests a TAM regarding a tax matter. It supersedes Rev. Proc. 2018-2, I.R.B. 2018-1, 106. Significant changes in the new procedure include:

  • All references to Associate Chief Counsel (Tax Exempt and Government Entities) have been revised to read “Associate Chief Counsel (Employee Benefits, Exempt Organizations, and Employment Taxes).” All references to “Appeals Policy” have been revised to read “Appeals Policy Planning Quality & Analysis.”
  • Section 3.04 has been amended to delete the mandatory TAM requirement in qualified retirement plan matters in cases concerning proposed adverse letters or proposed revocation letters on collectively bargained plans.
  • Section 14.02 has been amended to clarify that requests for relief under Code Sec. 7805(b) on the revocation or modification of determination letters and letter rulings issued by TE/GE are handled under the procedures in sections 23 and 29 of Rev. Proc. 2019-4, and section 12 of Rev. Proc. 2019-5.

Rev. Proc. 2019-3

This procedure provides a revised list of areas under the jurisdiction of certain Associate Chief Counsel offices for which letter rulings or determination letters will not be issued. (Lists of areas of nonissuance under the jurisdiction of the Associate Chief Counsel (International) and the Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division (relating to plans or plan amendments) are presented in separate revenue procedures.) It supersedes Rev. Proc. 2018-3, I.R.B. 2019-1, 130.

The following have been added to the list of issues for which advance rulings will not be issued:

  • Gross Income. Whether an amount is not included in a taxpayer’s gross income under Code Sec. 61 because the taxpayer receives the amount subject to an unconditional obligation to repay the amount.
  • Trade or Business Expenses. Whether a taxpayer is engaged in a trade or business. This area does not include a request for a ruling that relies on a representation from a taxpayer that the taxpayer is or is not engaged in a trade or business, or a request for a ruling that relies on factual information provided by the taxpayer evidencing the active conduct of a trade or business.
  • Losses; Carryovers in Certain Corporate Acquisitions; Regulations. In determining whether a loss for worthless securities is subject to Code Sec. 165(g)(3), (i) whether the source of any gross receipts may be determined by reference to the source of gross receipts of a counter party to an intercompany transaction, as defined in Reg. §1.1502-13(b)(1) (e.g., an intercompany distribution to which Reg. §1.1502-13(f)(2) applies), other than an intercompany transaction to which Code Sec. 381(a) applies, and (ii) in an intercompany transaction to which Code Sec. 381(a) applies, whether the acquiring corporation takes into account historic gross receipts of the distributor or transferor corporation, if the intercompany transaction is part of a plan to claim a deduction for worthless securities under Code Sec. 165(g)(3).
  • Treatment of multiple trusts. Whether two or more trusts shall be treated as one trust for purposes of subchapter J of chapter 1.
  • Returns Relating to the Cancellation of Indebtedness by Certain Entities. Requests for a ruling that the creditor is not required to report a discharge that include as grounds for the request a dispute regarding the underlying liability.

The following issues have been modified:

  • Special Rules for Exchanges Between Related Persons. Except in the case of (i) a transaction involving an exchange of undivided interests in different properties that results in each taxpayer holding either the entire interest in a single property or a larger undivided interest in any of the properties or (ii) a disposition of property in a nonrecognition transaction in which the taxpayer or the related party receives no cash or other property that results in gain recognition, whether a Code Sec. 1031(f) exchange involving related parties, or a subsequent disposition of property involved in the exchange, has as one of its principal purposes the avoidance of federal income tax, or is part of a transaction (or series of transactions) structured to avoid the purposes of Code Sec. 1031(f).

Rev. Proc. 2019-4

This procedure explains how the IRS provides advice to taxpayers on issues under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division (TE/GE) Employee Plans Rulings and Agreements Office, and details the types of advice available to taxpayers, and the manner in which the advice is requested and provided. The new procedure supersedes Rev. Proc. 2018-4, I.R.B. 2018-1, 146. In addition to minor non-substantive changes, the following changes are made:

  • Modifications to reflect Employee Plans Rulings and Agreement’s current practice of considering voluntary requests for closing agreements to resolve certain income or excise tax issues that are ineligible for resolution under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS).
  • Letter ruling requests may not be submitted via facsimile transmission.
  • A new category called “Other Circumstances” for which determination letters can be requested has been added.
  • Code Secs. 414(b), (c) and (m) have been added to the list of sections for which a determination is not made when a determination letter is issued in accordance with the revenue procedure.
  • For a plan to be reviewed for, and a determination letter relied upon with respect to, whether the terms of the plan satisfy one of the design-based safe harbors, the plan document must provide a definition of compensation that satisfies Reg. §1.414(s)-1(c).
  • Employee Plans Rulings and Agreements will consider a request for an extension of time for making an election under Reg. §301.9100-3 to recharacterize annual contributions made to a Roth IRA. Employee Plans Rulings and Agreements will also consider recharacterization requests that relate to a conversion or rollover contribution to a Roth IRA but only if the rollover or conversion was made prior to January 1, 2018.
  • SB/SE Exam will be notified if a request for an extension of time for making an election or other application for relief under Reg. §301.9100-3 is submitted when the return is under examination.
  • Beginning April 1, 2019, VCP submissions and the applicable user fees must be made using www.pay.gov. Further, the payment of user fees for pre-approved plan submissions and letter ruling requests may not be made using www.pay.gov and such requests must still be accompanied by a check in the amount of the applicable user fee.
  • Clarification has been provided regarding which forms must be submitted for VCP submissions made prior to April 1, 2019.
  • User fee for Form 5310 will increase from $2,300 to $3,000 for submissions postmarked on or after July 1, 2019.

Rev. Proc. 2019-5

This procedure updates the procedures for organizations applying for, and the issuing of determination letters on, exempt status under Code Secs. 501and 521. These apply to exempt organizations other than those relating to pension, profit-sharing, stock bonus, annuity, and employee stock ownership plans. The procedures also apply to revocation or modification of determination letters. In addition, the procedure provides guidance on the exhaustion of administrative remedies for declaratory judgment under Code Sec. 7428. Finally, new procedure provides guidance on applicable user fees for requesting determination letters. The new procedure supersedes Rev. Proc. 2018-5, I.R.B. 2018-1, 233. Notable changes include:

  • “Tax Exempt and Government Entities” was changed to “Employee Benefits, Exempt Organizations, and Employment Taxes” throughout the document to reflect the office’s name change.
  • Section 2.02 was amended to add (6), which discusses Rev. Proc. 2018-15, I.R.B. 2018-9, 379.
  • Section 2.03(1) was amended to clarify that a Code Sec. 501(c)(4) organization must submit a user fee along with its completed Form 8976.
  • Section 3.02(4) was amended to clarify that the section only applies to an organization seeking to qualify under Code Sec. 501(c)(6).
  • Sections 4, 15, and 18 were amended to reflect the new Form 1024-A.
  • Section 4.09 was amended to clarify that a request for expedited handling of a determination letter will not be forwarded to the appropriate group for action unless the application is complete.
  • Section 13 was amended throughout because Rev. Proc. 2018-32, I.R.B. 2018-23, 739, superseded Rev. Proc. 81-7, 1981-1 CB 621.
  • Appendix A was amended to reflect the single user fee for non-1023-EZ exemption applications, and to reflect a change in the user fee for submissions postmarked on or after July 1, 2019, for advance approval of Code Sec. 4942(g)(2) set asides, Code Sec. 4945 advance approval of an organization’s grant making procedures, and Code Sec. 4945(f) advance approval of voter registration activities.

Rev. Proc. 2019-7

This procedure provides an updated list of subject areas under the jurisdiction of the Associate Chief Counsel (International) for which it will not issue advance letter rulings or determination letters, or will issue letters only if justified by unique and compelling circumstances. Section 4.01(01) related to Code Sec. 367(a) has been removed as obsolete. There are no other changes except renumbering to reflect the foregoing and updates to cross references and citations. The new procedure supersedes Rev. Proc. 2018-7, I.R.B. 2018-1, 271