Taxpayers must pay electronically for ruling requests

By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

The IRS announced in IR-2017-102 that it would no longer accept checks in payment for ruling requests beginning June 15; taxpayers are now required to make the user fee payments electronically. The IRS permitted a two-month phase-in period through Aug. 15 during which it accepted either checks or electronic payments.

The new rule applies to requests for private letter rulings, closing agreements, and rulings using Form 1128, Application to Adopt, Change, or Retain a Tax Year; Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation; Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method; or Form 8716, Election to Have a Tax Year Other Than a Required Tax Year.

The rulings affected are those described in Rev. Proc. 2017-1 that are sent to the IRS Docket, Records and User Fee Branch of the Legal Processing Division of the Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure and Administration). Determination letters are not affected because they are sent to other IRS offices, as described in Rev. Proc. 2017-1.

The new rules require taxpayers to use the Pay.gov system paying with a credit card or debit card, or via direct debit or electronic funds withdrawal from a checking or savings account, instead of a check or money order. According to the IRS, user fees run from $200 to $28,300 depending on the type of ruling the taxpayer is requesting.

The IRS cautions that taxpayers can only use the Pay.gov system to make payments; the ruling requests themselves and supporting documents must still be submitted by mail or hand-delivered.

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