The IRS will move faster! No, not for you.

I've been digging through the tax news of the last few weeks. It's my job. And one of the items that caught my eye was an announcement by the IRS that it's setting up a new "fast track" private letter ruling system for corporate transactions. Private letter rulings are where people with a lot of money go to get the IRS's blessing on their deals before they enter into them.

The timing couldn't be worse for the IRS to be speeding up the process for the well-heeled. The agency is currently sitting on literally tens of millions of tax returns, filed on paper, that it still hasn't gotten to from last year. I think there may be some unprocessed returns lying around from the year before that as well.

Hey, Commissioner Rettig. If you can't even process what the moms and pops of the world sent you a year ago, you sure as heck shouldn't be diverting resources to making things even easier for the big corporations. It's very revealing about the agency's priorities, and not in a good way. Before you hustle to tell Intel or whoever that it's okay to spin off some subsidiary somewhere, you ought to be getting Grandma her refund from last year.


  1. When I worked at IRS Chief Counsel many years ago, the Corporate Division, which issued letter rulings, as well as the Treasury Office of Tax Legislative Counsel, which reviewed many letter rulings before release, thought their job was to facilitate commerce under Subchapter C, rather than to administer tax law.


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