(1) Internal revenue rules take various forms. The most important rules are issued as regulations and Treasury decisions prescribed by the Commissioner and approved by the Secretary or his delegate. Other rules may be issued over the signature of the Commissioner or the signature of any other official to whom authority has been delegated. Regulations and Treasury decisions are prepared in the Office of the Chief Counsel. After approval by the Commissioner, regulations and Treasury decisions are forwarded to the Secretary or his delegate for further consideration and final approval.
(2) Where required by 5 U.S.C. 553 and in such other instances as may be desirable, the Commissioner publishes in the Federal Register general notice of proposed rules (unless all persons subject thereto are named and either personally served or otherwise have actual notice thereof in accordance with law). This notice includes:
(i) A statement of the time, place, and nature of public rulemaking proceedings;
(ii) Reference to the authority under which the rule is proposed.
(iii) Either the terms or substance of the proposed rule or a description of the subjects and issues involved.
(i) This subparagraph shall apply where the rules of this subparagraph are incorporated by reference in a notice of hearing with respect to a notice of proposed rule making.
(ii) A person wishing to make oral comments at a public hearing to which this subparagraph applies shall file his written comments within the time prescribed by the notice of proposed rule making (including any extensions thereof) and submit the outline referred to in subdivision (iii) of this subparagraph within the time prescribed by the notice of hearing. In lieu of the reading of a prepared statement at the hearing, such person's oral comments shall ordinarily be limited to a discussion of matters relating to such written comments and to questions and answers in connection therewith. However, the oral comments shall not be merely a restatement of matters the person has submitted in writing. Persons making oral comments should be prepared to answer questions not only on the topics listed in his outline but also in connection with the matters relating to his written comments. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, in order to be assured of the availability of copies of such written comments or outlines on or before the beginning of such hearing, any person who desires such copies should make such a request within the time prescribed in the notice of hearing and shall agree to pay reasonable costs for coping. Persons who make such a request after the time prescribed in the notice of hearing will be furnished copies as soon as they are available, but it may not be possible to furnish the copies on or before the beginning of the hearing. Except as provided in the preceding sentences, copies of written comments regarding the rules proposed shall not be made available at the hearing.
(iii) A person who wishes to be assured of being heard shall submit, within the time prescribed in the notice of hearing, an outline of the topics he or she wishes to discuss, and the time he or she wishes to devote to each topic. An agenda will then be prepared containing the order of presentation of oral comments and the time allotted to such presentation. A period of 10 minutes will be the time allotted to each person for making his or her oral comments.
(iv) At the conclusion of the presentations of comments of persons listed in the agenda, to the extent time permits, other persons may be permitted to present oral comments provided they have notified, either the Commissioner of Internal Revenue (Attention: CC:LR:T) before the hearing, or the representative of the Internal Revenue Service stationed at the entrance to the hearing room at or before commencement of the hearing, of their desire to be heard.
(v) In the case of unusual circumstances or for good cause shown, the application of rules contained in this subparagraph, including the 10-minute rule in subdivision (iii), above, may be waived.
(vi) To the extent resources permit, the public hearings to which this subparagraph applies may be transcribed.
(b) Comments on proposed rules -
(1) In general. Interested persons are privileged to submit any data, views, or arguments in response to a notice of proposed rule making published pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553. Further, procedures are provided in paragraph (d)(9) of § 601.702 for members of the public to inspect and to obtain copies of written comments submitted in response to such notices. Designations of material as confidential or not to be disclosed, contained in such comments, will not be accepted. Thus, a person submitting written comments in response to a notice of proposed rule making should not include therein material that he considers to be confidential or inappropriate for disclosure to the public. It will be presumed by the Internal Revenue Service that every written comment submitted to it in response to a notice of proposed rule making is intended by the person submitting it to be subject in its entirety to public inspection and copying in accordance with the procedures of paragraph (d)(9) of § 601.702. The name of any person requesting a public hearing and hearing outlines described in paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section are not exempt from disclosure.
(2) Effective date. This paragraph (b) applies only to comments submitted in response to notices of proposed rule making of the Internal Revenue Service published in the Federal Register after June 5, 1974.
(c) Petition to change rules. Interested persons are privileged to petition for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule. A petition for the issuance of a rule should identify the section or sections of law involved; and a petition for the amendment or repeal of a rule should set forth the section or sections of the regulations involved. The petition should also set forth the reasons for the requested action. Such petitions will be given careful consideration and the petitioner will be advised of the action taken thereon. Petitions should be addressed to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Attention: CC:LR:T, Washington, DC 20224. However, in the case of petitions to amend the regulations pursuant to subsection (c)(4)(A)(viii) or (5)(A)(i) of section 23 or former section 44C, follow the procedure outlined in paragraph (a) of § 1.23-6.
(d) Publication of rules and regulations -
(1) General. All Internal Revenue Regulations and Treasury decisions are published in the Federal Register and in the Code of Federal Regulations. See paragraph (a) of § 601.702. The Treasury decisions are also published in the weekly Internal Revenue Bulletin and the semiannual Cumulative Bulletin. The Internal Revenue Bulletin is the authoritative instrument of the Commissioner for the announcement of official rulings, decisions, opinions, and procedures, and for the publication of Treasury decisions, Executive orders, tax conventions, legislation, court decisions, and other items pertaining to internal revenue matters. It is the policy of the Internal Revenue Service to publish in the Bulletin all substantive and procedural rulings of importance or general interest, the publication of which is considered necessary to promote a uniform application of the laws administered by the Service. Procedures set forth in Revenue Procedures published in the Bulletin which are of general applicability and which have continuing force and effect are incorporated as amendments to the Statement of Procedural Rules. It is also the policy to publish in the Bulletin all rulings which revoke, modify, amend, or affect any published ruling. Rules relating solely to matters of internal practices and procedures are not published; however, statements of internal practices and procedures affecting rights or duties of taxpayers, or industry regulation, which appear in internal management documents, are published in the Bulletin. No unpublished ruling or decision will be relied on, used, or cited by any officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service as a precedent in the disposition of other cases.
(2) Objectives and standards for publication of Revenue Rulings and Revenue Procedures in the Internal Revenue Bulletin -
(a) A Revenue Ruling is an official interpretation by the Service that has been published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin. Revenue Rulings are issued only by the National Office and are published for the information and guidance of taxpayers, Internal Revenue Service officials, and others concerned.
(b) A Revenue Procedure is a statement of procedure that affects the rights or duties of taxpayers or other members of the public under the Code and related statutes or information that, although not necessarily affecting the rights and duties of the public, should be a matter of public knowledge.
(a) The Internal Revenue Bulletin is the authoritative instrument of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue for the publication of official rulings and procedures of the Internal Revenue Service, including all rulings and statements of procedure which supersede, revoke, modify, amend, or affect any previously published ruling or procedure. The Service also announces in the Bulletin the Commissioner's acquiescences and nonacquiescences in decisions of the U.S. Tax Court (other than decisions in memorandum opinions), and publishes Treasury decisions, Executive orders, tax conventions, legislation, court decisions, and other items considered to be of general interest. The Assistant Commissioner (Technical) administers the Bulletin program.
(b) The Bulletin is published weekly. In order to provide a permanent reference source, the contents of the Bulletin are consolidated semiannually into an indexed Cumulative Bulletin. The Bulletin Index-Digest System provides a research and reference guide to matters appearing in the Cumulative Bulletins. These materials are sold by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402.
(iii) The purpose of publishing revenue rulings and revenue procedures in the Internal Revenue Bulletin is to promote correct and uniform application of the tax laws by Internal Revenue Service employees and to assist taxpayers in attaining maximum voluntary compliance by informing Service personnel and the public of National Office interpretations of the internal revenue laws, related statutes, treaties, regulations, and statements of Service procedures affecting the rights and duties of taxpayers. Therefore, issues and answers involving substantive tax law under the jurisdiction of the Internal Revenue Service will be published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin, except those involving:
(a) Issues answered by statute, treaty, or regulations;
(b) Issues answered by rulings, opinions, or court decisions previously published in the Bulletin;
(c) Issues that are of insufficient importance or interest to warrant publication;
(d) Determinations of fact rather than interpretations of law;
(e) Informers and informers' rewards; or
(f) Disclosure of secret formulas, processes, business practices, and similar information.
Procedures affecting taxpayers' rights or duties that relate to matters under the jurisdiction of the Service will be published in the Bulletin.
(a) Rulings and other communications involving substantive tax law published in the Bulletin are published in the form of Revenue Rulings. The conclusions expressed in Revenue Rulings will be directly responsive to and limited in scope by the pivotal facts stated in the revenue ruling. Revenue Rulings arise from various sources, including rulings to taxpayers, technical advice to district offices, studies undertaken by the Office of the Assistant Commissioner (Technical), court decisions, suggestions from tax practitioner groups, publications, etc.
(b) It will be the practice of the Service to publish as much of the ruling or communication as is necessary for an understanding of the position stated. However, in order to prevent unwarranted invasions of personal privacy and to comply with statutory provisions, such as 18 U.S.C. 1905 and 26 U.S.C. 7213, dealing with disclosure of information obtained from members of the public, identifying details, including the names and addresses of persons involved, and information of a confidential nature are deleted from the ruling.
(c) Revenue Rulings, other than those relating to the qualification of pension, annuity, profit-sharing, stock bonus, and bond purchase plans, apply retroactively unless the Revenue Ruling includes a specific statement indicating, under the authority of section 7805(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, the extent to which it is to be applied without retroactive effect. Where Revenue Rulings revoke or modify rulings previously published in the Bulletin the authority of section 7805(b) of the Code ordinarily is invoked to provide that the new rulings will not be applied retroactively to the extent that the new rulings have adverse tax consequences to taxpayers. Section 7805(b) of the Code provides that the Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate may prescribe the extent to which any ruling is to be applied without retroactive effect. The exercise of this authority requires an affirmative action. For the effect of Revenue Rulings on determination letters and opinion letters issued with respect to the qualification of pension, annuity, profit-sharing, stock bonus, and bond purchase plans, see paragraph (o) of § 601.201.
(d) Revenue Rulings published in the Bulletin do not have the force and effect of Treasury Department Regulations (including Treasury decisions), but are published to provide precedents to be used in the disposition of other cases, and may be cited and relied upon for that purpose. No unpublished ruling or decision will be relied on, used, or cited, by any officer or employee of the Service as a precedent in the disposition of other cases.
(e) Taxpayers generally may rely upon Revenue Rulings published in the Bulletin in determining the tax treatment of their own transactions and need not request specific rulings applying the principles of a published Revenue Ruling to the facts of their particular cases. However, since each Revenue Ruling represents the conclusion of the Service as to the application of the law to the entire state of facts involved, taxpayers, Service personnel, and others concerned are cautioned against reaching the same conclusion in other cases unless the facts and circumstances are substantially the same. They should consider the effect of subsequent legislation, regulations, court decisions, and revenue rulings.
(f) Comments and suggestions from taxpayers or taxpayer groups on Revenue Rulings being prepared for publication in the Bulletin may be solicited, if justified by special circumstances. Conferences on Revenue Rulings being prepared for publication will not be granted except where the Service determines that such action is justified by special circumstances.
(vi) Statements of procedures which affect the rights or duties of taxpayers or other members of the public under the Code and related statutes will be published in the Bulletin in the form of Revenue Procedures. Revenue Procedures usually reflect the contents of internal management documents, but, where appropriate, they are also published to announce practices and procedures for guidance of the public. It is Service practice to publish as much of the internal management document or communication as is necessary for an understanding of the procedure. Revenue Procedures may also be based on internal management documents which should be a matter of public knowledge even though not necessarily affecting the rights or duties of the public. When publication of the substance of a Revenue Procedure in the Federal Register is required pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552, it will usually be accomplished by an amendment of the Statement of procedural Rules (26 CFR Part 601).
(a) The Assistant Commissioner (Technical) is responsible for administering the system for the publication of Revenue Rulings and Revenue Procedures in the Bulletin, including the standards for style and format.
(b) In accordance with the standards set forth in subdivision (iv) of this subparagraph, each Assistant Commissioner is responsible for the preparation and appropriate referral for publication of Revenue Rulings reflecting interpretations of substantive tax law made by his office and communicated in writing to taxpayers or field offices. In this connection, the Chief Counsel is responsible for the referral to the appropriate Assistant Commissioner, for consideration for publication as Revenue Rulings, of interpretations of substantive tax law made by his Office.
(c) In accordance with the standards set forth in subdivision (iv) of this subparagraph, each Assistant Commissioner and the Chief Counsel is responsible for determining whether procedures established by any office under his jurisdiction should be published as Revenue Procedures and for the initiation, content, and appropriate referral for publication of such Revenue Procedures.
(e) Foreign tax law.
(1) The Service will accept the interpretation placed by a foreign tax convention country on its revenue laws which do not affect the tax convention. However, when such interpretation conflicts with a provision in the tax convention, reconsideration of that interpretation may be requested.
(2) Conferences in the National Office of the Service will be granted to representatives of American firms doing business abroad and of American citizens residing abroad, in order to discuss with them foreign tax matters with respect to those countries with which we have tax treaties in effect.
[32 FR 15990, Nov. 22, 1967, as amended at 33 FR 6826, May 4, 1968; 35 FR 16593, Oct. 24, 1970; 38 FR 4971, Feb. 23, 1973; 39 FR 15755, May 6, 1974; 41 FR 13611, Mar. 31, 1976; 41 FR 20883, May 21, 1976; 43 FR 17821, Apr. 26, 1978; 47 FR 56333, Dec. 16, 1982; 48 FR 15624, Apr. 12, 1983; 52 FR 26673, July 16, 1987]