IRS Publishes New Revenue Procedures Addressing Applications for Tax-Exempt Status

2 min

With 2015 in full swing, tax-exempt organization practitioners should be aware of recently enacted changes to the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) internal operating procedures. Earlier this month, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2015-9, setting forth the procedures the IRS will follow in issuing, revoking, and modifying determination letters for tax-exempt organizations during 2015. This update supersedes last year's Revenue Procedure 2014-9 and contains two noteworthy modifications.

First, the Revenue Procedure clarifies that EO Rulings and Agreements will not issue letter rulings or technical advice. The Office of Associate Chief Counsel will instead issue Private Letter Rulings (PLRs) and Technical Advice Memoranda (TAMs). This confirms prior reports generated by public pronouncements of IRS officials and Announcement 2014-34. A significant consequence of this change in IRS procedure is a substantial increase in the cost of obtaining a PLR. In Revenue Procedure 2015-1, the IRS recently announced that the user fees for obtaining a PLR will be $28,300, effective February 2, 2015.

Second, the Revenue Procedure reflects the newly created 1023-EZ application. As of July 1, 2014, smaller organizations are permitted to seek recognition of exempt status under section 501(c)(3) using a less burdensome, streamlined application. 1023-EZ filers must complete an eligibility worksheet certifying, among other things, that the organization's total assets are less than $250,000 and that their actual gross receipts were under $50,000 for the last three years and are projected to remain the same or decrease over the next three years. The activities in the applications are described with codes, and no corporate documents are submitted. Although the application procedures for Forms 1023 and 1023-EZ are different and set forth in two different Revenue Procedures, the IRS notes it may merge the two Revenue Procedures, 2015-5 and 2015-9, in a later update.