Estate Tax Closing Letters and an Alternative

December 9, 2015

As you may remember from last June, the IRS no longer automatically issues Closing Letters on Federal Estate Tax Returns. If you want one, you have to ask for it by calling (866)–699–4083 and providing the following information:

  1. Name of the decedent
  2. Decedent's social security number
  3. Date of Death

The estate tax closing letter will then be prepared and issued to the executor at the address of record. They estimate that you should expect to receive your closing letter about 4 to 6 months after the return is filed. They also request that you wait at least 4 months after filing the return to make the closing letter request to allow time for processing.

Today we learned, courtesy of Steve Leimberg's "60 second planner" that the IRS has now offered another alternative way of determining whether your return has been accepted as filed, and that is by requesting an estate tax transcript. If the estate tax transcript shows a code 421, that means that the Federal Estate Tax Return has been accepted as filed.

You can obtain such a transcript by filing form 4506 T or requesting transcript delivery service, instructions for which are on the IRS website. In order to sign this form or request this delivery service, you are going to need a power of attorney showing your authority to request it.

From the information provided so far, I can see no reason whatever for using this alternative procedure, since it seems more difficult, and the piece of paper less satisfying looking(though of course I haven't seen one). Maybe someone can tell me why this would be a good idea.

On the other hand, it is a good idea to get a closing letter (why would you not want one?), And the procedure to do that seems very simple.

Maybe I'm missing something – I often do!

Bob Wolf, Moderator, P & T Hot Tip Email List

Tener, Van Kirk, Wolf & Moore, P.C.

One Oxford Centre, Suite 2100

301 Grant Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

(412) 281-5580

Fax (412) 281-6115

Any tax advice in the foregoing message was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used by any person for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed with respect to the matters addressed. Some of that advice may have been written to support the promotion or marketing of the transactions or matters addressed within the meaning of IRS Circular 230, in which case, be advised that the advice was written to support the promotion or marketing of the transaction(s) or matter(s) addressed, and you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

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