Beginning Oct. 28, a new $67 user fee will apply to any estate that requests a closing letter for its federal estate tax return.
The new user fee was authorized under final regulations, TD 9957, available in the Federal Register. Closing letter requests must be made using Pay.gov. The IRS will provide further procedural details before the user fee goes into effect.
By law, federal agencies are required to charge a user fee to cover the cost of providing certain services to the public that confer a special benefit to the recipient. Moreover, agencies must review these fees every two years to determine whether they are recovering the cost of these services.
Under the final regulations, the IRS has determined that issuing closing letters is a service that confers a special benefit warranting a user fee. That’s because, though obtaining a closing letter from the IRS can be helpful to an executor of an estate, it is not required by law. Moreover, the estate has the option of obtaining from the IRS, free of charge, an account transcript, showing certain information from the estate tax return, comparable to that found in a closing letter. As noted in the final regulations, account transcripts can be used to confirm that an estate tax return examination has been completed and the IRS file has been closed, which is the reason most often cited for requesting a closing letter.