WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is seeking public comment on existing regulations that outline how bond attorneys should practice before it.
The agency made its request in a two-page document published last week in the Federal Register. The request was part of ongoing IRS efforts to assess the level of burden its regulations impose. The agency asked that public comments be submitted to it by Nov. 15.
The rules outline the minimum standards a practitioner must exercise when writing a state or local bond opinion.
They state that generally a practitioner filing a bond opinion for a state or local government should: identify and consider all relevant facts and not rely on unreasonable factual assumptions or unreasonable representations; relate the applicable laws to the relevant facts and not rely on any unreasonable legal assumptions, representations or conclusions; and consider all significant tax issues needed to reach the overall conclusion that the bonds qualify as tax-exempt.
In its request for comments, the IRS asked whether the burden imposed by the regulations is “necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency,” including whether the information has a practical purpose.
It also asked how accurately it is estimating the burden the regulations place on practitioners, and how the IRS could minimize that burden, such as through the use of automated processes or other technologies.
The agency also asked for input on how it could “enhance the quality, utility, and clarity” of the rules as well as estimates on how much it cost to start up and maintain the infrastructure needed to comply with the regulations.