The world of communications has drastically changed since the first tax laws were enacted by Congress. Until recently, contacts between the Internal Revenue Service and taxpayers have been by mail, phone, or personal interviews, or a combination of them all. But now almost all businesses use the fax machine as an integral part of their operations, and the IRS, based on requests from taxpayers and practitioners, has approved the use of faxes in certain circumstances for issues related to income, employment, excise, estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax, as well as tax-exempt and employee-plan determinations.
As a general rule, the IRS will not allow the filing of original tax returns by fax. However, an exception is made as part of the return perfection process where the IRS is looking for missing information or schedules. A taxpayer can submit returns by fax as part of return perfection even if a signature is required provided that the IRS contacted the taxpayer about the missing return and the contact is documented.
A taxpayer is permitted to submit documentation, forms, and letters related to post-filing/non-filing inquiries by fax based on taxpayer or IRS request. As with returns, the IRS will receive this information even if it requires a signature so long as the IRS has contacted the taxpayer and that contact is documented.
Taxpayers should be aware that the IRS will not acknowledge the receipt of faxes in the course of its normal operations by a return fax. However, under special circumstances, an exception can be made.
The IRS has provided a list of documents that it will accept by fax in course of routine operations. In addition, it lists specific documents, forms, and letter that can be accepted by fax if the IRS has contacted the taxpayer by phone or in-person and the taxpayer file has been documented with the date of contact and a notation that the taxpayer will submit the information by fax.
Certain documents, such as closing agreements for tax amounts in excess of $25,000, employee plan and exempt organization determination letter applications, determination letter requests related to income, gift, estate, generation-skipping transfer, employment, and excise tax matters, and applications to extend the statute of limitations for assessing tax will not be accepted by fax.
Copyright 2007 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.