United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Mar 24, 2023
Except as otherwise provided in this section, the text of any written determination and any background file document relating to such written determination shall be open to public inspection at such place as the Secretary may by regulations prescribe.
The term “written determination” means a ruling, determination letter, technical advice memorandum, or Chief Counsel advice.
Such term shall not include any matter referred to in subparagraph (C) or (D) of section 6103(b)(2).
The term “background file document” with respect to a written determination includes the request for that written determination, any written material submitted in support of the request, and any communication (written or otherwise) between the Internal Revenue Service and persons outside the Internal Revenue Service in connection with such written determination (other than any communication between the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service relating to a pending civil or criminal case or investigation) received before issuance of the written determination.
The term “reference written determination” means any written determination which has been determined by the Secretary to have significant reference value.
The term “general written determination” means any written determination other than a reference written determination.
If, before the issuance of a written determination, the Internal Revenue Service receives any communication (written or otherwise) concerning such written determination, any request for such determination, or any other matter involving such written determination from a person other than an employee of the Internal Revenue Service or the person to whom such written determination pertains (or his authorized representative with regard to such written determination), the Internal Revenue Service shall indicate, on the written determination open to public inspection, the category of the person making such communication and the date of such communication.
Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any communication made by the Chief of Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation.
In the case of any written determination to which paragraph (1) applies, any person may file a petition in the United States Tax Court or file a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for an order requiring that the identity of any person to whom the written determination pertains be disclosed. The court shall order disclosure of such identity if there is evidence in the record from which one could reasonably conclude that an impropriety occurred or undue influence was exercised with respect to such written determination by or on behalf of such person. The court may also direct the Secretary to disclose any portion of any other deletions made in accordance with subsection (c) where such disclosure is in the public interest. If a proceeding is commenced under this paragraph, the person whose identity is subject to being disclosed and the person about whom a notation is made under paragraph (1) shall be notified of the proceeding in accordance with the procedures described in subsection (f)(4)(B) and shall have the right to intervene in the proceeding (anonymously, if appropriate).
No proceeding shall be commenced under paragraph (3) unless a petition is filed before the expiration of 36 months after the first day that the written determination is open to public inspection.
Whenever the Secretary makes a written determination open to public inspection under this section, he shall also make available to any person, but only upon the written request of that person, any background file document relating to the written determination.
Except as otherwise provided by subsection (i), the Secretary shall upon issuance of any written determination, or upon receipt of a request for a background file document, mail a notice of intention to disclose such determination or document to any person to whom the written determination pertains (or a successor in interest, executor, or other person authorized by law to act for or on behalf of such person).
The Secretary shall notify any person to whom a written determination pertains (unless such person is the petitioner) of the filing of a petition under this paragraph with respect to such written determination or related background file document, and any such person may intervene (anonymously, if appropriate) in any proceeding conducted pursuant to this paragraph. The Secretary shall send such notice by registered or certified mail to the last known address of such person within 15 days after such petition is served on the Secretary. No person who has received such a notice may thereafter file any petition under this paragraph with respect to such written determination or background file document with respect to which such notice was received.
Any person who has exhausted the administrative remedies prescribed pursuant to paragraph (2) with respect to a request for disclosure may file a petition in the United States Tax Court or a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for an order requiring that any written determination or background file document (or portion thereof) be made open or available to public inspection. Except where inconsistent with subparagraph (B), the provisions of subparagraphs (C), (D), (E), (F), and (G) of section 552(a)(4) of title 5, United States Code, shall apply to any proceeding under this paragraph. The Court shall examine the matter de novo and without regard to a decision of a court under paragraph (3) with respect to such written determination or background file document, and may examine the entire text of such written determination or background file document in order to determine whether such written determination or background file document or any part thereof shall be open or available to public inspection under this section. The burden of proof with respect to the issue of disclosure of any information shall be on the Secretary and any other person seeking to restrain disclosure.
If a proceeding is commenced under this paragraph with respect to any written determination or background file document, the Secretary shall, within 15 days after notice of the petition filed under subparagraph (A) is served on him, send notice of the commencement of such proceeding to all persons who are identified by name and address in such written determination or background file document. The Secretary shall send such notice by registered or certified mail to the last known address of such person. Any person to whom such determination or background file document pertains may intervene in the proceeding (anonymously, if appropriate). If such notice is sent, the Secretary shall not be required to defend the action and shall not be liable for public disclosure of the written determination or background file document (or any portion thereof) in accordance with the final decision of the court.
The Tax Court shall make a decision with respect to any petition described in paragraph (3) at the earliest practicable date.
Notwithstanding sections 7458 and 7461, the Tax Court may, in order to preserve the anonymity, privacy, or confidentiality of any person under this section, provide by rules adopted under section 7453 that portions of hearings, testimony, evidence, and reports in connection with proceedings under this section may be closed to the public or to inspection by the public.
The court may extend the period referred to in paragraph (1)(B) for such time as the court finds necessary to allow the Secretary to comply with its decision.
At the written request of the person by whom or on whose behalf the request for the written determination was made, the period referred to in paragraph (1)(A) shall be extended (for not to exceed an additional 90 days) until the day which is 15 days after the date of the Secretary’s determination that the transaction set forth in the written determination has been completed.
Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a written determination issued pursuant to a request made before
Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (f)(1) and (f)(3)(A), not less than 90 days before making any portion of a written determination described in this subsection open to public inspection, the Secretary shall issue public notice in the Federal Register that such written determination is to be made open to public inspection. The person who received a written determination may, within 75 days after the date of publication of notice under this paragraph, file a petition in the United States Tax Court (anonymously, if appropriate) for a determination with respect to that portion of such written determination which is to be made open to public inspection. The provisions of subsections (f)(3)(B), (5), and (6) shall apply if such a petition is filed. If no petition is filed, the text of any written determination shall be open to public inspection no earlier than 90 days, and no later than 120 days, after notice is published in the Federal Register.
Subsection (d) shall not apply to any written determination described in paragraph (1).
For purposes of subparagraph (A), the term “revenue provision” means any existing or former internal revenue law, regulation, revenue ruling, revenue procedure, other published or unpublished guidance, or tax treaty, either in general or as applied to specific taxpayers or groups of specific taxpayers.
The Secretary may by regulation provide that this section shall apply to any advice or instruction prepared and issued by the Office of Chief Counsel which is not described in paragraph (1).
In the case of Chief Counsel advice which is written with respect to a specific taxpayer or group of specific taxpayers, the Secretary shall, within 60 days after the issuance of the Chief Counsel advice, mail the notice required by subsection (f)(1) to each such taxpayer. The notice shall include a copy of the Chief Counsel advice on which is indicated the information that the Secretary proposes to delete pursuant to subsection (c)(1). The Secretary may also delete from the copy of the text of the Chief Counsel advice any of the information described in paragraph (3), and shall delete the names, addresses, and other identifying details of taxpayers other than the person to whom the advice pertains, except that the Secretary shall not delete from the copy of the Chief Counsel advice that is furnished to the taxpayer any information of which that taxpayer was the source.
Nothing in this section shall prevent the Secretary from disposing of any general written determination or background file document described in subsection (b) in accordance with established records disposition procedures, but such disposal shall, except as provided in the following sentence, occur not earlier than 3 years after such written determination is first made open to public inspection. In the case of any general written determination described in subsection (h), the Secretary may dispose of such determination and any related background file document in accordance with such procedures but such disposal shall not occur earlier than 3 years after such written determination is first made open to public inspection if funds are appropriated for such purpose before
Unless the Secretary otherwise establishes by regulations, a written determination may not be used or cited as precedent. The preceding sentence shall not apply to change the precedential status (if any) of written determinations with regard to taxes imposed by subtitle D of this title.
Except as otherwise provided in this title, or with respect to a discovery order made in connection with a judicial proceeding, the Secretary shall not be required by any Court to make any written determination or background file document open or available to public inspection, or to refrain from disclosure of any such documents.