Recently on the ACTEC Practice Listserv, a question was asked -- "Can anyone suggest how I might get a copy of the IRS Examination Technique Handbook for Estate Tax Examiners?" The answer reminds us about a necessary resource for tax practitioners.
Beth Shapiro Kaufman, of Caplin & Drysdale, in Washington, D.C. , responded, "If you are looking for the section of the Internal Revenue Manual that pertains to estate and gift examinations, it is available on line."
This is the table of contents of that section of the Internal Revenue Service Manual that she referenced regarding "Estate and Gift Tax Examinations":
Another more general explanation is posted by the IRS in its "Frequently Asked Questions on Estate Taxes", which answers "some of the more common questions and answers about Estate Tax issues."
4.25.1 Estate and Gift Tax Examinations
- When can I expect the Estate Tax Closing Letter?
- What is included in the Estate?
- I own a 1/2 interest in a farm (or building or business) with my brother (sister, friend, other). What is included?
- What is excluded from the Estate?
- What deductions are available to reduce the Estate Tax?
- What other information do I need to include with the return?
- What is "Fair Market Value?"
- What about the value of my family business/farm?
- What if I do not have everything ready for filing by the due date?
- Who should I hire to represent me and prepare and file the return?
- Do I have to talk to the IRS during an examination?
- What if I disagree with the examination proposals?
- What happens if I sell property that I have inherited?
You may also find additional information in Publication 950 or some of the other forms and publications offered on our Forms Page.Yet the warnings stated by the IRS there stand out; and so be very careful:
Included in this area are the instructions to Forms 706 and 709. Within these instructions, you will find the tax rate schedules to the related returns.
The laws on Estate and Gift Taxes are considered to be some of the most complicated in the Internal Revenue Code.
For further guidance, we strongly recommend that you visit with an estate tax practitioner (Attorney or CPA) who has considerable experience in this field. * * * [Emphasis added.]