Thursday, June 23, 2011

One Paper Size Fits All Pa Inheritance Tax Returns

Effective April 1, 2011 any REV-1500 (PA Resident Inheritance Tax Return), including attachments, submitted to the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Division in a format size other than 8½ x 11 will be rejected by the Department of Revenue, which will equate to a non-filing.

Pursuant to a Notice entitled REV-1500 Formatting Limitations to 8½” X 11”  issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Inheritance Tax Division, and referenced by the Registers of Wills in at least two Pennsylvania Counties -- Center County (Inheritance Tax Return Formatting Limitation to 8 1/2" X 11") and Chester County (Inheritance Tax Returns REV 1500 Required Formatting) -- returns not filed on standard letter-sized (8½” X 11”) paper will be rejected.

Rejection (read, "non-filing") will occur because such a filing would "not conform" to the Pennsylvania Inheritance and Estate Tax Act of 1991, 72 P.S. §9136, and the Department's requirements.  That Section provides:
§ 9136.  Returns.  
(a) The following persons shall make a return: * * *
(c) Any person required to file a return under subsection (a) shall promptly file a
supplemental return with respect to additional assets and transfers which come to his knowledge after the original return has been filed. * * *
(e) The returns required by subsections (a) and (c) shall be made in the form prescribed by the department.
The Notice explains why the new limitation will be enforced.
Historically, the Department has manually reduced the size of any 8½” x 14” REV-1500 by coping them onto 8½” x 11” paper.  The copies do not image correctly and the loss of division personnel has required us to input this new procedure.
The REV-1500 is in an official format of 8½” x 11”. The Department will return the forms to the local Register of Wills’ office and note on the inheritance tax system that the forms were returned to the Register’s office as the form did not fit the standard format. * * *
However, there was a phase-in period for the change, which began on April 1, 2011, but will expire on June 30, 2011.
The Department has recommend to the Register of Wills’ office personnel to immediately inform estate return preparers when they bring a REV-1500 to their office printed on any format that is not 8½” x 11” that the Register’s office will reject the REV-1500 to be forwarded to the Department for processing and advise the preparer of the correct procedures.
As a representative of the PA Department of Revenue, Inheritance Tax Division, the county Register of Wills office does have the authority to refuse any form that does not qualify as an accepted form for processing under the above noted section.

From April 1, 2011 [until] June 30, 2011, the Department will inform the estate representative that the forms were sent back to the Register’s offices as a result of incorrect formatting. The estate representative will be required to deliver to the Register a revised REV-1500 formatted correctly and pay any additional filing fee as required.

After June 30, 2011, the Department will discontinue informing the estate representative of their error.
The effort to standardize paper sizes has a long history.  In the legal world, paper sizes have been determined as much by the two standard filing cabinet sizes as anything else.  But now technology, with its scanning processes and computer monitor viewing, drives paper standardization.  Aberrant paper sizes will not be accommodated any longer, due to additional processing costs incurred to fit the systems.

So, when it comes to the filing of Inheritance Tax Returns in Pennsylvania after June 30, 2011, one size shall fit all.

Update: 11/02/11:

For those seeking an overview of, or online resources about, Pennsylvania Inheritance and Estate Taxes, see: PA EE&F Law Blog posting PA Inheritance Tax Summarized (11/02/11).