Part 1. Organization, Finance, and Management
Chapter 2. Servicewide Policies and Authorities
Section 23. Policy Statements for Chief Counsel Activities
This IRM contains Policy Statements which relate to Chief Counsel activities. Each Policy Statement is now categorized by the process to which it belongs. Distribution of the IRM should be to all persons having a need for any of the Policy Statements. The fact that Policy Statements apply to all Service personnel involved in the type of program, activity, function, or work process covered by them remains unchanged.
An initiative is underway to completely overhaul the Commissioner's Policies. Some of them exceed 40 years old and due to changes in IRS climate and technological advancements, no longer serve their original intended purpose. The Office of the Chief Counsel and the Office of Servicewide Policy, Directives, and Electronic Research (SPDER) are working with the division and functional owners of the policy statements to determine which ones are still current, which ones should be cancelled, and which ones need revision.
Any Policy Statement approved after this revision of IRM 1.2.23 is posted to IRS.gov and can be accessed through the ReferenceNet web site under the Instructions to Staff tab at the top and then to "Recently Approved Policy Statements." They will remain on the web until the next revision is made to this IRM. The address is http://rnet.web.irs.gov/index.htm.
If any Policy Statements have been inadvertently omitted from this Section they are still considered official and in full force and effect. Please send any discrepancies found to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Petitions for changes in regulations to be considered
Interested persons have the privilege of petitioning for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of regulations, and such petitions shall be considered on their merits.
Proposed regulations are of a confidential nature
The contents of proposed regulations are of a confidential nature until the notice of rule making is filed by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Service, for public inspection. Likewise, the contents of final regulations are also of a confidential nature until the Treasury decision is so filed. During the period prior to such filing of either the proposed regulations or the final regulations, information cannot be disclosed to anyone outside the Department as to the position to be taken by the Department on a particular issue in the regulations. Exceptions may be made only by the Commissioner, the Senior Deputy Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioners, the Chief Counsel, the Deputies Chief Counsel, the Associate Chief Counsel (Technical and International), the Director, Legislation and Regulations Division, and the Director, Employee Plans and Exempt Organizations Division.
Advance delivery of copies of regulations to "tax services" permitted in certain instances
Advance copies of proposed regulations or final regulations may be delivered to publishers of "tax services," with the understanding that such regulations are of a confidential nature and subject to such conditions as are deemed appropriate, when it is determined that such action is in the best interest of the Service and the public.
Comments concerning proposed regulations
Interested persons may submit any data, views, or arguments in response to a notice of proposed rule making published pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553. Further, procedures are provided for members of the public to inspect and to obtain copies of written comments submitted in response to such notices. Designations of material as confidential or not to be disclosed, contained in such comments, will not be accepted. Thus, a person submitting written comments in response to a notice of proposed rule making should not include therein material that he/she considers to be confidential or inappropriate for disclosure to the public. It will be presumed by the Internal Revenue Service that every written comment submitted to it in response to a notice of proposed rule making is intended by the person submitting it to be subject in its entirety to public inspection and copying in accordance with proper procedures. The name of any person requesting a public hearing and hearing outlines are not exempt from disclosure.
Requests for public hearings usually granted; exceptions provided
A notice of proposed rule making invites comments from the public. Public hearings requested in a timely comment usually will be granted. However, public hearings may be denied if the Commissioner, the Senior Deputy Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioners, the Chief Counsel, Deputies Chief Counsel, the Associate Chief Counsel (Technical and International), the Director, Legislation and Regulations Division, or the Director, Employee Plans and Exempt Organizations Division, determines that such denial is necessary or appropriate. For example, a hearing may be denied when the time element is such that the delay to permit a public hearing would seriously burden taxpayers or interfere with good administration of the law.
Hearings consolidated when practicable
To promote efficiency and to expedite the promulgation of regulations, the Service will hold consolidated hearings with respect to proposed regulations. Every effort shall be made to consolidate for hearing purposes those commenting parties or groups which have substantially the same interest in the subject matter under consideration. However, any individual, group, or association may be afforded a separate public hearing.
Hearings generally not granted on untimely request but comment may be considered
Comments must be received within the period specified in the notice of rule making. A public hearing will not be granted as a result of an untimely request unless the Commissioner, the Senior Deputy Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioners, the Chief Counsel, Deputies Chief Counsel, the Associate Chief Counsel (Technical and International), the Director, Legislation and Regulations Division, or the Director, Employee Plans and Exempt Organizations Division, determines that a public hearing is appropriate and that it will not unduly delay the processing of final regulations. If a public hearing is granted as a result of a timely request by other persons concerned with the same issue, the Service may allow any person present at the hearing to give his/her views after the comments of all persons properly granted the hearing are heard. No commitment will be made to delay consideration for action on any regulation pending receipt of original or supplementary comments after the period specified in the notice of rule making. Consideration will be given, however, to any late written comment if such consideration will not delay the processing of the final regulation, as, for example, when the late comment is received while timely comments are still under initial consideration.
Hearings open to public and press
All hearings with respect to a proposed regulation will be open to the public including members of the press.
Timely mailed comments treated as timely filed
Written comments to notices of proposed rule making which are timely mailed will be treated as timely filed. Therefore, if the cover containing the comment bears a timely postmark, the comment will be considered filed timely although received after the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing.