Tax Planning Through the Use of Advance Rulings
by TERENCE F. HEALY Partner, Portland Office
Presented at the Annual Tax Forum of Oregon Society of Certified
Public Accountants, Eugene and Portland—December 1966
BEING FAMILIAR with and making use of the "rulings" program of the Internal Revenue Service can and should be an important segment of our tax practice. As tax practitioners we should know what the advantages
and disadvantages of requesting a ruling are, and, perhaps most important, should be aware of the circumstances in which a ruling must be requested. As you will note from the discussion that follows, there is no doubt in my mind that practically all of us have filed ruling requests at one time or another during our careers.
At this point I think it might be well to describe my subject matter in broad terms. I shall not discuss regulations or their effect or status, nor the Service's program for "published rulings"—those appearing in the weekly issue of the Internal Revenue Bulletin. On the other hand, while the definition of a ruling does not technically include "determination
letters," requests for "technical advice," or "information letters," a discussion of these items will be helpful, I believe, in obtaining a more meaningful understanding of the rulings program.
Before getting into a discussion of rulings it might be interesting to note that while the ruling policy of the Service has been in effect since 1940, it was not until 1954, when Revenue Ruling 54-172 was published, that we had a rulings program as we know it today. Subsequently, there have been revenue rulings, i.e., published rulings and revenue procedures,
offering taxpayers or their representatives, or both, guidelines with respect to the rulings program. (For example, see Rev. Proc's. 60-6, 62-28, 62-29, 62-30, 62-31, 62-32, 63-20, 64-31, 65-4, 66-34, Miscellaneous
Announcement 66-63.) It is in the revenue procedures currently
in force that we find the definitions applicable to our subject.
THE RULINGS PROGRAM—AS DEFINED HEREIN
A few definitions may now be in order:
A ruling is a written statement issued to a taxpayer or his authorized
representative by the National Office, interpreting and applying the