What Is A Technical Advice Memorandum: A Technical Advice Memorandum, often abbreviated as TAM, is a crucial and specialized document issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States. It serves as a formal written response to specific technical and complex tax questions or issues raised by taxpayers, tax professionals, or IRS field agents. TAMs are an essential part of the IRS’s efforts to provide clarity and guidance on intricate tax matters, helping taxpayers and tax practitioners navigate the complexities of the U.S. tax code.

The purpose, significance, and key characteristics of Technical Advice Memoranda, shedding light on how they contribute to the resolution of tax-related uncertainties and disputes. Technical Advice Memoranda, or TAMs, represent a critical component of the IRS’s commitment to maintaining a fair and consistent tax trial knowledge system. These memoranda are typically issued in response to complex tax questions or situations that lack clear guidance from existing tax laws, regulations, or previous court decisions. As such, they provide valuable insights and interpretations of tax laws, regulations, and policies, helping taxpayers and IRS personnel alike in understanding how the tax code applies to specific scenarios.

One distinctive feature of TAMs is their authoritative nature within the IRS. While they do not have the same legal precedential value as court decisions, they carry significant weight in tax matters, often influencing the IRS’s position on similar issues in the future. Furthermore, TAMs are not readily available to the public, maintaining their confidentiality to protect sensitive taxpayer information and ensure the privacy of those seeking guidance.

What Is A Technical Advice Memorandum

What is a technical advice?

Technical Advice helps Service personnel close cases and maintain consistent holdings. Technical Advice may be used for unusual or complex issues that warrant consideration by the headquarters office.

Overview of Technical Advice

Technical advice is typically sought when taxpayers encounter tax questions or scenarios that lack clear and straightforward solutions within the existing tax code or regulatory framework. These questions can range from the tax treatment of complex financial transactions to the interpretation of tax laws in unique circumstances.

Sources of Technical Advice

Several entities are responsible for providing technical advice in the field of taxation, with the primary source being the tax authorities themselves. In the United States, for example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues Technical Advice Memoranda (TAMs) to address complex tax questions. These documents offer authoritative guidance on how tax laws and regulations should be applied in specific situations.

The Role of Technical Advice

The primary role of technical advice is to provide clarity and resolution in situations where tax laws are ambiguous, contradictory, or silent. This guidance helps taxpayers and tax professionals make informed decisions, reduce uncertainty, and ensure compliance with tax obligations.

Confidentiality and Technical Advice

One critical aspect of technical advice is its confidentiality. To protect sensitive taxpayer information and maintain privacy, technical advice documents are typically not made public. This confidentiality ensures that individuals and businesses can seek guidance without fear of exposing their financial or tax-related details to the public.

Is a tam substantial authority?

TAMs issued after October 31, 1976 may be used as substantial authority to avoid the substantial understatement penalty.

A Technical Advice Memorandum (TAM) is a valuable source of guidance provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States to address complex and uncertain tax matters. While TAMs are authoritative within the IRS and provide significant insights into how the agency interprets and applies tax laws, whether they constitute “substantial authority” is a nuanced question that depends on the specific circumstances and legal context.

To understand the role of a TAM in establishing substantial authority, it’s essential to first define what substantial authority means in the context of tax law. Substantial authority is a standard used to assess the strength of a taxpayer’s position when reporting an item on their tax return. It is a threshold that must be met to avoid certain penalties, such as accuracy-related penalties, in case the IRS challenges the taxpayer’s position.

TAMs are considered a source of authority when evaluating the substantial authority of a tax position. They are part of a hierarchy of authorities that includes statutes, regulations, judicial decisions, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, and other guidance issued by the IRS. While TAMs do not carry the same legal precedential weight as court decisions, they are still a recognized and authoritative source within the IRS.

In practice, taxpayers and their advisors often rely on a combination of authorities, including TAMs, to establish substantial authority for their tax positions. By citing relevant TAMs alongside other sources of authority, they aim to demonstrate that their position is well-founded and has a reasonable chance of being upheld if challenged by the IRS.

How do I request a private letter ruling?

Taxpayers requesting a private letter ruling should consult the Revenue Procedure published by the IRS at the start of each calendar year, which describes guidelines and updates for the process and includes sample request letter templates and a checklist of over 50 questions that must be answered.

Requesting a private letter ruling (PLR) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States is a formal process that individuals, businesses, and organizations use to seek clarification and guidance on specific tax issues. A PLR is a written statement issued by the IRS that provides an official interpretation of the tax code as it applies to a particular set of facts. 

Before proceeding with a PLR request, ensure that your situation meets the criteria for seeking a private letter ruling. PLRs are typically issued for issues that are not covered by existing tax laws, regulations, or court decisions, or for situations where there is uncertainty about how the law applies to specific facts.

The IRS has various divisions that handle different types of tax issues. You must determine which division is responsible for the specific tax matter you need guidance on. Common divisions include the Large Business and International (LB&I) Division, the Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) Division, and the Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE) Division.

PLR requests typically require the payment of a user fee. The fee amount varies depending on the complexity of the issue and the type of taxpayer making the request. Refer to IRS Revenue Procedure 2021-1, Appendix A, for the current fee schedule.

What is the revenue procedure?

A revenue procedure is an official statement of a procedure published in the Bulletin that either affects the rights or duties of taxpayers or other members of the public under the Internal Revenue Code and related statutes, treaties, and regulations or, although not necessarily affecting the rights and duties of the …

Provide Guidance: Revenue Procedures provide detailed guidance on various tax issues, including tax compliance, reporting requirements, and tax planning strategies. They help taxpayers understand how to apply the tax code to their specific situations.

Standardization: These documents help standardize IRS practices and procedures. They ensure that IRS personnel across different offices and regions apply tax laws consistently and fairly.

Streamline Processes: Revenue Procedures often outline specific processes and procedures for various tax-related activities, such as applying for tax-exempt status, requesting private letter rulings, or claiming certain tax benefits.

Taxpayer Rights: Revenue Procedures may also explain the rights and responsibilities of taxpayers when dealing with the IRS, including procedures for resolving disputes or seeking relief.

Fees or User Costs: Information regarding any fees or user costs associated with certain actions or requests outlined in the Revenue Procedure.

How long does it take to get a PLR?

How Long Does a PLR Ruling Take? The decision by the IRS on the private letter ruling takes about 60-90 days. However, the process might be extremely long if the process requires the IRS multiple brunches to review the PLR.

Statutory Timeframe:

Under the Internal Revenue Code, the IRS is generally required to respond to a PLR request within 180 days of receiving a complete submission. This 180-day period is intended to provide taxpayers with a reasonable timeframe for receiving guidance on their tax issues.

Complexity of the Issue:

The complexity of the tax issue addressed in the PLR request can significantly impact the processing time. More intricate and nuanced issues may require additional time for the IRS to conduct research, analysis, and consultations.

IRS Workload:

The workload of the specific IRS division responsible for handling PLR requests can affect processing times. High volumes of requests or other administrative factors within the IRS may lead to delays.

Additional Information Requests:

In some cases, the IRS may request additional information or clarification from the taxpayer or their representative. This can extend the processing time, as the IRS may need to wait for the requested information before proceeding.

Complexity of the Tax Code:

The complexity of the tax code itself can contribute to longer processing times for PLR requests. Issues that involve multiple sections of the tax code or require a thorough analysis of regulations and legal precedents may take longer to resolve.

What does TAM stand for in tax?

Technical Advice Memorandum (TAM) | Internal Revenue Service.

TAMs are typically not readily available to the public. They are issued in a confidential manner to protect sensitive taxpayer information and maintain the privacy of those seeking guidance. This confidentiality encourages taxpayers to seek expert advice without the fear of exposing their financial or tax-related details to the public.

While TAMs do not carry the same legal precedential weight as court decisions, they hold substantial authority within the IRS. Tax authorities often rely on TAMs to inform their positions on similar tax issues in the future, making TAMs a valuable resource for consistency and fairness in tax administration.

Taxpayers, their representatives (such as tax attorneys or certified public accountants), or IRS field agents can request a TAM by submitting a formal written request to the IRS. The request should include a detailed description of the tax issue, relevant facts, and the taxpayer’s proposed position.

A Technical Advice Memorandum (TAM) represents a critical and specialized resource in the field of taxation. It offers authoritative guidance and interpretation of complex tax matters, contributing to the equitable administration of tax laws.

What is meant by the Golsen rule?

Under the rule (referred to as the Golsen Rule) articulated in the case, the Tax Court may render different decisions, based on identical situations, for taxpayers that are differentiated only by the geographical area in which the Tax Court case is decided.

Background of the Golsen Case:

The Golsen case involved a dispute between the taxpayer, Mr. Golsen, and the IRS over certain tax deductions. The key issue revolved around whether certain expenses were deductible business expenses or personal, non-deductible expenses. The Tax Court, in its decision, sided with the IRS.

The Golsen Rule’s Significance:

The Golsen case itself might not have gained significant notoriety; however, it set a precedent that has had a lasting impact on tax law and tax litigation. The Golsen rule essentially states that the U.S. Tax Court must follow the precedent set by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to which an appeal in a particular case would be made.

Multiple Circuits, Multiple Precedents:

In the United States, there are multiple U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, each covering specific geographical regions. These Circuit Courts have the authority to hear appeals from U.S. Tax Court decisions within their respective jurisdictions. Given that different Circuits may interpret tax laws differently, there can be conflicting precedents among them.

Applying the Golsen Rule:

When a taxpayer or the IRS appeals a U.S. Tax Court decision, the choice of which U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to file the appeal with depends on the taxpayer’s place of residence or the location of the IRS office that issued the notice of deficiency. The Golsen rule instructs the Tax Court to apply the precedent set by the Circuit Court to which the appeal would be made.

What is the importance of technical advice?

Technical support is important because it provides assistance and troubleshooting for technology-related issues. It ensures that users can effectively use and maintain their devices, software, and systems. Technical support helps address and resolve problems, reducing downtime and improving productivity.

One of the primary benefits of seeking technical advice is that it empowers individuals and organizations to make informed decisions. Technical experts provide insights, analysis, and recommendations based on their specialized knowledge. This allows decision-makers to weigh the pros and cons of various options and choose the most suitable course of action.

In many fields, especially finance and business, decisions often come with inherent risks. Technical advice helps in identifying and mitigating these risks. Experts can assess potential pitfalls, anticipate challenges, and recommend strategies to minimize or manage risks effectively.

Technical advice contributes to efficiency and effectiveness by streamlining processes and optimizing resources. Experts can identify inefficiencies, suggest process improvements, and help organizations achieve their goals more efficiently.

In highly regulated industries like healthcare, finance, and environmental management, adherence to laws and regulations is critical. Technical experts are well-versed in compliance requirements and can provide guidance to ensure that organizations operate within legal boundaries.

What Is A Technical Advice Memorandum


A Technical Advice Memorandum (TAM) stands as a pivotal resource within the realm of U.S. taxation. It serves as a formal and authoritative response to intricate tax questions, providing clarity and guidance in situations where the existing tax code and regulations may not offer a straightforward solution. TAMs are instrumental in facilitating fair and consistent tax administration, ensuring that taxpayers and tax professionals can navigate the complexities of the tax system with confidence.

The significance of TAMs lies not only in their ability to resolve immediate tax uncertainties but also in their potential to influence the IRS’s future positions on similar issues. While not legally binding like court decisions, TAMs carry substantial weight within the IRS and can shape the agency’s approach to interpreting and applying tax laws.

Furthermore, the confidentiality of TAMs helps protect sensitive taxpayer information and maintain the privacy of those seeking guidance, fostering a culture of trust technical advice and compliance. Moreover, the issuance of TAMs reflects the IRS’s commitment to transparency and fairness in its dealings with taxpayers. It demonstrates the agency’s willingness to engage in a constructive dialogue with taxpayers and tax professionals, fostering a cooperative environment where tax questions can be resolved through expert analysis and interpretation.

In essence, Technical Advice Memoranda play a vital role in promoting tax compliance, reducing disputes, and enhancing the overall efficiency of the U.S. tax system. Their authoritative guidance ensures that taxpayers can navigate complex tax matters with clarity and confidence, ultimately contributing to a more equitable and transparent tax environment.

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