IRS Issues Additional Procedure For Waiver of 60-Day Rollover Requirement and
Additional Self-Certification Procedure

The IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2016-47 on August 24, 2016. It modifies Revenue Procedure 2003-16. The IRS is now in the course of a examining a tax-payer’s individual tax return may determine that the person qualifies for a waiver of the 60-day rollover requirement.

The IRS has created a third waiver method. The new waiver method is effective on August 24, 2016. The first waiver method set forth in Revenue Procedure 2003-16 requires the taxpayer to file an application requesting a waiver of the 60-day rule and the IRS must grant the waiver. The second waiver method authorizes an automatic waiver of the 60-day rule if four requirements are met.

Why this new IRS procedure? In January of 2016 the IRS changed the filing fees that a taxpayer must pay when submitting his or her waiver application. In 2015, the filing fee was $500 if the purported rollover was less than $50,000, $1,500 if the rollover amount was less than $100,000 but equal to or more than $50,000 and $3,000 if the rollover amount was $100,000 or more.

The IRS increased the fee to $10,000 for all such waiver applications. Apparently the IRS concluded that it no longer could afford to assign the personnel it had assigned to process these waiver requests. Presumably, many taxpayers and tax professionals have expressed their dissatisfaction to the IRS. The$10,000 filing fee means many taxpayers are no longer able to have the IRS process their application and receive a concrete ruling that they were or were not entitled to a waiver of the 60-day rule. The application process provided a taxpayer with tax certainty.

In Revenue Procedure 2016-4 the IRS authorizes a self-certification procedure that a taxpayer may use to request the waiver of the 60-day requirement rather than using the application procedure. The IRS tentatively grants the waiver upon the making of the self-certification and the taxpayer is permitted to prepare his or her tax return to reflect that he or she made a complying rollover so the distribution amount is not required to be included in his or her taxable income. However, the IRS retains the right to examine the individual’s tax return for such year (i.e. audit) and determine if the requirements for a waiver of the 60-day rule were or were not met. If the IRS determines the individual was not entitled to a waiver of the 60-day rule, the individual will have to include such distribution in his or her income and will have an excess IRA contribution situation needing to be corrected. The IRS explanation gives a limited discussion of the adverse consequences. If the IRS does not grant the waiver then the person may be subject to income and excise taxes, interest and penalties. One of the penalties which might apply would be the 25% tax for understating one's income.

This self-certification procedure applies to distributions from any type of IRA and also from a 401(k) plan or other qualified plan and certain 403(b) and 457plans.

The IRS has stated that it will be modifying the Form 5498 so that an IRA custodian which accepts a rollover contribution pursuant to this self-certification procedure after the 60-day deadline will complete such person’s Form 5498 to report that the rollover contribution was accepted after the 60-day deadline. The IRS will then be able to examine the tax returns of these taxpayers and the purported rollovers.

How does this self-certification procedure work?
The IRA owner will furnish the IRA custodian/trustee with a written certification meeting the following requirements. The IRA owner may use the IRS’ model letter set forth in the appendix of Revenue Procedure2016-47 on a word-for-word basis or by using a form or letter that is substantially similar in all material respects.

The requirements:

  1. The IRS must not have previously denied a waiver with respect to a rollover of all or part of the distribution involved in the late rollover.
  2. The IRA owner must make his or her rollover contribution as soon as practicable once the reason(s) for missing the 60-day deadline no longer apply. This requirement is deemed satisfied if the rollover contribution is made within 30 days after the reason or reasons no longer prevent the IRA owner from making the rollover contribution.
  3. The taxpayer must have missed the 60-day deadline for one or more of the following reasons:
  • An error was committed by the financial institution making the distribution or receiving the contribution.
  • The distribution was in the form of a check and the check was misplaced and never cashed.
  • The distribution was deposited into and remained in an account that you mistakenly thought was a retirement plan or IRA.
  • Your principal residence was severely damaged.
  • One of your family members died.
  • You or one of your family members were seriously ill.
  • You were incarcerated.
  • Restrictions were imposed by a foreign country.
  • A postal error occurred.
  • The distribution was made on account of an IRS levy and the proceeds of the levy have been returned to you.
  • The party making the distribution delayed providing information that the receiving plan or IRA required to complete the rollover despite my reasonable efforts to obtain the information.

A person whose reason for missing the 60-day requirement is not included in the list of reasons is unable to use this self-certification procedure.

The IRA custodian is authorized to rely on the IRA owner’s self-certification for purposes of accepting the rollover and reporting it unless it has actual knowledge contrary to the self-certification.

The IRS has created this self-certification method because it had to have some alternative procedure to allow taxpayers to seek a waiver of the 60-day rule as discussed in Revenue Procedure 2003-16 as the increased filing fee meant most taxpayers no longer would be using the application process.

This new procedure will help some taxpayers, but it would not have been needed if the IRS would not have imposed the $10,000 filing fee. One can hope the IRS will see reason and will reduce the fees for 2017. Most likely the IRS will not. Although the 11 reasons the IRS lists as warranting the waiver of the 60-day rule are certainly welcomed by taxpayers, there are certainly other reasons for which the IRS should grant relief.