IRS Issues Guidelines for Substitute Tax Forms

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has published IRS Rev. Proc. 2005-74, General Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms and Schedules to provide guidance to taxpayers and tax practitioners on the development, printing and approval of substitute tax forms. The same guidance is also available, in .pdf format, on the Web site as Publication 1167. This publication is no longer available separately, in a printed format, but is available in hard copy, in the Internal Revenue Bulletin.

Important changes from 2004 include:

  • The format for Schedule K-1 of Form 1041 has been changed and specifications have been included in Section 7.1. Among other changes, all lines must now be included on the substitute schedule.
  • Section 7.3 of Publication 1167 has been redesignated to include guidelines for substitute Forms 8655. Guidelines for Forms 5471 and 5472 (old Section 7.3) have been eliminated, as these forms no longer require unique specifications
  • The Exhibits section has been changed and updated. Some of the exhibits have been eliminated, some have been added, and some have been re-labeled.

In addition, the IRS Tax Fax Program has been eliminated.

IRS Rev. Proc. 2005-74 contains detailed technical specifications and requirements for forms, as well as for the formats for email submission to the IRS for approval. Printed forms may also be submitted by regular mail to the Substitute Forms Units.

Forms covered by the publication are: IRS tax forms and their related schedules, worksheets as they appear in instruction packages; applications for permission to file returns electronically and forms used as required documentation for electronically filed returns; Powers of Attorney; over-the-counter estimated tax payment vouchers, and forms and schedules relating to partnerships, exempt organizations and employee plans.

The following forms are not covered by this publication: W-2 and W-3; W-2c and W-3c; 941 and Schedule B, 1096, 1098 series, 1099 series, 5498 series, W-2G, and 1042S, Federal Tax Deposit coupons, Forms 1040-ES (OCR) and 1041-ES (OCR), Forms 5500, 5500-EZ, and associated schedules, Requests for information or documentation initiated by the IRS, Forms used internally by the IRS, State tax forms, Forms developed outside the IRS, and General Instructions and Specific Instructions (not reviewed by the Substitute Forms Program Unit).

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