New Split-Interest Return Form

By Batson, Ted | Journal of Accountancy, May 2008 | Go to article overview

New Split-Interest Return Form


Batson, Ted, Journal of Accountancy


The IRS recently issued a revised Form 5227, Split-Interest Trust Information Return, for use in preparing returns for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2007. Among its numerous changes, the most significant are:

* Charitable split-interest trusts are no longer required to file Form 1041-A, Trust Accumulation of Charitable Amounts, sections of which are now incorporated in Form 5227.

* Form 5227 is now open to public inspection.

* Failure to file or late filing subjects trusts and/or trustees to new penalties and higher existing ones.

The Pension Protection Act amended IRC [section] 6034 to allow the IRS to merge forms 5227 and 1041-A for charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts and pooled income funds. Sections of Form 1041-A related to distributions of income and principal to charitable organizations are now incorporated into Form 5227.

IRC [section] 6104(b) now requires that Form 5227 be open to public inspection, except for information related to non-charitable trust beneficiaries, which has been moved to a new Schedule A that is not open to public inspection. Note that Form 1041-A also was subject to a similar public-inspection requirement, although the requirement was not disclosed on the face of the return. The procedural rules related to public inspection are found at Treas. Reg. [section] 301.6104(b)-l(d). To inspect a return, the petitioner must submit a written request to the IRS that must include the name of the trust, the trustee's address, the type of return and the year for which the return was filed.

IRC [section] 6652(c)(2)(C) generally imposes a failure-to-file penalty on split-interest trusts unless the failure is due to reasonable cause. …

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