The Internal Revenue Service says it is looking into the possibility that some private letter rulings dealing with trusts may conflict with revenue rulings issued in the 1970s.

The IRS has started a review of the private letter rulings, which were issued by the IRS Office of the Associate Chief Counsel, Passthroughs & Special Industries.

The private letter rulings deal with the effects of IRS gift tax rules on trusts that use trust beneficiary committees to direct trust distributions, officials say.

In the private letter rulings, IRS officials have concluded that the trusts administered by trust beneficiary committees do not have to pay gift taxes on any distributions because the beneficiary committee members have conflicting interests and do not have general powers of appointment over the trust, officials say.

But some have suggested that the trusts might have to pay gift taxes because two IRS revenue rulings issued in 1976 and 1977 suggest that distribution committee members have what amounts to general powers of appointment over the trust assets because the members will be replaced if they resign or die, officials say.

IRS officials are asking comments about the appointment powers of trust distribution committee members and ways to create similar trust structures that would achieve the objectives of the transactions described in the private letter rulings.

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