Monday, December 17, 2012

Sluggish EIN Process at IRS

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Until today I have always had positive things to say about my interaction with the Internal Revenue Service from my role as an estate planning attorney.  Unfortunately, its reputation with me was tarnished a bit today when I attempted to kick start a probate and trust administration for a recently deceased client.

The client had nearly all of his assets in a trust, of which a child will serve as trustee.  Now that the grantor has passed, the trust needs an EIN number.  However, the decedent also had numerous savings bonds outside of the trust, which requires us to open a probate and an estate of checking account.  And for that checking account, we need an EIN.

So on-line I went.  I had tried to do this Sunday when I was working at home, but the IRS apparently gives its computers that day off.  No EIN applications allowed on Sunday!  So first thing Monday morning I go on to the web site.  All is going well.  Number for the probate is issued.  I hit print, hear the print whirl and move on to getting one for the trust.  And that is when I hit brick wall number one, and then brick wall number two.

First, the EIN printed but so small it was not legible.  I tried backing up on the system. No use.  So I called the IRS and after a rather long wait was put through to an agent.  As a third party requester I cannot get the EIN, it has to be mailed to the responsible party.  Estimated mail time....2 weeks.

Second wall, a responsible party can request one EIN a day.  That means I have to wait until Tuesday to request the EIN for the trust.  This time I'll know to write the number down before printing.  But the process is delayed one day because of this limitation, new as of May of this year.

And so I start my week with a bit of annoyance from the IRS.  It could be worse I know, but I understand a bit more clearly why some regard the agency as a bureaucratic nightmare.

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