Even if the turnaround for written legal advice is quick, a court has ruled that the Internal Revenue Service must release all legal advice issued by its chief counsel attorneys.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of a suit brought by Tax Analysts, publisher of Tax Notes and other publications. The IRS had withheld over 500 pages of written legal advice on the grounds that it was prepared in under two hours and arguing that the advice was informal. The agency said that their motive for seeking to withhold the documents was related to the administrative workload the documents' release would create.The court agreed with the IRS that some internal documents leading up to the issuance of the chief counsel notice are protected by the Freedom of Information Act's exemption for pre-decisional process materials. But the court ultimately ruled that the two-hour rule couldn't be reconciled with Congress' broad definition of chief counsel advice.

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