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1 : a direct written statement addressed to an individual or organization
: an official communication see also counterletter
: a letter from an administrative agency (as the Internal Revenue Service) usually in response to a request in which a determination, decision, or ruling (as whether an organization qualifies as charitable) is made
: a letter from an administrative agency usually in response to a request that provides information and esp. that simply calls attention to an interpretation or principle of law
letter of intent
: a letter in which the intention to enter into a formal agreement (as a contract) or to take some specified action is stated
[probably partial translation of Medieval Latin littera rogatoria letter of request]
: a formal written request by a court to a court in a foreign jurisdiction to summon and examine a witness in accordance with that jurisdiction's procedures (as oral interrogatories) usually used in pl.
: a letter from the Internal Revenue Service notifying a taxpayer of a determination of a deficiency NOTE: A taxpayer has 90 days from the date of the mailing of the 90-day letter to petition for a redetermination of the deficiency in the U.S. Tax Court.
: a letter from an attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission recommending that the Commission take no prosecutorial action with regard to a suspected and investigated violation of SEC rules or regulations
: a letter in which an opinion (as of a court or attorney) is given
: determination letter in this entry
: a letter from the Internal Revenue Service to a taxpayer who has been audited and disputes the auditor's determination that sets out the taxpayer's right to appeal NOTE: A taxpayer has 30 days from the time of the mailing of the 30-day letter to respond.
2 : a written communication usually from a court containing a grant (as of a right) or an appointment usually used in pl. [s of guardianship]
letter of attorney
: power of attorney
letter of marque
[Anglo-French mark, marque right of retaliation, from Middle French marque, from Old ProvenÇal marca, from marcar to mark, seize as pledge]
: a letter from a government formerly used to grant a private person the power to seize the subjects of a foreign state
: authority granted to a private person to fit out an armed ship to plunder the enemy usually used in pl. often used in the phrase letters of marque and reprisal [the Congress shall have power…to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water "U.S. Constitution art. I"]
letters of administration
: a letter from a probate court that appoints the addressee administrator of an estate
: a letter (as from a government) that grants a designated person a right (as to property) and that is in a form open for public inspection
: a letter from a probate court that appoints or confirms the addressee as executor of an estate
3 : letter of credit
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.