Formal correspondence can be a hard nut to crack for some because it entails formalistic language use and structured informational formatting.
Plus, technological advancements have also allowed and encouraged the easier and faster, and therefore more convenient, exchange of messages over the internet.
Yes, technology has been repeatedly proven to be essential in our lives, but being too dependent on it may also evoke some repercussions.
One of these repercussions has something to do with our linguistic competence, especially in terms of formal correspondence such as in business and academic contexts.
Hence, our post today attempts to provide general and easy-to-follow guidelines in writing formal letters, particularly in structuring an exemption request letter.
How do we write an exemption letter?
- Create a letterhead or heading.
- Write the inside address.
- Use a formal salutation or greeting.
- Start the body with a statement of purpose.
- Use a legal or any other valid reference.
- Include enclosure information (if any).
- Provide contact information.
- Write a formal valediction remark and signature.
Steps to writing an exemption letter
Exemption requests may happen due to numerous reasons, but the most common ones are related to taxation reduction or absolution, anti-discrimination privileges, as well as medical conditions.
Tax-related exemptions may be achieved by business entities and individuals that qualify for tax-exemption policies mandated by the local, state, or federal law.
Anti-discriminatory laws may also allow the exemption of religious groups and individuals from mandated regulations such as vaccination programs, for instance.
A person who suffers from a medical condition may also be exempted from engaging in business or academic-related activities that may further put the person’s health in danger.
While legal exemptions are a basic human right practiced in many countries, there are official processes that people need to undergo to obtain a valid exemption.
One of these processes is writing a formal letter containing all necessary and relevant information; this letter should serve as an official reference for the exemption grant.
In a nutshell, the approved exemption letter possesses the power to protect the exempted person from the financial or activity-related obligation stated in the document.
While several reasons may encourage people to submit exemption requests, the format of the exemption letter remains largely the same across countries.
The indispensable parts include the accurate addressee’s information, the exemption requester’s basic identifying and contact information, and legal reference.
Meanwhile, the other essential but relatively less critical parts include the letterhead, salutation, statement of purpose, enclosure information, and valediction remark.
Hence, the succeeding subsections mainly focus on these general steps.
1. Create a letterhead or heading
A letterhead is the heading found on the center-top part of formal letters, such as an exemption request letter, that identifies and summarizes their content.
It can also be compared to the title of your essay when you are asked to write one by your high school or college teacher.
The letterhead may or may not also contain the name and logo of the company or institution you are affiliated with to make the letter even more official.
Alternatively, you may also put the letterhead information in the subject line of your letter by marking it with the word “subject” together with a colon (:).
Here are some examples of letterheads that you can use depending on your purpose:
2. Write the accurate inside address
The address line contains the complete address information of the target recipient, such as the institution or government agency’s locative particulars.
Ideally, the complete name of the direct recipient must be written accordingly at the top of the address line; the position of the person may be written below the name.
Alternatively, the name of the company, agency, or institution may be written if and when the name of the direct addressee is unknown to the writer.
The second line should contain the institution or establishment’s address which particularly includes the street number and name, respectively.
The last line should contain the city name, the abbreviated state name, and the zip code of the institution or establishment.
Proper punctuation in addresses must be observed when choosing to adhere to the closed-punctuation system since we are dealing with a formal letter as opposed to general emails.
Should you wish to learn more about how to appropriately use punctuation marks in the address line, feel free to check our guide on commas in addresses for textual accuracy.
Here are two examples of how to structure an inside address:
Example 1 (specific):
Mr. John Doe
Sumner Academy of Arts and Science
1610 8th Street
Kansas City, KS 66101
Example 2 (general):
Department of Tax and Fee Administration
450 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
3. Use a formal salutation or greeting
Salutations or greetings are used to inform the target addressee as to whom the writer is directly addressing the correspondence.
After the address line, a formal salutation must be written; in a highly formal correspondence like exemption letters, a colon is ideally used after the name rather than a comma.
Our other resource that covers the nuances of commas after salutations may guide you as to how to punctuate salutations accordingly.
If the complete name of the person is already indicated in the address line, the complete name may or may not have to be repeated in the salutation.
Listed below are some options that you can use in the salutation part:
4. Start the body with a statement of purpose (with complete name)
The first clause of the exemption letter generally starts with the statement of purpose, despite having this idea briefly stated on the letterhead.
The statement of purpose is a critical part of business correspondence because this summarizes the intent of the writer for writing the letter.
Together with the statement of purpose, the basic identifying details of the writer must also be included, such as the complete name and affiliation.
Correctly indicating the name of the person is crucial because this information could either validate or nullify the exemption request.
If the exemption letter is written by a legal guardian or primary caretaker for a minor or person with a disability, these two pieces of identifiers should also be stated clearly.
5. Use a legal or any other valid reference (if applicable)
A legal reference or citation contains information regarding or related to a statute enacted by the government body as a standard rule within a certain jurisdiction.
Legal references play an important role in writing exemption letters because they serve as a default guide as to whether the request will be granted or rejected.
Hence, it is always best to back up your exemption request with information on the specific legal provision that warrants the exemption for a quicker transaction.
If you do not know the specific legal reference, but you have a supporting document that validates the exemption, you may simply provide a general context as in the next example.
You may also do this if you have already discussed the exemption request with your addressee prior to writing the letter.
6. Include information on attachments/enclosures (if applicable)
Evidence is always what puts the real suspect behind bars, hence the necessity for supporting documents as enclosures.
If certain pieces of proof are required by the target recipient to be able to grant your exemption, you also need to clearly state this information in your exemption letter.
Enclosures are separate files that may easily be overlooked if and when they are not explicitly described in the letter.
To contextualize the explanation, here are some examples for your reference:
By the way, the words “enclosure” and “enclosures” may also be conveniently abbreviated as “enc.,” “encl.,” or “encls.” in actual correspondence.
So, you must not panic upon seeing this notation in any of your future correspondence because it is just equivalent to the word “attachment” in the virtual context.
7. Contact information
The contact information refers to the exemption requester’s active contact details, such as a personal mobile number or email address.
In any kind of formal correspondence, especially those with a legal basis, the correspondents’ contact information must be written accordingly.
Doing so provides an avenue for future correspondence to take place, especially if there are unprecedented issues to be addressed.
Here are some ways of writing down this part:
8. Write a formal valediction statement and signature
Last but not least is the formal valediction or closing statement, which also goes together with the writer’s signature.
“Warmest regards” is one of the most commonly used valediction remarks in formalistic correspondence, especially in email messaging.
However, in letter writing, it is much better to stick with remarks that connote more tact and politeness, notwithstanding their traditional undertone.
The examples below are some of the best options that can be used in an exemption letter:
James F. Peterson
Sample Exemption Letter
Now, to see how all of the parts discussed earlier connect and make sense together, here’s an example exemption letter that you may use as your guide.
Frequently Asked Questions on “How to Write an Exemption Letter”
What is an exemption letter?
An exemption letter is an official document that allows an exemption requestee not to do an activity or pay some financial responsibilities. This letter is to be submitted to institutions and agencies and is subject to approval or denial.
What is school exemption?
School exemptions generally refer to the legal possibility of a child either not attending compulsory education or paying government-mandated school fees for valid reasons.
How do we write an exemption letter from work?
Writing an exemption letter from work entails explaining the reason for the request and obtaining a supporting document to validate the exemption. A legal reference that would further validate the exemption request is also ideally included.
Although superficially simple, writing can be a tedious task that needs time, patience, and concentration, especially if this activity is not part of your daily or weekly routine.
However, writing is also an integral language skill that could either make or break some of the most critical transactions in our lives.
So, regularly training ourselves with this productive skill among others is pivotal in getting respected by our target audiences, as opposed to only being heard.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.