1.4.11  Field Assistance Guide for Managers

Manual Transmittal

January 08, 2015

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.4.11, Resource Guide for Managers, Field Assistance Guide for Managers.

Material Changes

(1) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.1 Field Assistance Overview updates tax law assistance, TAC services, and deletes return preparation

(2) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.2 Field Assistance Objectives updates tax law assistance and deletes return preparation

(3) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.3.4 Return Preparation updated to remove TAPE and return preparation services; moved GAO/TIGTA info to 1.4.11.15.2

(4) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.3.4.1 Structuring Workflow in TACs deleted

(5) IRM 1.4.11.3.5 Facilitated Self Assistance removed repetitive information

(6) IPU 14U0933 issued 05-30-2014, IRM 1.4.11.3.6 Virtual Services Delivery (VSD) added procedures

(7) IPU 14U1009 issued 06-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.4.1 TAC Physical Security Requirements; revised procedures in (2) and (3)

(8) IPU 14U0628 issued 04-04-2014, IRM 1.4.11.4.1.2.2 Reporting A Missing Child From or Within IRS Facilities added procedures

(9) IPU 14U1009 issued 06-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.4.2 TAC Security/Internal Controls; updated (9)

(10) IPU 14U1009 issued 06-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.4.4 Removable Media and Digital Video Disk (DVD) Players; clarified review procedures and updated link

(11) IPU 14U1009 issued 06-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.4.4.1 Roles and Responsibilities for Removable Media; clarified the roles and responsibilities for removable media; IPU 14U1379 issued 09-24-2014, changed may fund to will fund under Maintenance, Repair, Replacement and/or Troubleshooting

(12) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.4.5 Televisions (TVs) in the TACs added procedures; IPU 14U1009 issued 06-16-2014, updated link

(13) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.4.5.1 Roles and Responsibilities for TVs in the TAC added procedures; IPU 14U1009 issued 06-16-2014, clarified review procedures

(14) IRM 1.4.11.7.1 Changes in Hours of Operations editorial corrections

(15) IPU 14U1009 issued 06-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.7.2.2 Actions to be Taken When Relocating a TAC; clarified notification procedures

(16) IPU 14U0933 issued 05-30-2014, IRM 1.4.11.8 Publishing Taxpayer Assistance Center Information updated procedures

(17) IPU 14U0933 issued 05-30-2014, IRM 1.4.11.8.2 Posting TAC Closings updated procedures; added VSD site procedures

(18) IPU 14U0808 issued 05-02-2014, IRM 1.4.11.8.4 3709 Email Monitoring, Certification and Business Process Review Procedures changed reporting to Chief of Policy, Technology, and Measures in (1) and (4)

(19) IPU 14U0294 issued 02-10-2014, IRM 1.4.11.10 Capturing Field Assistance Contacts updated (8)

(20) IPU 14U0933 issued 05-30-2014, IRM 1.4.11.11.5 VSD Qmatic added procedures for VSD site

(21) IPU 14U1379 issued 09-24-2014, IRM 1.4.11.11 Qmatic updated information

(22) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13 Field Assistance Training Program clarified (2)

(23) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13.1 Field Assistance TAC Employee Training deleted procedure to forward a copy of Form 12201 in (4)(c)

(24) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13.1.1 On-the-Job Training (OJT) clarified hours, deleted Note and Example in (2)

(25) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13.1.1.1 Territory Lead OJI Responsibilities updated (6)

(26) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13.1.1.2 Group Manager Responsibilities clarified (3)(b) and (h)

(27) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13.1.1.3 Area Training Analyst Responsibilities deleted (2)(c), (e), and (f)

(28) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13.1.1.4 Territory Manager Responsibilities deleted (3)

(29) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13.3.1 Project Leaders updated acronyms

(30) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13.3.2 Field Assistance Headquarters Training Analyst updated acronyms

(31) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13.3.3 Area Training and Budget Analysts deleted (1)(c); IPU 14U1336 issued 09-09-2014, added Training Class Delivery Check Sheet

(32) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13.3.4 Group Manager Responsibilities clarified (3)(b)

(33) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13.3.5 Instructor Responsibilities updated OJT to class in (1)(g); IPU 14U1336 issued 09-09-2014, added Training Class Delivery Check Sheet

(34) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13.4 Employee Automated Certification (EAC) clarified (3)

(35) IPU 14U0870 issued 05-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.13.4.1 Alternate Employee Certification clarified (8)

(36) IRM 1.4.11.15 Quality Assurance and Review Process removed return preparation SPRG

(37) IPU 14U1009 issued 06-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.15.2 Review Process and Types of Review; added 2 bullets to (6); added (11) for VSD; added (12) for GAO/TIGTA reviews

(38) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.15.2.2 Review Documentation updated link

(39) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.15.2.4 Optimizing Field Assistance Tax Law Accuracy removed return preparation

(40) IRM 1.4.11.15.3 Annual Appraisals deleted repetitive information

(41) IPU 14U0358 issued 02-21-2014, IRM 1.4.11.15.4 Operational Reviews and Follow-Up updated Exhibit title

(42) IRM 1.4.11.15.7 Engaging Quality Activities added link to (5)

(43) IRM 1.4.11.19.2 Form 5919 – Teller’s Error Advice clarified procedures

(44) IRM 1.4.11.19.2.1 Trends and Patterns Report clarified procedures; deleted repetitive information

(45) IPU 14U1260 issued 08-15-2014, IRM 1.4.11.19.4 Ordering the Initial Form 809 Receipt for Payment of Taxes (Receipt Book) for an Employee added the word "permanent" as it relates to deviations

(46) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.19.5 FA Manager Form 795-A/Form 3210 Payment Processing Reviews updated review process; IPU 14U0294 issued 02-10-2014, clarified review procedures; IPU 14U1093 issued 07-02-2014, updated reporting office phone number and name change from SAMC to PGLD/IM in (4)

(47) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.19.6 FA Manager Form 3210 Review of Non-Payment Processing updated review process; IPU 14U1093 issued 07-02-2014, added links and updated time frame in (1); updated reporting office phone number and name change from SAMC to PGLD/IM in (3) and (4); updated procedures in (6)

(48) IRM 1.4.11.20.1 FACR Controls updated closing code

(49) IPU 14U0715 issued 04-17-2014, IRM 1.4.11.20.3.6 Downloading Contacts changed USPS to traceable UPS in (2)

(50) IPU 14U1009 issued 06-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.22 Workers Compensation Cases and Safety and Health Information System (SHIMS); updated the review process, clarified review procedures

(51) IRM 1.4.11.28 Referral Responsibilities added

(52) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.27.1 Employee Responsibilities removed return preparation

(53) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, IRM 1.4.11.27.2 Group Manager Responsibilities removed return preparation; IPU 1470808 issued 05-02-2014, added additional verbiage regarding managerial review requirements and 2290 and ITIN contacts

(54) IPU 14U1440 issued 10-06-2014, IRM 1.4.11.28 Referral Responsibilities added responsibilities for Group Managers, Headquarters and Area Coordinators

(55) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, Exhibit 1.4.11-1 Field Assistance Telephone Scripts/Email Responses deleted return preparation and added information on reduced services; IPU 14U0186 issued 01-24-2014, updated Standard Email Response B; IPU 14U0933 issued 05-30-2014, updated VSD partner site script; IPU 14U1260 issued 08-15-2014, added new script for VSD Partner Sites (when TAC is closed)

(56) IPU 14U1009 issued 06-16-2014, Exhibit 1.4.11-4 Field Assistance Taxpayer Assistance Center Closure Request Document; updated the review process

(57) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, Exhibit 1.4.11-6 Guidelines for Writing EQ Remarks deleted

(58) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, Exhibit 1.4.11-7 Territory and Group Manager Mandatory Reviews, Reports and Certifications deleted return preparation; IPU 14U0358 issued 02-21-2014, added Territory Manager mandatory reviews; IPU 14U0484 issued 03-13-2014, updated calendar days to business days under Remittance and Non-Remittance Follow-up Review Log

(59) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, Exhibit 1.4.11-11 Field Assistance Return Preparation Quality Review Checklist deleted; TSRRD for remittances updated

(60) IPU 14U0126 issued 01-16-2014, Exhibit 1.4.11-13 Quality Review Taxpayer Assistance Center/Return Preparation/E-File Processing Checklist deleted

(61) IPU 14U1336 issued 09-09-2014, Exhibit 1.4.11-13 Training Class Delivery Check Sheet added

(62) Throughout - updated all references to REFM and PSEP to new organization name Facilities Management and Security Services (FMSS)

Effect on Other Documents

The following IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs), issued between January 16, 2014 and October 06, 2014, have been incorporated into this IRM: 14U0126, 14U0186, 14U0294, 14U0358, 14U0484, 14U0268, 14U0715, 14U0808, 14U0870, 14U0933, 14U1009, 14U1093, 14U1260, 14U1336, 14U1379, 14U1440.

Audience

All managers in Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs)

Effective Date

(01-08-2015)

Related Resources

Wage and Investment Insider - Field Assistance FA Insider

Donna J. Kramer
Director, Field Assistance
Wage and Investment Division

1.4.11.1  (01-08-2015)
Field Assistance (FA) Overview

  1. The purpose of this section of the IRM is to provide Field Assistance (FA) managers with various techniques, methods and guidelines for managing a successful and effective Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC).

  2. This section is a supplement to the general guidelines for all managers contained in IRM 1.4, Resource Guide for Managers. These sections are to be referenced for generic guidelines, as well as the iManage website.

  3. In addition to the above, Field Assistance managers should understand and adhere to the guidelines of IRM 21.3.4, Field Assistance.

  4. The Field Assistance IRM provides guidelines for performing the following standardized tasks:

    • Providing everyday solutions to tax issues.

    • Researching and resolving account inquiries.

    • Accepting payments and establishing payment arrangements.

    • Providing tax law assistance, January 2 - April 15.

    • Explaining and assisting with procedural inquiries.

    • Providing assistance and verification of documentation for Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs).

    • Assisting with applications for Taxpayer Assistance Orders (TAO).

    • Providing Multilingual Assistance.

    • Assisting with Alien clearances (Sailing Permits).

    • Assisting with tax forms, instructions, and publications.

    • Assisting with Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax (Form 2290).

1.4.11.2  (01-16-2014)
Field Assistance Objectives

  1. TACs are one of the most visible areas within the IRS. Field Assistance operations provide a face-to-face opportunity to assist Americas taxpayers in understanding and meeting their tax responsibilities and enhancing the image of the Service.

  2. TAC Managers must be fully knowledgeable and engaged in the operation of a TAC to serve a key role in the accomplishment of established goals and measures.

  3. The scope of service delivery must be clearly defined to enable Field Assistance to meet the following objectives critical to its success:

    • Clearly define specific services offered to taxpayers and methods of delivery.

    • Appropriately target and deliver employee training within the defined scope of services.

    • Provide a systematic referral process in full partnership with other operating divisions designed to address taxpayer needs falling outside the realm of Field Assistance expertise.

    • Ensure employees (permanently assigned and detailees) and managers provide highly accurate, courteous, and professional service to all taxpayers.

    • Provide specific, meaningful measures to make Field Assistance accountable for the quality of its products and services.

    • Employ effective targeted marketing and communication of the precise scope of assistance available.

  4. The demand for all services can and does occur throughout the year, but some are more prevalent during certain times of the year. Therefore, the service offerings are broken out in three categories:

    • Pre Filing Season - Tax Forms and Publications, Form W-2 and Form 1099 Information and Change of Address.

    • Filing Season - Tax Law Assistance (January 2 - April 15), Acceptance of Returns, Facilitated Self-Assistance, Math Error Notices, and Non -Technical Questions.

    • Post Filing Season - Balance Due Notices, Payments, Account Inquiries, and Identity Theft.

1.4.11.3  (01-01-2013)
Structuring Work Flow in Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs)

  1. Service hours for TACs will be based on local traffic patterns and available resources determined by the area.

  2. Establishing an effective work flow in TACs is one of the primary responsibilities for Field Assistance Managers. This is necessary to minimize the waiting time for taxpayers as well as to improve the efficiency of the employee. Manager's on-going involvement is required to seek methods that ensure each taxpayer is serviced as expeditiously as possible.

  3. Scheduling assignments for employees requires consideration of training and expertise levels in order to accomplish program objectives.

1.4.11.3.1  (11-01-2010)
Workflow and Referrals

  1. As employees are required to only work issues within their scope, they are often required to initiate referrals to resolve an inquiry.

  2. Ensure employees follow the required Field Assistance (FA) procedures for referrals in

    • IRM 21.3.4.3.5, Referral Procedures

    • IRM 21.3.5, Taxpayer Inquiry Referrals Form 4442

  3. A designated FA Specialist may resolve account and technical referrals for which the front-line employee did not have the expertise. Managers are responsible for ensuring these referrals are worked timely.

  4. Out-of-Scope tax law issues will be referred per IRM 21.3.4.3.5.5, Out of Scope Procedures.

  5. Managers must review and initial all Form 4442, Inquiry Referral, or e-4442 referrals being transferred. (This review may be delegated to a lead or a Referral Coordinator).

  6. Managers or designated senior Individual Taxpayer Advisory Specialist (ITAS) will review all Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance order) referrals to the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

1.4.11.3.2  (11-01-2008)
Advising Taxpayers of Wait Time

  1. Upon request, the taxpayer should be provided with a realistic estimate of expected waiting time. This aids in good taxpayer relations and allows the taxpayer who cannot wait the required time to return when it is more convenient for him or her.

  2. Material providing alternative methods to obtain tax assistance should be in clear view for the taxpayer to take with them. This could consist of publications, brochures, bookmarks, and other communication products.

1.4.11.3.3  (11-01-2010)
Preparation for Filing Season

  1. In order to prepare employees in TACs to perform their tasks for both taxpayers and the Service, advance planning is necessary. Evaluate the TAC to ensure that it is ready prior to the filing season.

  2. Field Assistance has created a Filing Season Readiness Program Database to ensure that all TACs are consistent.

  3. The Filing Season Readiness Database may also be used to develop an action plan for TAC operations.

1.4.11.3.4  (10-01-2014)
Return Preparation

  1. Field Assistance will refer taxpayers for tax return preparation to other free return preparation services instead of preparing tax returns in the TAC. Ensure your employees follow the required Field Assistance procedures in IRM 21.3.4.10, Return Preparation Assistance.

1.4.11.3.5  (01-08-2015)
Facilitated Self Assistance (FSA)

  1. The Group Manager (GM) will communicate policies and procedures to all group employees regarding FSA.

  2. Managers and Area Analysts should refer to the FSA System Management Guide for more information at FSA System User Guide.

  3. The GM will provide guidance to employees to ensure that FSA is used to the maximum extent possible. Employees should be familiar with IRS.gov and the tasks that can be accomplished via IRS.gov.

  4. The GM will ensure that an FA employee is available to facilitate. Refer to IRM 21.3.4.2.2, Facilitated Self Assistance (FSA), for Facilitator duties.

  5. The GM will ensure the FSA printer and computers are operational. If a problem arises, refer to the FSA Troubleshooting Checklist located on the W&I Field Assistance Insider home page. If the problem can not be resolved, the GM will notify the designated FA HQ Analyst with the specific details including bar code(s) of the kiosk or printer if warranted.

  6. The GM or designee will report FSA units daily on their FAMIS. See the FAMIS Guide for additional details. FSA is not connected to Qmatic and units can be obtained from the Vendor’s report.

  7. Managers must take reasonable measures to ensure that the kiosk workstation placement provides a balance of taxpayer privacy and adequate physical security controls to prevent vandalism. The dedicated FSA printer will be kept in FA secure space, preferably the Initial Account Representative (IAR) workstation for easy retrieval of prints.

  8. The GM will ensure one-time use headphones are available, when requested by taxpayers opting to use the Alternative Technology option on the kiosks.

1.4.11.3.6  (01-08-2015)
Virtual Services Delivery (VSD)

  1. Establishing an effective workflow in TACs is one of the primary responsibilities for FA Group Managers. VSD is an alternative method for delivering services to minimize wait time for taxpayers, improve efficiency of resources, and address staffing and workload issues.

  2. GM oversight is required to ensure each taxpayer receives service as expeditiously as possible.

  3. The VSD support site GM (or designee) will ensure the following as applicable:

    1. Each TAC employee providing service virtually has received the training necessary for handling VSD taxpayers.

    2. IARs will receive training required to manage traffic and proper screening activity.

    3. All TAC employees at taxpayer facing or support sites will have the ability to identify any activity that is excluded from the virtual gating. This is to prevent taxpayers from being sent to the VSD workstation expecting services that cannot be provided.

  4. The VSD support site GM (or designee) will ensure equipment at the VSD and support sites is functional and ready for daily operations. The office layout should be designed to provide for maximum privacy for taxpayers. VSD site managers will continue to retain oversight and responsibility for Physical Security Reviews per IRM 1.4.11.4.1, TAC Physical Securities Requirements.

  5. VSD and support sites have additional signage that is listed in IRM 1.4.11.4.3, Use of Signs/Posters in TACs. There is a separate list for required signs for VSD and support sites.

  6. The designated TAC manager (or designee) will perform the initial Qmatic setup and configuration. The designated TAC manager (or designee) will have access to the Qmatic branch controller for all VSD sites and will monitor TAC traffic, gating and any other Qmatic system issues. The designated TAC manager is listed in FAMIS as the manager of the Office Designation Number (ODN) assigned to the taxpayer facing VSD site. See IRM 1.4.11.11, Qmatic for Qmatic procedures.

  7. The VSD support site GMs will assign VSD ITAS work to perform in the event there is no taxpayer waiting for VSD service. Examples of this work include:

    • Referrals

    • Miscellaneous Case Work

    • Miscellaneous Clerical Work

    Note:

    While it is possible for VSD assistors to provide service to taxpayers at their local TAC, the ITAS should allow a reasonable amount of time before abandoning the virtual site and serving local taxpayers. The support site GM will assign the assistor quick contacts so they can return to assisting virtual taxpayers on short notice.

  8. Employees will capture time spent providing virtual assistance under a separate ODN. Employees will complete two Form 5311s, one for their home TAC and one for the VSD assistance. This follows employees to capture units for the ODN where the taxpayer is located, not where the employee performed the work. See IRM 21.3.4.6, Time Reporting for TAC Employees, for time reporting.

  9. Refer to IRM 21.3.4.3.3, Communicating With and Surveying Taxpayers, for Customer Satisfaction Survey procedures.

  10. Refer to the VSD procedures located on the FA Insider for information on:

    • Requests for GM

    • Deaf/Hard of Hearing taxpayers

    • Irate taxpayers

    • Closures

    • Technical issues

1.4.11.4  (08-15-2012)
TAC Security Controls and Signs

  1. TACs should be arranged to take under consideration available space, volume and anticipated traffic. The overall appearance of the TACs should be clean, well organized, and uncluttered. The office should be as attractive as possible to maintain a professional and efficient image of the IRS to the public.

  2. In large offices with substantial forms traffic, consideration should be given to placement of the forms distribution function in a separate location from the TAC area.

    Example:

    In offices where the TAC is not located on the first floor, forms distribution could be performed in the lobby. Experience has demonstrated that this will substantially reduce the congestion and traffic in the TAC area.

  3. If a separate area is not available, self-service form racks should be used in the outer lobby or as near to the TAC entrance as possible. For guidance on required products to be stocked in the self-service racks, see IRM 1.18.3, Tax Forms Distribution Programs and the TAC Program Page.

    Note:

    Taxpayers who are seeking only forms should be able to help themselves, but limited to a specific quantity as determined by the TAC.

  4. The placement of self-service form racks and the forms distribution area should be coordinated with the appropriate local functional area.

  5. The office layout should be designed to provide for maximum privacy for taxpayers, depending on space availability.

  6. Approval Authority: The Director of Field Assistance must approve any deviations from the prescribed procedures.

1.4.11.4.1  (06-16-2014)
TAC Physical Security Requirements

  1. The IRS has a legal obligation to protect the confidentiality of tax returns and related information. The Service also has the responsibility of protecting the entire Federal Tax Administration System, not just the individual components of the system--employees, computer equipment, tax returns, monies, property, facilities, and records. Therefore, minimum security standards have been established to minimize the potential for loss of life and property, the disruption of services and functions, and the unauthorized disclosure of documents and information.

  2. The TAC Security and Remittance Review Database (TSRRD) is comprised of various reviews that are due at various intervals; quarterly, semi-annually or annually. The reviews consist of the:

    • Annual Functional Security Review

    • After-Hour Security Review

    • Physical Security Review

    • Remittance and Receipt Checklist

    • Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS)/IDRS Online Reports Service (IORS) Security Review (IDRS/IORS Security Review)

    • TAC Maintenance Review

  3. The frequency and due dates of the reviews are as follows:

    Review Frequency Due Date(s)
    Annual Functional Security Review Annually Period ending September 30, due October 31
    After Hour Security Review Quarterly Period ending March 31, due April 30
    Period ending June 30, due July 31
    Period ending September 30, due October 31
    Period ending December 31, due January 31
    Physical Security Review Semi-Annually Period ending March 31, due April 30
    Period ending September 30, due October 31
    Remittance and Receipt Checklist Semi-Annually Period ending March 31, due April 30
    Period ending September 30, due October 31
    IDRS/IORS Review Quarterly Period ending March 31, due April 30
    Period ending June 30, due July 31
    Period ending September 30, due October 31
    Period ending December 31, due January 31
    TAC Maintenance Review Semi-Annually Period ending March 31, due April 30
    Period ending September 30, due October 31
  4. To ensure that all facilities are properly protected, careful planning is necessary to ensure that appropriate protective measures are in place. Basic security measures will be locked perimeter doors, slab-slab exterior walls (at the IRS perimeter), duress alarms in public contact areas and intrusion detection for first floor offices and other offices as required by IRM guidelines. In addition, property standards for building access have been established for employees and visitors. These standards include ID and visitor badges, employee credentials, keys and locks, alarm maintenance and testing, duress alarms, fire suppression systems, and guard services.

  5. To establish a controlled access environment in TACs, refer to IRM 10.2.8, Incident Reporting. TACs are subject to compliance reviews by Agency Wide Shared Services (AWSS) Facilities Management and Security Services (FMSS), Information Technology (IT), Government Accountability Office (GAO), and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

    Note:

    Refer to IRM 10.2.11, Basic Security Concepts for guidance on limiting access. Refer to IRM 10.2.15, Minimum Protection Standards (MPS) for guidance on Controlled Access.

  6. Controlled access is an essential aspect of ensuring that Field Assistance has adequate safeguards in place to protect taxpayer information from disclosure and prevent unauthorized access to both information and property. In determining the security criteria for TACs, consideration should be given to the types and volumes of assets regularly received and stored. Examples of such assets include, but are not limited to:

    • Cash remittances

    • Check remittances

    • Form 809 Receipts

    • Received and Received with Remittance stamps

    • Tax returns

    • Return information

1.4.11.4.1.1  (11-01-2010)
Controlled Area

  1. According to the IRM on Physical Security and Emergency Preparedness, "A controlled area is an interior space which is not designated as formal restricted area, but is designed to control employee access between work areas during normal duty hours." Management is responsible for determining such a need and for subsequently deciding to grant or deny access. As stated in the National Agreement (Document 11678) - Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), management retains the right to determine internal security practices.

  2. When protecting assets and information, access should be limited to those persons with a need to access the information due to their official duties and/or responsibilities.

1.4.11.4.1.2  (12-27-2011)
Field Assistance Manager Responsibilities

  1. Field Assistance managers should be diligent in their efforts to strengthen security by controlling access to the TACs. The security requirements outlined in IRM 10.2.8, Incident Reporting, must be implemented to the maximum extent in every TAC within space and funding constraints.

  2. It is important to emphasize the need to exercise good judgment in determining how we will control access. Consideration must be given to the impact that changes may have on the overall safety and security of all Post of Duty (POD) employees.

  3. For the numerous space projects in process which configure TAC space according to the new TAC model designs, Field Assistance Managers will need to ensure that space layouts incorporate the security aspects required to meet controlled area requirements to limit access. Such aspects include at a minimum one or more of the following:

    1. Surrounding the TAC with slab-slab exterior walls.

    2. Wearing Identification (ID) cards for all TAC employees and visitors.

    3. Installing doors with appropriate combination locking devices or electronic card access.

  4. The type of locking device installed on the doors will depend on the Post of Duty's specific security system. For instance, if the IRS space has an electronic card access system, the TAC doors should have card readers installed on them. If there is no electronic card access system, combination locks will suffice.

  5. For offices where no space reconfiguration for the TAC Model is scheduled for the near term, managers should determine what measures can be taken to limit access.

  6. Older designed office layouts, may have no practical way to "control access" when another organization has a storage room inside our space. In those situations, it is even more essential to use appropriate locking containers to store sensitive information and documents.

  7. Managers must ensure that the TACs are equipped with adequate physical security controls to prevent unauthorized access (see IRM 1.4.11.4.1.3). If controls are not already in place, management must work with local Agency Wide Shared Services(AWSS); Facilities Management and Security Services (FMSS) and commissioners representative/administrative officer assigned to the building. All TAC security, safety, health and space concerns must be identified and elevated through the appropriate management chain (Area Director's office to FA headquarters) so that the appropriate corrective action can be taken.

    Note:

    Other IRS business unit employees cannot be denied access to TAC space in emergency situations if their only means of emergency evacuation is through the TAC.

1.4.11.4.1.2.1  (11-08-2010)
Employee Name Tags

  1. TAC employees are required to wear a name tag displaying their name while providing face-to-face assistance to taxpayers. If the name tag has not been ordered and received, the employee must verbally identify themselves by providing their name and employee identification number (all 10 digits of their Personal Identification Number) to all taxpayers.

  2. Employee name tags are supplied by the Field Assistance headquarters staff. New or replacement name tag information must be provided to the designated headquarter employee.

  3. Employee name tags will be displayed with the entire first name, last name and employee identification number. Courtesy titles may be used with the entire first and last name or with the last name. The employee identification number must be included on the name tag. No first name "initials" are permitted. See examples below;

    1. Entire First Name, Entire Last Name, and Employee Identification Number

    2. (Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms.) Entire First Name, Entire Last Name and Employee Identification Number

    3. (Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms.) Last Name and Employee Identification Number

1.4.11.4.1.2.2  (04-04-2014)
Reporting A Missing Child From or Within IRS Facilities

  1. The "Code Adam Act of 2003" law requires that the designated authority for a public building establish procedures for a child missing within or from a federal building.

  2. The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service implemented the policy nationwide and established procedures for locating a missing child in federal facilities.

  3. GSA administers this program nationwide in both owned and leased buildings. Each agency is responsible for establishing and implementing procedures consistent with GSA requirements.

  4. There are two alerts to be aware of:

    • Code Adam - when a child is missing within an IRS facility.

    • Code Amber - when a child is missing from an IRS facility.

  5. Once a child is determined missing "from" or "within" a federal building, a manager must follow the steps in the Code Adam and Amber Alert Managers Guide

  6. If a manager is not available, employees should contact the on-site Commissioner’s Representative (CR) for the POD.

  7. For more information, see IRM 10.2.9, Occupant Emergency Planning.

1.4.11.4.1.3  (11-01-2010)
Controlled Access Procedures

  1. Field Assistance managers should take the following actions to control access:

    1. Visually monitor traffic in and out of TACs.

    2. Deny entrance to TAC space if the individual is not assigned to perform FA operations unless authorized by the TAC manager.

      Exception:

      Allow access to the TAC to employees from any organizational unit impacted by hurricanes or natural disasters. When non-TAC employees are located in TAC space compensatory controls should be implemented (i.e., non-TAC employees cannot walk behind the counters). Limit their access to what is necessary.

      Exception:

      The Inspector General Act -120.1.1 of 1978, as amended, gives TIGTA officials the authority to access all facilities of the IRS, the IRS Chief Counsel, and the IRS Oversight Board, and to access all records, reports, audits, reviews, documents, papers, recommendations, or other material available to the IRS, the IRS Chief Counsel, or the IRS Oversight Board which relate to their programs and operations.

    3. Conduct unannounced physical and fiscal reviews on a quarterly basis using page 5 of Form 12149, Functional Security Review for Managers.

    4. Use a designated entrance feature into TAC space, which will allow one of the following: an electronic card, a combination lock, or a security register (log). The type of entry will depend on the post of duty.

    5. Separate employee entrance from public access.

    6. Ensure unguarded doors facing public access are locked from the outside at all times, especially during normal business hours. Make sure doors without high traffic cannot be opened from the outside without a smart card, combination, or key.

    7. Ensure employees practice the clean desk policy, making sure tax data, cash, signature stamps, unused Form 809 receipt books, and "Official Use Only" data is properly secured at all times. Information should not be exposed when an employee has left the office for the day.

    8. Provide keys to locked containers and combinations to safes only to authorized personnel.

    9. Monitor janitorial cleaning performance during regular business hours.

    10. Provide TAC employees with information regarding the duress alarm and its response time (targeted response time is within 15 minutes).

    11. If corrective actions are needed, coordinate immediately with local Agency Wide Shared Services (AWSS); Facilities Management and Security Services (FMSS) and commissioners representative/administrative officer assigned to the building.

      Note:

      In the case of a long-term acting Area Director assignment, TACs will use a stamp with the acting Area Director signature whenever procedures call for the Area Director.

1.4.11.4.1.4  (01-01-2014)
Cameras/Photography Prohibited

  1. In general, the Service has permitted employees and visitors to bring personal cell phones with or without camera capability into TACs and other IRS facilities. The FA organization has not changed this position. However, the use of cell phones with camera capability raises security issues as it relates to the confidentiality and privacy of tax returns and related sensitive information. It is impractical to change this policy or to prohibit cell phones with camera capability.

  2. In order to minimize the potential for inadvertently compromising taxpayer information or other sensitive information, employees and visitors to our TAC should be advised that:

    1. Cameras may not be used in the TAC and photographs may not be taken while in the TAC unless pre-approved by the TAC manager and cleared by FMSS.

    2. The use of camera capability in cell phones is not authorized in any IRS facility.

    3. The Service may not secure personal items such as cell phones on behalf of visitors, however, the Federal Protective Service may request visitors to secure personal items such as cell phones in their automobile or in some other manner.

  3. Management is responsible for ensuring all employees are familiar with the rules and regulations governing the protection of sensitive data as outlined in IRC 6103. Penalties for employees compromising the protection and confidentiality of tax returns and related sensitive information are contained in the IRC, Privacy Act, Rules of Conduct, and UNAX documents. See IRM 10.5.5, IRS Unauthorized Access, Attempted Access or Inspection of Taxpayer Records (UNAX) Program Policy, Guidance and Requirements and UNAX website for more information.

  4. It is the responsibility of management to ensure the rules regarding the use of cameras and photography are posted in a prominent location in the TAC. If visitors attempt to compromise security procedures, local security enforcement authorities should be notified.

1.4.11.4.2  (06-16-2014)
TAC Security/Internal Controls

  1. Overview – The IRS has a legal obligation to protect the confidentiality of tax returns and related information. The Service also has responsibility for protecting the entire Federal Tax Administration System, not just the individual components of the system – employees, computer equipment, tax returns, monies, property, facilities and records.

  2. Management controls are an integral component of an organization’s management. They are the programs, policies, and procedures established to ensure that the organization is managed efficiently and effectively and protected from waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and misappropriation of funds. Management controls are synonymous with internal controls. See IRM 1.4.2, Monitoring and Improving Internal Control.

  3. Field Assistance Group Managers should constantly reinforce the importance of adherence to security and internal controls when processing remittances (cash and non-cash).

  4. Duress alarms located in each TAC should be tested quarterly by the local Facilities Management and Security Services (FMSS) Territory Manager. If necessary, FMSS will contact the TAC manager for assistance to activate and reset duress alarm(s).

  5. Removable media and DVD players in the TAC do not require any additional security beyond that of any other furniture or IRS property in the TAC. Store remote controls for the television and DVD player in a safe place at all times (desk or cabinet is acceptable). IRS informational presentations are formatted without Guardian Edge Removable Storage (GERS) to operate on the televisions.

  6. The TAC Security and Remittance Review Database was developed to capture self-assessment results from the revised Physical Security and Remittance checklist tool.

  7. The database allows Field Assistance to effectively monitor the TACs adherence to security requirements.

  8. The database is used to store historical data and identify the offices that will be visited for operational reviews.

  9. The manager is responsible for conducting Functional Security Reviews using Form 12149, Functional Security Review for Managers, and/or other data collection instruments (DCIs) and input the results of the reviews in the database on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis as required.

  10. At a minimum, managers will ensure compliance with standards on

    1. Keys and Combination Control, IRM 10.4.1.5.6

    2. Information Security, IRM 10.4.1.5.7 and Policy and GuidanceIRM 10.8.1

    3. Disposition and Destruction, IRM 10.4.1.5.17

    4. Clean Desk Policy, IRM 10.4.1.5.18

    5. Identification Media, IRM 10.4.1.7

  11. The database addresses the following:

    1. Allows the ability to collect information, identify deficiencies, and follow-up on corrective actions in a timely and comprehensive manner according to the IRM requirements

    2. Establishes the top security and remittance issues by Office Designation Number (ODN)

    3. Compiles data to assess effectiveness and progress in correcting weaknesses in physical security controls in order to protect sensitive taxpayer information and receipts

  12. Managers should comply with all minimum security standards contained in IRM 10.4.1, Managers Security Handbook, all local security requirements, for reporting any violations to the local physical security office and other individuals (for example, TIGTA) who have security responsibilities.

1.4.11.4.3  (01-01-2014)
Use of Signs/Posters in TACs

  1. All TACs will display all required signs provided by FA headquarters and ensure procedures outlined in IRM 21.3.4.3.8, Signs, are followed.

  2. All other signs (e.g., signs from other business units, temporary signs) must be approved by the Director of Field Assistance or headquarters designee.

  3. There are four categories of signage:

    • Cautionary Signs

    • Informational Signs

    • Directional Signs

    • Educational Signs

1.4.11.4.4  (01-08-2015)
Removable Media and Digital Video Disk (DVD) Players

  1. Removable media and DVD players are used in TACs to promote the use of informational messages to improve the taxpayer experience. Removable media is defined as any device that can be used to transport or store data such as a flash drive, compact disk (CD), and DVD.

  2. Removable media and DVD players will be used for educational and communication purposes as directed by FA Headquarters. Only approved IRS informational messages or informational videos are allowed. All other viewing methods such as cable, local television stations or the use of television antennas are prohibited, unless authorized by FA Headquarters. To request the use of other viewing methods, contact your Area office. Explain the reason why the IRS informational messages cannot be displayed. The Area office will seek approval from FA headquarters.

  3. Removable media should be played continuously and allowed to loop so taxpayers may see repeated messages.

  4. Administrative support, technical staff and/or GMs are authorized to insert or remove the removable media or operate the DVD players. See IRM 1.4.11.4.4.1, Roles and Responsibilities for Removable Media, for more information.

  5. See policy memo for Removable Media and Digital Video Disc (DVD) Players in the TACs .

1.4.11.4.4.1  (09-24-2014)
Roles and Responsibilities for Removable Media

  1. Field Assistance Headquarters:
    Provide IRS informational presentations to the field which are approved by Communications and Liaisons (C&L), the Affordable Care Act Project Management Office and other designated approvers unless the TAC has prior approval from FA Headquarters.
    Input Publishing Services Requests (PSR) depending on the type of removable media required.
    Input Employee Resource Center (ERC) ticket for DVD purchase and installation.
    Provide Integrated Procurement System (IPS) numbering scheme and approval path to local Facilities Management and Security Services (FMSS) Project Manager or Media and Publications (M & P) Analyst through FA Budget Analyst for DVD installation.
    Field Assistance Group Managers (GMs):
    Ensure the installation and execution of the flash drive on the televisions. If assistance is required for flash drive installation, the GM should first seek assistance from the local building maintenance or lessor before contacting the Area office. The Area office will notify FA Headquarters.
    Provide general coordination and support for DVD player installations with Facilities Management and Security Services (FMSS).
    Be responsible for the operation of the DVD player such as inputting and removing DVDs (Administrative support or technical staff may be designated if GM not located in TAC).
    Monitor removable media and/or DVD player operations and notify the Area office for removable media and DVD player when there is a problem. The Area office will notify FA Headquarters.
    Submit an Incident Report using the Computer Security Incident Reporting (CSIRC) Form using the following link www.csirc.web.irs.gov/reporting and Contact the Territory Manager and Area office, if the removable media or DVD player is lost or stolen. The Area office will notify FA Headquarters.
    Facilities Management and Security Services (FMSS):
    Mount DVD players where they will not be easily accessible to the public and out of the reach of children (in secure space).
    Place the DVD players inside the GMs office as the first option.
    Maintenance, Repair, Replacement and/or Troubleshooting:
    TAC personnel should not attempt to repair the removable media or DVD player.
    If the removable media or DVD player requires service, replacement or becomes inoperable for any reason, contact the Area office. Provide the location and what the removable media or DVD player is doing or not doing. The Area office will notify FA Headquarters.
    Facilities Management and Security Services (FMSS) is responsible for the initial installation (where applicable) and maintenance of the DVD players while warranties are in affect.
    FA Headquarters will fund replacement of any removable media, if required. When required, FA may fund replacement of DVD players if the warranty has expired.
    See IRM 1.4.11.4.2, TAC Security/Internal Controls for security guidance.

1.4.11.4.5  (06-16-2014)
Televisions (TVs) in TACs

  1. Only approved IRS informational messages are allowed on all FA TVs. The use of cable and/or local TV stations is prohibited unless authorized by FA headquarters. To request the use of other viewing methods, contact your Area office. Explain the reason why the IRS informational messages cannot be displayed. The Area office will seek approval from FA headquarters.

  2. If permitted to use other viewing methods, the volume setting must be closed captioned and/or muted. If the use of the IRS informational messages, cable and/or local TV stations is not an option, the TV should be turned off.

  3. Playing background music is restricted. Sound must not interfere with the Qmatic or Contact Recording equipment currently located in the TAC.

  4. Only FA employees (administrative support, technical staff or GMs) are authorized to operate the TV.

  5. See policy memo for TVs in the TACs.

1.4.11.4.5.1  (06-16-2014)
Roles and Responsibilities for TVs in the TAC

  1. Field Assistance Headquarters:
    Input Employee Resource Center (ERC) ticket for TV installation, relocation or removal (where applicable).
    Field Assistance Group Managers (GMs):
    Provide general coordination and support for TV installation with Facilities Management and Security Services (FMSS).
    Be responsible for the operation of the TV such as turning on and off (Administrative support or technical staff may be designated if GM not located in TAC).
    Monitor TV operations and notify the Area office when there is a problem. The Area office will notify FA headquarters.
    Submit an Incident Report using the Computer Security Incident Reporting (CSIRC) form at the following link www.csirc.web.irs.gov and contact the Territory Manager and Area office if the TV is lost or stolen. The Area office will notify FA headquarters.
    Facilities Management and Security Services (FMSS):
    Fund and install existing TVs.
    Mount TV where it will not be easily accessible to the public and out of the reach of children.
    Mount TV where placement will not interfere with Qmatic or Contact Recording operations, obstructing the ITAS station numbering panels and ticket numbering system.
    Consult with the GMs and determine the configuration of the TAC space to accommodate the TVs.
    Discard broken TVs.
    Maintenance, Repair, Replacement and/or Troubleshooting:
    TAC personnel should not attempt to repair the TV.
    If the TV requires service or becomes inoperable for any reason, contact the Area office. Provide the location and what the TV is doing or not doing. The Area office will notify FA headquarters.
    Facilities Management and Security Services (FMSS) is responsible for the installation (where applicable).
    FMSS will discard broken TVs and replace them by relocating a TV from another TAC location (where applicable).

1.4.11.5  (12-01-2005)
Initial Assistance Representative (IAR)

  1. Greeting and questioning the taxpayer by an Initial Assistance Representative (IAR) to determine the type of assistance needed requires excellent communication skills. It also requires good communication skills, along with the ability to readily analyze the taxpayer's need(s).

  2. The IAR should be knowledgeable of all TAC procedures located in IRM 21.3.4, Field Assistance. For example, if a taxpayer appears in need of multilingual assistance, the IAR should direct the taxpayer to a bilingual employee or to an employee trained on using the Over the Phone Interpreter Service (OPI).

    Note:

    All walk-in sites have OPI installed and all employees need to be trained on the system.

  3. IARs can greatly contribute to the efficiency of a TAC by answering inquiries that can be resolved quickly in the general entry or reception area which would permit assistance to larger numbers of taxpayers with a minimal waiting time. (The types of inquiries normally handled by IARs do not involve technical tax issues.)

  4. An IAR can direct the flow of taxpayer traffic to the respective TAC service areas. A full-time IAR is needed for heavy taxpayer traffic during the filing season in medium or large TACs. A part-time or seasonal IAR may be desirable during non-filing season.

    Note:

    IARs are only authorized for large and medium TACs.

1.4.11.6  (09-30-2008)
Managing Outlying TACs

  1. Managers may be responsible for supervising employees in offices other than where the Manager is located. Regular communications with employees in outlying TACs is essential in achieving a successful and smoothly run TAC operation.

  2. Oversight and assessment for each office that the Managers is responsible for is equally important and will aid in determining training needs, employee performance, and in identifying areas or processes that need improvement. Managers will need to monitor each employee's work to ensure that the work performed meets IRS requirements as outlined in IRM 21.3.4, Field Assistance.

1.4.11.6.1  (11-01-2010)
Commissioner's Representatives (CR) in Outlying TACs

  1. Each outlying TAC has a commissioner's representative (CR)/administrative officer (AO) who is responsible for the office/building.

  2. It is the Manager's responsibility to keep the CR/AO informed of TAC office closings or any problems (within the CR's area of responsibility) that the TAC may encounter in carrying out its function.

  3. It is important to keep open lines of communication with management in other functional areas.

1.4.11.6.2  (09-30-2008)
Schedule Routine Visitations

  1. Managers should maintain close contact with employees in outlying TACs because their relative isolation tends to lessen their involvement with management.

  2. Make routine visits to the TAC and maintain documented evidence of managerial reviews, as outlined in Exhibit 1.4.11-7, Territory and Group Manager Mandatory Reviews, Reports and Certifications. Validate these reviews quarterly by inputting the review results in the TAC Security and Remittance Review Database (TSRRD). See IRM 1.4.11.4.1(2), (3), (4) and (5).

  3. If items identified during a visit are the responsibility of the Commissioner's Representative (CR), schedule a discussion.

1.4.11.7  (08-15-2012)
Hours of Operations and TAC Closing Procedures

  1. Program management and oversight guidelines are provided in this section for changes in hours of operation at TACs.

  2. Full-time offices are open from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and have full-time staff five days a week, eight hours a day, 12 months a year (except for Federal Holidays). Part-time office hours may vary depending on the needs of the office.

  3. TACs will provide half an hour at the beginning of each day, before the TAC opens, to allow time for employees to prepare time reports, read new procedures and information, conduct directed learning, hold group meetings, and prepare for the day’s taxpayer-related activities.

  4. Lunchtime for employees will be scheduled at a time commensurate with the lower traffic periods of the day. Part-time and smaller offices (1 or 2 technical employees) with insufficient FA staff to remain open throughout the day, may close to allow the employee(s) time to take their lunch. Offices with 3 or more technical employees available to work are expected to remain open during lunch.

  5. TAC employees should only take in those taxpayers that they will be able to assist within the regularly scheduled hours. Any decision to keep a TAC open beyond the regular business hours requires supervisory approval.

1.4.11.7.1  (01-08-2015)
Changes in Hours of Operations

  1. All TACs that were full-time last filing season will remain full-time this filing season, unless the Director of Field Assistance approves the change.

  2. Office Closures 1½ days or less - Require Territory Manager approval. Notification should come via email from the Territory Manager or designee, to the Area Director, with a copy to the Technical Advisor, Senior Operations Manager, Area Analyst, headquarters (HQ) Security Analyst, FMSS HQ Security Analyst, local FMSS Territory Manager, GLD, local Media Relations office and applicable commissioner’s representative.

    Note:

    FMSS requires notification only when a TAC closure impacts a TAC Guard.

  3. Office Closures 2 to 7 days - Require Area Director approval. Notification should come via email from the Area Director or designee, to the HQ Security Analyst. The email subject line should be "URGENT—Notification of Change in Hours of Operation for (insert city/state and effective date)." Upon approval, the Territory Manager or designee is responsible for notifying the FMSS HQ Security Analyst, local FMSS Territory Manager, GLD, local Media Relations office and the applicable commissioner’s representative.

    Note:

    FMSS requires notification only when a TAC closure impacts a TAC Guard.

  4. Office Closures 8 consecutive days or more - Require Director of Field Assistance approval. A proposed change in hours of operation for 8 consecutive days or more must be approved by the Director of Field Assistance. The request must be prepared using Exhibit 1.4.11-3, Change in Hours of Operation Request (CHOR) and should describe the circumstances prompting the request. All alternative solutions should be considered and implemented where possible. If contingencies cannot be put in place, a thorough justification must be provided.
    Important: Every effort must be made to submit these CHORs for routing to the HQ Security Analyst via email five (5) business days prior to the effective date of the closure. If the timeframe is not met, an explanation must be provided on Form 13839-A, Note To Reviewer. Requests should come via email from the Area Director or designee, to the HQ Security Analyst. The email subject line should be "URGENT—Notification of Change in Hours of Operation for (insert city/state and effective date)."

    1. No changes in hours of operations will occur until the request is approved.

    2. Once the request is approved, the Territory Manager or designee will follow the notification procedures in IRM 1.4.11.7.3, Notification, Monitoring and Certification Procedures.

  5. Extending a CHOR beyond the expiration date - When it is necessary to extend a CHOR beyond its originally approved expiration date, the area office must submit a new CHOR. Every effort must be made to submit the new CHOR to the HQ Security Analyst ten (10) business days prior to the current CHOR’s expiration date.

  6. Temporary Lunch Closures - TACs that are open during lunch hours should only close in the event there is insufficient staffing (e.g., 2 or less employees, etc.). Lunch closures no longer require Director, FA approval; however, extended or multiple day lunch closures do require Area Director or designee approval. Once approved, the following stakeholders should be notified via email: Territory Manager, Technical Advisor, Senior Operations Manager, Area Analyst, FMSS HQ Security Analyst and local FMSS Territory Manager.

    Note:

    FMSS requires notification only when a TAC lunch closure impacts a TAC Guard. The email subject line should be "TAC Lunch Closure for (insert city/state)."

1.4.11.7.2  (08-15-2012)
Closing a TAC

  1. Temporary TAC closings should only occur as a last resort because of the potentially adverse impact on taxpayers and other functions at that location.

  2. Temporary closures may occur in smaller TACs (generally one or two person TACs) for the following reasons:

    • Employees are attending training.

    • Employees have an immediate or extended illness.

    • An unfilled vacancy (i.e., retirement, resignation).

    • There are no other employees within a reasonable distance (i.e., commuting area) available from Field Assistance.

  3. Before temporarily closing a TAC, Areas must attempt to:

    • Provide an employee from another TAC on a daily basis.

    • Provide an employee from another TAC on a part-time basis (limited hours or days).

  4. Permanent TAC Closings: The Wage and Investment Commissioner, in consultation with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service and the Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement, have the final approval authority to permanently close a Taxpayer Assistance Center.

1.4.11.7.2.1  (09-13-2013)
Approval Authority for Changes in Hours of Operation

  1. The table below, Approval Authority for Changes in Hours of Operation, provides a summary of time frames and level of approval authority needed.

    CLOSURE APPROVAL AUTHORITY NEXT LEVEL NOTIFICATION
    1 ½ days or less Territory Manager Area Director, HQ Security Analyst and HQ Reports Analyst. If the closure impacts a TAC guard include the FMSS Territory Manager and FMSS HQ Security Analyst.
    2 days - 7 days Area Director HQ Security Analyst and HQ Reports Analyst. If the closure impacts a TAC guard include the FMSS Territory Manager and FMSS HQ Security Analyst.
    8 days or more FA Director CARE Director

1.4.11.7.2.2  (06-16-2014)
Actions to be Taken When Relocating a TAC

  1. The area office will ensure the appropriate actions are completed to implement the Communication Plan within 60 days prior to the TAC relocating. Listed on the FA Insider is a checklist of items that must be completed to facilitate proper communication of the upcoming TAC move TAC Relocation Checklist

  2. Headquarters will advise the national Governmental Liaison of the TAC relocation 60 days prior to the actual move.

  3. The Director of Field Assistance will notify the Director of CARE of the effective date of the Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) relocation.

1.4.11.7.3  (01-01-2013)
Notification, Monitoring and Certification Procedures

  1. Coordination with the local Governmental Liaison (GL) is essential. The Area Director or designee will immediately notify GL for the state(s) and the local Media Relations Office of any temporary closings, including same day emergency closings, and non-emergency closings of one to seven days. The GL will then conduct the necessary coordination with the affected congressional offices and/or state Department of Revenue officials, as appropriate.

  2. For changes in hours of operation, and temporary closings of more than seven days, the approval of the Director of Field Assistance is required before initiating contact with GL and the local Media Relations Office.

  3. Any significant issues that emerge from the liaison process will be immediately elevated to the Director of Field Assistance.

  4. Territory Managers or their designee will also notify the applicable Commissioner's Representative (CR).

  5. Territory Managers or their designees are responsible for ensuring that all procedures for posting and updating changes in hours and days of operations are implemented before any change in service occurs. See IRM 1.4.11.8, Publishing Taxpayer Assistance Center Information.

  6. Area Directors are responsible for monitoring service delivery hours and documenting reviews. The quarterly certification process will be completed in conjunction with the Monitoring and Certification Procedures outlined in IRM 1.4.11.8.4, 3709 Monitoring, Certification and Business Process Review Procedures.

1.4.11.8  (05-30-2014)
Publishing Taxpayer Assistance Center Information

  1. To ensure taxpayers know where they can locate a TAC, it is critical that information on IRS.gov, 3709 telephone recorded messages and TAC signage all have correct and consistent information.

  2. It is the Area Director's responsibility to ensure complete, correct and consistent addresses with hours of operation are published on IRS.gov, 3709 telephone recorded messages and TAC signage. Area Directors are responsible for ensuring IRS.gov, 3709 telephone recorded messages and TAC signage are reviewed for uniformity on a regular basis.

  3. Each area will publish the following information in the prescribed format as shown below. Any additions/changes/deletions must be carefully coordinated so they reflect the same information within a 24 hour window.

    • City (IRS.gov only) - Each TAC will be listed by the city in which it is located. If a TAC is located in a unique area, two city names should be separated with a slash (i.e., Plantation/Ft. Lauderdale). If a city contains more than one TAC, a location description may be included in parenthesis (i.e., New York (Harlem); Houston (NW).

    • Street Address - Each street address must be limited to only necessary data. Street number, street name, city, state and zip code.

    • Hours of Operation - Each listing must be complete. Individual days/times must be spelled out (i.e., Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

    • Lunch Closings - Closings for lunch must be entered in a consistent format. Lunch closings will be included in parenthesis and times will not be abbreviated. Twelve o'clock noon will be entered as 12:00 noon (i.e., Closed for lunch 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.)

    • 3709 Telephone Numbers - Telephone numbers will be entered in the following format (999) 999-9999.

    • Each area will designate and provide one Area Analyst with access to the Content Management System (CMS). This Analyst will be responsible for updating IRS.gov. The Area Analyst must submit for approval by the Area Director or their designee, a Content Publishing Request (CPR) Form 14044, W&I IRS.gov Content Publishing Request (CPR), for each access of the CMS Tool, when required.

  4. CPRs are required for the following:

    • Address Changes

    • Telephone Number changes

    • Indefinite/Permanent TAC closures

  5. When a CPR, Form 14044, W&I IRS.gov Content Publishing Request (CPR) (see Exhibit 1.4.11-5, IRS.gov Content Publishing Request Instructions), is required to be completed and has been received from the Territory Manager, the Area Analyst will complete Section 3, Content Location Information i.e., URL, and Content Title then submit the completed CPR for the approval of the Area Director or their designee prior to launching the change. Upon approval the Area Analyst will then launch the IRS.gov updates and notify the original requestor that the update has been made. The Area Analyst will maintain a file of the processed CPR Forms. An electronic copy of the CPR should be sent to the FA Headquarter Analyst responsible for IRS.gov and posted to the" U drive" .

1.4.11.8.1  (07-06-2012)
Posting TAC Hours of Operation

  1. Hours of operation must be posted using Form 13358, Taxpayer Assistance Center Hours of Service Insert.

  2. TAC signage must be updated/changed as necessary to reflect the information posted on IRS.gov, and 3709 telephone recorded messages. All closings must be posted on the TAC door for the duration of the time the TAC will be closed.

1.4.11.8.2  (05-30-2014)
Posting TAC Closings

  1. Temporary Closings - If it is necessary to temporarily close a TAC for a period of one business day or more due to unscheduled employee absences or other circumstances beyond our control; the management chain of command will immediately be notified of the situation. IRS.gov, the 3709 telephone recorded messages, and TAC signage will be updated.

    Exception:

    IRS.gov and 3709 telephone recorded messages do not need to be changed if closure is less than one business day due to inclement weather or when the notification of the need to close the TAC is not received before the regularly scheduled opening. TAC signage must be updated to reflect all closures regardless of the duration, unless not possible due to geographic limitations.

    Note:

    If the Area IRS.gov analyst is not immediately available to initiate the update to IRS.gov; the Territory Manager should contact the primary HQ IRS.gov analyst (or back-up) to initiate the update. When no HQ analyst is available, the Territory Manager should contact the Senior Operations Manager to determine if the IRS.gov analyst from another area can provide assistance.

  2. IRS.gov, 3709 lines, and signs will be updated for planned closures of any duration.

  3. Updates must be consistent and use appropriate professional language (i.e., Office will be closed on 01/21/15 and reopen 01/23/15 or Office will be closed 01/21/15).

  4. If an office is closed indefinitely, IRS.gov, the 3709 telephone recorded message, and TAC signage will be updated to say, "Office is closed until further notice" .

    Note:

    These updates will also require an approved CPR. The 3709 recording will use the appropriate script. See Exhibit 1.4.11-1, Field Assistance Telephone Scripts/Email Responses. The electronic postings (IRS.gov) and signage may use the number format for dates (MM-DD-YYYY); however, the 3709 recorded announcement must say the name of the month (Month DD, YYYY).

  5. Permanent Closings - Upon approval of a permanent TAC closing Form 13312, Temporary Closing Notification for Taxpayer Assistance Centers will be posted and the hours of operation column on IRS.gov will be updated with the following disclaimer: "This office no longer offers face-to-face tax assistance. Please visit one of the other offices on this page or call 1-800-829-1040" .

    Note:

    This update will require an approved CPR for removal/preservation of the 3709 recorded messages and must be approved by the headquarters 3709 Program Analyst. The 3709 announcement will be recorded using the Non-TAC location script or disconnect script. See Exhibit 1.4.11-1, Field Assistance Telephone Scripts/Email Responses, depending on the future disposition of the line. The disclaimer will be posted for 30 days. After 30 days, a request to remove the listing from IRS.gov will be initiated and if necessary, the 3709 recorded announcement will be disconnected.

  6. Holiday Closings - IRS.gov and the 3709 telephone recorded messages will include language that states the TACs are closed for all Federal Holidays. IRS.gov will include links to an OPM web page listing all federal holidays. TAC signage will be updated to reference holiday closures no less than three days prior to closure. Signage will be updated to reflect normal business hours the next business day.

  7. VSD sites will be closed for all federal holidays. Pub 4511, "Office Closed" Holiday Signs advising taxpayers of the closure will be posted at unstaffed VSD sites one week prior to the scheduled holiday. The site POC is responsible for updating the signage at the taxpayer facing site. The designated TAC manager will report the closing on SERP, IRS.gov, and the 3709 message. The designated TAC manager is listed in FAMIS as the manager of the Office Designation Number (ODN) assigned to the taxpayer facing VSD site. The VSD site GM will notify the site POC and area analysts of any unexpected office closures.

  8. TAC Hours of Operation - TAC Hours of Operation, including lunch closings, must be posted using Form 13358 (EN/SP), Taxpayer Assistance Center Hours of Service. TAC signage must be updated as necessary to reflect the information posted on IRS.gov and the 3709 telephone recorded messages. All closings must be posted on the TAC door for the duration of the time the TAC will be closed.

1.4.11.8.3  (06-15-2011)
3709 Telephone Recorded Messages

  1. Area Directors will be responsible for continuously monitoring TAC addresses and hours of operation and documenting the reviews. In addition, Area Directors will certify quarterly that the information is consistent and correct. This will include monitoring the designated local telephone directory. A memorandum will be used for the certification process. Certifications will be submitted to the HQ Analyst responsible for IRS.gov on the last business day of the following months: January, April, July, and October certifying that all listings are correct.

  2. 3709 telephone lines must have a recorded message using the approved Field Assistance Script (see Exhibit 1.4.11-1). Any deviations from the prescribed script must follow the approval authority guidelines.

  3. The Director of Field Assistance or designee must approve any deviations from the prescribed format. The Area Director or designee should submit the request via email to the HQ Analyst(s) responsible for IRS.gov and 3709 telephone line programs.

1.4.11.8.4  (05-02-2014)
3709 Email Monitoring, Certification and Business Process Review Procedures

  1. Area Directors will be responsible for monitoring TAC addresses and hours of operation on the 3709 phone line with documented reviews and will certify quarterly that the information is consistent and correct. This will include verifying the 3709 telephone number in the designated telephone directory. A memorandum will be used for the certification process. See Exhibit 1.4.11-2, TAC Published Information Certification Memorandum. Certifications will be submitted to the Chief of Policy, Technology, and Measures and the Chief of Financial Planning and Resources on the last business day of the following months: January, April, July, and October certifying that all listings are correct.

  2. Certifications must include details of any non-compliance and an explanation of what corrective actions are necessary to achieve full-compliance. Verification that corrective actions have been successful will be forwarded as quickly as possible.

  3. Managers are required to:

    • Conduct reviews to monitor timeliness of email responses and to ensure appointments are being made.

    • Review the 3709 email log each month during January through April and one log sheet per quarter during the months of May through December.

    • Report emails that were not returned within three business days along with an explanation of why the emails were not returned timely each quarter. This information will be posted to the FA U-Drive by the Area Office.

  4. The Director of Field Assistance must approve any deviations from the prescribed 3709 line format. The Area Director or designee should submit the request via email to the Chief of Policy, Technology, and Measures and the Chief of Financial Planning and Resources. The request will then be forwarded to the appropriate headquarters Analyst for action.

1.4.11.9  (07-01-2010)
Work Planning and Scheduling

  1. Work planning and scheduling are the foundation upon which successful FA programs are built. The purpose of the work planning and strategy plan is to enable Field Assistance to realistically plan or project the use of resources or accomplishments to meet taxpayer needs.

  2. Work planning can be defined as planning according to needs, and scheduling defined as planning according to resource availability.

  3. When preparing a local schedule, it is necessary to analyze each portion of the TAC operation to maintain standarized services, whether responsible for a large TAC or a small, outlying TAC.

1.4.11.9.1  (07-01-2010)
Scheduling for Staffing Needs

  1. Determine the staffing needs for the scheduling period by analyzing volume statistics. These statistics can be obtained from prior year data. Business Objects reports are the best source for this type of information.

  2. Business Objects reports provide data on workload volumes for the week, month, planning period and fiscal year. This data is provided on a weekly basis and is updated every Thursday.

  3. Factors to consider when analyzing statistical data may include, but not limited to:

    • Type of employee available to be assigned to special TAC activities

    • Expectations of employee's performance and expertise related to the type of work performed

    • Volume of work anticipated

  4. An analysis of weekly data will enable management to identify trends, patterns, need for additional staff and anomalies. Effective analysis will assist in planning and scheduling and using resources more efficiently.

1.4.11.9.2  (07-18-2007)
Scheduling Considerations

  1. Skill in maintaining a flexible staff and balancing the workload will determine the overall success of the TAC operation.

  2. In most instances, circuit riders are needed when taxpayer demand exceeds available local FA resources. Time must be planned into scheduling to accommodate these demands.

  3. Examples of workload demands when staffing may be limited and circuit rider support may be needed include:

    • Inventory

    • Ordering forms and publications

    • Referrals

    • Adjustments

    • Correspondence

    • Directed Learning

    • Formal training

    • Away from office

    • Leave

1.4.11.9.3  (01-08-2015)
Staffing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Locations

  1. The Federal Response Plan states that federal agencies are expected to provide assistance for alleviating damage, loss, hardship and suffering using the agencies’ own authorities and funding. The IRS is committed to supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with assisting those affected by disasters and significant emergencies.

  2. Field Assistance may receive requests for TAC employees to staff Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) established by FEMA. The guidelines for Field Assistance managers are listed below.

    1. In most cases, TAC employees should not staff DRC sites from January 2 – June 15.

    2. TACs will remain open for business, even when a local DRC has been established.

    3. The solicitation for volunteers to staff DRCs will be done at the Territory Manager level. The Group Manager may be contacted only if the Territory Manager is unavailable.

1.4.11.10  (02-10-2014)
Capturing Field Assistance Contacts

  1. It is critical that Field Assistance has timely, accurate reporting and monitoring of resource and workload information.

  2. Group managers should ensure that each TAC employee (including detailees) correctly captures and records the type of assistance provided and the length of contact. All employees providing assistance are required to keep a record of their contacts.

    Note:

    FA employees will use Qmatic to capture contacts systemically.

  3. Group Managers must stress to employees the importance of accurately reporting time charged to Field Assistance and the importance of not closing the contact on Qmatic until all actions have been taken to ensure they have correctly captured all time spent.

  4. Should Qmatic go off-line, TACs will record contacts in minute increments using Form 13864, Field Assistance Contact Sheet.

  5. In the event the Qmatic ticket printer is not operational, Form 6148, Walk-In Contact Card may be used as a traffic management tool.

    1. Form 6148 is sequentially numbered and tracks wait time.

    2. It can be used to gate issues based on assistor experience.

  6. Managers and employees (including detailees) must accurately report their units and time on FAMIS, Form 5311, Field Assistance Activity Report in the FAMIS application, and compare the data on the Qmatic 272d report (or the QMP Staff performance and Matter Report) to the auto-populated data in the application.

  7. For multiple issues, employees will generally enter only one closing code which is the one that the service took the longest time. Refer to the Form 5311 Coding Guide for further guidance.

  8. Group Managers or delegate must pull the FAMIS Summary Report. In order to use this report, it must be pulled after the Form 5311s have been submitted and before Form 5311s have been approved.

    1. Print or download report for each TAC in Group.

    2. Make comments of the review on the report.

    3. Sign and date each report after completion of the review.

    4. Maintain the report for one year after the review has been completed.

  9. In addition, Group Managers are required to review each employee's FAMIS Form 5311 for their respective TACs each week to ensure corrections are made prior to transmission.

  10. Managers have until the close of business (COB) on Tuesday to approve FAMIS Form 5311 for their respective TACs (If an error is found after the manager has approved Form 5311, the Area Analyst may be contacted up until COB on Wednesday to make a correction).

  11. Data is transported to Business Objects on Thursday morning for the prior week's activity, therefore any approvals/corrections not completed prior to COB Wednesday will require an open window request.

1.4.11.10.1  (01-01-2014)
Form 13864 - Field Assistance Contact Sheet

  1. Should Qmatic go off-line, TACs must use Form 13864 to record the type of assistance and the length of each contact in minute increments. See IRM 21.3.4.6, Time Reporting for TAC Employees.

  2. Contacts are to be recorded by selecting the correct closing code, and recording a unit for each taxpayer and the time.

  3. The form can be saved to the computer's hard drive and/or printed out.

  4. Entries to Form 13864 must be entered on FAMIS Form 5311 daily. See Form 13864, Field Assistance Contact Sheet for additional information.

    1. If Qmatic is down for an entire day, complete Form 5311 from Form 13864 for direct units and time.

    2. If Qmatic is down for part of a day, add all direct units from Form 13864, then adjust the time according to the amount that has been auto populated by Qmatic.


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