1.4.11  Field Assistance Guide for Managers

Manual Transmittal

December 23, 2013

Purpose

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

Material Changes

(1) Editorial changes made throughout the IRM section

(2) IPU 13U0149 issued 1/17/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.3.4 Tax Assistance Program For Employees (TAPE) Return Preparation and e-file Guidelines updated for 2013 FS

(3) IPU 13U0149 issued 1/17/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.3.4.1 Reference Materials for e-file added Job Aid

(4) IRM 1.4.11.4.1.4 Camera/Photography Prohibited added IRM reference and UNAX link to (3)

(5) IRM 1.4.11.4.3 Use of Signs/Posters in TACs deleted (5) - (7) information repeated in IRM 21.3.4

(6) IRM 1.4.11.4.4 Removable Media and Digital Video Disk (DVD) Players added

(7) IRM 1.4.11.4.4.1 Roles and Responsibilities for Removable Media added

(8) IRM 1.4.11.4.2 TAC Security/Internal Controls added information on removable media and DVD players to (5)

(9) IPU 13U1457 issued 9/13/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.7.1 Changes in Hours of Operations updated procedures for Office Closures

(10) IPU 13U1457 issued 9/13/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.7.2.1 Approval Authority updated notification procedures in (1) table

(11) IPU 13U0799 issued 4/24/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.8 Publishing Taxpayer Assistance Center Information updated procedures

(12) IPU 13U0799 issued 4/24/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.8.2 Posting TAC Closings updated procedures

(13) IPU 13U0960 issued 5/20/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.8.4 3709 Monitoring, Certification and Business Process Review Procedures replacing callback procedures with email

(14) IRM 1.4.11.10 Capturing Field Assistance Contacts clarified procedures; added (3), (10), (11)

(15) IPU 13U0931 issued 5/15/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.10.1 Form 13864 Field Assistance Contact Sheet updated to clarify procedures

(16) IRM 1.4.11.10.2 Management Review and Disposition of Form 13864 and Form 6148 updated procedures

(17) IRM 1.4.11.11 Qmatic added clarification to (3); Exception to (5); link to (13)

(18) IRM 1.4.11.11.1 Wait Time added Pub 5002 to (3); link to (7)

(19) IRM 1.4.11.11.2 Qmatic Ticket Process added (c) to (1)

(20) IRM 1.4.11.11.3 Automated Reports added link to last bullet in (1)

(21) IRM 1.4.11.11.4 Adding Employees on Staff Registration updated title; added (4) link

(22) IRM 1.4.11.13 Field Assistance Training Program added (2)

(23) IPU 13U0799 issued 4/24/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.13.1 Field Assistance TAC Employee Training updated procedures

(24) IPU 13U0799 issued 4/24/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.13.1.1 On-the-Job Training (OJT) updated procedures

(25) IRM 1.4.11.13.1.1.1 Territory Lead OJI Responsibilities updated (6) and deleted (7)

(26) IPU 13U0799 issued 4/24/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.13.1.1.2 Group Manager Responsibilities clarified (3)(c)(f)(g) and (h)

(27) IPU 13U0799 issued 4/24/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.13.1.1.3 Area Training Analyst Responsibilities added (f) to (2)

(28) IPU 13U0799 issued 4/24/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.13.1.1.5 Area Director Responsibilities deleted (2)

(29) IRM 1.4.11.13.4 Employee Automated Certification (EAC) clarifies procedures

(30) IRM 1.4.11.13.2 Training for Field Assistance Group Managers deleted (2)

(31) IRM 1.4.11.13.3.2 Field Assistance Headquarters Training Analyst added (1)(d) and clarified (e) and (l)

(32) 1.4.11.13.3.3 Area Training and Budget Analysts deleted (1)(c)

(33) 1.4.11.13.3.4 Group Manager Responsibilities clarified (1)

(34) 1.4.11.13.3.6 Internal Order Codes updated (1) and deleted table of codes

(35) IPU 13U0901 issued 5/9/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.13.4.1 Alternate Employee Certification moved and updated/clarified current procedures

(36) PU 13U0581 issued 3/21/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.15.2 Review Process and Types of Review added links to IRM 1.4.16

(37) IPU 13U0581 issued 3/21/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.15.2.1 Embedded Quality Review Plan added links to IRM 1.4.16

(38) IPU 13U1578 issued 10/25/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.15.4 Operational Reviews and Follow-Up updates schedule

(39) IRM 1.4.11.16 Awards and Recognition updated to remove obsolete information and add updated links

(40) IPU 13U1525 issued 10/1/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.19.1 Maintaining Form 795-A/Form 3210 Files clarified procedures

(41) IPU 13U1525 issued 10/1/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.19.2 Form 5919 – Teller’s Error Advice updated procedures

(42) IPU 13U0629 issued 3/28/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.19.2.1 Trends and Patterns Report clarified guidelines in (6)

(43) IPU 13U1525 issued 10/1/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.19.5 FA Manager Form 795-A/Form 3210 Payment Processing Reviews updated and clarified procedures for unacknowledged remittance packages; clarified timeframes and follow-up review procedures

(44) IPU 13U1525 issued 10/1/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.19.6 FA Manager Form 3210 Review of Non-Payment Processing updated procedures for unacknowledged non-remittance packages; clarified timeframes and follow-up review procedures

(45) IPU 13U1457 issued 9/13/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.24.1 Manual Refunds Using Integrated Automation Technologies (IAT) added bullets and links to (6) and clarification to (7) and (8)

(46) IPU 13U1525 issued 10/1/2013 revised IRM 1.4.11.26 Field Assistance Insider Guidelines added

(47) IRM 1.4.11.27 Embedded Quality Roles and Responsibilities added

(48) IRM 1.4.11.27.1 Employee Responsibilities added

(49) IRM 1.4.11.27.2 Group Manager Responsibilities added

(50) IRM 1.4.11.27.3 Territory Manager Responsibilities added

(51) IRM 1.4.11.27.4 Area Director and Area Quality Analyst Responsibilities added

(52) IRM 1.4.11.27.5 Headquarters Quality Analyst Responsibilities added

(53) IPU 13U0960 issued 5/20/2013 revised Exhibit 1.4.11-1 Field Assistance Telephone Script revised scripts with email procedures

(54) Exhibit 1.4.11-5 Field Assistance Informal/Non-Monetary Awards Recognition Program removed

(55) Exhibit 1.4.11-7 Embedded Quality Roles and Responsibilities deleted; added information to IRM 1.4.11.27

(56) IPU 13U1525 issued 10/1/2013 revised Exhibit 1.4.11-9 Group Manager Mandatory Reviews, Reports and Certifications replacing callback procedures with email; updated guidelines for Trends and Patterns Report; updated frequency for duress alarms; updates Payment Processing Reviews; updated frequency of Form 795-A/Form 3210 Remittance Review Log review

(57) IPU 13U0629 issued 3/28/2013 revised Exhibit 1.4.11-16 Review Plan Of Group Manager Mandatory Reviews removed

(58) Exhibit 1.4.11-20 Field Assistance Quarterly OJT Report deleted; link for the report embedded in IRM 1.4.11.13.1.1.4(3)

(59) IPU 13U0448 issued 3/1/2013 revised Exhibit 1.4.11-22 Managers Monitoring Confirmation Log added new exhibit

(60) Throughout - Submission Processing Campus changed to Submission Processing Center

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 1.4.11 dated January 16, 2013 (effective January 16, 2013) is superseded. This IRM also incorporates the following IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs), issued from January 17, 2013 through October 25, 2013, have been incorporated into this IRM: 13U0149, 13U0319, 13U0346, 13U0448, 13U0581, 13U0629, 13U0799, 13U0901, 13U0931, 13U0960, 13U1284, 13U1457, 13U1525, 13U1578.

Audience

All managers in Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs)

Effective Date

(01-01-2014)

Related Resources

Wage and Investment Insider - Field Assistance http://win.web.irs.gov/field.htm

Michael C. Beebe
Director, Field Assistance
Wage and Investment Division

1.4.11.1  (11-01-2010)
Field Assistance 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 http://ss.ds.irsnet.gov/SITES/MRC/Pages/CoPsDefault.aspx 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

    • 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)

    • Stocking and Distributing tax forms and publications

    • Providing need based tax return preparation

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

1.4.11.2  (12-27-2011)
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, Need-Based Courtesy Return Preparation and 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 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 21.3.4.3.6, 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 21.3.4.3.6.5, 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. This could consist of brochures, business cards and bookmarks, and other communication products. Shown below is an example:

    • Publication 1769, (01-2007), Cat. No. 20052U, IRS (English and Spanish) Bookmark.

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  (01-17-2013)
Tax Assistance Program For Employees (TAPE) Return Preparation and e-file Guidelines

  1. Provide guidance to employees to ensure adherence to Field Assistance Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) and Employee e-file return preparation and e-file policy and program objectives.

  2. Communicate policies and procedures to all employees regarding TAC and Employee e-file return preparation and e-file requirements.

  3. Designate an e-file Coordinator and trained back-up for each TAC.

  4. Monitor to ensure all end users are trained in return preparation software and e-file procedures.

  5. To enhance return preparation quality, follow IRM 21.3.4.10.5.1, Return Preparation Quality Review guidelines during any return preparation review activity. Also, see Exhibit 1.4.11-11, Field Assistance Return Preparation Quality Review Checklist for assistance.

  6. Area Directors are responsible for ensuring the Third Party Data Store (TPDS) database is current. Application information must be updated within 30 days of the date of the change. Area Directors may delegate this responsibility.

  7. Area Directors are responsible for ensuring Quality Reviews of return preparation and e-file processes are conducted twice per year (February and October). Area Directors may delegate this responsibility. Exhibit 1.4.11-13, Quality Review Taxpayer Assistance Center/Return Preparation/e-file Processing Checklist. Embedded Quality Review System (EQRS) consolidated results may also be incorporated into this review.

  8. Ensure computers and printers are operational and tax preparation software is installed.

  9. Ensure returns are transmitted timely to prevent stockpiling and backlogs.

  10. Monitor timely submission of Form 8453, U.S. Individual Income Tax Transmittal for an IRS e-file Return. Form 8453 must be sent to the appropriate campus on Form 3210, Document Transmittal. Follow-up on Form 3210 to ensure acknowledgements are received within 30 days of submission. Contact http://win.web.irs.gov/SP/About_Us/Directories.htm Receipt and Control Section, if not received timely.

  11. Confirm the internet transmission method is functional for Modernized e-File (MeF) eligible year returns.

  12. The Group Manager or designee will conduct reviews of tax preparation reports to monitor adherence to In-Scope criteria and identify potential training issues. Reviews will be conducted on the current year returns in February and October. Prior year returns that are MeF electronically filed, will be reviewed in October.

    Example:

    Tax year 2012 returns will be reviewed in February and October 2013. Tax year 2011 returns will be reviewed in October 2013.

    The reports should reflect all returns completed, including erased returns. The following reports should be reviewed twice per year in February and October:

    1. Office Information Report - Identifies AGI for each taxpayer. Current and prior year Scope of Service total income return preparation threshold amounts are determined by the current EITC income limit.

    2. Returns by Tax Form Type with Schedules Report - Identifies forms and schedules filed.

    3. Outstanding Reject Returns Report - Identifies all rejects.

  13. Monitor to ensure rejected returns are processed timely.

  14. Review the Reject Report rates and provide a written report to Territory Manager (TM) and e-file Analyst as needed for trend analysis and additional training needs.

  15. Ensure all ITAS are using the current tax preparation software worksheets, interactive interview, help me tabs, and the Interactive Tax Law Assistant (ITLA) tools when appropriate.

  16. All ITAS must ensure the following current tax preparation software worksheets and forms are in the return preparation tree for each return:

    • 1040 Wkt1 - Social Security, Other Income Worksheet

    • 1040 Wkt2 - Student Loan, Education Worksheet

    • 1040 Wkt3 - Child Tax Credit, Carryovers Worksheet

    • Form 8879 - IRS e-file Signature Authorization

    • 1099G Wkt - Unemployment Benefits Worksheet

    • IRA Wkt - Traditional, Roth IRAs, ESAs Worksheet

      Note:

      These worksheets and forms must be used to data enter values and dollar amounts into the software, which then "flow" into the Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

  17. All ITAS must use the ITLA tool for the following topics:

    • Filing Status: ITLA (When the Interactive Interview and Help Me tabs are not available)

    • Dependents: ITLA (When the Interactive Interview and Help Me tabs are not available)

    • Charitable Contributions: ITLA

    • Casualties and Thefts: ITLA

    • Education Credits: ITLA

    • Medical Expenses: ITLA

    • Home Mortgage Interest: ITLA

    • State and Local Taxes: ITLA

    • Child and Dependent Care Expenses: ITLA

    • Qualified Adoption Credits: ITLA

    • Social Security: ITLA

    • Student Loans: ITLA

    • Deductible and Nondeductible IRA: ITLA

    • Educator Expense: ITLA

    • Education Savings Accounts (ESA and QTP): ITLA (Coverdell TLCs)

    • Tuition and Fees: ITLA

    • Allocated Tips: ITLA

    • Cancellation of Debt: ITLA

    See IRM 21.3.4.10.5, Return Preparation Help Me Tabs, ITLA, and Software Default Settings for further clarification.

  18. All ITAS must use the current tax preparation software worksheets and forms in lieu of the ITLA tool for the following:

    • 1040 Worksheet 3 - Child Tax Credit, Carryovers Worksheet

    • US Schedule EIC - Earned Income Credit Worksheet

    • Interview - Interview Sheet (When the Interactive Interview and Help Me tabs are not available)

    • 1099G Worksheet - Unemployment Benefits Worksheet

  19. All other in scope forms and schedules (not listed in paragraphs 16, 17, and 18 above) may be prepared using the current tax preparation software. At any time, during return preparation, if a tax law question or clarification of a tax law issue is required, and a Tax Law Category (TLC) exists, it is mandatory that the ITAS use ITLA.

  20. Protect the security of taxpayer data by ensuring each user group and employee is password protected. A strong password should be chosen. The best passwords contain a complex combination of letters, numbers and special characters. The Group Manager will maintain a copy of the employee Practitioner Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).

  21. Monitor to ensure all required documents are retained in the TAC or Employee e-file site. Ensure supporting documents of returns filed using Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization, which could include Form 8453, U.S. Individual Income Tax Transmittal for an IRS e-file Return, are retained in the TAC for 3 years, then shipped to the Federal Records Center (FRC) for storage, if needed. The Group Manager may delegate this responsibility to the Group Secretary, Initial Assistant Representative (IAR) or ITAS in the TAC, who will coordinate/implement the record retirement procedures.

  22. Ensure retention files are destroyed timely.

  23. Communicate issues and problems to the TM/Area Director and area e-file Analyst.

  24. Approve each return preparation that does not meet the Scope of Service criteria. This approval should be annotated on Form 14058,IRS Return Preparation Checklist. (See IRM 21.3.4-7, IRS Return Preparation Checklist).

  25. Ensure appropriate disclaimer information is annotated on all returns prepared. Each office must ensure that return preparation software is initially set up to automatically print the appropriate disclaimer information.

  26. Return preparation is being completed in an "interview style" therefore, all return preparation computers must use the Desktop Interactive Interview and Help Me tabs in the software for the years available. When the Interactive Interview and Help Me tabs are not available, the return preparation computers must load and use the Interview - Interview Sheet (57 questions) in the software. This form should be loaded in the return preparation tree.

  27. Notify Governmental Liaison and Legislative Affairs if a TAC will discontinue preparing state returns. The headquarters (HQ) office will notify Governmental Liaison (GL) and Legislative Affairs at the national level and area offices are to notify the GL for the appropriate state(s).

  28. Monitor the completion and submission of state tax returns to ensure timely filing and adherence to federal, state, and local directives.

1.4.11.3.4.1  (01-17-2013)
Reference Materials for e-file

  1. Reference materials for e-file are listed below:

    • Publication 1345, Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns

    • Field Assistance Guide to e-file - EKG, Training Document Job Aid 52322

    • IRM 21.3.4.10, Return Preparation Assistance

    • IRM 21.3.4.3.3, Tax Assistance Program for Employees (TAPE)

    • Return Preparation/e-file Vendor Training Material

    • Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application & Participation

    • Publication 1346, Electronic Return File Specifications and Record Layouts for Individual Tax Returns

  2. When reminding employees about their obligation to file accurately and on time, encourage participation in the Free File Program.

    Note:

    Employees must have access to the Internet in order to Free File.

  3. Managers should remind and encourage employees about using Free File Web Internet (WI) to file their tax returns. Inform employees that they can access the http://www.irs.gov/uac/Free-File:-Do-Your-Federal-Taxes-for-Free site to review the list of Free File Alliance Companies and determine their eligibility.

  4. Then, on their own time at work (before or after hours or during lunch) or from home, they can refer to the Free File site at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Free-File:-Do-Your-Federal-Taxes-for-Free to:

    1. Get step-by-step information for filing their taxes

    2. Link directly to the Free File company of their choice and

    3. Prepare and file their return

  5. Keep in mind that there is an IRS limited personal use Internet policy. Employees should review the policy at http://irweb.irs.gov/aboutirs/irhelp/intranet/standards_art/8851.aspx

1.4.11.3.5  (04-12-2012)
Facilitated Self Assistance (FSA)

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

  2. The Group Manager 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.

  3. The Group Manager 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.

  4. The Group Manager will ensure the FSA printer and computers are operational. If a problem arises, refer to the http://win.web.irs.gov/field/fadocs/FSA_Troubleshooting_Checklist.xls located on the W&I Field Assistance Insider home page. If the problem can not be resolved, the Group Manager will notify the designated FA HQ Analyst with the specific details including bar code(s) of the kiosk or printer if warranted.

  5. The FSA kiosks and workstations should be clean and inviting. Disinfectant wipes should be made available. Also, scratch paper and a pen should be available for taxpayer use. For more information, refer to http://win.web.irs.gov/field/fadocs/FSA_Cleaning_the_Kiosks.pdf. located on the W&I Field Assistance Insider home page.

  6. The Group Manager or designee will report FSA units daily on their FAMIS. FSA is not connected to Qmatic and units can be obtained from the Vendor’s report. See the http://win.web.irs.gov/field/field_FAMIS.htm for additional details.

  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 IAR workstation for easy retrieval of prints.

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

1.4.11.4  (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 http://www.publish.no.irs.gov/distsys/pod/pod.html.

    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, Field Assistance must approve any deviations from the prescribed procedures.

1.4.11.4.1  (08-15-2012)
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. TAC Security and Remittance Review Database (TSRRD) Security Review Section 7 – Part II After Hour Security Review is due quarterly as follows:

    • 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

  3. TSRRD Security Review Section 7 Part 1 through Part IV is due annually as follows:

    • Period ending September 30, due October 31

  4. TSSRD Security Review - Physical Security Review is due semi-annually as follows:

    • Period ending March 31, due April 30

    • Period ending September 30, due October 31

  5. TSRRD Review - Remittance Review is due semi-annually as follows:

    • Period ending March 31, due April 30

    • Period ending September 30, due October 31

  6. 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.

  7. 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) Real Estate Facilities Management (REFM), Information Technology (IT), Government Accountability Office (GAO), Physical Security and Emergency Preparedness (PSEP), 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.

  8. 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); Real Estate and Facilities Management (REFM); Physical Security and Emergency Preparedness(PSEP) 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

1.4.11.4.1.3  (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); Real Estate and Facilities Management (REFM); Physical Security and Emergency Preparedness (PSEP) 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 PSEP.

    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 Internal Revenue Code, 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 http://irweb.irs.gov/AboutIRS/bu/pipds/pip/privacy/unax/default.aspx 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  (01-01-2014)
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 Physical Security and Emergency Preparedness (PSEP) Territory Manager. If necessary, PSEP 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 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 data collection instruments (DCIs) and input the results of the reviews in the database on a quarterly and annual basis.

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

    1. IRM 10.4.1.5.6, Keys and Combination Control

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

    3. IRM 10.4.1.5.17, Disposition and Destruction

    4. IRM 10.4.1.5.18, Clean Desk Policy

    5. IRM 10.4.1.7, Identification Media

  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, and 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 21.3.4.3.9, Signs are followed.

  2. All other signs (e.g., signs from other business units, temporary signs) must be approved by the Director, 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  (01-01-2014)
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 local television stations or the use of television antennas are prohibited.

  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 http://win.web.irs.gov/field/fadocs/Cable_Reduction/ORGMemo_Televisions_in_TACs.pdf

1.4.11.4.4.1  (01-01-2014)
Roles and Responsibilities for Removable Media

  1. Field Assistance Headquarters:
    Provide IRS informational presentations 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 REFM 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 REFM.
    Be responsible for the operation of the DVD player such as inputting and removing DVDs.
    Visually 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 http://www.csirc.web.irs.gov/incident/ and Contact the Area office, if the removable media or DVD player is lost or stolen. The Area office will notify FA Headquarters.

    Real Estate Facilities Management (REFM):
    Mount DVD players where they will not be easily accessible to the public and out of the reach of children.
    Place the DVD players is 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.
    REFM is responsible for the initial installation (where applicable) and will maintain the DVD players warranties where applicable.
    FA Headquarters will fund replacement of any removable media, if required. When required, FA will fund replacement of DVD players if the warranty has expired.
    See IRM 1.4.11.4.2, TAC Security/Internal Controls for security guidance.

1.4.11.5  (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 1.4.11-8. 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 am until 4:30 pm 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  (09-13-2013)
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, 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, HQ Reports Analyst, PSEP HQ Security Analyst, local PSEP Territory Manager, GLD, local Media Relations office and applicable commissioner’s representative.

    Note:

    PSEP 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 and HQ Reports 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 PSEP HQ Security Analyst, local PSEP Territory Manager, GLD, local Media Relations office and the applicable commissioner’s representative.

    Note:

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

  4. Office Closures 8 consecutive days or more - Require Director, Field Assistance approval. A proposed change in hours of operation for 8 consecutive days or more must be approved by the Director, 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 For aSignature Package. 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, PSEP HQ Security Analyst and local PSEP Territory Manager.

    Note:

    PSEP 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 Commissioner, Wage and Investment in consultation with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service and the Deputy Commissioner Services and Enforcement has the final approval authority to permanently close a Taxpayer Assistance Center.

1.4.11.7.2.1  (09-13-2013)
Approval Authority

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

    Approval Authority for Changes in Hours of Operation

    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 PSEP Territory Manager and PSEP 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 PSEP Territory Manager and PSEP HQ Security Analyst.
    8 days or more Director, FA Director, CARE

1.4.11.7.2.2  (08-15-2012)
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 the http://win.web.irs.gov/field/fadocs/jobaids/TAC_Relocation_Checklists_Fillable.pdf. This checklist of items that must be completed to facilitate proper communication of the upcoming TAC move

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

  3. The Director, CARE will notify the Commissioner, Wage and Investment 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, 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, 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  (01-01-2014)
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

    • Content Management System (CMS) - 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.

    • CPRs are required for the following:
      Address Changes
      Telephone Number changes
      Indefinite/Permanent TAC closures

    • When a CPR Form 14044 (see Exhibit 1.4.11-5) is required to be completed and has been received from the territory level employee, 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 Senior Manager 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 (via the FA NERD folder known as the "U-drive" ) to the FA Headquarter Analyst responsible for IRS.gov.

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  (04-24-2013)
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 and 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 Operation Manager for any other area to determine if the IRS.gov analyst from that 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 01/21/10 and reopen 01/23/10 or Office will be closed 01/21/10).

  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 Form CPR. The 3709 recording will use the appropriate script (see Exhibit 1.4.11-1). 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, 20YY).

  5. Permanent Closings - Upon approval of a permanent TAC closing, correct signage 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 Form CPR 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), 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. This update will require an approved Form CPR.

  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. TAC Hours of Operation - TAC Hours of Operation, including lunch closings, must be posted using Form 13358. TAC signage must be updated/changed 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, 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/3709 telephone line programs.

1.4.11.8.4  (01-01-2013)
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, Operations and Training and the Chief, 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, 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, Operations and Training and the Chief, 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  (11-01-2010)
Staffing 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  (01-01-2014)
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 5311 has been approved and before Form 5311 has been transmitted.

    1. Print report in excel format 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.

1.4.11.10.2  (01-01-2014)
Management Review and Disposition of Form 13864 and Form 6148

  1. Group Managers should:

    • Ensure that TAC employees correctly capture and report contacts and hours.

    • Review the complete Form 13864, Field Assistance Contact Sheet and conduct comparative reviews to FAMIS Form 5311 and Business Objects reports to ensure that the data is being reported accurately.

  2. Procedures for the disposal of Form 13864 and Form 6148 are as follows:

    1. Form 13864 and Form 6148 prepared during the filing season may be destroyed 2 months after the data captured has been used to prepare FAMIS form.

    2. Form 13864 and Form 6148 prepared during non-filing season may be destroyed 1 month after the data captured has been used to prepare FAMIS form.

1.4.11.11  (01-01-2014)
Qmatic

  1. Standardization is necessary to ensure nationwide consistency of the data collected.

  2. All TACs will use the HQ issued printer ticket categories.

    Note:

    No TAC may purposely disable, rename, or cover the standard ticket categories without the express written consent of the Field Assistance Director.

  3. TACs will use the standardized priority codes and may not edit, delete, or rename priority codes. Requests for new priority codes may be submitted for approval:

    1. Requests for changes to priority codes may be submitted by the Group Manager for consideration to the HQ Qmatic Analyst upon approval of the Territory Manager and Area Analyst.

    2. Managers may assign priority codes to workstations only but may not assign priority codes directly to employees in the staff registration. See IRM 1.4.11.11.4, Entering Employees on Staff Registration.

  4. TACs will use the standardized closing codes when ending the contact. FA HQ is responsible for updating these codes. This generally happens at the beginning of every fiscal year.

  5. Employees will enter a single closing code for the service that took the longest time to provide. This code will be entered at the conclusion of the contact.

    Exception:

    When a return is being prepared by FA, the contact should always be closed under the return prep closing code.

    Exception:

    Memo Counts - Employees enter a second closing code after the primary closing code in specific situations. These closing codes are Memo Counts and range from 700 to 799. For a current list of http://win.web.irs.gov/field/fadocs/Closing_Codes_Definitions_FY_2014_10012013.xls , please visit the Qmatic webpage on the FA Insider web page.

    Example:

    A Spanish speaking Taxpayer had a refund inquiry. The taxpayer brought his school age son to act as an interpreter since the taxpayer spoke little English. The employee would close the contact by entering Closing Code 324, Account Inquiries, then enter one Memo Count 724, Spanish Speaking Taxpayers (No OPI), since this was a taxpayer with limited English proficiency.

  6. A taxpayer contact representing more than one taxpayer will be closed as a multiple contact.

    Example:

    An ITAS assisted a preparer who brought in 25 current year tax returns. Five of the returns include remittance. Twenty do not include remittance. He correctly records this contact in Qmatic by entering closing code 412 and closing the ticket. Then, he selects walk-direct and enters closing code 351, Payment. He repeats selecting walk-direct and entering 351 four more times.

    Note:

    The Multisend closing code should only be used for 3709 contacts and forms contacts.

  7. Qmatic Report 272d, Matter Codes Served Per User captures the number of taxpayers assisted, the time spent with each taxpayer, and the type of inquiry.

  8. Matters Code Served Per User must be pulled daily for each TAC employee, including employees detailed to the TAC to verify the accuracy of Form 5311.

  9. Guidance contained in the http://win.web.irs.gov/field/fadocs/5311_Coding_Guide_FY2014_10012013.pdf should be interpreted as the IRM.

  10. Qmatic Report 50c, Customers Served Per Matter Code, captures the total number of taxpayers served per matter code, the total transaction times per matter code, and the average transaction times per matter code. This report will be used to ensure the Qmatic and FAMIS data matches.

  11. Managers should refer to the http://win.web.irs.gov/field/fadocs/FA_Systems_Guide_GMs.pdf for understanding and managing the Qmatic system.


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