1.11.6  Using and Researching the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM)

Manual Transmittal

April 17, 2104

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.11.6, Internal Management Documents System, Using and Researching the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM).

Material Changes

(1) This IRM section has been revised with additions, revisions, and edits.

(2) IRM 1.11.6.2 title changed from How the IRM is Used By Different Groups to How the IRM is Used. Also, the table was revised to add the Office of Chief Counsel and their reasons to review an IRM.

(3) IRM 1.11.6.3, Using the IRM, was revised to add a list item stating the IRM provides step by step instructions to carry out laws enacted by Congress.

(4) IRM 1.11.6.4, How to Access the IRM, was revised to link to subsections which follow the table and to add information on interim guidance.

(5) IRM 1.11.6.4.2, Electronic Publishing Website, was revised to add a reference to IRM 1.11.6.4.2.1, Email Notification Subscription and Management for IRS Published Products.

(6) IRM 1.11.6.4.2.1, Email Notification Subscription and Management for IRS Published Products, instructions were added.

(7) IRM 1.11.6.4.3, Historical IRM, was revised to add IRS Historical Research Library information.

(8) IRM 1.11.6.4.5, IRM on IRS.gov, was revised to add interim guidance information.

(9) IRM 1.11.6.4.6, IRM Online, was revised to add information on searching the IRM for interim guidance memoranda.

(10) IRM 1.11.6.5.1.1, Manual Transmittal, was revised to add the IRS Historical Research Library information and information on and historical IRMs.

(11) IRM 1.11.6.5.1.4, Exhibits, was revised to add information on Exhibit numbering.

(12) IRM 1.11.6.5.1.5 "Back of the Book" Index, was revised to clarify IRMs eligible to have an index.

(13) IRM 1.11.6.6, Providing Feedback About an IRM Section, was revised to add step by step instructions.

(14) IRM 1.11.6.6.1, How to Obtain an IRM Author's Name, instructions were added.

(15) IRM 1.11.6.6.1.1, Using the Product Catalog Information to Obtain the Author's Name, step by step instructions were added.

(16) IRM 1.11.6.6.1.2, Using the IRM Numerical Index to Obtain the Author's Name, step by step instructions were added.

(17) IRM 1.11.6.7.1, Internal Revenue Code (IRC) / United States Code (USC), was revised to add information on obtaining research services passwords and IDs.

(18) IRM 1.11.6.7.2, Interim Guidance, on locating interim guidance was updated.

(19) IRM 1.11.6.7.3, Chief Counsel Directives Manual (CCDM), was revised to add CCDM part numbers.

(20) The following subsections were revised with edits for readability:

Subsection Number Subsection Title
IRM 1.11.6.4.1 Commercial Research Services
IRM 1.11.6.4.4 Internal Revenue Manual DVD
IRM 1.11.6.4.8 Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) IRM
IRM 1.11.6.5 Structure of the IRM
IRM 1.11.6.5.1 Elements of an IRM Section
IRM 1.11.6.5.1.1.1 IRM Dates
IRM 1.11.6.5.1.2 Table of Contents
IRM 1.11.6.5.1.3 Subsections
IRM 1.11.6.5.2 Official Use Only (OUO) Content
IRM 1.11.6.7.4 Document 10988, Internal Revenue Manual Index

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 1.11.6, Researching the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM), dated August 10, 2012 is superseded.

Audience

All Divisions and Functions.

Effective Date

(04-17-2014)

Kathryn A. Greene
Director
Servicewide Policy, Directives and Electronic Research

1.11.6.1  (08-10-2012)
Overview

  1. Purpose: This Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) section describes the function of the IRM and provides information on the various ways to find information in the IRM. This IRM section is designed to assist employees in using the IRM more effectively in locating information.

  2. Audience: This IRM section is for all IRS employees who use the IRM to perform their official duties. This includes:

    • IRS senior leadership

    • Division/Function Commissioners

    • Chiefs

    • Program Directors

    • Managers

    • Employees

  3. Process Owner: The Office of Servicewide Policy, Directives and Electronic Research (SPDER) under the Office of Research, Analysis, and Statistics (RAS) oversees the servicewide Internal Management Document (IMD) process. See IRM 1.11.1.6.2, SPDER IMD Program Management, for additional information.

  4. Contact Information: To recommend changes or make any other suggestions to this IRM section, contact the SPDER office in either of the following ways:

    • Email: spder@irs.gov

    • Website: http://spder.web.irs.gov (click on "Contact Us" )

1.11.6.2  (04-17-2014)
How the IRM is Used

  1. The table below outlines how the IRM is used by various groups inside and outside the IRS.

    Who Might Use the IRM Reasons Examples
    Senior Executives
    • Structure, mission and responsibilities of each IRS Division and Function and the responsibilities of subordinate offices

    • Responsibilities of the Senior Leadership for maintaining, documenting, and distributing IRM content for their program area

    • IRM 1.1, Organization and Staffing

    • IRM 1.11.1, Internal Management Documents (IMDs)

    Managers
    • Administrative requirements and guidelines on managing employees

    • Performance and quality measures

    • IRM 1.4, Resource Guide for Managers

    IRS Employees
    • Daily operations of tax administration

    • Content ranging from informational material to step-by-step procedures on a specific action

    • IRM 4.10.8, Examination of Returns - Report Writing

    Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO)
    • Evidence that IRS: operates effectively and efficiently as a Federal agency, complies with applicable laws and regulations, and provides quality service to the public

    • All IRM sections

    Taxpayer Advocate Service
    • Ability to review the IRM to identify potential taxpayer concerns or problems which may result in an unnecessary increase in taxpayer burden or present taxpayer rights violations

    • Ability to propose changes to IRS practices to mitigate or eliminate these types of taxpayer concerns (IRC § 7803(c)(2)(A))

    • All IRM sections

    Chief Counsel
    • Ability to review the IRM to support issues raised in a court case or for other research needs

    • All IRM sections

    Public
    • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) information

    • All IRM sections (redacted)

1.11.6.3  (04-17-2014)
Using the IRM

  1. The IRM is the primary, official source of instructions to employees relating to the organization, administration and operation of the IRS. The IRM contains directions for employees to carry out their responsibilities in administering IRS obligations.

  2. The IRM helps fulfill the IRS' legal requirement as a Federal agency to document, publish, and maintain records of policies, authorities, procedures, and organizational operations. See IRM 1.11.1.3, Authorities and Legal Obligations Relating to IMDs. The IRM, with official use only content redacted, is published on IRS.gov to ensure transparency of operations to the public per the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC 552(a)(2)(c).

  3. The IRM enables employees to have access to current, consistent procedures. It is used by all IRS employees, other Federal agencies such as the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), Government Accountability Office (GAO), Treasury, and the public, including attorneys, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents and taxpayers.

  4. You can find information in the IRM ranging from IRS authorities to step by step operating instructions on a specific activity. At the broadest level, the IRM:

    1. Documents the current mission and structure of the IRS. See IRM 1.1.1, IRS Mission and Basic Organization

    2. Provides servicewide delegations of authority from the Commissioner to the responsible official(s) and/or subordinate position(s). See IRM 1.2, Servicewide Policies and Authorities

    3. Provides policies of the IRS issued by the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioners. See IRM 1.2, Servicewide Policies and Authorities

    4. Provides the state of the IRS organization through functional statement IRMs for every IRS Division and Function. See IRM 1.1, Organization and Staffing

    5. Provides step by step instructions to carry out laws enacted by Congress per the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), Treasury Regulations, and Revenue Rulings

1.11.6.4  (04-17-2014)
How to Access the IRM

  1. You can access the IRM through several different products. View the following subsections to obtain hyperlinks to and information about each IRM product. See IRM 1.11.1.5 for a list of IRS business processes by IRM number.

  2. The table below outlines the IRM products available in the IRS and their intended audiences.

    Product Redacted Intended Audience
    Commercial Research Services ... for more information see IRM 1.11.6.4.1 Yes IRS Employees
    Electronic Publishing Website ... for more information see IRM 1.11.6.4.2 No IRS Employees
    Historical IRM ... for more information see IRM 1.11.6.4.3 No IRS Employees
    Internal Revenue Manual DVD ... for more information see IRM 1.11.6.4.4 Yes IRS Employees away from an IRS network connection
    IRM on IRS.gov ... See IRM 1.11.6.4.5 Yes Public
    IRM Online ... for more information see IRM 1.11.6.4.6 No IRS Employees
    Paper IRM ... for more information see IRM 1.11.6.4.7 No IRS Employees
    Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) ... for more information see IRM 1.11.6.4.8 No IRS Employees

    Note:

    IRM content may be superseded by interim guidance. See IRM 1.11.6.7.2, Interim Guidance, for direction on locating interim guidance updates to the IRM.

1.11.6.4.1  (04-17-2014)
Commercial Research Services

  1. The IRS has contracts with several commercial research services. Many of these research services have the IRM available on their sites. Their version of the IRM typically provides hyperlinks to referenced sources.

  2. IRS provides both online and DVD commercial products. The DVD commercial product is typically used by employees working away from an IRS office. See ReferenceNet for information on requesting access to the online services or ordering the DVD.

  3. The IRM published by the commercial research services is limited to publicly available portions of the IRM (Official Use Only content is redacted).

1.11.6.4.2  (04-17-2014)
Electronic Publishing Website

  1. Go to the Electronic Publishing website to view all current and some previously published IRM sections in Portable Document Format (PDF).

  2. Each IRM Product Catalog Information page on the Electronic Publishing website provides the following information about each IRM section:

    • Revision date

    • Product description

    • PDF files dating back to 1997

    • Physical properties

    • Distribution

    • Points of contact (Publishing Analyst, Distribution Analyst and Originator)

  3. The Electronic Publishing website has the following features:

    • Search by Catalog number

    • Search by Product Number

    • Search by Product Title

    • Browse a Numerical Index of all active IRM sections

    • Sign Up for an email notification of when the IRM section is revised. See IRM 1.11.6.4.2.1, Email Notification Subscription and Management for IRS Published Products .

1.11.6.4.2.1  (04-17-2014)
Email Notification Subscription and Management for IRS Published Products

  1. You may request email notification when any form, notice, document, IRM, etc., maintained on the Publishing website, is revised and published.

  2. To set up your email notification subscription:

    1. Go to Publishing's Product Catalog Information Page

    2. Locate the desired product by completing either View by Catalog Number or View by Product Number fields

    3. Click Submit

    4. Locate, click and complete fields on Sign up under the Electronic Availability tab

  3. To manage your email notification subscription:

    1. Go to Publishing's Product Catalog Information Page

    2. Locate and click on Manage My Subscriptions

    3. Subscribe to or unsubscribe from desired publications

1.11.6.4.3  (04-17-2014)
Historical IRM

  1. See the IRS Historical Research Library if you need access to prior versions of the IRM. The library has copies of all prior revisions of the IRM, back to 1952.

  2. In addition to prior versions of the IRM, the IRS Historical Research Library houses a series of collections relating to IRS policy and organizational history including:

    • Policy Memoranda prior to the official IRM

    • Treasury Orders from 1960 - 1980

    • Document Clearance Records fro the IRM, Delegations of Authority and Policy Statements from 1952

    • Organizational history files from 1912

  3. Copies of these documents may be delivered in PDF, hardcopy, or fax.

    Note:

    The delivery method depends on the requested product.

  4. Visit the Library's website, or contact them by email at IRMLibrary@irs.gov..

1.11.6.4.4  (04-17-2014)
Internal Revenue Manual DVD

  1. Quarterly, Media and Publications publishes Document 9768, Internal Revenue Manual DVD. The DVD does not contain any Official Use Only (OUO) information.

    Note:

    The DVD should not be referenced as the official IRM since it is only current as of the date it is published and does not contain the entire IRM. Updated IRMs will be published between quarterly DVD releases.

  2. You can obtain copies of the DVD through the Internal Management Documents Distribution System (IMDDS).

  3. Each DVD comes with operational instructions and tips for searching content.

1.11.6.4.5  (04-17-2014)
IRM on IRS.gov

  1. Go to the IRS.gov website to view a publicly available version of the IRM. This version of the IRM is redacted and does not contain any "Official Use Only" content.

    Note:

    Check the effective date of the IRM sections posted on IRS.gov, as they may have a future effective date. IRM sections are posted to IRS.gov when they are published. Also see IRM 1.11.6.7.2, Interim Guidance, by Business Unit on IRS.gov to find interim updates to the various IRM sections.

  2. Large IRM sections are split into multiple pages. Click "Next" at the bottom of each page to continue on to the next page.

  3. IRS.gov has an Advanced Search feature that allows you to limit your search to the Internal Revenue Manual.

  4. Redacted IRM source files can be downloaded from IRS.gov.

  5. IRS posts the IRM on IRS.gov to comply with FOIA legal requirements (5 USC § 552).

1.11.6.4.6  (04-17-2014)
IRM Online

  1. Go to the IRM Online website to see all currently effective IRM sections in a researchable format.

  2. IRM Online has several user-friendly features:

    1. Customized search engine

    2. Search by IRM Number

    3. Indexes: Numerical, Audience, Effective Date, Title, Owner

    4. Search the IRM for interim guidance memoranda

    5. Create hyperlinks to IRM references

    6. Add an IRM section to your Favorites

    7. Jump to other versions of the same IRM section (e.g. PDF, SERP, IRS.gov)

    8. Links to referenced IRS materials and vendor supplied referenced materials

    9. Help documentation

  3. For training on using IRM Online, visit the IRM Online Training page.

1.11.6.4.7  (08-10-2012)
Paper IRM

  1. Go to Media and Publications' Paper IRM Content page for information on obtaining paper copies of the IRM.

1.11.6.4.8  (04-17-2014)
Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) IRM

  1. See the SERP IRM site to view IRM sections relating to Customer Service, Submission Processing, some Compliance programs, and other miscellaneous sections.

    Note:

    The SERP IRM does not contain all IRM sections. The IRM owner or operating division may elect to publish an IRM section on SERP.

  2. The IRM on SERP is updated with interim guidance that is issued by the IRM author through Interim Procedural Updates (IPUs). The SERP IRM is revised online based on the IPU. The revised content is highlighted in yellow and the subsection date is updated to reflect the IPU revision. IPUs that meet the FOIA criteria are redacted and posted on the Electronic Reading Room on IRS.gov. All IRM sections posted on SERP that contain IPUs must be updated and published annually.

  3. The SERP IRM has advanced search features allowing the user to search by IRM number or term.

1.11.6.5  (04-17-2014)
Structure of the IRM

  1. The IRM is organized as follows:

    1. Part - High level IRS business processes

    2. Chapter - Major topic within a Part

    3. Section - Subtopics within a Chapter

    4. Subsection - Detailed topics within a Section

  2. The IRM is maintained and used at the section level. Each section is a separate product.

    Example:

    The organizational structure of IRM 1.11.6:
    Part 1 - Organization, Finance and Management
    Chapter 11 - Internal Management Document System
    Section 6 - Using and Researching the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM)

1.11.6.5.1  (04-17-2014)
Elements of an IRM Section

  1. Each IRM section contains the following elements:

    • Manual Transmittal

    • Table of Contents

    • Subsections (text)

    • Exhibits (optional)

    • Back of the Book index (optional)

1.11.6.5.1.1  (04-17-2014)
Manual Transmittal

  1. Each IRM section begins with a Manual Transmittal.

  2. The Manual Transmittal is a "cover sheet" for the IRM section that:

    • Describes substantial changes from a prior revision

    • Identifies new procedures

    • Identifies the effect on other documents such as interim guidance or another associated IRM

    • Provides the revision and effective dates

    • Identifies the audience of the IRM

    • Identifies the authorizing official

  3. The Manual Transmittal is often used for historical purposes for research in tax court, audits and employee reviews.

    Reminder:

    You can read the historical IRM to find out past procedures and their revision and effective dates. See IRM 1.11.6.4.3, Historical IRM, for information on the IRS Historical Research Library and obtaining copies of historical IRMs.

1.11.6.5.1.1.1  (04-17-2014)
IRM Dates

  1. IRM content remains in effect until superseded or obsoleted by a subsequent IRM or other IMD.

  2. The various dates in the IRM are defined as follows:

    • Manual Transmittal date is the revision date of the IRM.

    • Effective Date is the date the IRM section is effective.

    • Subsection date is the date the content in the subsection is effective.

1.11.6.5.1.2  (04-17-2014)
Table of Contents

  1. A Table of Contents follows the Manual Transmittal in each IRM section. View the Table of Contents to find the number and Title for each subsection and Exhibit.

1.11.6.5.1.3  (04-17-2014)
Subsections

  1. A subsection contains content. The content, procedural or informational, is displayed in a numbered paragraph. Depending on the complexity of the topic, additional subsections (subtopics) can be added up to five-levels.

  2. Each subsection number is separated by a period. See the Table of Contents of any IRM section for an example of the subsection structure. Each subsection is accompanied by a title. Subsections are nested, similar to an outline.

  3. A subsection consists of the following:

    • Title - A description of the content in the subsection.

    • Number - Represents the Part, Chapter, Section and Subsection.

    • Date - The date the subsection content is effective.

    • Text - Paragraphs, lists, notes, and/or tables.

  4. Subsections may also contain Figures. Figures are illustrative graphics or tables placed within the body text of a subsection.

1.11.6.5.1.4  (04-17-2014)
Exhibits

  1. Exhibits are illustrative graphics or text placed at the end of an IRM section. Exhibits are optional.

  2. Exhibits are numbered using a hyphen separating the Exhibit number from the section number. They are numbered consecutively.

    Example:

    Exhibit 1.2.3-1

1.11.6.5.1.5  (04-17-2014)
"Back of the Book" Index (Optional)

  1. If an IRM author chooses, they can add a topical index to an IRM section. This index is optional.

    Note:

    Only the PDF and paper versions of IRM sections display the "back of the book" index.IRM 3.11.3 is an example of an IRM section with a "back of the book" index.

1.11.6.5.2  (04-17-2014)
Official Use Only (OUO) Content

  1. Some of the IRM content is classified as Official Use Only (OUO). When OUO content is included in an IRM, it is clearly marked as such.

  2. See IRM 10.2.13 for information about handling and protecting OUO content.

1.11.6.6  (04-17-2014)
Providing Feedback About an IRM Section

  1. You may provide feedback about an IRM section or suggest additions or corrections to an IRM in a number of ways:

    1. Submit a communication to the originating office, outlining the issue including the IRM reference(s) and the recommended change(s).

    2. Click the IRM Online"Contact Us" link under Help to submit your feedback to the SPDER staff via email. SPDER will direct your email to the appropriate IRM office.

    3. Contact the organization's Internal Management Document (IMD) coordinator. See the IMD Contacts list and click Coordinators for a list of IMD coordinators.

    4. Click the SERP Feedback button at the top of the page on a SERP hosted IRM to submit your feedback to the SERP staff. The SERP staff will forward your feedback to the appropriate IRM office for consideration and response.

    5. Contact the IRM author . See IRM 1.11.6.6.1, How to Obtain an IRM Author's Name.

  2. Feedback must be acknowledged and considered by authors regardless of how the request is submitted. See IRM 1.11.2 regarding handling recommended changes to the IRM.

1.11.6.6.1  (04-17-2014)
How to Obtain an IRM Author's Name

  1. Use the Product Catalog Information (see IRM 1.11.6.6.1.1, Using the Product Catalog Information), or IRM Numerical Index (see IRM 1.11.6.6.1.2. Using the IRM Numerical Index) to locate the IRM author.

1.11.6.6.1.1  (04-17-2014)
Using the Product Catalog Information to Obtain the Author's Name

  1. To locate the author using the Product Catalog Information:

    1. Go to the Electronic Publishing Product Catalog Information

    2. use the drop down arrow under View by Product Number and change Form to IRM

    3. Enter the IRM number in the Enter product suffix (sch d): box

    4. Click Submit

    5. Find the Originator IRM author name and contact telephone number under Contacts

1.11.6.6.1.2  (04-17-2014)
Using the IRM Numerical Index to Obtain the Author's Name

  1. To locate the author using the IRM Numerical Index:

    1. Go to the Electronic Publishing IRM Numerical Index

    2. Expand the IRM Part

    3. Click on the Cat. No

    4. Scroll down to Contacts

    5. Find the Originator IRM author name and contact telephone number

1.11.6.7  (08-10-2012)
Other Documents Related to the IRM

  1. Certain documents influence or are influenced by the IRM. Descriptions of some of these documents follow.

1.11.6.7.1  (04-17-2014)
Internal Revenue Code (IRC) / United States Code (USC)

  1. The US Government publishes the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) as Title 26 of the United States Code (USC).

  2. You can research the IRC / USC through various research services contracted by the IRS.

    Note:

    You need an account to access these research services. To find your ID Administrator who can provide your access information, see Reference Net. Locate the product you need. Click on the respective link for assistance with IDs.

  3. You can also research the IRC / USC on the Government Printing Office (GPO), Cornell University, and U.S. House of Representatives websites.

    Note:

    These sites are not provided by IRS. Verify the accuracy and currency of the information before using it.

1.11.6.7.2  (08-10-2012)
Interim Guidance

  1. Interim guidance may temporarily supplement or update IRM content.

  2. To locate interim guidance supplementing an IRM, go to the applicable IRM section on IRM Online and navigate to interim guidance to obtain currently active interim guidance memoranda and SERP IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs). You can also search Interim Guidance on IRM Online for active interim guidance memoranda.

  3. Interim guidance meeting the conditions under FOIA, 552(a)(2)(C) is located on the IRS.gov Electronic Reading Room under Recent Interim Guidance to Staff webpage by related IRM number.

1.11.6.7.3  (04-17-2014)
Chief Counsel Directives Manual (CCDM)

  1. The Chief Counsel Directives Manual (CCDM) contains instructions and guidelines that address the processes and activities of the Office of the Chief Counsel.

  2. The structure and numbering of the CCDM, under parts 30 through 39, is similar to the IRM.

1.11.6.7.4  (04-17-2014)
Document 10988, Internal Revenue Manual Index

  1. Document 10988, Internal Revenue Manual Index, is an index of all of the IRM sections published by Media and Publications. The index is produced monthly.

  2. The index identifies the following:

    1. IRM sections containing Official Use Only information.

    2. New, updated, and obsolete IRM sections.

    3. Organizational owners.

    4. User audiences.

    5. Old IRM numbers.


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