1.15.3  Disposing of Records

Manual Transmittal

November 01, 2013

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.15.3, Records and Information Management, Disposing of Records.

Background

This IRM explains how to destroy, sell or salvage records once their life cycle is complete.

Material Changes

(1) This IRM has been updated to include new references to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Records Control Schedules and the General Records Schedules that were previously published in the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM).

(2) This IRM was also reorganized to provide clarity and updated to reflect current organizational titles, terminology, references and citations.

Effect on Other Documents

This IRM supersedes IRM 1.15.3 dated June 1, 2010.

Audience

All divisions and functions.

Effective Date

(11-01-2013)

J. Stuart Burns
Director, Real Estate and Facilities Management (REFM)
Agency-Wide Shared Services (AWSS)

1.15.3.1  (11-01-2013)
Authority to Destroy Records

  1. The Archivist of the United States is the sole authority for destruction of all federal records, 44 United States Code (USC) as codified in 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Chapter 12. Records may only be destroyed in accordance with authorized instructions found in the IRS Records Control Schedules (RCS).

    Note:

    Site audit records are subject to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) disposal authority. Therefore, maintain and destroy these records according to GAO requirements found in General Records Schedule (GRS) 6, IRS Document 12829, Catalog 54713E.

1.15.3.1.1  (11-01-2013)
Destroying Records in the Custody of the IRS

  1. Determine the appropriate method to destroy records based on their category.

    If the records include: then:
    Tax data (tax returns, return information, copies of tax returns, charge-out documents for tax returns, microfilm registers, indexes and directories, and magnetic tape), or Privacy Act information (Social Security Number; home street address, etc.). Choose one: shred, pulp, macerate, burn, or erase.
    Information which the unauthorized disclosure of could damage national security and is classified in accordance with Executive Order 13526, Classified National Security Information. See IRM 10.9.1, National Security Information, Catalog 51732H.
    Material which does not require special protection or handling. Treat as waste paper.

1.15.3.1.2  (11-01-2013)
Destruction Certification for Court Purposes

  1. Destruction Certification (Exhibit 1.15.3–1), which may be reproduced, is to be used to certify the destruction of IRS records for court purposes. Records Managers are authorized to issue notarized destruction certifications after verification that a particular accession of records or that a particular record has been destroyed.

1.15.3.1.3  (11-01-2013)
Unauthorized or Accidental Destruction of Records

  1. Unauthorized destruction is the removal from the legal custody of the Federal Government or the alienation, alteration, or mutilation of records without regard to the provisions of IRS Records Control Schedules (RCS 8 through 37) located in IRS Document 12990, Catalog 57910D (formerly IRM 1.15.8 through IRM 1.15.37) and General Records Schedules (GRS) located in IRS Document 12829, Catalog 54713E (formerly IRM 1.15.38 through IRM 1.15.64). IRS employees should guard against such destruction or loss of official records as knowingly alienating, altering, or destroying records carries with it possible criminal prosecution and corresponding termination from federal employment.

  2. Employees should report, in writing to their Area Records Manager (ARM) or the IRS Records Officer, any unauthorized unlawful, or accidental destruction, defacing, or alteration, of records in their custody or the IRS custody. This requirement implements 36 CFR Section 1228.104. In accordance with this section, the IRS Records Officer must furnish a report to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) after each incident of erroneous destruction.

1.15.3.2  (11-01-2013)
Emergency Disposal

  1. Under certain conditions, records may be destroyed without regard to the IRS RCS. Also see CFR Part 1229.

  2. Menaces to human life, health or to property:

    1. When such records are identified, notify the IRS Records Officer, who will inform the IRS Commissioner, who will then notify NARA, specifying the nature of the records, their location and quantity, and the nature of the menace.

    2. If NARA concurs, the Archivist of the United States will direct the immediate destruction of the records.

      Exception:

      If any still or motion picture film on nitrocellulose base has become soft, sticky, is emitting a noxious odor, contains gas bubbles, or has deteriorated to an acrid powder, the IRS Commissioner shall, without prior NARA authorization, arrange for its destruction, whether by burial in landfills or by arranging for salvage destruction for its silver content when sufficient quantity warrants such salvage. In any case, such film should be removed from occupied buildings as soon as possible. Within 30 days after destruction, the IRS Records Officer shall notify the IRS Commissioner and submit a written statement to NARA, College Park, Maryland, describing the film and showing when, where, and how destruction was accomplished.

  3. State of war or threatened war:

    1. Outside the territorial limits of the United States, records may be destroyed during a state of war between the United States and any other nation or when hostile action by a foreign power seems imminent. Only the IRS Commissioner may make such a determination and that the records' retention would be prejudicial to the United States' interests or are occupying space needed for military purposes and are without sufficient administrative, legal, research, or other value to warrant their continued preservation.

    2. Within six months after the destruction, the IRS Commissioner shall submit to NARA a written statement describing the character of any records destroyed and showing when and where destruction was accomplished.

1.15.3.3  (11-01-2013)
Disposal Lists

  1. Disposal lists are for non-recurrent records. These lists provide one-time authority for the immediate disposal of existing records no longer accumulating and having no further value or no longer being created. These lists can be authorized only by the IRS Records Officer, and individual offices are responsible for notifying their Information Resource Coordinator (IRC) and ARM of the need for such a list.

    Example:

    Create and use disposal lists for administrative records associated with incomplete projects or programs, or for record series that are frozen for legal purposes and submit to the ARM.

  2. The IRS Records Officer will develop records disposition lists as required or based on information submitted by ARMS from the IRCs

1.15.3.4  (11-01-2013)
Destruction of Records at the Federal Records Center (FRC)

  1. When records at the FRC are eligible for destruction, the FRC issues a Form NA-13001, Notice of Eligibility for Disposal, at least 90 days before the date the records are scheduled for destruction. The ARMs verify the information on the Forms NA-13001 against their reference copies of the SF-135 forms provided at the time of retirement. A copy of each NA-13001, with a cover letter stating agreement to destroy the subject records will be sent to the appropriate IRC for review and coordination. The IRC determines:

    If the originating office: then:
    Agrees with the upcoming disposal, The IRC or appropriate manager signs and dates the cover letter and copy of the NA-13001 (if provided) and returns them to the ARM for action. The ARM will annotate and keep the official copy for the IRS (SF-135 and NA-13001). The ARM will then forward a copy of the NA-13001 and cover letter to NARA, agreeing to the destruction of the identified records.
    Still has a need for the records (typically due to pending litigation or when implementing office automation), The IRC or the appropriate manager will submit written justification to the ARM within 60 days why the records should not be destroyed at this time. In addition, a new or proposed disposal date should be provided by the office of record with their request. The ARM then forwards the request to the IRS Records Officer for action and coordination with the FRC.
  2. Agreements with the FRC Program will include requirements for compliance with physical security requirements for protection of IR Section 6103 records. NARA may use outside vendors to accomplish destruction of IRS records. These vendors will be obligated to comply with Section 6103 Non-Disclosure requirements for the protection of taxpayer and other records containing sensitive IRS information. These sites will be inspected by IRS Physical Security personnel prior to beginning a destruction of IRS records and will be subject to random and unannounced inspections thereafter.

1.15.3.5  (11-01-2013)
In-House Destruction of Records

  1. Some series of IRS records are maintained throughout their entire life cycle in a single office or in IRS maintained space rather than retired to a FRC. The recurring series of records that fall under this category must be identified prior to being destroyed. Should they be required at a later date for work purposes, for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requesting or Congressional requesting purposes, or be needed for court purposes, the IRS would have to identify the exact date when the records were destroyed and under what authority. The IRS Form 11671 Certificate of Records Disposal should be used to identify the office of record, the manager approving the disposal, the series being disposed, the RCS and Item Number, the dates for the records, the volume (number of boxes being destroyed), and the date of the destruction. All IRS records series being destroyed in-house should be documented in this manner. This would include travel vouchers, travel authorizations, Form 3081 and other time and attendance records, contracts, employee training files, manager's employee performance files, etc. Completed Forms IRS 11671 Certificate of Records Disposal should be forwarded to the ARM assigned to the Post of Duty. Guidance on the use of this form and the processes for carrying out in-house records destruction are available on the Records and Information Management (RIM) Program website.

1.15.3.6  (11-01-2013)
Sale of Records

  1. When possible, paper records will be sold as waste. The contract for the sale will prohibit resale or use as records or documents and will prohibit brokerage sales of shredded documentation to foreign located entities. The contract will further state that records containing protected information, such as taxpayer or privacy act data, will be destroyed beyond legibility or reconstruction. See the Physical Security Handbook for approved methods of destruction, e.g. shredding, burning or pulping. All sites where IRS paper is shredded, macerated, pulped, or burned, will be available for inspection by Disclosure personnel.

  2. The Privacy Act Notification and the clause entitled Privacy Act, See 48 CFR Subpart 24.1, 48 CFR §§ 52.224–1, 52.224–2, and 31 CFR Subtitle A, Part 1, Subpart C, should also be included in the contract. If the material is removed from the IRS facility under circumstances that prohibit immediate destruction, the container used for removal must lock in such a manner that a seal may be applied. The seal will then be removed by the witnessing IRS employee at the time of destruction.

1.15.3.7  (11-01-2013)
Donation for Salvage

  1. For small quantities, paper records may be donated to local public or non-profit institutions or agencies for the purposes of recycling. IRS personnel must take the necessary precautions to ensure that the materials are not sold as documents and that the interests of the United States and of private individuals are protected. In all cases, donations of records must be approved and authorized by the IRS Records Officer prior to transferring of the records for these purposes.

1.15.3.8  (11-01-2013)
Donation for Preservation and Use

  1. To serve the public interest, the IRS may donate records authorized for disposal to another government agency, organization, institution, corporation or person that has made application for them. The following terms must be met:

    1. The proposed recipient agrees not to sell the records as records or documents;

    2. The donation is made without cost to the United States government;

    3. The records do not contain information, the disclosure of which is prohibited by law or would be contrary to the public interest (no IR Section 6103 may be donated under this purpose);

    4. Donations to a foreign government will not be approved unless such a government has an official interest in the records which is amenable to that of the United States government; and

    5. Donations to persons or commercial businesses will not be approved unless the records are directly related to the custody or operation of properties acquired from the United States government.

  2. If, in the opinion of management officials donation is acceptable, approval of the proposed donation must be obtained through:

    1. Local management officials and

    2. The IRS Records Officer.

1.15.3.8.1  (11-01-2013)
Reporting Donation of Records

  1. The IRS Records Officer will request approval of each donation of records from NARA as required in section by 36 CFR Part 1228.60. Upon approval or denial, the IRS Records Officer will notify the requestor of the appropriate action to be taken. In the case of denial, the records must be destroyed in accordance with the appropriate IRS Records Control Schedule.

Exhibit 1.15.3-1 
Destruction Certification

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