1.17.8  Internal and Public Use Non-Tax Products

Manual Transmittal

January 08, 2013


(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.17.8, Publishing – Internal and Public Use Non-Tax Products.


This IRM section was first published in November 2012 and it contains information on internal and public use non-tax products. Several subsections from IRM 1.17.2, Publishing Management, dated 12-01-2006, and IRM 1.17.4, Production Services and Special Programs, dated 12-01-2006, have been moved to this IRM.

Material Changes

(1) IRM, New, Revised, or Reprinted - Tax-Related Forms - Removed instructions to route forms to the Office of Taxpayer Correspondence (OTC) because this office does not develop or review forms; OTC only develops taxpayer correspondence.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 1.17.8, Internal and Public Use Non-Tax Products, dated November 19, 2012 is superseded.


All IRS employees, contractors, and vendors who publish, distribute, or design printed and/or electronic internal/external material.

Effective Date


Melvin T.E. Hardy
Acting Director, Publishing
Wage and Investment Division  (11-19-2012)

  1. This IRM section provides information and guidance related to the various types of non-tax published products produced by IRS. These internal and public use communication products must be submitted to the Media and Publications (M&P) Publishing organization for approval before they can be used for official IRS business.  (11-19-2012)
Official IRS Published Products

  1. In addition to tax products, IRS produces a variety of non-tax products. These products are used both internally by IRS employees and externally by other agencies, taxpayers, or other public groups and entities.

  2. New products must be submitted to Publishing to obtain product and catalog numbers before they can be used for official IRS business. Final products will be posted in electronic format to the Core Repository of Published Products (CROPP) and can be accessed at http://publish.no.irs.gov/catlg.html. Only Publishing can post official IRS published products to the intranet and to IRS.gov. After your product is posted, it can be printed and distributed or used in its electronic format.  (11-19-2012)
Submitting Products to Publishing

  1. IRS published products must be submitted to your Publishing organization to become official products. An exception may be one-time use products with minimal distribution. Some examples of one-time products include meeting agendas, retirement flyers, interoffice communications (low volume).  (11-19-2012)
Product Status

  1. All other products submitted to Publishing will be designated with a status of either new, revised, reprint or obsolete.

  2. See the chart below to determine how to submit a new, revised, or reprinted published product to Publishing.

    If Then
    Product may be used or referenced to support a legal position. Submit product, along with a Publishing Services Request (PSR), to Publishing to become an official numbered IRS product.
    Product will be distributed to the public or otherwise outside the IRS at a quantity greater than ten.
    IRS employees are required to fill in information on the product and/or sign and return.
    Product will be revised, reissued or reprinted periodically (e.g., newsletters, statistical charts, etc.).
    Product needs to be accessible to others outside the originating office.
    Product requires graphic design services only, with no paper or electronic publishing services, and does not meet any of the previous criteria. Submit product, along with a PSR, to Publishing for graphic design service.
    Product is for one-time, low volume use (e.g., meeting agenda, retirement flyer, etc.) You may produce and distribute product without involving Publishing.  (11-19-2012)
Obsolescence of Products

  1. The originating office is responsible for placing a form or other published product in either an active or obsolete status. The originating office must submit a PSR to M&P Publishing and provide an explanation for obsolescence. The originator must also indicate what has replaced the form (a new form, a new process, a website, etc.).

  2. M&P Publishing will conduct periodic reviews of active products to determine their continuing need. Originators of forms with no publishing action during a two-year period will be requested to provide a current status for the product.

  3. Dormant items for which the originator cannot be determined may be obsoleted by Publishing with a manager’s approval.

  4. Some products have predetermined obsolescence dates specified in the original request. Publishing may routinely obsolete these products at the proper time.  (11-19-2012)
Graphic Design Standards

  1. Graphic design services are provided by the Publishing organization’s Design Office to help customers develop products that are in compliance with IRS Design Standards. The Design Office can meet customers' graphic design needs using both skilled in-house designers and contract services. Products being revised or reprinted should be reviewed by a Visual Information Specialist to ensure the product meets current IRS Design Standards. To learn more about design standards, see IRM 1.17.7, Use of Official IRS Seal and Logos.  (11-19-2012)
Products Requiring Security Handling

  1. Products that require secure handling may contain Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU) material. SBU material includes data formerly designated as Official Use Only (OUO) or Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

  2. Secure handling is required if the product originator requests it; and/or in the instances described in (3) and (4) below.

  3. If the product has been marked on the cover or any subsequent pages with the terms:

    • Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU)

    • Official Use Only (OUO)

    • Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

  4. If the item being printed, posted, or distributed allows or contains any of the following:

    • Allows access to a restricted, monitored, sealed, or closed off area

    • Allows access or navigation through a computer system(s) and/or databases

    • Confirms payment to or from IRS (such as Form 809 receipts)

    • Is a sample that may contain real taxpayer data (such as tax packages, stimulus samples, mail-to or distribution lists)

    • Is any official form of identification (such as Smart ID Badges, pocket commission cards, etc.)

    • Records private or sensitive data; or is used as an official control log

    • Contains data that, if released on or before a certain date, may allow for an advantage (monetarily, knowledge, or names)

    • May cause harm to self, personal injury or injury to others, or death

    • Is an IRM (Internal Revenue Manual) marked as “OUO” or containing pound signs (#) in either the left or right portion of the margin (Content online which is restricted information is denoted with the not equal sign (≠))

    • Is a LEM (Law Enforcement Manual)


      All LEMs have been deemed obsolete.

  5. Keep all related items identified for secure handling, including manuscripts, copy, proofs, CDs (compact disks), samples, etc., locked in a file drawer or cabinet except when actually working the job. If you leave your work area, lock up all materials pertaining to the job. Never (except in emergency evacuations) leave secure materials unattended. Lock them away during non-work hours such as evenings, holidays, and weekends.

  6. All products requiring secure handling must be marked with a “Y” under the security handling field in Electronic Status Notice (ESN) on the main product information page.

  7. Store history folders for products requiring secure handling, such as pocket commissions and parking decals, in a designated locked file cabinet. This applies also to IRM and LEM materials.

  8. All security products that are housed in the National Distribution Center (NDC) must be stored in a secure environment. The NDC uses a fully enclosed steel cage. If you have a product that is a security item and will be stored at the NDC, consult with the distribution analyst to ensure the item will be properly secured.  (11-19-2012)
Product Numbering Suffixes

  1. All official IRS published products, depending on the product type, have a product number. Product number formats/series are defined within the description of each product type in IRM, Types of Published Products. Some products numbers can be followed by a suffix to denote a particular use for a product. Suffixes may be used alone or in conjunction with other suffix types. When multiple suffix types are required, they are generally added in the following order: serial, associated, alternate.

  2. If more than one alternate use suffix is required on the same product, they will be separated by a forward slash /, such as (C/SP) for a continuous Spanish version or (EN/SP) for a single product containing both English and Spanish languages. For additional published product identification standards related to base numbers and product suffixes, see Publishing Procedure P-184.  (11-19-2012)
Product Serial Suffixes

  1. A serial suffix identifies a series or group of related products generally beginning with the letter A and continuing through Z. Serial suffixes are to be joined to the base number with a hyphen when referenced in writing and on the published product itself. The serial suffix is always listed first when more than one suffix is used on a single product.  (11-19-2012)
Associated Product Suffixes

  1. Associated use suffixes are those which generally identify a descriptive peer or parent-child relationship among products. There is a twenty character limitation on suffixes. Examples of associated suffixes include:

    • Vol – Volume

    • Supp - Supplement

    • Part

    • Insert

    • Schedule

    • MISC - Miscellaneous

    • OID – Original Issue Discount

    • INT – Interest  (11-19-2012)
Alternate Use Product Suffixes

  1. Alternate use suffixes identify predetermined alternative media, languages or end user characteristics and are surrounded by left and right parentheses. These suffixes are always listed last, when more than one suffix is used.

  2. When an alternative use suffix is used, an identifier for this suffix must be added to the end of the long title in the ESN record. If the product is not a version of an existing product, but stands alone, the word “Version” may be omitted from the identifier in the long title.


    Continuous forms and compact discs carry an alternative use suffix for identification of product type. While these items can be version of existing products, they are often unique stand alone products and would not require the word “Version” in the ESN long title.  (11-19-2012)
Alternate Use Suffixes and Long Title Identifier

  1. The following chart shows alternate use suffixes and their long title identifiers. The long title should be spelled out for data entered into ESN. Suffixes marked with an asterisk are for use only by the Alternative Media Center.

    Alternate Use Suffix for Product Long Title for ESN
    (IN) (International Use Version)
    (PR) (Puerto Rico Version)
    (LP)* (Large Print Version)*
    (HTM)* (HTML Version)*
    (DTB)* (Digital Talking Book Version)*
    (C) (Continuous Version) or (Continuous Form)
    (CD) (Compact Disc Version) or (Compact Disc)
    (DVD) (Digital Video Disc)
    Language Suffixes
    (EN/SP) (English & Spanish Version)
    (EN/FR) (English & French Version)
    (EN/CN) (English & Mandarin Chinese Version)
    (EN/KR) (English & Korean Version)
    (EN/RU) (English & Russian Version)
    (EN/VN) (English & Vietnamese Version)
    (EN/DE) (English & German Version)
    (SP) (Spanish Version)
    (FR) (French Version)
    (CN) (Mandarin Chinese Version)
    (KR) (Korean Version)
    (RU) (Russian Version)
    (VN) (Vietnamese Version)
    (DE) (German Version)
    (BR)* (Braille Version)*
    Combination/Multiple Alternative Use Suffixes
    (C/SP) (Correspondex Letter & Spanish Version)
    (IN/PR) (International & Puerto Rico Version)


    The English-only version of a published product does not require a suffix.

  2. If the suffix you are looking for is not on the preceding chart, then contact the ESN Administrator for assistance.  (11-19-2012)
Types of Published Products

  1. This section discusses the following types of published products:

    • Forms

    • Letters

    • Notices

    • Instructions

    • Documents

    • Publications

    • Envelopes

    • Internal Revenue Manuals (IRMs)

    • Letterhead

    • Training Products

    • Other Government Agency Products

    • Miscellaneous Products

  2. Additional information on IRS published products and publishing services is available through M&P’s Electronic Publishing website at http://publish.no.irs.gov/ephome.html.  (11-19-2012)

  1. A form is a data collection instrument printed or electronically reproduced with space for filling in information, descriptive material or addresses. All forms should include instructions for use. Forms are the principal contact between the IRS and taxpayers and are the most frequently used published products by IRS employees.

  2. Certain printed products without fill-in space, such as labels and instruction sheets (which constitute a continuation of a form), are considered forms because it’s advantageous to identify and control them as forms for purposes of reference, printing, stocking, distributing and use with other forms. Published notices and letters also fall into the forms category for forms management purposes.  (11-19-2012)
Forms Product Status

  1. Requests for forms submitted to Publishing will be designated with a status of either new, revised, or reprint. Obsolete forms are processed as described in IRM, Obsolescence of Products.  (11-19-2012)
New or Revised - General Forms

  1. Organizations requiring new forms or revisions to existing forms (other than tax forms) will:

    • Develop complete procedures and instructions governing the use of the form.

    • Secure necessary internal and external clearances.

    • Prepare a draft of the proposed new form or revised copy of an existing form.

    • Attach an electronic file of the draft form to the PSR when submitting to M&P Publishing.  (01-08-2013)
New, Revised, or Reprinted - Tax-Related Forms

  1. To create a new tax-related form or revise or reprint an existing one, form originators should submit drafts of new or revised tax-related forms and requests for reprints of existing forms to M&P Publishing by initiating a PSR. Include prescribing procedure or instruction that relates to use of form.  (11-19-2012)
New or Revised - General Administrative and Internal-Use Forms

  1. Follow these steps when publishing a new or revised internal-use form:

    1. Clear internal-use forms within originating office prior to submitting to Publishing.

    2. Submit draft of new or revised form to M&P Publishing by initiating a PSR. Include any procedures or instructions relating to use of the form.

  2. M&P Publishing, after receiving the PSR, will:

    • Provide forms design assistance to ensure effectiveness and economy.

    • Develop a layout of proposed form and submit back to originating office for approval.  (11-19-2012)
Regular Form Numbering Series

  1. This numbering series includes forms used by the IRS or by the public. These forms may be filled in by IRS personnel only, by the public only or partially by IRS and partially by the public. Partial fill-in may consist of only a signature.

  2. When a marginally punched continuous version of an existing form numbered in this series is needed, the form number on the existing form will be used for the continuous version. A suffix of (C), capital letter C enclosed by parentheses, will be added, as a suffix to the form number.  (11-19-2012)
Form Types

  1. The Publishing organization produces three types of forms:

    • Public-Use Forms

    • Internal-Use Forms

    • Standard Forms and Optional Forms  (11-19-2012)
Public-Use Form

  1. A public-use form is any form prescribed by the IRS to enable the general public and other government agencies to comply with internal revenue laws and regulations or to otherwise communicate with the public. The three categories of public-use forms prescribed by the IRS are:

    • Tax forms

    • Tax-related forms

    • General administrative forms


    Public-use forms must be reviewed by M&P’s OMB Clearance Office. To access the procedures for OMB (Office of Management and Budget) approval, go to http://taxforms.web.irs.gov/OMB/OMBClearanceOffice.aspx.  (11-19-2012)
Tax Forms

  1. A tax form is any form prescribed by the IRS to enable the general public to comply with the requirements of IRS laws and regulations.  (11-19-2012)
Tax-Related Forms

  1. A tax-related form is any form prescribed by the IRS (except tax forms) to communicate with the general public about tax matters relating to taxpayers, tax practitioners or general tax information.  (11-19-2012)
General Administrative Forms

  1. A general administrative form is any form prescribed by the IRS to communicate with the general public about administrative matters relating to personnel, facilities, or finance.  (11-19-2012)
Internal Use Form

  1. An internal-use form is any form prescribed for use solely within the IRS. These forms are completed by and used to collect information from IRS employees. Some examples of existing internal-use forms include employment, personnel, employee performance, training and property security.


    IRS employees are not required to complete and submit unnumbered (bootleg) forms.  (11-19-2012)
Standard Forms and Optional Forms

  1. A standard form is one prescribed by an executive agency for the use of two or more agencies under the approval of the National Archives and Records Services, General Services Administration (GSA). A standard form is mandatory for use by all federal agencies. Exceptions to standard forms involving departure from text or format will require written approval by GSA prior to printing. Request for exceptions should be forwarded to GSA through M&P Publishing.

  2. Optional forms are for use at the discretion of each agency; they are not mandatory.

  3. Standard accounting forms are established, approved or revised by the agency having the government-wide responsibility for the function accomplished by the form. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) Policies and Procedures Manual is the reference as to responsible agency for each standard accounting form. Exceptions to standard accounting forms involving departure from text or format will require the approval, in writing, of GAO. Request for exceptions should be forwarded to the promulgating agency through M&P Publishing.

  4. The Standard and Optional Forms Facsimile Handbook, published by the Federal Supply Service, GSA, gives detailed data concerning the use of each standard and optional form. Most standard and optional forms are stocked by GSA.  (11-19-2012)

  1. Letters are public use products sent directly to taxpayers. All letters must carry a signature and advise taxpayer where to direct inquiries (unless a contact stuffer is enclosed).  (11-19-2012)
Letters Numbering Series

  1. The letter series is used for numbering all public-use form letters prescribed by each Headquarters office for use in IRS correspondence. The identification of this correspondence consists of the word “Letter” followed by a one to four digit number. Letters, when they are intended for dissemination to ten or more persons, shall be numbered in this series.

  2. Each number issued under this series will be unique to a single purpose or subject; but more than one version of that item may be available. No change shall be made in the text, format, physical characteristics, date of issue or revision date of letters in this series without prior approval from the originating office. All letters in this series must have a signature and must advise taxpayers where to direct inquiries unless a contact stuffer is enclosed with the letter.  (11-19-2012)
Public-Use Form Letter Suffixes

  1. Public-use form letters generated from the Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) are identified by the suffix “C”, a capital letter C only, no punctuation. For these letters, the choice of manual signature and title are determined by the campus or area. Spanish language public-use letters generated from the IDRS are identified by the suffix (C/SP), capital letter C and capital letters SP separated by a forward slash and enclosed in parentheses.  (11-19-2012)
Signature Title Requirements

  1. The letter originator will determine signature title requirements for these letters. When a specific signature title appears on the letter, that signature must be used, unless an authorized official redelegates the signature authority. The letter originator will determine whether a facsimile signature can be preprinted on the letter or if a hand-stamped or actual signature is required.

  2. The Publishing Services Specialist must provide signature instructions for each letter in the corresponding Electronic Status Notice (ESN) record.  (11-19-2012)
Form Letter Format Requirements

  1. The M&P organization is responsible for format and design of all public-use form letters. Format and design includes typeface, margins and page and text layout. Letter format templates are available on Publishing’s intranet site at http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/letterp/LPformat.html.

  2. No changes to the Office of Taxpayer Correspondence (OTC) approved letter content will be made except to ensure references to published products are correct and include the full title with the first reference.  (11-19-2012)
Letter Language Translations

  1. The originator determines if Spanish or other language versions will be necessary.

  2. Requests to translate letters must be submitted to the Linguistic Policy, Tools and Services (LPTS) Office.by PSR--depending upon whether the letter is considered "vital" or "non-vital" . See IRM 22.31.1, IRS Language Services for specific instructions

  3. To submit a translation request, the originator will attach a completed Form 14078, Request for Translation and/or Quality Review Services, along with the OTC approved English version of the final source document, to the PSR.  (11-19-2012)
Production Schedule for Form Letters

  1. Letters will be composed and processed in the order approved copy is received from OTC.

  2. Request for expedited composition, print and/or posting services must be noted on the PSR when the request is submitted. The letter originator should also contact the letter program Publishing Services Specialist directly to request expedited services. The Publishing Services Specialist will work to meet the scheduling needs of the originating office.  (11-19-2012)
Posting Letters to the CROPP

  1. All numbered published products must be posted to Publishing’s Core Repository of Published Products (CROPP). IRS published products become “official” products only after being posted to the CROPP. A products “official” status can become relevant during court proceedings and legal challenges.

  2. Numbered letters are posted to the CROPP, except for Correspondex (CRX) letters. CRX letters are generated and used on the Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) and posted to the Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) site.  (11-19-2012)

  1. The IRS sends a notice if it believes a taxpayer owes additional tax, is due a larger refund, or if there is a question about a tax return or a need for additional information.  (11-19-2012)
Notices Numbering Series

  1. This series consists of numbered, preprinted messages to the public described as notice or stuffer type messages. They are usually inserted or stuffed into envelopes with other printed matter. All information must be printed on notices. No information may be added or filled in manually or electronically after reproduction except for addressing or labeling operations. If it is necessary to print a language version of the same notice, one of the standard language suffixes will be used.  (11-19-2012)

  1. Instructions commonly appear on forms at the bottom or back of the page. Lengthy instruction booklets provide more in-depth information for completing the form it accompanies.

    • Instructions do not contain fill-in fields.

    • Instruction booklets may contain worksheets, charts, etc.

    • Instruction booklets are identified by the form number they accompany and prefixed with the word "Instructions" .  (11-19-2012)

  1. Documents are intended for use by IRS employees and are identified numerically starting with Document number 5001. The content is generally for informational or administrative purposes. Documents are not generally distributed to the public. Types of information published as documents are:

    • Personnel guidelines

    • Job aids

    • Employee development guides

    • Safety and health handbooks

    • Rules of conduct  (11-19-2012)

  1. A publication is an information product created for and distributed to a particular segment of the public in either electronic or printed format. Products used by both IRS employees and the public are also classified as publications. Publications are identified numerically from 1 to 5000. All public-use products must be submitted to Publishing to be cataloged and posted to the Core Repository of Published Products (CROPP). Some examples of publications in the CROPP are:

    • Recruitment packages

    • Reports to Congress

    • Promotional items approved for various IRS initiatives  (11-19-2012)
Publication Types

  1. The Publishing organization produces three types of publications:

    • Tax Publications

    • General Use Publications

    • Joint Publications  (11-19-2012)
Tax Publications

  1. Tax Publications are publications that are:

    • Related to Federal taxation

    • Aimed specifically at informing or educating all or certain groups of taxpayers  (11-19-2012)
General Use Publications

  1. General Use Publications are:

    • Non-tax publications

    • Issued to the public for various informational and promotional purposes  (11-19-2012)
Joint Publications

  1. Joint Publications are publications that are:

    • Issued in conjunction with another Government agency

    • Printed at either one or both agencies

    • Issued to the public through either one or both agencies’ distribution channels

    • Printed with the publication identification numbers assigned by both agencies  (11-19-2012)

  1. Envelopes are vehicles used to mail printed products to IRS employees and the general public. To learn more about Publishing’s envelope program, go to http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/envelope/envprog.html.  (11-19-2012)
Envelope Numbering

  1. A number is assigned to each IRS envelope for identification and inventory purposes. The envelope number is preceded by the letter “E” and followed by the envelope’s issue or revision date. An example of an envelope number would be:

    • E-130 (Rev. 10-1994)

    The number prints in the lower right corner on the back of the envelope.

  2. Some envelopes are available with the window on the right to accommodate address areas that are on the right; others have windows on the left. Envelopes that can be ordered with either a right or left window are identified with either an “L” for left window or “R” for right window. This designation follows the envelope number, for example:

    • E-125L (Rev.10-1994)

    Ordering offices should ensure that the envelopes ordered have the matching window position for the items being mailed.


    The IRS letterhead has the address portion of letters and form letters on the left.  (11-19-2012)
Envelope Types

  1. The Publishing Division produces two types of envelopes:

    • General Purpose

    • Special Purpose  (11-19-2012)
General Purpose Envelopes

  1. General purpose envelopes may be used to mail many types of miscellaneous letters and pamphlets, for which no particular envelope is prescribed as a mailing vehicle. When a general purpose envelope is used, care should be exercised in selecting the appropriate size.  (11-19-2012)
Special Purpose Envelopes

  1. Special purpose envelopes are developed when a general purpose envelope cannot be used because of unusual size, unusual address location, special construction requirements, special printing requirements, etc. Envelopes of this type should be used only as prescribed on their respective envelope status notices.


    In emergency situations, general purpose and special purpose envelopes may be used interchangeably. However, Publishing must be consulted before any large volume substitutions are made.

  2. If a form, letter or notice cannot be designed to fit a general purpose window envelope and it is not feasible to utilize a non-window general purpose envelope, a special purpose window envelope may be developed. M&P Publishing will determine the necessity for a new window envelope by weighing the cost of addressing non-window envelopes against the additional cost of procuring the special purpose window envelope and the administrative cost associated with adding another special purpose envelope to the system.  (11-19-2012)
Providing Taxpayers with Envelopes

  1. There are conditions where the IRS may benefit from providing taxpayers with envelopes for use in transacting official business. A courtesy reply envelope (E-25CR, Courtesy Reply Envelope) is available to serve this purpose.

  2. Postage and fees paid business reply mail (BRM) envelopes may be furnished in tax liability investigations only when the IRS requires information which the taxpayer does not legally have to provide. When information is solicited from a third party (not representing the taxpayer), or in administrative investigations requiring information from an employee reference, etc., a BRM envelope may be furnished.

  3. Business reply mail envelopes may not be furnished to persons for responding to correspondence relating to their tax liability when they are legally bound to provide the required information.

  4. See Policy Statement 1-113, Postage-Paid Envelopes furnished with Third Party Inquires in IRM, Policy Statement 1–113, for additional information.

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