13.1.5  Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Confidentiality

13.1.5.1  (02-01-2011)
Statutory Background

  1. TAS plays an important role in protecting taxpayer rights and promoting taxpayer confidence in the integrity and accountability of the IRS. TAS employees resolve taxpayer problems and disputes between taxpayers and the IRS. To succeed, they must be viewed, both in perception and reality, as an independent and impartial voice for the taxpayer within the IRS. To promote such independence, IRC 7803(c)(4)(B) requires each local office of the Taxpayer Advocate to maintain a separate telephone, facsimile, and electronic communication access, as well as a separate post office address. Confidentiality plays an important role in promoting TAS’s independence.

  2. The Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98) mandated that TAS be an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service. IRC § 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv) provides that each Local Taxpayer Advocate (LTA), "may, at the taxpayer advocate’s discretion, not disclose to the Internal Revenue Service contact with, or information provided by, such taxpayer."

13.1.5.2  (02-01-2011)
Why Confidentiality is Important to Taxpayers and TAS

  1. Confidentiality is often viewed as essential to any relationship in which one party is charged with representing, advocating on behalf of, or negotiating for another party. See, e.g., IRC 7525 (extending the traditional attorney-client confidentiality privilege to communications between taxpayers and non-attorney tax practitioners). Senator John Breaux, a sponsor of RRA 98 in the Senate, explained the importance of TAS confidentiality as follows:

    "We are really trying to build some walls between the IRS and the Taxpayer Advocate and their work with the taxpayers, the American citizens of this country, to make sure that they, the taxpayers, know the person they are dealing with is independent, has their interests at heart, and doesn’t have to go report to the Internal Revenue Service district director about what he or she has discussed or talked about with the taxpayer who is seeking assistance.… There will be someplace they can go, which will be independent of the IRS, which will have as their first, second, third, and last mission to help that taxpayer. They can be comfortable there will not be communication or sharing of information of their discussions with the Taxpayer Advocate with the Internal Revenue Service. I think this is a very important part of the bill that is before the Senate today." Cong. Rec. S4239, S4240 (May 5, 1998) (Statement of Senator John Breaux).

  2. TAS employees function as "ombuds" - persons to whom taxpayers may come with complaints and questions and who resolve disputes between taxpayers and the IRS without litigation. When TAS employees resolve disputes, they provide a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

  3. TAS modeled its confidentiality policies and procedures after guidance developed and published by the Federal ADR Steering Committee and the American Bar Association (ABA). Confidentiality is a key element of ADR. See Administrative Dispute Resolution Act, 5 USC § 574. Further, confidentiality is considered an essential characteristic of ombuds offices. Both the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996 (ADR Act) and the ABA Standards for the Establishment and Operation of Ombuds Offices explicitly acknowledge the role confidentiality plays in bringing parties in a dispute to resolution. See American Bar Association, Revised Standards for the Establishment and Operation of Ombuds Offices, 14 (adopted Feb. 9, 2004) located at:http://www.abanet.org/adminlaw/ombuds/115.pdf . (last visited December 17, 2010); Federal Alternative Dispute Resolution Council, Department of Justice, Confidentiality in Federal Alternative Dispute Resolution Programs, 65 Fed Reg. 83,085 (Dec. 29, 2000). The ABA Standards provide:

    An ombuds does not disclose and is not required to disclose any information provided in confidence, except to address an imminent risk of serious harm. Records pertaining to a complaint, inquiry, or investigation are confidential and not subject to disclosure outside the ombuds’s office. An ombuds does not reveal the identity of a complainant without that person’s express consent. An ombuds may, however, at the ombuds’s discretion disclose non-confidential information and may disclose confidential information so long as doing so does not reveal its source. An ombuds should discuss any exceptions to the ombuds’s maintaining confidentiality with the source of the information.
    ***
    Confidentiality is an essential characteristic of ombuds that permits the process to work effectively. Confidentiality promotes disclosure from reluctant complainants, elicits candid discussions by all parties, and provides an increased level of protection against retaliation to or by any party. Confidentiality is a further factor that distinguishes ombuds from others who receive and consider complaints such as elected officials, human resource personnel, government officials, and ethics officers.

  4. TAS’s discretion not to disclose taxpayer information to the IRS serves the following purposes:

    1. To strengthen TAS’s independence and neutrality.

    2. To encourage taxpayers to trust and seek help from TAS without fear of retaliation by other IRS employees.

    3. To encourage taxpayers to freely communicate with TAS in order to resolve their problems.

    4. To calm taxpayers’ fears that information provided to TAS will be used to the taxpayers’ detriment.

13.1.5.3  (02-01-2011)
Other Federal Laws or Policies Relevant to TAS’s Disclosure of Taxpayer's Information When Working a TAS Case

  1. IRC 6103 and the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a) generally protect taxpayer returns and return information from disclosure, subject to statutory exceptions. See IRM 9.3.1, Criminal Investigation, Disclosure and Publicity, Disclosure, and IRM 11.3.14, Communications and Liaison, Disclosure of Official Information, Privacy Act General Provisions .

  2. The failure to report a felony can be "misprision of a felony," which is a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. § 4. A person is guilty of misprision of felony if he or she has knowledge of the actual commission of a felony, conceals it, and does not make it known to a person in authority as soon as possible. This statute may be invoked when it relates to some other tax, money laundering, or currency violation. See IRM 9.1.3.4.3 , 18 U.S.C. § 4 - Misprision of a Felony. No TAS employee will conceal a felony.

  3. IRC 7214(a)(8) requires all Federal employees, who have knowledge or information of violations of the Internal Revenue laws, to report such violations in writing to the Secretary of the Treasury. (Treas. Reg. § 301.7214-1 provides that the violation should be reported to the Commissioner.) Failure to report such violations could result in termination, fines, or imprisonment.

    1. The discretion not to disclose under IRC 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv) is not absolute and there are circumstances in which LTAs will be required to disclose taxpayer contact or taxpayer-provided information. The policies and procedures of the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) for implementing IRC § 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv) require the reporting of criminal violations and fraud committed under the internal revenue laws, consistent with IRC § 7214(a)(8).

    2. If a TAS employee believes that a taxpayer has committed (or will commit) a criminal or fraudulent violation of an internal revenue law and the taxpayer has declined to work with TAS to bring the violation to the IRS’s attention (or prevent the violation), the employee should follow nonstandard disclosure procedures in IRM 13.1.5.10 to report the violation (or potential violation) of an internal revenue law to the NTA for appropriate action.

    3. The requirement to report criminal violations and acts of fraud arises when a taxpayer refuses to work with TAS to achieve compliance (or avoid noncompliance) with the internal revenue laws. However, even if the taxpayer continues to work with TAS, employees should follow the nonstandard disclosure procedures if the taxpayer does not act in a timely fashion, especially if there is an imminent threat of financial harm to the IRS or another taxpayer.

  4. The discretion not to disclose under IRC § 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv) does not apply to disclosures to persons other than the IRS. This means that requests from TIGTA, GAO, the Department of Justice, the United States Attorney’s Office, or persons requesting information pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act are not subject to the confidentiality provision in IRC § 7803. Similarly, the discretion not to disclose does not apply in the context of a subpoena or other order of any court served on TAS.

  5. TAS employees must report bomb threats and similar emergency situations immediately. See http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov, under the link for Emergency Info at the bottom of the screen for procedures employees should use in various emergency situations. In addition, seeIRM 1.16.8.3.3, Organization, Finance and Management, Physical Security Program, Emergency Planning and Incident Reporting, Reporting to National Office, Types of Incidents, for a detailed list of incidents that must be reported.

  6. TAS employees must also report to TIGTA and other appropriate law enforcement personnel:

    1. Threats of serious bodily harm or injury to self or others;

    2. Employee crimes or other official misconduct as described by RRA 98 § 1203; and

    3. Any request by a taxpayer that TAS assist in defrauding the United States, conspire against the United States, or participate in or further any violation of the internal revenue laws.

    Note:

    Violations of the internal revenue laws may require disclosure to TIGTA, the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division, or the Department of Justice.

13.1.5.4  (02-01-2011)
Principles to Guide TAS’s Exercise of Discretion under IRC § 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv)

  1. TAS policy generally favors nondisclosure, except in cases involving standard disclosures, emergency disclosures and disclosures to avoid harm to health or safety. The types of disclosure are explained below IRM 13.1.5.8.

  2. When an LTA either wants to exercise discretion not to disclose information to the IRS or believes that disclosure to the IRS is warranted, the LTA should first discuss the matter with his or her Area Director (AD). If the AD concurs, the AD and the LTA should elevate the matter to the NTA or her designee using the procedures described in IRM 13.1.5.10. The NTA or her designee will review the recommendation and make a confidentiality determination within two business days after receiving the recommendation. Timeframes for handling nonstandard disclosure questionnaires are shown at IRM 13.1.5.10 (5).

  3. TAS’s exercise of discretion should:

    1. Promote broad expectation of confidentiality among taxpayers, TAS personnel, and other IRS personnel.

    2. Protect documents, notes (e.g., TAMIS history), and recollections conveyed by the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s representative.

    3. Recognize exceptional situations where strong legal and policy concerns require disclosure.

  4. In those instances where TAS discloses contact with a taxpayer or taxpayer-provided information to the IRS, disclosure should be limited to the information necessary to achieve the desired objective.

    Note:

    TAS personnel must generally avoid disclosing TAMIS history to the IRS. Even in cases where TAS discloses information to the IRS, TAS will not allow the IRS direct access to TAMIS and will not provide the IRS with copies of TAMIS history. Although certain IRS employees have access to Business Objects Reports, that access is very limited and they do not have access to TAMIS history. For example, Wage and Investment OAR Liaisons have access to the OAR Reports on Business Objects that allows them to compile information about the status of OARs, but they are unable to access TAMIS history.

13.1.5.5  (02-01-2011)
Discretion Not to Disclose: IRC § 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv)

  1. In response to a request from an IRS employee, an LTA may exercise discretion not to disclose contact with, or information provided by, the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s representative. The LTA must complete the LTA Confidentiality Questionnaire and follow the procedures in IRM 13.1.5.10 if the LTA either wants to exercise such discretion or believes that a nonstandard disclosure is warranted.

  2. TAS’s discretion not to disclose information to the IRS may also be exercised by Area Directors (AD), the Executive Director, Case Advocacy (EDCA), the Deputy NTA (DNTA), and the NTA.

  3. Any determination by an LTA to either withhold from or disclose to the IRS contact with, or information provided by, the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s representative will be reviewed in accordance with the procedures provided in IRM 13.1.5.10.

  4. Although TAS will usually honor a taxpayer’s request to keep taxpayer-provided information confidential, TAS is not required by IRC 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv) to honor such a request.

  5. TAS can withhold information from the IRS (including the Criminal Investigation Division) pursuant to IRC § 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv). This discretion does not apply to requests for information from anyone other than the IRS. This means that requests from TIGTA, GAO, the Department of Justice, the United States Attorney’s Office, or persons requesting information pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act are not subject to the confidentiality provision in IRC § 7803.

    Caution:

    Case Advocates (CAs) should never disclose tax information to non-IRS personnel without prior approval.
    When a Case Advocate (CA) receives such a request, the CA should immediately advise the LTA, who will contact the AD. The CA and LTA Questionnaires do not need to be used for this type of request. The AD will then contact Counsel to the NTA and notify the NTA, DNTA, and EDCA. Consultation with a Disclosure Officer may be appropriate in some cases.

13.1.5.6  (02-01-2011)
Communicating Confidentiality Rules to Taxpayers and Taxpayers’ Representatives

  1. In the first contact with a taxpayer or the taxpayer’s representative, TAS personnel must explain the confidentiality rule of IRC § 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv). TAS personnel should also tell taxpayers that they will generally need to provide information to IRS personnel in order to resolve the taxpayer’s problem.

  2. The following is an example of what TAS employees could tell a taxpayer or taxpayer’s representative when he or she contacts TAS:

    The Internal Revenue Code gives the Taxpayer Advocate Service the discretion not to disclose certain information to the IRS. To provide you the assistance or relief you are requesting, however, the Taxpayer Advocate Service will likely have to disclose to the IRS at least some of the information you provide. If you ask me not to disclose to the IRS what you tell me or the fact that you have contacted the Taxpayer Advocate Service, the Taxpayer Advocate Service will generally honor your request.

  3. When TAS personnel need to expand the scope of what they disclose to the IRS beyond what the taxpayer or his or her representative agreed to in order to assist the taxpayer, TAS policy requires that they seek consent from the taxpayer or taxpayer’s representative, unless such disclosure is required by law or permitted pursuant to emergency or nonstandard disclosure procedures, which are described in IRM 13.1.5.8.2 or IRM 13.1.5.8.3.

13.1.5.7  (02-01-2011)
Information Subject to Nondisclosure to the IRS

  1. Information subject to nondisclosure under IRC 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv) includes:

    1. The fact that a taxpayer or taxpayer’s representative contacted TAS.

    2. Information provided to TAS by a taxpayer or taxpayer’s representative.

    3. TAMIS information, notes, and internal TAS memos or analysis containing taxpayer-provided information or the identity of a taxpayer who contacted TAS.

    Note:

    If the information comes to TAS from the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s representative, TAS has discretion not to disclose. If, however, the same information comes to TAS from a third party or from IRS records, IRC § 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv) does not apply.

13.1.5.8  (02-01-2011)
Types of Disclosure to the IRS

  1. Disclosure to the IRS of the type of information that falls within the scope of IRC § 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv) will only be made as follows: (See IRM 13.1.5.7.)

    1. Standard Disclosure: Standard disclosures may be made by CAs without prior approval.

    2. Emergency Disclosure: Emergency disclosures require pre-approval by an LTA.

    3. Nonstandard Disclosure: Nonstandard disclosures are approved by the NTA or her delegate, unless immediate disclosure is necessary to prevent serious bodily harm or harm to the public health or safety.

13.1.5.8.1  (02-01-2011)
Standard Disclosure

  1. Standard disclosure is the most frequent type of disclosure. The CA should disclose to the IRS only the information necessary in order for TAS to obtain the appropriate relief for a taxpayer.

    Example:

    The taxpayer is requesting an audit reconsideration (see IRM 4.13.1, Audit Reconsiderations). The only way TAS can assist the taxpayer is to provide other IRS employees with the information the taxpayer provided to TAS so the IRS can re-evaluate the results of a prior audit and possibly make an adjustment to the taxpayer’s account based upon the information. The CA may make a standard disclosure of such information to assist the taxpayer, provided TAS informed the taxpayer a disclosure may be necessary and the taxpayer has not asked TAS to refrain from disclosing the information. The CA does not need approval from the LTA to disclose the information.

    Note:

    Not all information provided to TAS needs to be disclosed to the IRS to resolve a taxpayer’s case. Keep in mind the taxpayer’s right to privacy and only disclose the relevant information. In general, TAS employees should not provide copies of TAMIS history (or any other access to TAMIS) to an IRS Operating Division. If the CA has no documentation other than the TAMIS history to give the IRS to obtain the appropriate relief, the CA must obtain approval from the LTA before providing a copy of the relevant portion of the TAMIS history to an IRS Operating Division. The LTA should only approve such a request if providing the relevant portion of the TAMIS history to the IRS Operating Division is the only way to obtain relief for the taxpayer.

13.1.5.8.2  (02-01-2011)
Emergency Disclosure

  1. When the taxpayer is likely to be immediately harmed if the IRS does not take prompt action or cease an action (e.g., release a levy) and TAS is unable to contact the taxpayer to obtain consent to disclose information to the IRS, an LTA may authorize a CA to make an emergency disclosure of information necessary to resolve the taxpayer’s problem. Standard disclosure may not be available because the taxpayer requested assistance in writing and TAS is unable to reach the taxpayer to inform him or her that such information may need to be disclosed to the IRS.

    Example:

    TAS received a Form 911 containing a financial statement, Form 433-A, and a letter, explaining that a wage levy was in place and a paycheck is scheduled for the following week. The taxpayer also provided a copy of an eviction notice, indicating that if the taxpayer does not make a rent payment within ten days, the taxpayer will be evicted. The taxpayer did not provide a phone number on the form, and the telephone directory does not contain a listing for the taxpayer. The only method available to contact the taxpayer is by letter. If TAS does not disclose taxpayer-provided information to the IRS, the taxpayer is likely to be immediately harmed by the levy (i.e., the taxpayer will be evicted). To avoid such harm, TAS needs to contact an Automated Collection System (ACS) employee to negotiate a release of the levy because TAS has no authority to release a non-systemic levy (seeIRM 13.1.4.2.3.19(4), TAS Authorities, Levy Release Authority). The CA should promptly recommend to the LTA that TAS disclose the taxpayer’s financial statement to ACS so TAS can negotiate release of the levy.

  2. In general, pre-approval for the emergency disclosure should be obtained from the LTA in writing. When time is of the essence, however, oral approval for the emergency disclosure can be given, but the CA must document in the TAMIS history that oral approval was obtained.

13.1.5.8.3  (02-01-2011)
Nonstandard Disclosure

  1. When no other type of disclosure to the IRS may be made ( e.g., standard or emergency disclosure) nonstandard disclosure procedures should be used. There are three types of nonstandard disclosures, discussed below:

    • Disclosure to prevent harm to health or safety,

    • Disclosure to address a systemic problem, and

    • Other disclosures, including disclosures to address noncompliance.

13.1.5.8.3.1  (02-01-2011)
Disclosure to prevent harm to health or safety

  1. If a taxpayer has taken steps or threatened to take steps to cause harm to health or safety, then TAS personnel should use common sense in disclosing this information to TIGTA or appropriate law enforcement personnel (including IRS security, if appropriate). TAS personnel should report such circumstances immediately to IRS security or TIGTA pursuant to IRM 1.16.8.3, Physical Security Program, Emergency Planning and Incident Reporting, Reporting to National Office, in accordance with local procedures. Seehttp://serp.enterprise.irs.gov at the bottom of the screen for procedures employees should use in various emergency situations . TAS personnel must also report such incidents to a manager. TAS personnel do not need to use the Confidentiality Questionnaires in such circumstances.

    Example:

    The taxpayer came into a TAS office because he was being audited and believed the Examiner was taking an unreasonable position. During the visit the taxpayer stated that he would shoot the Examiner. The taxpayer asked the Case Advocate (CA) not to tell the IRS. The CA should alert TIGTA as soon as possible in accordance with IRM 1.16.8.3.2(3), Notification and Response, and IRM 1.16.8.3.3, Types of Incidents, and then report to a manager.

13.1.5.8.3.2  (02-01-2011)
Disclosure to Address a Systemic Problem

  1. If TAS has identified a systemic problem with an IRS process and needs to provide specific case examples to an IRS Operating Division to assist in solving the problem, the NTA may approve disclosure of taxpayer-provided information to the Operating Division after weighing the potential benefits of disclosure to the IRS against the importance of protecting TAS’s independence and maintaining the confidence of taxpayers in future cases.

    Example:

    TAS has learned that IRS personnel are working a particular type of case incorrectly. The IRS Operating Division has been unable to validate this problem using its own quality review process. The IRS Operating Division has requested that TAS identify specific examples where the Operating Division employees erred so that management can get a better understanding of how and when such errors occur. Redacted information would not be useful because the Operating Division would not be able to pull up information about the cases in its case processing databases. The Operating Division agrees that the taxpayer-specific information will not be disclosed to IRS employees currently working on the cases identified by TAS. After weighing the potential benefits of disclosure to the IRS against the importance of protecting TAS’s independence and maintaining the confidence of taxpayers in future cases, the NTA may approve disclosure of taxpayer information to the Operating Division.

13.1.5.8.3.3  (02-01-2011)
Other Disclosures, Including Disclosures to Address Noncompliance

  1. If a taxpayer declines to take the steps necessary to come into compliance with federal tax laws, or the CA believes that taxpayer-provided information should be disclosed to the IRS, the CA must follow the procedures in IRM 13.1.5.10 to determine whether disclosure can be made.

    Example:

    The taxpayer contacted TAS because he did not receive his EITC refund. The taxpayer had been working with Exam, but believes it has taken too long to get his refund. In discussions with the taxpayer, the CA learns that the taxpayer and his wife have both been filing as Head of Household and claiming the EITC on separate returns for the past five years. The CA informed the taxpayer of the filing requirements and asked the taxpayer to prepare an amended return. The taxpayer then declined further assistance from TAS. This is a nonstandard case because the taxpayer no longer wants assistance from TAS and has refused to file an amended return, which would bring the past violation to the IRS’s attention. The CA must elevate the nonstandard disclosure question to the LTA in accordance with the procedures in IRM 13.1.5.10.

13.1.5.8.3.4  (02-01-2011)
Considerations in a Nonstandard Disclosure Case

  1. In making determinations about nonstandard disclosures, TAS will consider first whether such disclosure is necessary to prevent the following:

    1. a manifest injustice;

    2. a violation of law;

    3. economic harm to the IRS or another person; or

    4. harm to the health or safety of any individual or the public.

  2. If the disclosure is necessary per the factors above, TAS will determine whether the need for such disclosure outweighs the importance of protecting TAS’s independence and maintaining taxpayer confidence in TAS in the future.

    Note:

    For nonstandard cases that involve situations 1 through 3, above, TAS will evaluate the information using the Confidentiality Questionnaires. When disclosure is necessary to prevent harm to health or safety, as described in factor 4, however, TAS personnel do not need to use the Confidentiality Questionnaires. Instead, TAS personnel should immediately follow disclosure procedures provided in IRM 1.16.8.3, Reporting to National Office.

13.1.5.9  (02-01-2011)
Obtaining Advice from Counsel

  1. TAS personnel can disclose taxpayer-provided information to the IRS Office of Chief Counsel when seeking legal advice regarding that taxpayer, even if the taxpayer has not agreed to disclosure. Disclosure to Counsel in these circumstances is not considered disclosure to the IRS within the meaning of IRC 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv). Further, Counsel cannot disclose to the IRS (including CI) any information subject to nondisclosure pursuant to IRC § 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv) (including the identity of the taxpayer seeking TAS’s assistance) that TAS discloses during these consultations.

    Note:

    When seeking legal advice, let IRS Counsel know that you are not disclosing taxpayer-provided information to the IRS and that Counsel should refrain from disclosing to any other function within the IRS any taxpayer-provided information, including the identity of the taxpayer seeking TAS’s assistance. Be sure to remind Counsel of the requirement of keeping the taxpayer’s information confidential. See IRC § 7803(c)(4)(A)(iv). If a TAS employee learns that IRS Counsel has not adhered to the requirement of keeping the taxpayer’s information confidential, the TAS employee should immediately report the disclosure to the Counsel to the NTA.

13.1.5.10  (02-01-2011)
Handling a Nonstandard Disclosure Case

  1. If disclosure is required to prevent harm to health or safety, the CA should immediately follow disclosure procedures provided in IRM 10.2.8.6, Notification and Response.

  2. If disclosure is proposed to address a systemic issue, as described in IRM 13.1.5.8.3.2, the proposal should be elevated to the NTA. Systemic Advocacy personnel complete a Systemic Advocacy Confidentiality Questionnaire (see below) and a proposed NTA Confidentiality Determination (see below) with input from a TAS Attorney-Advisor or Counsel to the NTA. See IRM 13.1.5.11 (1). The TAS Attorney-Advisor or Counsel to the NTA sends them to the NTA, with a copy to the Executive Director of Systemic Advocacy (EDSA). The NTA (or her designee) will make the final disclosure decision and revise the proposed NTA Confidentiality Determination accordingly. The NTA (or her designee) will confirm the decision by returning signed copies of the NTA Confidentiality Determination.

  3. In all other cases, the CA must complete a CA Confidentiality Questionnaire (see below) and forward the Questionnaire to the LTA. See IRM 13.1.5.11 (1). For an electronic fill-in version of the CA Questionnaire, please go to the confidentiality section of the TAS home page.

  4. Upon receipt of a Case Advocate Confidentiality Questionnaire, the LTA reviews the CA’s recommendation, completes the Local Taxpayer Advocate Confidentiality Questionnaire (see below), and then forwards his or her recommendation to the AD along with the Confidentiality Questionnaire Routing Slip (see below) and a proposed NTA Confidentiality Determination (see below). See IRM 13.1.5.11 (1). For electronic fill-in versions of the CA Questionnaire, LTA Questionnaire, NTA Confidentiality Determination, and the Confidentiality Questionnaire Routing Slip, please go to the confidentiality section of the TAS home page.

  5. The AD ensures that the LTA’s determination is fully developed in accordance with TAS’s confidentiality procedures. The AD then forwards the LTA’s forms and recommendation directly to the NTA, with copies to the EDCA, DNTA, Counsel to the NTA, and the NTA’s Attorney-Advisor. The NTA (or her designee) will make the final disclosure decision and revise the proposed NTA Confidentiality Determination accordingly. The NTA (or her designee) will confirm the decision by sending signed copies of the NTA Confidentiality Determination to the AD and LTA who will ensure that her determination is made part of the case file.

  6. The nonstandard disclosure questionnaire processing timeframes (except for the Systemic Advocacy Confidentiality Questionnaires) are as follows.

    Action Normal Process Timeframes
    CA prepares questionnaire and submits it to the LTA with the case file. Same day whenever possible, but not to exceed one business day.
    LTA prepares questionnaire and forwards to AD. Within one business day.
    AD reviews and makes recommendation directly to the NTA and provides copies to the DNTA, EDCA, NTA Attorney-Advisor, and Counsel to the NTA. Within one business day.
    The NTA makes the disclosure decision and forwards it to the AD and the LTA, and provides copies to the DNTA, EDCA, NTA Attorney-Advisor, and Counsel to the NTA. Within two business days.
    Total processing time Six business days.

13.1.5.11  (02-01-2011)
Additional Resources

  1. Additional information is located in the confidentiality section of the TAS home page. The Confidentiality Questionnaires and Routing Slip links are shown below:

    • NTA Confidentiality Determination athttp://tasnew.web.irs.gov/Files/FormsPubsDocs/TASConfidentiality/NTAConfidentialityDeterminationRoutingSlip.doc.

    • Confidentiality Questionnaire Routing Slip athttp://tasnew.web.irs.gov/Files/FormsPubsDocs/TASConfidentiality/NTAConfidentialityDeterminationRoutingSlip.doc.

    • Case Advocate Confidentiality Questionnaire at http://tasnew.web.irs.gov/Files/FormsPubsDocs/TASConfidentiality/CaseAdvocateQuestionnaire.doc.

    • Local Taxpayer Advocate Confidentiality Questionnaire athttp://tasnew.web.irs.gov/Files/FormsPubsDocs/TASConfidentiality/LTAQuestionnaire.doc.

    • Systemic Advocacy Confidentiality Questionnaire athttp://tasnew.web.irs.gov/Files/FormsPubsDocs/TASConfidentiality/SystemicAdvocacyQuestionnaire.doc.


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