13.6.1  Internal and External Communications

Manual Transmittal

February 28, 2012

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 13.6.1, Taxpayer Advocate Service Communications.

Material Changes

(1) Editorial Update to include IPU 110797 issued 04-15-2011 Exhibit 13.6.1-2 -- Revised TAS standard paragraphs.

Effect on Other Documents

Supersedes IRM 13.6.1, Taxpayer Advocate Service, Internal Communications, dated March 17, 2009.

Audience

Primarily Taxpayer Advocate Service and all Operating Divisions and Functions.

Effective Date

(02-28-2012)

Nina E. Olson
National Taxpayer Advocate

13.6.1.1  (03-17-2009)
Introduction to TAS Communications

  1. The purpose of this section is to define Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) communication methods and the appropriate policies, content, responsibilities, and materials that apply to each one. The methods covered are:

    • TAS websites

    • Internal messages

    • Newsletters

    • Marketing and promotional materials

    • Electronic toolkits

    • TAS interactive video teleconferences (IVTs)

    • TAScast videos

    • Interim guidance (IG) memoranda

    • Media contacts

    • Stakeholder relationship management

    • Outreach (general and congressional)

    • Electronic mail (e-mail)

    • Facsimile (fax)

    • Voice messaging system (VMS)

    • Telephone

    • Teleconferencing

    • U.S. mail (surface mail)

13.6.1.2  (03-17-2009)
TAS Websites Policy

  1. TAS will maintain internal (IRweb/intranet) and external (IRS.gov/Internet) web presences as determined by the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA).

  2. TAS web pages will comply with external and internal regulations, requirements, and restrictions. All managers and web content managers are responsible for keeping their content current and compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended (29 U.S.C. § 794d). See IRM 1.2.11.1.1, Policy Statement 2-5. Use the Information Resources Accessibility Program (IRAP) website at http://irap.no.irs.gov and the Alternative Media Center at http://amc.enterprise.irs.gov for assistance.

  3. TAS Communications and Liaison (C&L) will monitor TAS websites and take necessary action to ensure compliance with Section 508.

  4. Websites displaying the TAS logo or TAS-related content must be approved by the NTA or Deputy National Taxpayer Advocate (DNTA) and registered with the IRS Communications and Liaison office.

  5. The TAS intranet website at http://tas.web.irs.gov is the primary vehicle for disseminating internal TAS communications and the repository for TAS-related information, such as the TAS directory, memoranda, delegation orders, policies, procedures, and training material. This portal gives TAS a valuable tool for delivering consistent messages to the organization and providing all employees with quick access to current information.

  6. The TAS SharePoint site is a team collaboration tool for information sharing within TAS. The Director, TAS C&L, must approve team sites. An application form is posted in the Shared Documents area of the TAS SharePoint home page at http://co.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/CL/TAs/default.aspx . Each team site will have an owner and a site designer. Site designers are responsible for adding, editing, and deleting site members, and keeping posted content timely and appropriate.

  7. Senior leadership will set an example by utilizing and directing all employees to the TAS websites. This approach is critical to moving the organization toward effective communication. The use of a centralized portal to streamline information sharing is of Area and National importance.

13.6.1.2.1  (03-17-2009)
Responsibility For TAS Websites

  1. The NTA or DNTA will approve TAS website design changes. The Director, C&L, is responsible for management oversight of the internal and external sites.

  2. The TAS webmaster reports to the Director, C&L and is responsible for:

    1. Maintaining TAS intranet sites and sub-sites, including the TAS website and SharePoint site;

    2. Designing and enhancing TAS intranet sites;

    3. Coordinating with TAS Business Systems Planning (BSP), the Division Information Office (DIO), and Modernization, Information Technology and Security (MITS) for TAS intranet site maintenance and enhancements;

    4. Monitoring site usage and maintaining intranet site integrity and compliance with applicable IRS rules, regulations, and directives; and

    5. Providing, as required, web site activity, integrity and compliance reports to the Director, C&L.

13.6.1.2.2  (03-17-2009)
Use of TAS Websites

  1. TAS managers will encourage employees to use the internal TAS website as a research tool.

  2. TAS employees are responsible for accessing the internal site on a regular basis to stay abreast of TAS policies and procedures.

13.6.1.2.3  (03-17-2009)
TAS Website Content

  1. The Director, C&L will approve all content changes to the TAS Internet website at www.irs.gov/advocate and provide oversight of content on the intranet sites.

  2. Headquarters Directors, Area Directors, and other individuals selected by the NTA or DNTA will appoint content managers to determine content for the intranet sites.

  3. Content managers will make TAS web content accurate, timely, appropriate, and accessible to all individuals, i.e., Section 508 compliant. C&L retains final authority over all content on the site.

  4. Policies and procedures should be posted on the TAS website and linked through established communication channels. See IRM 13.6.1.3 TAS Messages, and IRM 13.6.1.5, TAS Newsletters.

  5. TAS C&L will review content for compliance with applicable IRS rules, regulations, and directives.

  6. TAS C&L will maintain a current list of content managers, SharePoint site owners, and site designers. Managers who appoint content managers and/or site designers will communicate changes to the TAS Webmaster.

13.6.1.2.4  (03-17-2009)
TAS Directory

  1. The TAS intranet site includes a directory of all local, Area, headquarters, and campus TAS offices, as well as a list of Technical Advisors.

  2. Each TAS office will assign a TAS Directory Manager, who will make timely additions, edits, and deletions to the member list and directory.

  3. Directory managers will e-mail changes to the C&L directory coordinator, who will post changes to the site.

  4. C&L will maintain a current list of TAS directory managers. Each office is responsible for communicating changes to the directory coordinator.

13.6.1.3  (03-17-2009)
TAS Messages

  1. TAS C&L will transmit all internal messages with national implications or significance (i.e., any message that impacts TAS employees above the Area level). All messages of this nature must be sent to C&L for distribution via the website and newsletters. See IRM 13.6.1.5, TAS Newsletters. These messages include but are not limited to:

    • NTA and DNTA memoranda;

    • NTA and DNTA voice messages to employees;

    • Case procedures;

    • Managerial guidance;

    • Employee development and training information; and

    • General employee news.

  2. C&L created Exhibit 13.6.1-1, TAS Communications Assistance Request (CAR), for development and coordination of messages within the TAS organization. Use this form to forward messages to C&L. The form is available on the internal TAS website at http://tasnew.web.irs.gov/files/Communications/Outreach/CommunicationAssistanceRequest.doc .

  3. All requests for C&L to issue a message or article through a TAS website or newsletter must be submitted on a completed CAR (with any working hyperlinks). The form must indicate who has approved the message, e.g., NTA/DNTA; Executive Director, Systemic Advocacy (EDSA); Executive Director, Case Advocacy (EDCA); Area Director, or program manager. All requests must be approved in advance by a Director, Program Director, or designee, and e-mailed to the Director and senior writer-editor in C&L, with copies to *TASCommunications.

  4. All messages sent to C&L for distribution must also:

    • Be 508 compliant;

    • Comply with TAS interim guidance procedures;

    • Address Electronic Freedom of Information Act (E-FOIA) issues;

    • Have any linked documents posted to the appropriate area of the TAS intranet site;

    • Address 7114 meeting requirements; and

    • Show that the Impact and Implementation (I&I) have been considered.

  5. An Area or Headquarters Director who needs a message communicated by the NTA or DNTA must complete the CAR and send it to the Director, C&L, for transmission to and approval by the NTA or DNTA, followed by posting on the internal TAS site. Directors who have messages that may be national in scope must also complete the form and send it to the Director, TAS C&L, copying *TASCommunications . C&L will highlight and link to the message from the homepage.

  6. C&L must approve, via the CAR, any communications reaching outside a Local Taxpayer Advocate (LTA) office. This includes Area newsletters, articles in other business unit newsletters, etc. (because any communication with another area or function or Area could easily be distributed nationwide).

  7. Employees who are working Advocacy Portfolio or Annual Report to Congress assignments must also use the CAR when soliciting case examples or input.

  8. Messages and documents involving Headquarters guidance, such as memoranda signed by the NTA or DNTA, are posted to the TAS intranet website and must be Section 508 compliant. When sending this type of message to TAS C&L, always send the Microsoft Word file, not the PDF version. Scanned documents in PDF are not Section 508 compliant and cannot be posted. See IRM 13.6.1.2, TAS Websites Policy.

13.6.1.4  (03-17-2009)
C&L Reviews of TAS Documents

  1. C&L must review all public information material going to other IRS functions or external stakeholders (i.e., not case-related information, team or task force data, etc.). This material includes but is not limited to:

    • IRS forms, pubs, notices, letters, or other documents ( See IRM 13.6.1.8.3, Standard TAS Language);

    • Articles for IRS or external media placement;

    • NTA reports and testimony to Congress (including each year's Annual Report and Objectives Report);

    • TAS hiring and recruiting information; and

    • Communications-related IRMs.

    TAS offices should send all such items to their designated C&L contacts with copies to the Director, C&L.

  2. In addition to the items referenced in IRM 13.6.1.3, TAS Messages, C&L reviews internal products, including but not limited to;

    • Business Performance Review (BPR) reports;

    • Training modules;

    • Service Level Agreements (SLAs);

    • CAPER responses;

    • Program letters; and

    • Strategic assessments.

    TAS offices should send all such items to the Director, C&L.

  3. C&L's role is to review, not create. All TAS offices are responsible for the content, language, grammar, and style of their own documents, and must take the following steps before sending them to C&L:

    • Follow the grammatical, stylistic, and citation conventions established by the NTA and detailed in the TAS Writing and Style Guide, which is available on the TAS website at http://tas.web.irs.gov/Comm/TASlang/7767.aspx .

    • Proofread each document for accuracy, correctness, and clarity. This means reading the document, not just running a spelling and grammar check.

    • Write and structure all documents, whether Word, PDF, or another format, for compliance with Section 508. See IRM 13.6.1.2, TAS Websites Policy.

13.6.1.5  (03-17-2009)
TAS Newsletters

  1. In addition to the website, C&L utilizes five vehicles for internal communications: the TAS Wednesday Weekly, TAS Forum For Managers, TAS Special Edition, TAS Alert, and TAS Talk!

    • The Wednesday Weekly goes to all TAS employees every Wednesday and highlights current information posted to the website.

    • The Forum For Managers (or Manager's Forum) goes to all TAS managers and non-bargaining unit (NBU) analysts every Friday with information about management and related issues posted to the website.

    • The TAS Special Edition is sent to all employees as needed to deliver critical, time-sensitive information.

    • TAS Alerts generally convey information about weather or emergency-related office closings, delayed openings, etc. in coordination with the TAS National HQ Business Resumption Coordinator. See IRM 10.56.10, TAS Continuity Planning and Business Resumption.

    • TAS Talk! appears on the website and covers general employee and "human interest" news, i.e., not official procedures, guidance, directives, etc. Information previously published in area newsletters should now be submitted to TAS Talk!

  2. Any request to issue information in the Wednesday Weekly, Manager’s Forum, Special Edition or TAS Talk! should be submitted to C&L on a completed CAR and must be approved in advance by a Director, program manager, or designee.

  3. C&L also uses special, targeted newsletters to disseminate information about events such as the annual TAS Symposium and the Leadership and Congressional Affairs Program (CAP) conference. A team of TAS Communications Liaison Group (CLG) members and C&L staff is responsible for developing the content of each newsletter. C&L posts the newsletters to the website and distributes them to employees through the Wednesday Weekly or Forum for Managers, as appropriate. See IRM 13.6.1.7, TAS Communications Liaison Group.

13.6.1.6  (03-17-2009)
TAS NTA Questions

  1. The *TAS NTA Questions mailbox is available to all TAS employees to submit questions, comments, or suggestions to TAS leadership. C&L also uses the box to manage questions about special projects or programs (e.g., Private Debt Collection, Economic Stimulus Payments, and Symposium) and TAS Interactive Video Teletraining (IVT) broadcasts ( See IRM 13.6.1.8.6, TAS IVTs).

  2. TAS C&L will administer all messages received in the *TAS NTA Questions mailbox. C&L responsibilities include:

    1. Acknowledging receipt of the message;

    2. Identifying the appropriate area or individual responsible for preparing a response based on the subject/content;

    3. Forwarding message to the appropriate office for timely action or response;

    4. Reviewing and editing responses; and

    5. Determining the appropriate way to deliver the response – directly to the originator, in the Wednesday Weekly, or on the TAS website.

  3. All correspondence to the *TAS NTA Questions mailbox is anonymous. C&L removes all identifying information (names, offices, etc.) before forwarding the question, comment, or suggestion.

  4. C&L will organize and maintain received messages, related correspondence, and responses in subject folders in the mailbox.

13.6.1.7  (03-17-2009)
TAS Communications Liaison Group

  1. The TAS Communications Liaison Group represents a vital link between TAS program areas and the field. This task-driven group is a working advisory board for all communication strategies, activities, products, and policies involving the TAS organization. The CLG serves as an extension of the Headquarters C&L staff and provides a field perspective on communication initiatives.

  2. The CLG consists of at least one LTA from each Area and ad hoc representatives from Headquarters offices, such as (but not limited to) Employee Development, Financial Operations, Systemic Advocacy, the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP), and the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program office. C&L employees may serve as ad hoc CLG members.

13.6.1.8  (03-17-2009)
Communications Resources

  1. Several types of communications resources, as described below, are available to TAS employees.

13.6.1.8.1  (03-17-2009)
Communications Presentations

  1. The internal TAS website includes a reference site for all communications presentations, including PowerPoints for internal and external audiences. While employees should customize these presentations for their audiences, they should not add material that may alter TAS's message and official position. LTAs and other employees should use the Advocate Toolkit (ATK) at http://advocatetoolkit.com as a source of outreach material. See IRM 13.6.1.8.4, Electronic Toolkits.

13.6.1.8.2  (03-17-2009)
Publications, Marketing, and Promotional Materials

  1. The TAS intranet website also contains a list of publications and marketing/promotional materials for TAS use. Headquarters is responsible for updating and distributing these materials but local offices order their own supplies. Direct any publication needs to C&L. Contact C&L for a list of available items.

13.6.1.8.3  (03-17-2009)
Standard TAS Language

  1. In conjunction with the NTA, C&L has developed standard language about TAS, including a description of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program, for use in IRS publications, brochures, notices, and other documents. C&L works to place this language in all IRS materials that mention TAS, to provide taxpayers with correct and consistent information about the TAS organization and how to seek TAS assistance. See Exhibit 13.6.1-2, Standard TAS Language. This language also appears in the C&L area of the TAS intranet website.

  2. The Director, C&L is TAS's point of contact for changes to language relating to TAS, the Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs), and the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) for forms, publications, notices, or any other material going outside the IRS. The Director, C&L must approve all requests to place TAS language in publications, brochures, notices, documents, or on websites outside the TAS organization.

13.6.1.8.4  (03-17-2009)
Electronic Toolkits

  1. TAS has developed and maintains the following web-based electronic "toolkits:" the ATK, the Electronic Press Kit, and the Tax Toolkit, and will develop others as needed.

  2. The ATK is located at http://advocatetoolkit.com and is designed to be a one-stop resource for outreach by LTAs and other employees.

  3. The Electronic Press Kit (EPK) is at http://www.taspresskit.irs.gov and is designed to provide media professionals with information about TAS.

  4. The Tax Toolkit, titled "Taxes: What You Need to Know – Responsibilities & Benefits," is designed to provide basic financial information to low income and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) taxpayers. It is available in English and Spanish on the Internet at www.tax-toolkit.irs.gov , in DVD form as Publication 4633, and in print as Publication 4659 and Publication 4659 (SP).

13.6.1.8.5  (03-17-2009)
TAS Audio and Video Products

  1. TAS uses video and audio to communicate with both internal and external audiences.

  2. The Director, C&L, must approve all scripts before video/audio production begins, and approve the final product before distribution. This approval is required in order to present consistent messages and not depart from TAS or IRS policy. All video/audio products must comply with Section 508. See IRM 13.6.1.2, TAS Websites Policy.

  3. Any TAS office interested in developing a video with the NTA, DNTA, or other Executives and Directors should contact the Director, C&L before writing a script. C&L will review/approve the script, and coordinate the production process. The Special Counsel to the NTA must also review all scripts.

  4. Videos designed for external distribution require C&L review and approval. External video products, including a series of TAScasts featuring the NTA, are available on TAS's three electronic toolkits. See IRM 13.6.1.8.4, Electronic Toolkits. C&L may also post them on YouTube ( www.youtube.com) or other private sites. TAS cannot post videos to IRS.gov because of bandwidth limits.

  5. Videos designed for internal distribution (including TAS awareness/outreach and education products) also require C&L review and approval to present consistent messages and not depart from policy. C&L may post internal video products on the TAS website ( http://tas.web.irs.gov).

  6. Audio products for internal or external audiences are subject to the same approval process indicated above. The script and the audio product must be approved by the Director, C&L. C&L may post internal audio on the TAS website and place external products on private sites.

13.6.1.8.6  (03-17-2009)
TAS Interactive Video Teleconferences (IVTs)

  1. The Interactive Video Teleconference (IVT) communicates information to a large, geographically dispersed audience and allows for questions and answers. It is primarily a teaching/training tool, but can also present corporate information or messages to an organization. Some IVTs are live; others are taped and aired later. Rebroadcasts can follow the initial airing.

  2. The following parties are involved in producing a TAS IVT:

    • Executive Champion: The TAS executive or team leader who provides final approval for the content.

    • Responsible Organization: The team, office, or individual desiring to communicate information.

    • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs): Those who gather material for the broadcast.

    • Presenters: Those who appear on camera.

    • TAS C&L: Handles the logistics, including informing the target audience of the broadcast, issuing pre-read material and working with the IRS TV studio to air the broadcast.

    • TAS Learning and Education: Assigns a course number if appropriate and creates a survey form to measure feedback from the broadcast.

    • IRS TV studio: Schedules, produces, and broadcasts the IVT, providing a director and crew.

  3. A successful broadcast requires at least two months of planning. The key steps include:

    • Secure time for taping and airing: Coordinated by C&L with the studio based on the needs of the team/Executive Champion (at least eight weeks before the broadcast).

    • Clearly identify the purpose and general content: Use the IVT Project Agreement Form, which is available at http://tasnew.web.irs.gov/Files/Communications/Admin/IVTProjectAgreement.pdf , to assist in this process (eight weeks before the broadcast).

    • Create an outline: Divide the general content into sections and assign it to SMEs to develop. See Exhibit 13.6.1-3, TAS IVT Executive Summary, to help in this process (seven weeks before the broadcast).

    • Develop pre-read material: Develop any material that viewers need to read before the airing (four weeks before the broadcast).

    • Notification of the broadcast: The process of notifying the intended audience should start as soon as possible (no later than four weeks before the broadcast).

    • Develop visual aids (PowerPoint): This includes any on-screen graphics to support the presenters during the broadcast. All material must be 508 compliant. (The visual aids should be developed three weeks before the broadcast and MUST receive Executive Champion approval).

    • Issue pre-read material: This may include a course number and any material that the audience needs to read in advance (at least two weeks before the broadcast).

    • Rehearsal: The presenters need to rehearse informally and then formally before the broadcast. See Exhibit 13.6.1-4, IVT Final Broadcast Preparations, to help in rehearsals (two weeks before the broadcast).

13.6.1.9  (03-17-2009)
Interim Guidance (IG) Memoranda

  1. Interim Guidance (IG) memoranda quickly communicate changes to IRM procedures or support a one-time modification in a program or process. These memoranda contain a specific expiration date, not to exceed one year from the date they are signed. IG memos are considered official documents but do not automatically replace the IRM. All IG memoranda that impact the IRM must be incorporated into the IRM as soon as feasible and in no event later than the expiration date. See IRM 1.11.13, Taxpayer Advocate Service Internal Management Document Program, for specific procedures regarding IG memos in TAS.

13.6.1.9.1  (03-17-2009)
Distribution of IG Documents

  1. Use the following procedures when transmitting IG memos and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to C&L for posting on the TAS websites and distribution to staff.

  2. Memos: Send to C&L in Word format. Each memo must contain a date and the signature symbol /s/. The naming convention for memos should be TAS-13-DATE-XXX. If the memo references attachments, add them to the Word document and label them as attachments. Memos that contain links to content within the IRS intranet can only be posted on the TAS intranet for use by IRS employees. Provide C&L a second copy of the memo, without links, to load to the Internet site at www.irs.gov for external customers. Do not send scanned PDF documents because they are not 508 compliant. See IRM 13.6.1.3, TAS Messages. C&L will convert Word files to PDF for IRS.gov.

    • Send each memo with its own Content Publishing Request (CPR). Templates are available at http://spder.web.irs.gov/imd/ig/E-FOIA/.

    • The naming convention on the CPR is CPR_TAS-13-DATE-XX.

    • The title listed in the CPR should begin with IRM-13.X.X - Subject of the Memo.

    • The abstract within the CPR should begin with: The National Taxpayer Advocate or Deputy (use appropriate title) issued interim guidance on (Subject of the Memo) to all TAS employees. The procedures will be incorporated into IRM 13.X.X within one year.

  3. SLAs: Send to C&L in Word format. Each memo must contain a date and the signature symbol /s/. The naming convention for SLAs should be SLA-TAS- BOD-DATE-XX (the two digits at the end represent the consecutive number of SLAs that we have posted). If the SLA references attachments, add them to the Word document and label them as attachments. SLAs that contain links to content within the IRS intranet can only be posted on the TAS intranet for use by IRS employees. Provide C&L a second copy of the SLAs without links to load to the Internet site at www.irs.gov for external customers. Do not send scanned PDF documents, which are not 508 compliant. See IRM 13.6.1.3, TAS Messages. C&L will convert Word files to PDF for IRS.gov.

    • The naming convention for SLA CPRs is CPR_SLA-TAS-BOD-DATE-XX.

    • The title listed in the CPR should be as follows: TAS-Service Level Agreement between Taxpayer Advocate and BOD.

    • The abstract listed in the CPR should state: The Taxpayer Advocate Service and BOD established a Service Level Agreement effective XX/XX/XXXX. The agreement sets forth the manner and timeframe in which BOD will receive, acknowledge, and resolve taxpayer cases referred to BOD.

  4. Also provide C&L with a CAR and message for distribution to employees via the appropriate vehicle (Wednesday Weekly, Special Edition, or Forum For Managers). See IRM 13.6.1.3 , TAS Messages and Exhibit 13.6.1-1, TAS Communications Assistance Request.

13.6.1.10  (03-17-2009)
Media Contacts

  1. Coordinate all local media contacts with local IRS media relations specialists. Refer any contacts of national scope to the Director, TAS C&L.

  2. Any local media contacts that are sensitive in nature or national in scope should also be shared with the Director, C&L. Guidelines for media contacts are available on the C&L web pages under Outreach.

13.6.1.10.1  (03-17-2009)
News Releases

  1. All news releases initiated at local offices must be coordinated with local media relations specialists and C&L. Any releases with national scope must go to the Director, C&L for clearance before submission to Media Relations.

13.6.1.11  (03-17-2009)
Stakeholder Relationship Management

  1. The Commissioner has identified and endorsed Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM) as a servicewide strategic business priority. TAS will work with all business units to establish, maintain, and manage partner relationships.

13.6.1.12  (03-17-2009)
TAS Outreach

  1. This section provides guidelines for outreach in general, as well as the more specialized issues involving congressional outreach.

13.6.1.12.1  (03-17-2009)
Outreach Plans

  1. TAS local offices will develop outreach plans that meet the needs of taxpayers, practitioners, and other parties.

  2. Each local office will identify and complete the outreach activities necessary to increase awareness of the TAS program, solicit information about IRS problems, and improve customer service.

  3. In developing local plans, LTAs should consider:

    • NTA Strategic Objectives and Operational Priorities;

    • NTA Annual Report and Objectives Report to Congress;

    • TAMIS data -- case receipt trends, etc;

    • Recurring issues that generate TAS cases;

    • New tax law issues;

    • Advocacy team or project data;

    • TAS communication goals as outlined in the Outreach Guidelines; and

    • Demographic information or other research data.

  4. Throughout the year, all offices will conduct the required grassroots activities, which should emphasize reaching the targeted underserved segments of the taxpayer population. Offices are expected to develop relationships with organizations and individuals that can reach taxpayers who are unaware of TAS services, and leverage these contacts to provide the best possible outreach.

  5. Offices whose states experienced disasters should also conduct disaster assistance outreach to affected taxpayers.

  6. Campus LTAs should coordinate with their geographically-located LTA counterparts to avoid duplicating efforts and contacts.

  7. Local offices must input their outreach plans to the outreach database, which the area analysts will provide. All offices should follow C&L's guidelines for using the database, which are posted on the C&L pages of the TAS website.

13.6.1.12.2  (03-17-2009)
Outreach Resources

  1. The C&L pages of the TAS website contain numerous resources for outreach. The Advocate Toolkit includes many ideas for grassroots activities, working with LITCs, TAP, and key external audiences. See IRM 13.6.1.8.4, Electronic Toolkits, and IRM 13.6.1.8.2 , Publications, Marketing, and Promotional Materials, for information on obtaining these resources.

13.6.1.12.3  (03-17-2009)
Congressional Outreach

  1. TAS will conduct outreach to members of Congress. In addition to day-to-day interaction with congressional staff on constituent inquiries as described in IRM 13.1.8, Taxpayer Advocate Case Procedures, Congressional Affairs Program, LTAs will conduct educational outreach on TAS's legislative and administrative efforts to improve customer service and reduce taxpayer burden.

  2. C&L will represent TAS on the GL/Congressional Affairs Program (CAP) Communications Team, and provide TAS and NTA information for "Congressional Update," a servicewide quarterly newsletter for congressional offices.

13.6.1.12.3.1  (03-17-2009)
Local Congressional Office Visit Requirements

  1. The geographic LTAs will visit local congressional offices at least once each year to establish and maintain excellent relationships and to meet their unique needs. These meetings should be coordinated with the Governmental Liaisons (GL) whenever possible. For new congressional staffers, the LTA and GL will explain how to interact with IRS and TAS for case related and non-case related inquiries. The LTA will share information about the Annual Report to Congress and whatever "hot topics" may be important at a particular time. Campus LTAs will assist and participate in these meetings as needed.

  2. LTAs can conduct visits in a variety of ways, including:

    • Individual office visits;

    • Shared visits with multiple congressional staff in the same city; or

    • A Congressional Liaison Meeting.

  3. A Congressional Liaison Meeting is recommended every other year depending on need. The LTA or GL may invite representatives from IRS operating divisions, the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP), Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs), or state agencies to provide a coordinated forum for interaction with congressional staff. The LTA will provide critical information based on case analysis from TAMIS (Taxpayer Advocate Management Information System) on the different types of issues from congressional inquiries. If the analysis identifies any trends, the LTA should consider providing topical information on those trends.

13.6.1.12.3.2  (03-17-2009)
Washington DC Congressional Office Visit Requirements

  1. LTAs are required to deliver the NTA's Annual Report to Congress to congressional offices in both their local districts and Washington, DC.

  2. LTAs will visit the Washington offices during the annual TAS Leadership and Congressional Affairs Program (CAP) Conference. This event usually takes place early in February, a few weeks after the Annual Report is published.

  3. TAS C&L and the CLG will schedule and coordinate the main events of the conference, such as remarks by the NTA or other IRS officials. C&L and the CLG will also select the hotel and handle other logistics. However, LTAs must arrange their own travel and schedule their own visits to the offices of their state congressional delegations. Refer to the TAS Congressional Visit Planning Handbook, which is available on the C&L pages of the TAS website and is updated periodically by C&L and the CLG.

13.6.1.12.4  (03-17-2009)
Outreach Booth Guidelines

  1. Booth rentals may be allowed in limited situations for high-profile events. Local offices will request approval from C&L.

  2. The Comptroller General has ruled the government is self-insured and over the long term would pay more for insurance than for repairing or replacing items as necessary. Therefore, TAS is prohibited from purchasing additional insurance when shipping display booths.

  3. Please take the following steps when shipping the outreach booths to events:

    1. Be certain the address is correct on all containers shipped;

    2. Tape the label to the container with clear tape (but do not tape the bar code);

    3. Place the address inside the container in case the label gets torn or removed; and

    4. Contact C&L with the tracking information if your booth is lost in shipping.

13.6.1.12.5  (03-17-2009)
Outreach Reporting

  1. Report outreach costs by the following methods:

    • Monthly reporting the status of outreach plans;

    • Use of Project Cost Accounting System (PCAS) code for the Automated Financial System (AFS) and Travel Reimbursement and Accounting System (TRAS); and

    • Time reporting of outreach activities on Single Entry Time Reporting (SETR).

13.6.1.12.5.1  (03-17-2009)
Outreach Plans: Monthly Reporting

  1. Local TAS offices will review and report progress, changes, and results to their areas by the specified monthly date. Reports will include any updates to the database for outreach activities during that month.

  2. The Area will forward reports to C&L by the tenth day after the end of each month.

  3. C&L will consolidate the data for use in analysis, budget requests, communications and marketing plans, and other activities as needed.

13.6.1.12.5.2  (03-17-2009)
Outreach Cost Reporting

  1. TAS has established a special Project Cost Accounting System (PCAS) code, TASM1, to track travel and other costs related to TAS outreach activities. LTAs must use this code when preparing all travel vouchers and any procurement requests relating to outreach.

  2. TAS also has a special TRAS code, K1050, to track travel and other costs related to TAS outreach activities. LTAs must use this code on all travel vouchers relating to outreach.

13.6.1.12.5.3  (03-17-2009)
Outreach Time Reporting on SETR

  1. The SETR system has seven Organization Function Program (OFP) codes for TAS employees to use when reporting time spent on outreach:

    1. 36750: Internal -- records preparatory time, travel time, and presentation time for outreach activities involving other IRS employees.

    2. 36751: Congressional Office -- records preparatory time, travel time, and presentation time for outreach activities involving Senators, Representatives, and/or their staff members. This category also includes CL (congressional liaison) meetings and CAP conferences.

    3. 36752: Tax Practitioner -- records preparatory time, travel time, and presentation time for outreach activities involving tax practitioners/practitioner groups (e.g., attorneys, certified public accounts, public accountants, enrolled agents, electronic return originators, Tax Executive Institute, etc.).

    4. 36753: External Meetings/Speeches/Events -- records preparatory time, travel time, and presentation time for outreach activities involving external groups when the audience cannot be better defined by a more specific outreach category. This category encompasses efforts related to conferences, fairs, education groups/institutions, etc.

    5. 36754: Media -- records preparatory time, travel time, and presentation time involving outreach activities and interviews with media, including print, radio, and television.

    6. 36770: EITC -- records any time expended on working Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) cases or for preparatory time, travel time, and presentation time for any outreach activity primarily related to EITC.

    7. 36771: EITC Overtime -- records any overtime expended on working EITC cases or for any overtime grated for preparatory time, travel time, and presentation time for any outreach activity primarily related to EITC.

  2. Other outreach activities such as the development or distribution of IRS publications, forms, notices, and website work, do not precisely match any code above. Use the code that most closely fits the work performed to capture the time devoted to these outreach activities.

  3. Report all time spent on preparing for, traveling to, conducting, and performing follow-up activities related to outreach under one of these codes.

  4. Do not report time spent on preparing an outreach plan, reviewing its effectiveness, revising the plan, or reporting on progress under these codes. Report these activities under the "Management and Support" OFP code.

13.6.1.13  (03-17-2009)
E-mail Policy

  1. E-mail is the preferred method of disseminating information within local TAS offices, especially messages requiring action(s) and responses.

  2. Messages to "&TAS All Employees" must originate in Headquarters. Only time sensitive, urgent e-mails, such as a notification of a TAS-wide TAMIS outage, should be sent via the "&TAS All Employees" distribution list; otherwise use the TAS Wednesday Weekly. See IRM 13.6.1.3, TAS Messages, and IRM 13.6.1.5, TAS Newsletters.

  3. One of the following three designations should be at the front of the subject line on all TAS e-mail:

    • "A," Action;

    • "R," Response; and

    • "I," Information.

    The date is optional following one of these letters. An alternative designation for e-mail requesting a response is the question mark in parentheses (?) instead of the letter "R." See IRM 1.10.3.3.2, Categorize Messages.

13.6.1.13.1  (03-17-2009)
E-mail Priority

  1. Most TAS e-mail will be of normal priority. E-mail should be designated as high priority only if the recipient needs to act immediately. See IRM 1.10.3.3.3, Designate Priority.

13.6.1.13.2  (03-17-2009)
E-mail Sensitivity

  1. Most TAS e-mail will be of normal sensitivity. Do not forward messages designated as private or confidential. See IRM 1.10.3.3.4, Designate Sensitivity.

13.6.1.13.3  (03-17-2009)
E-mail Access And Responsibilities

  1. Employees will access e-mail on a regular basis whenever they can use the system. LTAs must see that their employees have, at minimum, basic e-mail training so they can send, receive, and store e-mail.

  2. Remote access to e-mail is available via the IRS intranet at http://webemail.enterprise.irs.gov . This page will instruct the user how to use web e-mail. Users with appropriate equipment and connectivity can access e-mail from any location.

  3. Employees must keep their profiles, addresses, and phone numbers current on Outlook.

  4. Senders should use a signature line that contains their direct phone number, fax, and VMS numbers.

  5. E-mail can be a method of avoiding "telephone tag." E-mail is not a substitute for verbal or face-to-face communication when these methods are appropriate, nor for a letter or memorandum when these more formal vehicles are appropriate.

  6. TAS e-mail will not use borders, backgrounds, or graphics of any type (including the TAS logo).

  7. The tone of e-mail will be courteous, businesslike, and professional.

13.6.1.13.4  (03-17-2009)
E-mail Content

  1. E-mail is an acceptable method of sharing information and of documenting information sharing with subordinates, supervisors, and other parties. When using e-mail to document sharing of information, use the "receipt notification" feature. When TAS memoranda or other documents are posted to a TAS website, managers may use e-mail to notify staff that the information is available, and provide links or access instructions.

13.6.1.13.5  (03-17-2009)
E-mail File Management

  1. Users can and should maximize the utility of e-mail by creating personal file folders in e-mail to reduce the redundancy of paper files. Automatic protocols in individual e-mail systems may set file storage limitations.

  2. Owners of distribution lists will update their lists periodically.

  3. TAS management is responsible for training all employees to effectively use and manage e-mail.

13.6.1.13.6  (03-17-2009)
E-Mail Restrictions

  1. All e-mail users are responsible for avoiding unnecessary e-mail in the system and following all established e-mail guidelines. All TAS e-mail users should follow the servicewide policy and guidance issued, revised, and updated by MITS and the MITS ACIO Cybersecurity Office. See IRM 10.8.1.4.6.3, Electronic Mail (E-mail) Security.

  2. Employees may not transmit taxpayer account information or any other Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) data by non-secure e-mail. When communicating with another IRS organization, employees may include taxpayer information in e-mail or its attachments with secure messaging. Employees may never send taxpayer account information by e-mail to taxpayers, their representatives, or other non-IRS/Treasury parties even if the other party uses encryption software. See IRM 1.10.3.2.1, Secure Messaging and Encryption.

  3. In general, TAS should not communicate with taxpayers by e-mail. E-mail communication with a taxpayer about the specifics of a taxpayer’s account does not meet the standards for TAS written communications. See IRM 13.1.6, Case Work Communications. Even disclosing that the taxpayer has contacted TAS can be considered a breach of the taxpayer’s privacy and have Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 6103 implications.

  4. TAS can never use e-mail to communicate with a taxpayer about the specifics of a case. In addition, TAS should generally not use e-mail to communicate with taxpayers for any other reason. It may be permissible to communicate with taxpayers via e-mail in limited circumstances. Employees should always consult their managers before using e-mail to correspond with a taxpayer in one of these limited situations:

    1. For example, if a taxpayer has contacted TAS and merely needs a copy of a form or a publication, nothing in the IRS’s e-mail policy would prohibit sending the material to the taxpayer via e-mail, as such information is not SBU data. See IRM 10.8.1.3.1.1.1, Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) Information.

    2. Another example of a limited situation when the use of e-mail may be appropriate is when TAS has been unable to reach the taxpayer by phone or mail after repeated attempts (e.g., in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, many phone lines were down and mail was being returned as undeliverable, so it was not possible to reach taxpayers by phone). In such a situation, TAS could use language similar to the following when contacting a taxpayer by e-mail: "Our records reflect you contacted us for information or assistance. We have been unable to reach you. Due to security concerns, the IRS does not generally correspond with the public via e-mail. If you would like to communicate with us, please call XXX-XXX-XXXX."

    3. Similarly, when the taxpayer has not provided a phone number when he or she first contacts TAS, e-mail may be appropriate (e.g., a taxpayer submits an entry on the Systemic Advocacy Management System (SAMS) and TAS needs to discuss the details of the submission with the taxpayer but only has the taxpayer’s e-mail address). In such a situation, TAS could use language similar to the following when contacting a taxpayer by e-mail: "I am writing you in response to your submission on the Systemic Advocacy Management System made on XX/XX/XXXX. I want to discuss further details with you regarding your submission, but due to security concerns, the IRS does not generally correspond with the public via e-mail. Please call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX."

13.6.1.14  (03-17-2009)
Facsimile (Fax) Policy

  1. Use e-mail in lieu of fax whenever possible, unless it is known that the recipient does not have e-mail access.

  2. Use TAS fax cover sheets for all outgoing faxes. The cover sheet should contain at a minimum:

    • TAS office identification information (logo, address, phone, and fax numbers);

    • Sender information (name, phone number if different from office number);

    • Date of fax transmission;

    • A confidentiality statement; and

    • Recipient information.

    Do not put taxpayer information and other sensitive information on the transmittal itself.

  3. The confidentiality statement should be similar in content and format to the following sample: CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This facsimile transmission and the documents accompanying it may contain confidential information which is privileged or is subject to non-disclosure provisions of Federal Law, including 26 U.S.C., Section 6103 and the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C., Section 552a. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, or distribution, or the taking of any action in reliance on the contents, is prohibited. If you have received this transmittal in error, please notify the sender immediately to arrange for the return of the document. Thank You.

  4. If possible, set TAS fax machines to record the date and time of incoming faxes. As long as there is no disclosure potential in the office (no after-hours maintenance, etc.), leave the machine on when the office is closed so taxpayers can transmit documents outside normal business hours.

13.6.1.15  (03-17-2009)
Voice Messaging System (VMS) Policy

  1. VMS is appropriate for transmitting information when the sender or recipient is out of the office and e-mail is unavailable. Do not use VMS when another medium is more appropriate.

  2. Executives will use VMS at their discretion to communicate significant policy decisions in coordination with e-mail.

  3. Any VMS for the NTA or DNTA should first be sent to the Director, C&L for review.

  4. VMS should be accessed on a regular basis. The use of group codes is recommended.

13.6.1.16  (03-17-2009)
Telephone Policy

  1. IRC § 7803(c)(2)(C)(iii) requires that the local telephone number for each LTA be published and available to taxpayers served by that office. Headquarters is responsible for coordinating the publication of numbers in local telephone directories covered by the GSA Blue Pages Project. Offices not covered by the Blue Pages Project should contact the MITS staff that supports the office and request that they place the Blue Pages template (with your local telephone number) into selected directories. See Exhibit 13.6.1-5, Blue Pages Template.

13.6.1.16.1  (03-17-2009)
Telephone Call Handling Procedures

  1. Offices may use an automated attendant during business hours to improve the efficiency of routing taxpayers to the employee or group that will be assigned their cases. Automated attendants must transfer the caller to an individual responsible for receiving calls. Employees are expected to answer their phones and not use voice mail as a screening device. Answering machines are not acceptable during normal office hours except in special circumstances when no one is available to answer the telephone, such as all-employee meetings, special lunches, etc. In no instance will calls be sent to answering devices/voice mail as standard procedure. Refer to IRM 13.1.6.6.(4), Telephone Listings and TAS Answering Machines.

  2. Recorded announcements on answering machines will not refer the caller back to the NTA toll-free line during normal business hours. All LTA offices should place the following standardized message on their main office intake numbers (but not individual employee numbers): You have reached the Taxpayer Advocate Office of the IRS in (city/state). We offer free, independent, and confidential tax assistance to taxpayers unable to resolve their tax problems with the IRS through normal channels or individuals experiencing economic harm. Please leave your name, telephone number, including area code, and your social security number or employer identification number. We will call you back within one business day. You can also fax your information to (XXX)-XXX-XXXX.

  3. The voice mail message of a contact employee must include the employee’s name and badge number.

  4. Telephone system capabilities and functionality may necessitate minor local deviation from these general guidelines.

13.6.1.17  (03-17-2009)
Teleconferencing: Conference Calls and Video Teleconferences

  1. Conference calls and compressed video teleconferences should be used to facilitate communication between members of a group in different posts of duty (PODs). Before making a commitment to travel, the office with financial responsibility for the meeting should determine if the subject can be addressed and resolved by conference call or video conference call.

13.6.1.17.1  (03-17-2009)
Teleconference Content

  1. Conference calls are an appropriate substitute for face-to-face meetings where staff or working group members are not all at the same POD. The call content is generally the same as in face-to-face meetings. Arrange calls and e-mail agendas and other material in advance so all callers join on time and use the time efficiently. Because a conference call may constitute a meeting under the terms of a contract, consider whether the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) should participate.

13.6.1.18  (03-17-2009)
U.S. Mail (Surface Mail) Policy

  1. Mail directly impacts every TAS employee. Much of TAS's work comes in and goes out by mail. Efficient mail management directly affects relationships with taxpayers and other customers, and contributes to the image and reputation of our entire organization. TAS must strive to prevent delays in both sending and receiving mail. The customer’s right to privacy for tax or employee related data must prevail over all other considerations.

13.6.1.18.1  (03-17-2009)
Incoming U.S. Mail Procedures

  1. All incoming TAS mail will be processed expeditiously under the following policies and procedures:

    • IRC § 7803(c)(2)(C)(iii) requires each TAS office to secure and maintain means of communication independent of other IRS offices. This requires each local office to maintain a separate mailing address (as well as a separate phone, fax, and other electronic communication access). A separate room or stop number satisfies this requirement.

    • All incoming mail, both internal and external, will be date stamped on the day TAS receives it. The TAS received date is not the IRS received date.

    • All taxpayer inquiries will be processed in accordance with the guidelines in IRM 13.1.7, Taxpayer Advocate Case Processing, Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Case Criteria.

    • Administrative mail will be processed according to local procedures.

    • Local office variance from mail opening and handling procedures may arise due to differing secure handling requirements and security precautions.

13.6.1.18.2  (03-17-2009)
Outgoing U.S. Mail Procedures

  1. TAS will process all outgoing mail expeditiously under the following policies and procedures:

    • The IRS specifies a 9 1/2 x 41/8 inch envelope for mailing 1 to 10 folded sheets of letter size paper.

    • The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) assesses a surcharge on mail in large size envelopes (referred to as "flats"). Do not use envelopes larger than 6 1/8 x 111/2inches for mail that can be folded and mailed in a "business" size envelope.

    • When a reply envelope must be included for a response from an IRS office or other agency, use the E-25CR. The person sending this envelope back must apply his or her own postage.

  2. The Business Reply Envelope (E-25BR) may only be used for official reply purposes when requesting information for the convenience of the government, in tax liability investigations when information is solicited from a third party not representing the taxpayer; or from an employee’s references. Employees can also use the Business Reply Envelope on a case-by-case basis for taxpayers unable to supply the postage needed to send documents or information to TAS to resolve their cases.

  3. Use first class mail unless non-receipt will have a detrimental effect on business the next day. Do not use special mail designations, including certified, registered, and return receipt requested, except when required by statute or when litigation may be anticipated. Limit the use of express mail to "mission critical" circumstances.

  4. When express service is necessary, Form 9814, Express Service Routing, must accompany each package dropped off in the mailroom. Use street addresses, not post office box numbers. A phone number for the recipient is required.

13.6.1.18.3  (03-17-2009)
Templates For TAS Correspondence

  1. The IRS Correspondence Manual defines policy and procedures for preparation of IRS and Treasury Department correspondence. These procedures govern all non-congressional correspondence except letters with approved form numbers and TAS templates.

  2. TAS has approved three templates, which are available through the Electronic Publishing website at http://publish.no.irs.gov/catlg.html , for all official correspondence:

    1. Type 1 is Form 13081A, Catalog Number 34700J, which contains the TAS logo, independence statement and reporting requirements, and is intended for all general official correspondence.

    2. Type 2 is Form 13082A and is only for use by the NTA.

    3. Type 3 is Form 13306 and is only for use by the DNTA.

  3. Include specific employee contact information (name, phone number, badge number etc.) in the body of the letter if necessary. If the correspondence does not use one of the approved templates, include the TAS independence statement and reporting requirements in the footer as follows: The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate operates independently of any other IRS office and reports directly to Congress through the National Taxpayer Advocate.

Exhibit 13.6.1-1 
TAS Communications Assistance Request

TAS Communications Assistance Request

(Revised July 2008)

Send completed document toDIRECTOR, TAS C&Land*TASCommunications

1. Content Requestor Information

Requested By  
Phone Number  
Date of Request  
Preferred Media: TAS Home Page, other TAS web page (identify web page), TAS Wednesday Weekly, TAS Forum for Managers, VMS, IVT, other (specify):  
If TAS Home Page, please provide a short description of the article  
 

2. Message Information

Title of Message:  
Message: Please provide a draft message with applicable links to IRM or website. If you are including an NTA/DNTA Guidance Memo, attach the signed memo (as a Word document) to this request. All documents, whether attached or linked from the website, must be Section 508 compliant (no scanned PDFs) and "clean" with no edits, comments or markup visible.  
Who are your stakeholders/customers? (LTAs, Directors, All TAS Managers, RATAs/ROTAs, Case Advocates, Intake Specialist, Analysts, Support Staff, All TAS Employees)  
If your stakeholders/customers are managers, is the information confidential? (i.e., not to be shared with employees)  
What is the impact on management?  
What is the impact on employees?  
Does this require NTEU notification and a 7114 Meeting?  
What are the case-related issues? Have they been coordinated with the EDCA and / or TAG?  
What are the Training Issues? Have they been coordinated with Employee Development?  
What is the impact on other stakeholders (Internal - External)?  
Does this impact Taxpayers?  

3. FOIA

Does this fall under FOIA guidelines? (If yes, please note that the item should be posted to the irs.gov FOIA page as well as on the TAS website)  

4. Publishing Information

When do you want this item published?  
Who approved the final product? Communication Message must be approved by a Director. In most instances, this will be an HQ or Area Director, EDCA, or EDSA.  
Provide contact person and telephone number, if different from requestor  

Exhibit 13.6.1-2 
Standard TAS Language

Mission Statement

As an independent organization within the IRS, we help taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS and recommend changes that will prevent the problems.

Ten Things to Know About the Taxpayer Advocate Service

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS. We help taxpayers whose problems with the IRS are causing financial difficulties; who have tried but have not been able to resolve their problems with the IRS; and those who believe an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should. Here are ten things every taxpayer should know about TAS:

  1. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is your voice at the IRS.

  2. Our service is free and tailored to meet your needs.

  3. You may be eligible for our help if you have tried to resolve your tax problem through normal IRS channels and have gotten nowhere, or you believe an IRS procedure just isn't working as it should.

  4. The worst thing you can do is nothing at all!

  5. We help taxpayers whose problems are causing financial difficulty or significant cost, including the cost of professional representation. This includes businesses as well as individuals.

  6. If you qualify for our help, we’ll do everything we can to get your problem resolved. You will be assigned to one advocate who will be with you at every turn.

  7. We have at least one local taxpayer advocate office in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. You can call your local advocate, whose number is in your phone book, in Pub. 1546, Taxpayer Advocate Service -- Your Voice at the IRS, and on our website at www.irs.gov/advocate. You can also call our toll-free number at 1-877-777-4778.

  8. As a taxpayer, you have rights that the IRS must abide by in its dealings with you. Our tax toolkit at www.TaxpayerAdvocate.irs.gov can help you understand these rights.

  9. TAS also handles large-scale or systemic problems that affect many taxpayers. If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to us through our Systemic Advocacy Management System at www.irs.gov/advocate.

  10. You can get updates on hot tax topics by visiting our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/tasnta and our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/YourVoiceAtIRS, or by following our tweets at http://twitter.com/YourVoiceatIRS.


TAS Language for IRS Publications

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is your voice at the IRS. Our job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly, and that you know and understand your rights. We offer free help to guide you through the often-confusing process of resolving tax problems that you haven’t been able to solve on your own. Remember, the worst thing you can do is nothing at all.

TAS can help if you can’t resolve your problem with the IRS and:

  • Your problem is causing financial difficulties for you, your family, or your business.

  • You face (or your business is facing) an immediate threat of adverse action.

  • You have tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded, or the IRS has not responded to you by the date promised.

If you qualify for our help, we’ll do everything we can to get your problem resolved. You will be assigned to one advocate who will be with you at every turn. We have offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Although TAS is independent within the IRS, our advocates know how to work with the IRS to get your problems resolved. And our services are always free.

As a taxpayer, you have rights that the IRS must abide by in its dealings with you. Our tax toolkit at www.TaxpayerAdvocate.irs.gov can help you understand these rights.

If you think TAS might be able to help you, call your local advocate, whose number is in your phone book and on our website at www.irs.gov/advocate. You can also call our toll-free number at 1-877-777-4778.

TAS also handles large-scale or systemic problems that affect many taxpayers. If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to us through our Systemic Advocacy Management System at www.irs.gov/advocate.

TAS Language: Medium-Length Version

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS. We help taxpayers whose problems with the IRS are causing financial difficulties; who have tried but have not been able to resolve their problems with the IRS; and those who believe an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should.

You can contact TAS by calling the TAS toll-free number at 1-877-777-4778 to determine whether you are eligible for assistance. You can also call or write to your local taxpayer advocate, whose phone number and address are listed in your local telephone directory and in Publication 1546 , Taxpayer Advocate Service – Your Voice at the IRS. You can file Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order), or ask an IRS employee to complete it on your behalf. For more information, go to www.irs.gov/advocate.

TAS Language: Short Version

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS. We help taxpayers whose problems with the IRS are causing financial difficulties; who have tried but have not been able to resolve their problems with the IRS; and those who believe an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should. If you believe you are eligible for TAS assistance, you can reach TAS by calling the TAS toll-free number at 1–877–777–4778 or TTY/TDD 1-800-829-4059. For more information, go to www.irs.gov/advocate.

TAS Language for Statutory Notices of Deficiency

The IRS office whose phone number appears at the top of the notice can best address and access your tax information and help get you answers. You may be eligible for help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) if you have tried to resolve your tax problem through normal IRS channels and have gotten nowhere, or you believe an IRS procedure just isn't working as it should. TAS is your voice at the IRS. TAS helps taxpayers whose problems are causing financial difficulty or significant cost, including the cost of professional representation (this includes businesses as well as individuals). You can reach TAS by calling the TAS toll-free number at 1-877-777-4778 or by contacting the local Taxpayer Advocate office at _____ (insert local address). To learn more about TAS and your basic tax responsibilities, visit www.TaxpayerAdvocate.irs.gov.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC)

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS. Some clinics serve individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve a tax problem. These clinics provide professional representation before the IRS or in court on audits, appeals, tax collection disputes, and other issues for free or for a small fee. Some clinics can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in many different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. For more information and to find a clinic near you, see the LITC page on www.TaxpayerAdvocate.irs.gov or IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List. This publication is also available by calling 1-800-829-3676 or at your local IRS office.

Taxpayer Advocacy Panel

Taxpayer Advocacy Panel: Taxpayers have an opportunity to provide direct input to the IRS through the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP). The TAP is an independent panel of citizen volunteers who listen to taxpayers, identify taxpayers’ issues, and make suggestions for improving IRS service and customer satisfaction. Contact TAP at www.improveirs.org.

Exhibit 13.6.1-3 
TAS IVT Executive Summary

Executive Summary – Date
TAS Video Teleconference
Title: xxx
Objective: This live IVT broadcast will present.
Participants: List Presenters and Titles
Audience: Identify who is to view the program
Time: xx - xx ET VIDEO TELECONFERENCE
TOPIC LENGTH PRESENTERS PP Slide Number
Opening Remarks 5 minutes    
Introduction 5 minutes    
Content Flow of Broadcast      
Closing 5 minutes    
Total IVT Time: xx minutes    

Exhibit 13.6.1-4 
IVT Final Broadcast Preparations

In most cases, there are relatively few final preparations that should be made on the day of broadcast. All of the scripts have been written, the graphics have been built, and everyone has rehearsed. Right?

Okay, there are often a number of things that must be done on the day of broadcast. Presenters must arrive at the TV studio at least 2-3 hours before broadcast time to be completely ready when it's time to go live.

Writing Good Scripts and /or Talking Points:


• Outline it first
• Read it Out Loud: aim for conversational style!
• Use Active Voice
• Keep Words and Sentences Simple

On Set Rehearsal: In most cases, presenters are asked to run through a small part of their presentation on camera. This allows the crew to check sound, lighting, camera angles, and other technical aspects of the broadcast. It also gives the presenters a last chance to make sure they're comfortable with everything they need to do.

Note:

If using a script, it is strongly recommended that no or very few changes be made on the day of broadcast. It's acceptable to change the wording here and there, but it's not a good idea to reject something that has been rehearsed in favor of something new.

Looking Good on Television

Some people say that Richard M. Nixon would have been elected president in 1960 if only he had looked better during his televised debates with John F. Kennedy. That may or may not be true, but appearance counts. There are some simple things presenters can do to insure that their appearance helps to reinforce their message rather than detracting from it.

Dressing For Television: Wear something comfortable. In addition to these tips, the producer/director for your program may have some specific advice on what will look best under the type of lighting for your presentation.

Regular business attire is usually fine for presenting in an IVT. The following list is a set of general guidelines to prevent distracting video "noise" .

Men’s Attire:


• Grey, brown or blue jacket or suit with solid color dress shirt. Neckties should be free of any busy pattern. A little red or yellow in the tie looks very good.

Women’s Attire:


•Blue, maroon, and dark green usually look best.
• Avoid reds and oranges and other bright colors.
• No pure white or pure black.
• Avoid plaids or any type of pinstripe.
• Wear something with a lapel, necktie or other place to clip a microphone, and a pocket or belt to hold the battery pack.
• Avoid large, shiny jewelry such as dangling earrings or anything that may make noise, like multiple bracelets.

Makeup:

If a makeup artist has been hired, most presenters will need to spend 15 - 20 minutes getting made up. Some will need more time, some less. A makeup artist ensures that everyone looks natural. The purpose is to even out the skin tones, take off the shine, and defend the presenters' faces from what the camera will do to them. If a make-up artist is not available, the TV Studio has a small supply of neutral-colored makeup to take off the shine and even out the skin tones.

You might not think that makeup was strictly necessary for training or informational broadcasts. But the TV studio is not a natural environment. Makeup is a good thing to consider, for the following reasons:


• Studio lighting is very bright and can accentuate wrinkles and blemishes;
• Nobody has a completely even skin tone; and
• Noses and foreheads can get pretty shiny.

In Summary:


• Practice/rehearse your material
• Arrive at the TV studio in a timely manner
• Dress for television
• Relax. It will be completed in a few hours.

Exhibit 13.6.1-5 
Blue Pages Template

Internal Revenue Service

http://www.irs.gov

Taxpayer Assistance Center – street address

Need a Tax Form………………………………….....………………………….……...800-829-3676

24 Hr/day Recorded Tax Info…………….……...…………………………………..…800-829-4477

24 Hr/day Refund status - self serve…….......….………….………………………….800-829-4477

Tax Help Line - Individuals………………...…….……………………………………..800-829-1040

Business / Specialty Tax Line…………...………..………………………….………..800-829-4933

Refund Hotline…………………….………..……….………………………………......800-829-1954

TTY……....……………………………..……….......…….............................…..………800-829-4059

Report Tax Fraud Violations..........……………..............………....................………..800-829-0433

Tax Exempt/Govt Entities….……..…........................………………………….….…..877-829-5500

Local Area Office…………………...……………………..…………………………....xxx-xxx-xxxx

Taxpayer Advocate Service

http://www.irs.gov/advocate

National Taxpayer Advocate Intake Line..…..............…..............................……….877-777-4778

Local Taxpayer Advocate................….........….....…………………...........................xxx-xxx-xxxx


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