21.1.1  Accounts Management and Compliance Services Overview

Manual Transmittal

September 10, 2014

Purpose

(1) This transmits a revised IRM 21.1.1, Accounts Management and Compliance Services Operations, Accounts Management and Compliance Services Overview.

Material Changes

(1) Various editorial changes have been made throughout this IRM.

(2) IRM 21.1.1.2(2) - removed reference to Probe and Response Guide.

(3) IPU 13U1757 issued 12-23-2013 IRM 21.1.1.4 - removed tax preparation from Field Assistance Responsibilities.

(4) IPU 14U0440 issued 03-06-2014 IRM 21.1.1.6(5) - added details on CSRs not trained in tax law.

(5) IPU 14U0765 issued 04-24-2014 IRM 21.1.1.6(5) - provided guidance to Applications for Affordable Care Act (ACA) Special Services and Electronic Tax Law Assistance (ETLA).

(6) IPU 14U0866 issued 05-14-2014 IRM 21.1.1.6(5) - added Application 25 (Employment Tax Accounts) and Application 30 (Business Accounts) to exception.

(7) IRM 21.1.1.6.1(5) - removed reference to Probe and Response Guide.

(8) IPU 13U1757 issued 12-23-2013 IRM 21.1.1.1.6(5) - (8) - revised to provide procedures for Accounts Management (AM) representatives relating to new tax law procedures effective January 2, 2014.

(9) IPU 14U0765 issued 04-24-2014 IRM 21.1.1.6.1(6) - clarified identification of forms; removes when to file a particular form.

(10) IPU 14U0440 issued 03-06-2014 IRM 21.1.1.6(6)(7) - added NOTE for assistors receiving calls on the Default Screener application.

(11) IPU 14U0132 issued 01-16-2014 IRM 21.1.1.6(6)(7) - provided reference to Exhibit 21.1.1-2.

(12) IPU 14U1150 issued 07-17-2014 IRM 21.1.1.7(2) - updated procedures to require the use of 10 digit Personal Identification Number (PID).

(13) IPU 14U0179 issued 01-24-2014 IRM 21.1.1.7(9)(d) - removed reference to preparation of R-Mail.

(14) IRM 21.1.1.7(9)(e) - provided clarification on call containing more than one taxpayer requesting account information.

(15) IPU 14U0651 issued 04-08-2014 IRM 21.1.1.7(9)(e) - provided instructions for calls received by practitioners.

(16) IPU 14U0668 issued 04-09-2014 IRM 21.1.1.7(9)(e) - replaced Tax Practitioners with callers.

(17) IRM 21.1.1.7(13), (14) and (16) - removed reference to Probe and Response Guide.

(18) IPU 14U0132 issued 01-16-2014 IRM 21.1.1.7(24) - provided instructions on when to use personal electronic devices.

(19) IPU 14U1150 issued 07-17-2014 IRM 21.1.1.8.1(3)(a) - updated procedures to require the use of 10 digit Personal Identification Number (PID).

(20) IPU 14U0440 issued 03-06-2014 IRM 21.1.1.8.1(5)(c) - added procedures for Default Screeners on addressing transfers to the automated assistance line for out-of-scope.

(21) IPU 14U0668 issued 04-09-2014 IRM 21.1.1.8.1(5)(c) - provided clarification on out-of-scope procedures for Default Screeners on addressing transfers to the Telephone Transfer Guide.

(22) IPU 13U1757 issued 12-23-2013 IRM 21.1.1.8.1(7)(8) - provided new procedures to Default Screeners on current year only refund inquiries.

(23) IPU 14U0440 issued 03-06-2014 IRM 21.1.1.8.1(8)(a) - added procedures on amended return refund status.

(24) IPU 13U1757 issued 12-23-2013 IRM 21.1.1.8.1(10) - corrected E-File PIN extension.

(25) IPU 13U1757 issued 12-23-2013 IRM 21.1.1.10 - added IRM reference for Contact Recording.

(26) IPU 14U0440 issued 03-06-2014 IRM 21.1.1.10(7) - clarified usage of Stop on Demand Icon.

(27) IPU 13U1757 issued 12-23-2013 Exhibit 21.1.1-1 - provided clarification on out-of-scope topics.

(28) IPU 14U0132 issued 01-16-2014 Exhibit 21.1.1-1 - updated to show IRM reference.

(29) IPU 14U0440 issued 03-06-2014 Exhibit 21.1.1-1 - added additional forms that are out-of-scope.

(30) IPU 14U0132 issued 01-16-2014 Exhibit 21.1.1-2 - added new exhibit providing instructions on out-of-scope references.

(31) IPU 14U0144 issued 01-21-2014 Exhibit 21.1.1-2 - updated to provide clarification on Tax Law Communications.

(32) IPU 14U0179 issued 01-24-2014 Exhibit 21.1.1-2 - updated to remove "Tax Law" from exhibit and provide more detailed information on those types of inquiries.

(33) IPU 14U0440 issued 03-06-2014 Exhibit 21.1.1-2 - provided detailed information on accessing IRS.gov; provided clarification of selection for Tele-Tax topics.

(34) IPU 14U0765 issued 04-24-2014 Exhibit 21.1.1-2 - clarified resources available to the taxpayer.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 21.1.1 dated 9/6/2013 (effective 10/1/2013) is superseded. The following IRM Procedural Updates issued from 12/13/2013 through 5/14/2014 have been incorporated into this IRM: 13U1757, 14U0132, 14U0144, 14U0179, 14U0440, 14U0651, 14U0668, 14U0765, 14U0866 and 14U1150.

Audience

All IRS employees in Business Operating Divisions (BODs) who are in contact with taxpayers by telephone, correspondence, or in person

Effective Date

(10-01-2014)

James P. Clifford
Director, Accounts Management
Wage and Investment Division

21.1.1.1  (03-15-2013)
Overview

  1. The IRS mission is to provide America's taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.

  2. The IRS will not tolerate discriminatory treatment of taxpayers by its employees in any programs or activities supported by the Service. No taxpayer should be subject to discrimination in educational programs or activities based on sex, race, color, national origin, disability, reprisal, religion or age.

  3. If a taxpayer believes they have been discriminated against on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, disability, reprisal, religion or age, advise the taxpayer that he/she can forward an e-mail to edi.civil.rights.division@irs.gov, or send a written complaint to: Operations Director, Civil Rights Division, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution, NW, Room 2413, Washington, DC 20224.

  4. The Wage and Investment (W&I) and Small Business/Self Employed (SB/SE) Business Operating Divisions (BODs) are responsible for taxpayer relationships by:

    1. Providing general tax related information,

    2. Providing information on the status of taxpayer returns/refunds/accounts, and

    3. Adjusting taxpayer accounts, when appropriate.

  5. These responsibilities are divided into three subordinate units:

    • Customer Assistance, Relationships, and Education (CARE)

    • Customer Account Services (CAS)

    • Compliance

  6. To ensure taxpayer inquiries and accounts are addressed correctly, Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC), Accounts Management, and Compliance Services use the guidelines provided in IRM 21, Customer Account Services.

21.1.1.2  (10-01-2014)
Accounts Management Responsibilities

  1. The Accounts Management organization in CAS is responsible for taxpayer relations by answering tax law/account inquiries and adjusting tax accounts. In addition, it is responsible for providing taxpayers with information on the status of their returns/refunds, and for resolving the majority of issues and questions to settle their accounts.

  2. For more information, refer to procedures throughout:

    • IRM 21, Customer Account Services

    • IRM 5, Collecting Process

    • IRM 20.1, Penalty Handbook

    • IRM 20.2, Interest

    • Interactive Tax Law Assistant (ITLA)

    • Job aids for IRM 21

  3. All of the tools mentioned in paragraph (2) above are accessed through the IRS Intranet-Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) site.

  4. The Return Integrity and Correspondence Services, Office of Taxpayer Correspondence (OTC), is the Enterprise point of contact when significant volume of erroneous correspondence is issued to taxpayers or when there is a risk of issuing considerable volumes of erroneous correspondence. It is the responsibility of all IRS employees to report erroneous correspondence as soon as possible to the OTC. For erroneous correspondence procedures, see IRM 25.13.1.3, Erroneous Correspondence Procedures - Red Button Process.

21.1.1.3  (10-01-2004)
Compliance Services Responsibilities

  1. The Compliance Services organization is responsible for taxpayer relations by providing support services to the Compliance organization through administration of the following programs. This list is not all inclusive.

    • Alternative Strategies for Tax Administration (ASTA)

    • Automated Collection System (ACS)

    • Automated Underreporter (AUR)

    • Backup Withholding (BUWH)

    • Combined Annual Wage Reporting (CAWR)

    • Correspondence Examination (Corr Exam)

    • Deferred Adverse Tax Consequences (DATC)

    • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

    • Federal Unemployment Tax Administration (FUTA)

    • Installment Agreements (IA)

    • Offers in Compromise (OIC)

    • Return Delinquency (RD)

    • Substitute for Return (SFR) and Automated Substitute for Return (ASFR)

  2. For more information on Compliance support services, see IRM 5.18, Liability Determination, and IRM 5.19, Liability Collection.

21.1.1.4  (12-23-2013)
Field Assistance Responsibilities

  1. The Field Assistance organization is responsible for taxpayer relationships by providing personal assistance to answer tax law questions and resolve account issues. In addition, the Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) offices provide help with:

    • Solutions to tax issues

    • Multilingual interpreter services

    • Payments/payment arrangements

    • Proof of receipt of tax returns

    • Alien clearances (Sailing Permits)

    • Various other services

  2. For more information on TAC responsibilities, see IRM 21.3.4.2, Standard Services in a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC), and procedures throughout this IRM.

21.1.1.5  (10-01-2012)
Commitment to Quality

  1. All functional areas of the IRS are committed to achieving excellence in the service provided to all taxpayers. Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are trained to communicate with taxpayers and to be knowledgeable of tax law and related IRS operational procedures. CSRs must assist taxpayers, practitioners and other third parties, in a manner that warrants the highest degree of public confidence.

  2. To ensure quality service for our customers, all work performed by CSRs is subject to review. Some of this work is reviewed by the Centralized Quality Review Site (CQRS) and some of the work is reviewed by the Program Analysis System (PAS). The national review is designed to review all phases of telephone contacts (account and tax law calls), e-mail, and closed cases (both paper and telephone initiated).

  3. The results of these reviews are input to the National Quality Review System (NQRS). NQRS is available to all authorized users. Refer to IRM 21.10.1, Embedded Quality (EQ) Program for Accounts Management, Compliance Services, Field Assistance, Tax Exempt/Government Entities (TE/GE), and Electronic Products and Services Support for more information.

21.1.1.6  (05-14-2014)
Customer Service Representative (CSR) Duties

  1. A CSR (referred to throughout this section) includes, but is not limited to, the following named positions:

    • Contact Representative

    • Individual Taxpayer Advisory Specialist (ITAS)

    • Office Collection Representative (OCR)

    • Senior Taxpayer Advisory Specialist (STAS)

    • Tax Account Representative (TAR)

    • Tax Examiner (TE)

    • Tax Law Specialist (TLS)

    • Tax Specialist (TS)

    • Tax Technician (TT)

    • Taxpayer Service Representative (TSR)

    Note:

    All employees assigned to Accounts Management, Field Assistance and Compliance Services are considered CSRs.

  2. The duties of a CSR are varied. Many hours are spent on the telephone, working paper cases, or assisting taxpayers at a TAC counter. Paper cases include both incoming taxpayer correspondence and internally generated cases.

  3. The duties of a CSR include, but are not limited to:

    • Adjusting tax return accounts

    • Answering tax law questions

    • Assisting taxpayers directly or by transferring to the appropriate application using the Telephone Transfer Guide (TTG)

    • Preparing original and substitute returns

    • Proposing additional assessments

    • Securing delinquent returns

    • Resolving delinquent accounts

    • Responding to correspondence

    • Providing functional support (i.e., other duties as assigned)

  4. Taxpayer inquiries include telephone calls, correspondence, and personal contacts about:

    • Accounts

    • Notices and letters

    • Payments

    • Refunds

    • Requests for forms, publications, and public use documents, including alternative media, i.e., Braille (BR) and large print (LP)

    • Requests for installment agreements and direct debit agreements

    • Requests for payroll deduction authorizations

    • Requests for tax account adjustments

    • Requests for transcripts of accounts and account information

    • Tax law

    • Requests for addresses to mail returns, payments, and/or correspondence

    Note:

    For callers using private delivery services (PDS), provide the Submission Processing (SP) campus street addresses. The only PDS designated by the IRS are DHL Express (DHL), Federal Express (FEDEX), and United Parcel Service (UPS). PDS cannot deliver items to P.O. Boxes. The SP campus street addresses are located on SERP (under the Who/Where tab) in the Post of Duty (POD) List.

  5. Accounts Management (AM) representatives trained in tax law will be responsible for answering In-Scope (IS) tax law inquiries ONLY from January 2 through April 15. After that date (April 16) and continuing for the remainder of the year (December 31) taxpayers should be referred to self help options listed in Exhibit 21.1.1-2. Representatives not trained in tax law will transfer In-Scope tax law inquiries during this time-frame using the TTG. Tax law assistance includes responding to inquiries regarding:

    • If income is taxable,

    • If the taxpayer is eligible for a tax benefit (taxpayer identification number (TIN)/income requirements, time frame for eligibility, etc.), and

    • If an expense (or loss) is deductible.

      Note:

      This includes advising the taxpayer of the appropriate forms for reporting requirements.

    Exception: Application 363 (International Tax Law), Tax Exempt Government Entities (TEGE), Application 25 (Employment Tax Accounts), Application 30 (Business Accounts), Application 98 (Special Services, Application 113/114 (Affordable Care Act - (ACA) assistors) will continue to answer tax law inquiries year round except for those listed under extensions 92192/92193 and 92194/92195 in the TTG. Those staffing App. 113 and 98 (Special Services) should probe to determine if the source of the inquiry is ACA related or special services related at the beginning of the call. If the call was an erroneous referral, follow out-of-scope procedures. ETLA assistors will answer basic tax law topics listed under extensions 92192 (English) and 92193 (Spanish) through September 30, 2014.

  6. AM will NOT be answering out-of-scope (OOS) tax law questions. During filing season, topics listed in the TTG (as well as those listed in Exhibit 21.1.1-1) under Extensions 92194 (English) and 92195 (Spanish) will be OOS tax law topics. Taxpayers should be referred to the self help options on ALL OOS tax law questions, following the instructions in Exhibit 21.1.1-2, Out-of-Scope Communications.

    Note:

    Only assistors receiving calls on the Default Screener application should transfer OOS questions.

  7. Post filing season, ALL tax law will be OOS, (except those listed in the Exception in paragraph 5). Topics listed in the TTG (as well as those listed in Exhibit 21.1.1-1) under Extensions 92192 (English) and 92193 (Spanish) for basic and intermediate tax law and 92194 (English) and 92195 (Spanish) for advanced tax law will be OOS. Taxpayers should be referred to the self help options for information on all OOS tax law questions, following the instructions in Exhibit 21.1.1-2, Out-of-Scope Communications.

    Note:

    Only assistors receiving calls on Default Screener application should transfer OOS questions.

  8. Field Assistance representatives should refer to IRM 21.3.4.3.6.5 to determine if the question is considered in-scope or out-of-scope.

  9. See IRM 21.1.1.6.1Out of Scope and Limited Service, for information regarding the services CAS, Accounts Management, will not provide.

21.1.1.6.1  (10-01-2014)
Out of Scope and Limited Service

  1. The areas discussed below are beyond the level of service (out of scope) that CAS, Accounts Management will provide:

    • Tax form and schedule preparation

    • Tax planning

    • Legal opinions

    • Highly complex tax issues (limited service)

  2. Tax form and schedule preparation is defined as:

    • Use of taxpayer information to provide "line by line" assistance in the completion of all or most of a form/schedule.

    • Performance of "line by line" computations and guidance on what to enter on each line (although not necessarily every line).

    • Verification of form/schedule entries after completion by the taxpayer.

      Exception:

      Tax form/schedule preparation does not apply to completion of worksheets (e.g., Form 1040ES Worksheet, and tax or credit computation worksheets).

  3. Tax planning is defined as a request as to whether one course of action is favored over another.

  4. Legal opinions are not provided. However, CSRs can advise taxpayers of the applicable law.

  5. Highly complex inquiries are inquiries that cannot be expeditiously resolved by referencing IRS publications, procedures, forms, instructions or through IRM research within a reasonable amount of time.

    • CSRs are required to respond to tax law inquiries by using ITLA. However, "limited service" may be provided by Accounts Management employees for highly complex issues.

    • While these inquiries generally involve extensive research using Revenue Procedures, the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), Lexis-Nexis, Westlaw or the Commerce Clearing House (CCH), a CSR trained on the topic may provide a brief overview/discussion or an expeditious response to a simple inquiry.

    • "Limited Service" determinations are only made by CSRs trained/certified to respond to tax law inquiries in the application responsible for the subject area of inquiry.

  6. CSRs are responsible for using good judgement and probing in making determinations and advising taxpayers of their options for obtaining the information requested, including some out of scope (OOS) topics. CSRs should probe to determine the purpose of the call and provide basic information on OOS topics such as:

    • Identifying a form

    • How to obtain a particular form for OOS topic

    • Provide related publications as it may relate to a particular form or OOS topic

    • Provide any related web sources, as it may relate to a particular form or OOS topic

  7. For specific information on responding to "Out of Scope" and "Limited Service" inquiries, see Exhibit 21.1.1-1, Out of Scope Topics and Forms. This list is not all inclusive.

    1. Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, and Schedule A, Public Charity Status and Public Support

    2. Form 990-BL, Information and Initial Excise Tax Return for Black Lung Benefit Trusts and Certain Related Persons

    3. Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return

    4. Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation or Section 4947(a)(1) Trust Treated as a Private Foundation

    5. Form 990-W, Estimated Tax on Unrelated Business Taxable Income for Tax Exempt Organizations

    6. Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code

    7. Form 1024, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code

    8. Form 1028, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 521

    9. Form 1120-POL, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Political Organizations

    10. Form 5309, Application for Determination of Employee Stock Ownership Plan

    11. Form 5310, Application for Determination Upon Termination

    12. Form 5768, Election/Revocation of Election by an Eligible Section 501(c)(3) Organization to Make Expenditures to Influence Legislation (Under Section 501(h) of the Internal Revenue Code)

    13. Form 8718, User Fee for Exempt Organization Determination Letter Request

    Note:

    Inquiries regarding the forms above should be transferred to the appropriate Telephone Transfer Guide applications.

21.1.1.7  (10-01-2014)
Communication Skills

  1. The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (IRS RRA 98), Section 3705(a), provides identification requirements for all IRS employees working tax related matters.

  2. You must provide, in a professional and courteous manner, the following information to each taxpayer/caller you speak with during the contact:

    • By telephone or face to face contact, provide your title (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Ms, Miss), last name, and identification (ID) (Badge) Number or, if the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12/SmartID Card) has been issued, use the 10 digits your personal identification (PID) Number, OR your first name, last name, and ID/badge number or the 10 digits of your PID Number if the HSPD-12 (SmartID card) is issued. Do not accept any collect calls.

    • By written correspondence, provide your generated Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) or other unique letter system number. If an IDRS/unique number is not generated, use your ID/badge number or all 10 digits of your PID if the IRS HSPD-12 (SmartID card) is issued. Do not use IRS jargon when communicating (either speaking or corresponding) with the taxpayer.

  3. Greet the caller.

    1. The CSR must promptly greet the taxpayer as outlined in paragraph (2), above. When the call is connected, if there is no taxpayer on the line, disconnect the call within 30 seconds and move on to the next call.

    2. If the caller asks you to repeat your name and identification number, please do so courteously and professionally.

    3. Speak to the caller in a pleasant, courteous, and professional manner indicating a willingness to help, by using an appropriate phrase such as "May I help you?" or "How can I help you?" .

  4. Respond to the caller's opening statement.

  5. Transferring calls to the Spanish gate or translator. When an assistor receives a call from a Spanish speaking individual and is unable to complete Disclosure Authentication or obtain Oral Disclosure Consent due to limited (or no) English language, it is appropriate to transfer the call to the Spanish gate. This follows the specialized product review group (SPRG) definition in IRM 21.10.1.4.1.12, Definition of Spanish Tax Law and Account Calls SPRG.

    Reminder:

    A transfer of this type is only used when the assistor cannot be understood (by all parties) nor can the assistor understand all parties to obtain the required disclosure authentication or answer the taxpayer's/representative's question.

    Note:

    If an individual is calling in a language other than Spanish, when the assistor cannot be understood (by all parties) nor can the assistor understand all parties to obtain the required disclosure authentication or answer the taxpayer's/representative's question, advise the caller they will need to call back with a translator. See IRM 21.1.3.4, Other Third Party Inquiries, for additional information.

    Note:

    If an individual is calling relating to EIN toll-free telephone service, advise the caller that they will need to call back with a translator.

  6. Target the caller's question.

    1. Deal with the caller's feelings (if appropriate), noticeable through tone, voice inflection, and rate of speech.

    2. Ask the appropriate questions to determine the inquiry.

    3. Use appropriate paraphrasing to show you comprehend and have identified the question.

  7. Disclosure check (for account calls only). Follow the guidelines outlined in IRM 21.1.3.2.3, Required Taxpayer Authentication, and IRM 21.1.3.2.4, Additional Taxpayer Authentication.

  8. Get the necessary facts.

    1. Use a purpose statement (when appropriate) to prepare caller for a series of questions.

    2. Ask questions pertinent to the inquiry in order to obtain the information necessary to answer the inquiry.

    3. Record the facts on paper, job aid, or other methods to help you remember specific details.

  9. Provide assistance.

    1. Provide accurate and complete information. Explain any procedures and order necessary forms and publications.

    2. If you research the account, make sure you have covered all open issues.

    3. If you are unable to research the account, refer the question in accordance with proper referral procedures.

    4. If you must place the caller on hold while researching an inquiry, use the hold feature, not the mute feature, and do not unplug from the teleset. Only place the caller on hold to research information that is not readily available, unless the taxpayer request not to be placed on hold. See NOTE below. Provide the reason for placing the caller on hold, ask for permission and wait for a response. Advise the caller of the promised wait time and return to the caller within that time frame. If no promised wait time is indicated, do not keep the caller on hold for more than five minutes without returning to the caller. If it is necessary to place the caller on hold again, apologize, and provide an explanation for the additional research. When returning to the taxpayer, always thank the taxpayer for holding when resuming the call.

      Note:

      If the taxpayer chooses not to remain on the line while the call is being researched, the CSR should offer a written referral, via Form 4442 or e-4442, Inquiry Referral.

    5. Callers (taxpayers, tax preparers, monitoring companies, tax practitioners) may contact the service requesting information on taxpayer accounts. CSRs will limit the caller to one client per call. If the call contains multiple taxpayers requesting information on their account, it is still considered one client per call.

      Note:

      Calls received on the Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) lines are limited to five clients per call. See IRM 21.3.10.2.1, Authorized Third Party Designees

  10. If a caller requests to speak to a supervisor, follow the instructions below.

    1. Advise the caller you will refer him or her to your supervisor. Please ask the caller to hold.

    2. Contact your supervisor or appointed designee. Transfer the call to the supervisor or designee in accordance with your organization's procedures. Areas using the Aspect System may transfer the call using "Inside Line" .

    3. If your supervisor or designee is not available, advise the caller accordingly and secure from the caller the best time and day (same day of call or the next business day) for your supervisor or designee to return the call.

    Note:

    While you should exhibit patience with customers, you are not expected to be subjected to abusive language. If the customer is being verbally abusive, explain that you are willing to help and request that the caller remain calm in order to resolve the issue. If the customer continues with the abusive language, explain that if the caller does not discontinue the abusive language, the call will be terminated. If the caller continues the abusive language, terminate the call and inform your manager.

  11. Close the Conversation.

    1. Verify caller's comprehension by asking if he/she understands information given.

    2. Conclude the contact courteously and appropriately. For example, thank the caller if he/she has been provided information to help resolve an open issue; apologize if the Service has made an error.

    3. Provide name and ID number, if not yet provided.

  12. Use of wrap time should be minimal except in rare instances. CSRs are expected to complete calls (account adjustments and tax related research) while on the line or on hold with the caller. For additional information regarding completing on-line account inquires, see IRM 21.1.3.20(2), Oral Statement Authority.

    Note:

    If a call prematurely disconnects while the CSRs are completing account or tax related actions, CSRs must wait to finish actions for this call after they complete the next incoming call. At that time, the CSR will select "wrap" to complete all actions

    .

  13. To ensure that you provide quality service, when assisting callers who visit in person or who call on the telephone, you are required to use the available ITLA Tax Law Categories (TLCs).

  14. UsingITLAand taking the actions specified is mandatory.

  15. Use the Account Management Services (AMS) to document taxpayer information unless otherwise stated in the related IRM procedure and that IRM does not require that documentation be captured.

    Note:

    The AMS screen that shows employee name and manager information is for internal use only. Do not give the taxpayer or his or her representative the name or telephone number of any employee (e.g., CSR, Manager, Analyst, etc.).

  16. When an account related call turns into a tax law/technical inquiry, you must use ITLA.

  17. You can answer a call received on any tax law application, if you have been trained and are certified, for the current filing season, on the tax law/technical topic in question. If you are not certified on that topic, transfer the call to the proper application, using the TTG on SERP.

    Note:

    Advise the caller that you are transferring his/her call to the area that handles the question (identify the specific area).

  18. You must address all pertinent taxpayer/caller authentication probes, when necessary. See IRM 21.1.3.2.3, Required Taxpayer Authentication.

    Reminder:

    If a call is not an account call, do not address taxpayer authentication probes.

  19. When you make outgoing phone calls, or when you leave a voice mail message in response to a caller's voice mail message (not a controlled case), state the following:

    1. Your title (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Ms, Miss), last name, and ID/badge number, OR your first name, last name, and ID/badge number or the last seven digits of your PID Number if the HSPD-12 (SmartID Card) is being used,

    2. That you are with the IRS,

    3. That you are calling in response to his/her inquiry on (date), and

    4. The telephone number to call to request additional assistance.

  20. When you initiate an outgoing phone call, the taxpayer may be reluctant to give you his/her TIN. To ease any concerns that the taxpayer may have, provide the taxpayer with the last four digits of his/her TIN (social security number/employer identification number). Then, request that the taxpayer verify the first five digits. After you verify the TIN, follow IRM 21.1.3.2.3, Required Taxpayer Authentication.

  21. Do not leave confidential tax information on a voice mail message or an answering machine message.

  22. Do not provide taxpayers/third parties with the telephone numbers of functional areas.

    Note:

    Do not give the taxpayer or his/her representative the name or telephone number of any employee (i.e., CSR, manager, analyst, etc.).

  23. Do not transfer taxpayer/third party calls to functional areas.

  24. Employee personal cell phones and other electronic devices (IPads, tablets, etc.) may be brought into the work place, but are to be used ONLY during breaks and lunchtime, or prior to or after an employee's official tour of duty. Employees will not interrupt their calls and conversations with taxpayers, third parties, and/or other IRS employees to take an incoming call on their personal cell phones. This also includes incoming and outgoing phone media such as text messages and e-mails. All personal cell phones should be silenced in order to avoid distractions and disturbances during working hours.

  25. When staffing account applications on the toll-free telephone lines, do not immediately ask the taxpayer for a notice or letter number to determine the reason they called. It is not required and increases the amount of time it takes to handle the call. Perform routine account research to obtain notice and letter numbers. Ask the caller to identify the notice or letter if it is unobtainable from account research. The last notice (most recent notice) sent to the taxpayer can be found in the top section of Command Code (CC) TXMOD. Notices sent can also be identified in the Posted Transaction Section of CC TXMOD in the miscellaneous field of a transaction code (TC) 971 action code (AC) 804. Additional notice information can be found in the history sections of CC TXMOD. Letter numbers can generally be found on CC ENMOD.

21.1.1.8  (10-01-2003)
Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) and Default Screener Application

  1. The PSTN is a menu-based, call-routing Voice Response Unit (VRU) application that permits callers to self-direct their calls to designated IRS resources/applications.

  2. The PSTN systemically answers a call and initiates an automated greeting script. Through voice prompts, PSTN then routes the call to a requested destination. If a caller:

    1. Selects an interactive application, PSTN routes the call to that application.

    2. Selects a non-interactive application, such as tax law, PSTN routes the call to a CSR.

  3. If a caller makes no selection/response or makes an invalid selection, PSTN routes the call to a CSR who has been assigned to the default screener application. See IRM 21.1.1.8.1, Default Screener Application Guidelines, below.

21.1.1.8.1  (07-17-2014)
Default Screener Application Guidelines

  1. CSRs assigned to the default screener application respond to callers who default from:

    • Individual Income Tax Services Line (800-829-1040)

    • Business Service and Specialty Tax Line (800-829-4933)

    • Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) Hotline (866-860-4259 - Only from Tax Law Prompt)

    • Business Customer Response Line (800-829-0115)

  2. The default screener application CSR further directs calls to applications that are staffed with CSRs who are certified to answer specific inquiries.

  3. For all calls, you will:

    1. State your title (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Ms, Miss), last name, and ID/badge number or, if the HSPD-12 (SmartID card) is issued, use the ten digits of your PID number, OR your first name, last name, and ID/badge number or the ten digits of your PID Number if the HSPD-12 (SmartID Card) is issued.

    2. Ask the caller how you may direct or transfer his/her call.

    3. If necessary, probe (ask questions) in order to "determine" the real reason for the call. See paragraph (5) below.

    4. If needed, paraphrase and/or ask more questions of the caller before making a determination. See paragraph (6) below.

    5. If needed, take notes.

    6. Always indicate a willingness to help.

    7. If a taxpayer refuses to be transferred and requests to speak to a supervisor immediately, see IRM 21.1.1.7 (10), Communication Skills.

  4. When assigned to the default screener application, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ANSWER THE QUESTION OR EXPLAIN THAT YOU KNOW THE ANSWER.

    1. Your assignment as a default screener is to properly direct the caller to the designated area related to his/her inquiry.

    2. You must become familiar with the TTG in order to properly direct the caller to the correct application. The guide provides a list of English and Spanish transfer numbers. The TTG has a number of links at the top containing valuable references such as a job aid and search tips. These links are periodically updated.

  5. To determine the topic of the call, ask the caller if he/she has a question that requires research on his/her personal or business tax account.

    1. If yes, probe to determine to which TTG account application to transfer. Actively listen to the caller.

    2. If no, ask if the caller has a general tax law or procedural question. Probe to determine the specific question. Continue to probe until you determine the issue. Then, using the TTG, transfer to the correct procedural application.

    3. If the caller is inquiring about an OOS topic, transfer the caller to extension 92194 for English and 92195 for Spanish and advise the caller that he/she is being transferred to an automated line which provides available resources for finding answers to their questions. Extensions 92192 (English) and 92193 (Spanish) automated lines will be available for additional OOS tax law topics between April 16th and January 1st. If the caller states he/she has previously been transferred to the automated assistance line and does not want to be transferred again, provide the following explanation or similar statement: "We apologize that live assistance is not available on this topic. Please visit our website at IRS.gov. Our Help and Resource tab is a great place to begin your search. It has a host of good information that we’re sure will address your concerns. I’m transferring you now to the automated line that will provide the resources available to assist you. Thank you for calling" . Transfer the call.

    4. If you cannot understand a Spanish speaking taxpayer, use the TTG Search bar and type in the word Spanish and click Search. This will give you the current topic and transfer number. Currently IRS only provides English and Spanish services.

  6. When you identify the topic of the call:

    1. Advise the caller that you are transferring his/her call to the area that handles the question (identify the specific area).

    2. Transfer to a specific TTG line by pressing "inside line" key.

    3. Press #.

    4. Dial the appropriate TTG five digit extension,

    5. Press the enter key.

    6. Press the transfer key.

  7. When the topic is a refund inquiry (current year only), there is a direct transfer number to be used by default screeners. Transfer refund inquiries to Refund Inquiry Automated Self-Service extension 90278 for English, or 90279 for Spanish.

    1. Probe to determine if the caller has filed an e-filed return more than 21 days before today's date or mailed a paper return more than six weeks before today's date.

    2. If the time-frame has not been met, transfer the caller directly to the automated application.

    3. If the time-frame has been met, transfer the caller to the appropriate accounts application for assistance.

  8. When the topic is the receipt/status of an amended return, transfer the caller to extension 90278 for English or 90279 for Spanish. These transfer numbers pertain only to individual (IMF) accounts. Follow the procedures below for these calls:

    1. Probe to determine if the caller has filed an amended return more than 21 days before today's date OR it has been greater than 12 weeks since the amended return was filed and has not completed processing.

    2. Probe to determine whether the caller has already used the automated system.

    3. If not, advise the caller that he/she is being transferred directly to the automated application. If the inquiry is related to the receipt/status of an amended return, advise the caller to select the "Amended Return" prompt.

    4. If the caller has already attempted to use the automated system, transfer him/her to the appropriate accounts application for assistance.

  9. When the topic is related to a tax account or tax return transcript request, there is a direct transfer number to be used by default screeners. Transfer these requests to Transcript Automated Self-Service extension 90276 for English, or 90277 for Spanish. This transfer number pertains only to individual (IMF) accounts. Follow the procedures below for these calls:

    1. Probe to determine whether the caller has already used the automated system.

    2. If the caller has already attempted to use the automated system, transfer him/her to the appropriate accounts application for assistance.

    3. If the caller has not attempted to use the automated system, and can wait 5-10 calendar days for postal delivery of the transcript, advise the caller that he/she is being transferred directly to the automated application. If the caller cannot wait for postal delivery or asks to have the transcript faxed, transfer him/her to the appropriate accounts application for assistance.

  10. When the topic is Electronic Filing PIN, there is a direct transfer number to be used by default screeners. Transfer the caller to Automated Electronic Filing PIN, extension 90280. Follow the procedures below for this call:

    1. Probe to determine whether the caller has already used the automated system.

    2. Probe to determine if the taxpayer:
      - was a victim of identity theft
      - is attempting to electronically file their return
      - has had their return rejected because either the prior year adjusted gross income (AGI) or prior year e-File PIN was not correct

    3. If yes to all of the above, transfer the taxpayer to 92161.

    4. If no, proceed to steps (e) or (f) below.

    5. If the taxpayer does not meet all of the conditions above, advise the caller he/she is being transferred directly to the automated application.

    6. If the caller has already attempted to use the automated system, transfer him/her to the appropriate accounts application for assistance.

21.1.1.9  (10-01-2006)
e-Services

  1. The information on e-Service products is now found in IRM 21.2.1.55, e-Services.

21.1.1.10  (03-06-2014)
Contact Recording

  1. "Contact Recording" is a telephone application/tool/system that records incoming "toll-free" telephone contacts for the purpose of possible subsequent monitoring.

  2. Incoming calls are answered with an additional announcement that states, "Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality purposes."

  3. The system has been implemented in all Accounts Management and Compliance Services call sites.

  4. Managers and Quality Review use the tool to perform required random reviews (performance and product) of incoming telephone contacts.

  5. While the system provides screen capture of account actions, as well as voice recording of the call, the recordings are NOT accessible by TIN, voice processing personal identification number (VPIN), personal identification number (PIN), or any other TIN.

  6. The system stores data by employees' standard employee identifier (SEID) for a maximum of 45 days.

  7. There is a procedure, within the system, to disable the recording if a caller indicates that he/she does not wish to be recorded. Your computer desktop should have a "Stop on Demand" icon for this purpose. Click the "Stop on Demand" icon, the Stop Recording button should be available.

    • If the caller requests NO recording, take action to disable the recording by selecting the Stop Recording icon and executing the "Stop Recording" button.

    • If you must transfer this caller, advise the caller of the transfer and that he/she will need to restate his/her request (that he/she does not wish to be recorded). When the call is transferred into a new site, the employee at the new site takes action to disable the recording.

  8. If the caller also asks to record the conversation, advise the caller that he/she may not record the call. Advise the caller that he/she may request a copy of the call under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). See IRM 21.1.3.17.2, Taxpayer Request to Tape Record Conversations. Advise the caller that this request must be in writing and contain the date, name and ID/badge number of the CSR, and the approximate time of the call. Also, in order for IRS to locate and associate the call with the requester, there must be some identification of the taxpayer (name, address, TIN, etc.) during the call. The FOIA request cannot be processed without this information. See IRM 21.1.3.17.1(5), Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for FOIA recording requests.

21.1.1.10.1  (06-07-2012)
Lucy Phone/Fast Customer

  1. Lucy Phone and Fast Customer are two connection service companies offering to call IRS for assistance and do the waiting in the queue for the taxpayer. Lucy Phone and Fast Customer are two of the companies identified, however more companies may exist. Taxpayers initiate contact to these connection services requesting they contact IRS on their behalf. When the connection service reaches a CSR, it contacts the taxpayer and the taxpayer then becomes available to discuss their issue with the CSR.

  2. These types of calls can be identified by pre-recorded messages that play repeatedly. Fast Customer calls can be identified by a message stating "Please press one for your next call" . Lucy Phone connections can be identified by a pre-recorded message stating "Don't hang up, it is Lucy Phone, the customer switchboard, press one to be connected to this caller" .

  3. Do not accept these types of calls. Immediately disconnect these calls and move on to the next available taxpayer.

21.1.1.10.2  (10-01-2012)
Bad Line Calls

  1. Bad line calls are defined as calls where the taxpayers cannot be assisted due to systematic problems in the phone line. Some examples of bad line calls are:

    • Dropped Calls: A call that starts normally but disconnects unexpectedly during the conversation. If a caller indicates they were previously disconnected, the CSR would assist the caller but attempt to gather information from the prior call such as date, time, prior assistor (if known) and call topic.

    • Static Calls: A call where static or noise interferes with effective communication

    • Lost or Dead Calls: A call that connects but CSR hears IRS hold music, silence or background noise but the caller does not respond to the CSR

    • Line Connections: A call where volume (audio) issues interferes with effective communication

    • Cross-Talk Calls: A call that connects but the CSR is hearing a conversation between the caller and another CSR

  2. For all types of bad line calls, the CSR should press the appropriate keys on the telephone equipment during the call so that the system records the problem with the trunk line. If this issue resulted in an incomplete call, the CSR must notify the manager immediately.

  3. For Cross-Talk calls only, the CSR should complete the Cross Talk Reporting Procedures and Template form during the call and then provide it to the lead or manager immediately after the call.

Exhibit 21.1.1-1 
Out-of-Scope Topics and Forms

The following lists of out-of-scope topics and forms apply to both toll-free and non-toll free calls. Toll-free assistors see IRM 21.1.1.6.1(5) - (8).

International (includes Advanced International)
  • Alternative Minimum Tax foreign tax computation

  • Branch Profits Tax - foreign corporations with branch in U.S. Any question beyond requirement to file Form 1120F, U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Corporation, and due dates would be out of scope

  • Deemed paid foreign tax credit

  • Form 1120-DISC, Domestic International Sales Corporation Return

  • Earnings and Profit of foreign corporations

  • E-Commerce

  • Entity Classification Election - anything beyond telling TP about Form 8832 and where/when to file is out of scope

  • Expatriates Extraterritorial income exclusion

  • FISC (Foreign International Sales Corporation)

  • Foreign Corporations including Foreign Sales Corporations - foreign corporations that specialize in international trade

  • Foreign currency exchange rate gain - Section 988

  • Foreign Trusts

  • Form 8865, Information Return of U.S. Persons with respect to Foreign Disregarded Entities

  • International Boycotting Income

  • Legal Advice

  • Partnerships with foreign partners, Form 8804, Annual Return for Partnership Withholding Tax (Section 1446), Form 8805, Foreign Partner's Information Statement of Section 1446 Withholding Tax, and Form 8813, Partnership Withholding Tax Payment Voucher (Section 1446)

  • Passive Foreign Investment Company

  • Possession Corporations - incorporated in U.S. but operating primarily in U.S. possessions, such as Puerto Rico

  • Qualified Electing Funds

  • Reorganizations

  • Sec 367 rulings

  • Sec 482 Adjustments

  • Sec 78 gross up

  • Startups

  • Sub Part F - IRC section 951-964 - under limited circumstances foreign corporations do not pay U.S. tax on foreign sourced income

  • Tax Planning Questions

  • Transfer Pricing - IRC section 482 - IRS authority to change prices of goods/services sold between related parties if not arm’s length transaction

  • Trusts other than grantor

  • US Persons Overseas starting a business

  • Withholding requirements for nonresident aliens and foreign entities, encompassing Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding, W-8 BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner of United States Tax Withholding, Form W-8 IMY, Certificate of Foreign Intermediary, Foreign Flow-Through Entity or Certain U.S. Branches for United States Tax Withholding and Form W-8 EXP, Certificate of Foreign government or Other Foreign Organization for United States Tax Withholding, Form W8-ECI, Certificate of Foreign Person's Claim That Income Is Effectively Connected With the Conduct of a Trade or Business in the United States, Form W-8BEN-E, Certificate of Status of Beneficial Owner for united States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Entities), Form W8-CE, Notice of Expatriation and Waiver of Treaty Benefits.

  • Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

Partnership, Corporations, Exemption Organizations
  • 754 Elections

  • Section 481(a) adjustments (change of accounting method - Form 31115) - calculation of

  • Corporate consolidations/mergers/reorganizations

  • Entities changing their classifications (Corp--->S Corp, or Partnership---> Corp, for instance)

  • Qualified Subchapter S Trust (QSST) Election under Section 1361(d)(2)

  • Net Operating Losses

  • Form 1066, U.S. Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC) Income Tax Return

  • Form 1118, Foreign Tax Credit – Corporations

  • Form 1120-C, U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations

  • Form 1120-FSC, U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Sales Corporation

  • Form 1120-RIC, U.S. Tax Return for Regulated Investment Companies

  • Form 1120-SF, U.S. Income Tax Return for Settlement Funds

  • Form 1128, Application to Adopt, Change, or Retain a Tax Year

  • Form 2032, Contract Coverage Under Title II of the Social Security Administration

  • Form 2438, Regulated Investment Company Undistributed Capital Gains Tax Return

  • Form 2439, Notice to Shareholder of Undistributed Long-Term Capital Gains

  • Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method

  • Form 5452, Corporate Report of Non-dividend Distributions

  • Form 5471, Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations (including Schedules J, M, N, and O)

  • Form 6069, Return of Excise Tax on Excess Contributions to Black Lung Benefit Trust Under Section 4953 and Computation of Section 192 Deduction

  • Form 8308, Report of a Sale or Exchange of Certain Partnership Interest

  • Form 8827, Credit for Prior Year Minimum Tax - Corporations

  • Form 970, Application to Use LIFO Inventory Method

  • Form 972, Consent of Shareholder to Include Specific Amount in Gross Income

  • Form 973, Corporation Claim for Deduction for Consent Dividends

  • Form 976, Claim for Deficiency Dividends Deductions by a Personal Holding Company

  • Form 966, Corporate Dissolution or Liquidation

  • Form 1120 Schedule H, Section 280H Limitation for a Personal Service Corporation (PSC)

  • Form 1120 Schedule N, Foreign Operations of U.S. Corporation

  • For 1120 Schedule PH, U.S. Personal Holding Company (PHC) Tax

Trusts
  • Bankruptcy Estates

  • Charitable Trusts, calculations for

  • Dissolving a Trust (Actually closing one out. Questions beyond excess deductions distribution

  • Distributions to alien beneficiaries

  • Electing Small Business Trusts (ESBT) – The rules for changing to/from an ESBT are generally complex and difficult and can increase taxable errors or the election may be disallowed if completed improperly. Most questions that pertain to ESBTs will be beyond the scope of the program. Answer only those that can be addressed by the information in the 1041 instructions.

  • Estate/trust funds - when and how someone can have access to

  • Form 3520, Annual Return to Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Gifts

  • Form 3520-A, Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust With a U.S. Owner

  • Form 706, U.S. Estate Tax Return

  • Form 709, United State Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return

  • Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax series

  • Ownership of assets and their valuation

  • Rabbi Trusts – Taxability and establishment of the trust

  • Tax prep software - questions regarding

Rentals
  • Basis calculation in complex situations

  • Form 8582, Passive Activity Loss Limitations, portions unrelated to the taxpayer’s rental property

  • Line-by-Line assistance with any form

  • Material participation for the taxpayer calculation of

Sale of Business/Depreciation
  • Actual calculation of the basis of property, depreciation recapture or the gain (loss) from the sale or other disposition of business property. (The discussion of the formulas and rules for calculating basis, depreciation recapture or the gain/loss from the sale of business property is within scope).

  • Advising taxpayers regarding which method (i.e. installment sale, Section 1031, etc.) is most advantageous for the prospective sale of business assets.

  • Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization (Including Information on Listed Property), line-by-line preparation.

  • Form 4797, Sale of Business Property, line-by-line preparation.

  • Form 6252, Installment Sale Income, line-by-line preparation.

  • Form 8824, Like-Kind Exchanges, line-by-line preparation.

  • Notice 2000-4, Calculation of Depreciation for Property Acquired in a Section 1031 (like-kind) Exchange

  • Section 1031 - Advising taxpayers on how to structure a transaction to meet the requirements of Section 1031 exchange (Explaining the statutory requirements of a Section 1031 exchange is within scope).

  • Section 1250 depreciation recapture using the applicable percentage to figure ordinary income because of additional depreciation - calculation

  • Section 179 - Advising taxpayers on what method of depreciation (including advice on electing the amount of Section 179 deduction) is most advantageous.

Capital Gains and Losses
  • Note: CAS call sites will answer all non-complex capital gains questions. However, we will not do complex calculations for the taxpayer such as calculating actual basis in complex situations.

  • Mark to Market transactions

  • Day trading

  • Stock Options (hedging transactions; notional principle contracts; puts, calls, and straddles; statutory/non-statutory employee stock options)

  • Egg Donors (capital gain or self-employment?)

  • Section 1031 Like-Kind Exchange

Miscellaneous
  • Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service

  • Form 637, Application for Registration (For Certain Excise Tax Activities)

  • Form 730, Tax on Wagering

  • Form 1128, Change of Accounting Periods

  • Form 4678A, Election to Be Treated as an Interest Charge DISC

  • Form 4720, Return of Certain Excise Taxes on Charities and Other Persons Under Chapter 41 and 42 of the IRC

  • Form 5300, Application for Determination for Employee Benefit Plan

  • Form 5300 Schedule Q, Nondiscrimination Requirements

  • Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, including all 5500 series and schedules

  • Form 6251, Alternative Minimum Tax

  • Form 8271, Investor Reporting of Tax Shelter Registration Number

  • Form 8848, Consent to Extend the Time To Assess the Branch Profits Tax Under Regulations Sections 1.884 - 2T(a) and (c)

  • Legal Assessments

  • General Rule for calculating taxation of distributions of pensions and annuities

  • Revenue Officers/Revenue Agents requesting account related inquiries should request technical support from their own BOD/functions.

    Exception:

    ROs/RAs who need to request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for a taxpayer should follow the instructions in IRM 21.7.13.3.8, Receiving EIN Applications From Field Compliance.

Exhibit 21.1.1-2 
Out-of-Scope Communications

The information in this exhibit is for ALL Accounts Management assistors not receiving calls in the Default Screener application, who have determined that the caller's question is regarding an OOS Tax Law topic following the guidelines in IRM 21.1.1.6(5) - (8), Customer Service Duties.

Note:

Information provided to the caller should be limited to the resources available and basic directions for locating the information. At a minimum, the caller should be referred to the web site for information (or Tele-Tax if they do not have internet access). OOS tax law questions should not be answered or answers implied.


Initial response to inquiry (or similar statement): "Thank you for calling us today regarding (paraphrase taxpayer's question). I'm sorry, but we do not provide live assistance on this topic. However, I can provide you resources available to assist you"

Advise the taxpayer that the following resources are available (other appropriate resources may be provided):

  • www.irs.gov. - Click on Information For in the upper right corner and select the appropriate option, (i.e. Individual, Business, Tax Professionals, etc.)

  • Publications can be accessed through the Forms and Pubs tab. Some examples are:

    • Pub 17 for Individuals

    • Pub 583 for Business

    • Pub 15 & 15A for Employers

    • Pub 510 for Excise Tax

    • Pub 559 for Estate and Gift Tax

    • Circular 230 for Tax Professional

  • Access the Interactive Tax Assistant by entering "ITA" in the search box.

  • Enter "IRS Tax Map" into the Search feature for more detailed information

  • Tele Tax: 1-800-829-4477 for information on a variety of tax topics.

If the caller seems resistant to using the available resources, the assistor may remind the caller that IRS.gov has easy-to-use tools to help answer tax questions such as the Interactive Tax Assistant or the IRS Tax Map, each designed to help find answers to tax questions quickly and easily. They can also enter their topic or question in the search box on the website.

If they don’t have internet access, the assistor should recommend they call Tele-Tax at 800-829-4477 for recorded information on a variety of topics. After the selection of the language preference, press 2 to enter the Tele-Tax topics, then press 123 and follow the prompts to find the right Tele-tax topic. Also, suggest that many commercial software packages also provide answers to tax questions or seek help from a tax professional.

Close the call.

Additional information for assistors:
Where do I look on the internet? When you first enter the website at www.irs.gov, you will see the search box available at the top right hand side. Enter your topic in the search box and click on the magnifying glass. This will provide you several options in the main body of text to help narrow your search. Also on the right hand side, you will see several options to identify the forms and publications available to assist you. Another option is to select the Help & Resources tab on the irs.gov home page. Options are listed on the left side of the page.
Why is the IRS doing this? Like other federal agencies, we must use our limited resources to provide the best service possible and are doing so by balancing technology based and face to face services. That way we can focus on taxpayers who have no other alternative method to resolve their tax issue. We apologize if this has caused you an inconvenience.


More Internal Revenue Manual