21.1.2  Reference Materials Overview

Manual Transmittal

September 11, 2014

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 21.1.2, Accounts Management and Compliance Services Operations, Reference Materials Overview.

Material Changes

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

(2) IRM 21.1.2.3.1 - added additional multi-functional IRMs.

(3) IRM 21.1.2.3.2 - added Publication 1, Your Rights As A Taxpayer.

(4) IRM 21.1.2.3.3 - deleted obsolete publications.

(5) IRM 21.1.2.3.5 - updated title and section; removed references to Probe and Response Guide.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 21.1.2, dated August 9, 2013 (effective October 1, 2013) is superseded.

Audience

All IRS employees, in Business Operating Division (BOD) sites, 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

21.1.2.1  (10-01-2011)
Overview

  1. The various reference materials mentioned in this section of IRM 21, Customer Account Services, Chapter 1, Accounts Management and Compliance Services Operations, will help you answer questions quickly/correctly and adjust both tax and entity accounts accurately.

  2. Many of the other parts of the IRM and all of Part 21 are available for research on the Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP), accessed through the IRS Intranet Home page.

  3. Most of the other referenced research materials are available on SERP and as published paper products. SERP is a "living" project and, as such, is constantly in the process of being updated and appended.

  4. All reference material with "Official Use Only" (OUO) material/information must be kept in a secure area, such as a locked file cabinet, when not in use. Never leave SERP OUO material visible if you are away from your terminal/monitor.

21.1.2.2  (03-19-2012)
Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) 21 Purpose

  1. The purpose of the IRM 21, Customer Account Services, is to provide instructions to resolve taxpayer correspondence, telephone, and in person inquiries. This includes identifying compliance issues and issuing correspondence to adjust tax accounts.

  2. Employees in the following functional areas must use this IRM:

    • Adjustments

    • Automated Collection System (ACS) (only IRM 21 references noted in IRM 5.19, Liability Collection)

    • Automated Underreporter (AUR)

    • Combined Annual Wage Reporting (CAWR)

    • Compliance Services Collection Operations (CSCO) (only IRM 21 references noted in IRM 5.19, Liability Collection)

    • Correspondence Examination (CORR)

    • Customer Accounts Services (CAS)

    • Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)

    • Field Assistance (FA)/Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC)

    • Notice Review

    • Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)

    • Taxpayer Education

    • Taxpayer Relations (TPR)

    • Toll Free Call Sites

  3. IRM 21 is designed to provide instructions to achieve "Initial Contact Resolution" (ICR). However, this may require transferring a call to a specific area (application) that is certified to handle the inquiry.

  4. IRM 21 contains account and processing procedures for Individual Master File (IMF) and Business Master File (BMF) tax returns. You will need to refer to other documents for specific instructions on various issues. See IRM 21.1.2.3.1, Multi-Functional IRMs, and IRM 21.1.2.4, Other IRM References.

21.1.2.2.1  (10-01-2013)
IRM 21 - Explanation of Contents

  1. Certain chapters/sections provide an overview of contents, definitions of subject matter, and the research required to complete procedures and follow-up actions.

  2. An explanation of IRM numbering follows:

    1. Subsection numbers are generally limited to six numbers separated by decimal points (dots) and refer to Part, Chapter, Section, Subsection 1 and Subsection 2 (e.g., IRM 21.1.2.2.1).

      Note:

      IRM subsections can be taken to Subsection 5 level if needed, e.g., IRM 22.30.1.4.2.5.2.1, Laptop Follow-Up Actions.

    2. The Part, Chapter, Section, and Subsection appear at the bottom of each page and the Part, Chapter, and Section appear with the consecutive page number at the top of each page of the published version of the IRM available in the Publishing Catalog.

    Example:

    In IRM reference 21.1.2.4; 21 is the Part number, 1 is the Chapter number, 2 is the Section number, and 4 is the subsection number.

  3. Customer service representatives (CSRs) must become familiar with IRM 21, Job Aids for IRM 21, Interactive Tax Law Assistant (ITLA), the Telephone Transfer Guide (TTG) and related IRS reference materials.

21.1.2.2.2  (10-01-2013)
IRM 21 - Change Requests

  1. To maintain the accuracy of IRM 21, send corrections and change requests, "not questions" , to Headquarters, via the SERP Feedback Application (Database). The SERP Staff forwards SERP Feedback to the appropriate content owner(s) in Headquarters for consideration of the requested IRM procedural changes.

    Note:

    Before you submit corrections/change requests for IRM 21 via the SERP Feedback Application (Database), please consult your lead or manager for assistance to verify if this is a valid request for an IRM change/correction.

  2. In all functional areas, changes must be approved by the first line manager or designee and the responsible Planning and Analysis Analyst before submission to Headquarters. All change requests submitted by Quality Review Staff must be approved by the first line manager or designee and the Quality Assurance Coordinator (QAC).

  3. The IRM 21SERP Feedback Application (Database) procedures must be followed by all field employees as well as the Quality Review Program Staff.

  4. Before submission, re-examine the requested change(s) and cite supporting documentation. Be specific. Avoid the use of general terms such as revise procedures. Submit only one issue/topic on the SERP Feedback.

  5. Complete all required fields on the SERP Feedback form. The Identification field MUST be completed or the feedback will not be forwarded.

  6. All changes are considered, but all may not be accepted. Accepted changes are usually posted on SERP as IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs).

    • IPUs are announced in "Today's News" on the SERP Homepage.

    • Each IPU is assigned a number and identifies the intended audience and applicable Master File.

    • Previous IPUs are accessed via SERP through the IRM Procedural Updates link under the IRM Supplements Tab.

    • IPUs are numbered consecutively through the calendar year.

    • IPUs are maintained on the current IRM until a new IRM is republished and effective.

  7. You can view responses to SERP Feedbacks via the "Feedback" link located on the bottom of the SERP home page or with the "Feedback" button located at the top of most IRM pages.

  8. Do NOT use the SERP Feedback form to request changes to the following:

    • Forms - see IRM 1.17.2, Publishing Systems and Programs, for instructions.

    • Letters - see IRM 25.13.1.2.1, Requests for New and Revised Taxpayer Correspondence Products.

    • Notices - see IRM 25.13.1.2.1, Request for New and Revised Taxpayer Correspondence Products.

    • Policy statements, tax law, and regulations - Use existing procedures.

    • Suggestions - Use the electronic Employee Suggestion Program. Please follow the instructions on the IRS Intranet.

  9. Changes for typographical, printing errors in text or procedure and/or system changes must be made via SERP Feedback.

21.1.2.2.3  (10-01-2011)
IRM 21 SERP Alerts

  1. Information that may impact employees service-wide, but does not require an IRM procedural update, is placed on SERP as a "SERP Alert" .

    • Each Alert is assigned a number and identifies the (BOD) and the intended audience.

    • Previous Alerts are accessed via the Alert Messages link under the IRM Supplements Tab.

    • Alerts are numbered consecutively through the calendar year.

    • At the end of the calendar year, the previous year's Alerts can be accessed through SERP archives.

  2. Some examples of SERP Alerts are:

    • Reminders to follow certain existing procedures.

    • "Hot" issues – e.g., scams, schemes, processing errors, new tax legislation, erroneous and/or one time notices, etc.

    • Non IRM related issues - e.g., changes to job aids, ITLA, etc.

  3. Route SERP Alerts to your first-line manager for approval. Campus managers must obtain approval from an appropriate P&A or Quality representative.

  4. Approving officials send the SERP Alert request, via e-mail, to the appropriate IRM contact (program analyst). See the SERP Authorized Submitter List.

  5. The Headquarters program analyst or his/her manager reviews and expeditiously forwards the Alert to the SERP Office.

21.1.2.3  (10-01-2003)
Other Reference Materials

  1. The following sub-sections provide listings of other reference materials (e.g., IRMs, Publications, etc.) which you may need to use to resolve account inquiries.

  2. Use Document 6209, IRS Processing Codes and Information, as a job aid, along with IRMs listed in IRM 21.1.2.3.1, Multi-Functional IRMs, and IRM 21.1.2.4, Other IRM References, when working account inquiries.

  3. Reference materials must be easily accessible for use as needed.

21.1.2.3.1  (10-01-2014)
Multi-Functional IRMs

  1. Multi-Functional IRMs needed to perform your official duties are:

    • IRM 1.2.40 through IRM 1.2.64 - Servicewide Policies and Authorities, Delegations of Authority - All existing authorities delegated by the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners, Taxpayer Advocate Service, and the business operating divisions.

    • IRM 2.7.1 - Inter-Center - Provides information regarding the Information Technology (IT) operational functions between the IRS Campuses (IRSCs) and Enterprise Computing Centers (ECCs). These guidelines are for the IT staff that performs operational functions in IRS campuses, National Headquarters, User and Network Services, and Enterprise Computing Centers.

    • IRM 3.13.5.28.1 - Address Changes from Oral Statements/Telephone Contact - Instructions on address changes.

    • IRM 3.21.263 - IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Real-Time System (RTS) - Provides instructions for Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

    • IRM 10.2.1 - Physical Security - Security guidelines for tax information and property that requires more than "normal protection" against disclosure, loss, damage or destruction.

    • IRM 10.8.1 - Policy and Guidance - Provides guidance to all security related polices for protection for all information related systems.

    • IRM 10.8.2 - IT Security Roles and Responsibilities - Establishes IT security roles and responsibilities.

    • IRM 11.3 - Disclosure of Official Information - Instructions, guidelines, and procedures to comply with the disclosure laws under which IRS must operate.

    • IRM 13.1 -Taxpayer Advocate Service - Guidance for the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

    • IRM 20.1 - Penalty Handbook - Instructions to compute, assess, and abate penalties.

    • IRM 20.2 - Interest - Instructions to compute and assess interest.

    • IRM 21.3.3 - Incoming and Outgoing Correspondence Letters - Instructions to receive, prepare, and handle correspondence.

  2. The following IRMs provide Integrity and Verification Operation (IVO) employees with procedures needed to perform their duties:

    • IRM 25.25.1 - Return Integrity and Verification Revenue Protection Programs

    • IRM 25.25.2 - Revenue Protection Screening Procedures for Individual Master File Returns

    • IRM 25.25.3 - Revenue Protection Verification Procedures for Individual Master File Returns

    • IRM 25.25.4 - Integrity and Verification Identity Theft Return Procedures

    • IRM 25.25.5 - Revenue Protection Special Handling Procedures

    • IRM 25.25.6 - Taxpayer Protection Program

    • IRM 25.25.7 - Automated Questionable Credit Program

    • IRM 25.25.8 - Revenue Protection External Lead Procedures

    • IRM 25.25.9 - Revenue Protection Prisoner Lead Procedures

21.1.2.3.2  (10-01-2014)
Tax Publications

  1. Tax publications must be easily accessible for use as needed. This list is not all inclusive.

    • Publication 1 - Your Rights As A Taxpayer

    • Publication 15 - Circular E - Employer's Tax Guide

    • Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals

    • Publication 51 - Circular A - Agricultural Employer's Tax Guide

    • Publication 54 -Tax Guide for US Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad

    • Publication 80 - Circular SS - Federal Tax Guide for Employers in the US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands

    • Publication 179 - Circular PR - Federal Tax Guide for Employers in Puerto Rico

    • Publication 225 - Farmer's Tax Guide

    • Publication 334 - Tax Guide for Small Business (For Individuals Who Use Schedule C or C-EZ)

    • Publication 531 - Reporting Tip Income

    • Publication 535 - Business Expenses

    • Publication 547 - Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts

    • Publication 584 - Casualty, Disaster and Theft Loss, Workbook (Personal-Use-Property)

    • Publication 587 - Business Use of Your Home

    • Publication 590 - Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)

    • Publication 926 - Household Employer's Tax Guide-For Wages Paid in 2012

    • Publication 966 - Electronic Choices to Pay All Your Federal Taxes

    • Publication 970 - Tax Benefits for Education

21.1.2.3.3  (10-01-2014)
e-File Services Publications

  1. The following publications explain requirements of the various Electronic Filing Systems:

    • Publication 966 - Electronic Federal Tax Payment System: A Guide to Getting Started

    • Publication 1436 - Test Package for Electronic Filers of Individual Income Tax Returns

    • Publication 1474 - Technical Specifications Guide for Reporting Agent Authorization and Federal Tax Depositors

    • Publication 3112 - IRS e-file Application and Participation

    • Publication 3611 - e-File Electronic Payments Brochure

    • Publication 3823 - Employment Tax e-file System Implementation and User Guide

    • Publication 4163 - Modernized e-File (MeF) Information for Authorized IRS e-file Providers for Business Returns

    • Publication 4164 - Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers and Transmitters

    • Publication 4521 - e-file in 2011 Brochure

    • Publication 4594 - Modernized e-File Test Package for Excise Tax Returns (Publication will be obsoleted on November 1, 2013 and consolidated into Publication 5078, Modernized e-File, (MeF) Test Package)

    • Publication 5078 - Modernized e-File Test Package (MeF will be consolidating all Business Test Publications)

21.1.2.3.4  (10-01-2011)
IDRS Reference Material

  1. The following IRMs/documents explain the IDRS:

    • IRM 2.3 - Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) Terminal Responses - Instructions for Command Codes.

    • IRM 2.4 - Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) Terminal Input - Instructions for Input of Entity and Tax Account Transaction Codes.

    • IRM 2.8.1 - Audit Information Management System (AIMS) - Introduction to AIMS REALTIME Processing.

    • Document 6209, IRS Processing Codes and Information, is a handy reference guide which contains sensitive Automated Data Processing (ADP) and IDRS data relative to various components of the IRS.

21.1.2.3.5  (10-01-2014)
Interactive Tax Law Assistant

  1. The Interactive Tax Law Assistant (ITLA) is designed for use when responding to telephone tax law inquiries on the topics covered in the guide. For written inquiries, the guide is also a good reference tool. Field Assistance uses ITLA and the Publication Method for all in scope tax law inquiries. Refer to IRM 21.3.4.3.6, Tax Law Assistance, for more information. ITLA is available for use on SERP.

  2. Individual income tax topics generally correspond with the topics in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals.

  3. ITLA topics are organized in crosswalks as follows:

    • For Field Assistance alphabetically or by category.

    • For Accounts Management-alphabetically or by Aspect application number.

21.1.2.3.6  (10-01-2011)
Telephone Transfer Guide (TTG)

  1. The TTG is designed to assist you in making the correct decision when you must transfer a call to another application on Aspect.

  2. The TTG is located on the SERP Intranet site and is self explanatory.

21.1.2.3.7  (10-01-2011)
Post of Duty (POD) List

  1. The Post of Duty (POD) List is accessed via SERP - Who/Where.

  2. The Post of Duty (POD) List contains Campus and local office addresses located in each state, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

  3. In addition to POD addresses the following contact information, while not all inclusive, can also be found in the Post of Duty (POD) List:

    • ACS

    • EIN assignment

    • Insolvency

    • Installment Agreement

    • Lien Payoff/Release

    • TAS

21.1.2.3.8  (10-01-2011)
Technical Communication Documents (TCDs)

  1. Use TCDs in conjunction with the IRM when you respond to telephone, in-person, and paper inquiries.

  2. TCDs condense IRM procedures and consolidate technical information from the IRM and various other sources such as the ITLA and IRS Publications.

  3. TCDs use plain language and are created in an easy to use, one-page electronic format to help you resolve issues quickly. They are designed to follow the flow of a taxpayer’s inquiry. TCDs provide hyperlinks to the IRM, ITLA, IRS publications, related topics, and other references.

  4. You can locate TCDs on the Intranet via SERP under the IRM Supplements tab (see Technical Communication Documents).

  5. A wide variety of TCD topics can be found under the following categories:

    • Account Resolution

    • Authentication/Disclosure

    • Balance Due/IA

    • Credits/Deductions

    • Delinquent Filers

    • e-File

    • EIN

    • Filing Information

    • International

    • Payments

    • Penalty

    • Refund

    • Statute

  6. It is highly recommended that you use TCDs when you respond to account inquiries on the telephone. It is also recommended that you use them for in-person and paper inquiries.

21.1.2.4  (10-01-2011)
Other IRM References

  1. The IRMs below may help resolve inquiries related to tax account problems and questions. These listings are not all inclusive.

21.1.2.4.1  (10-01-2012)
Submission Processing, Agency-Wide Shared Services (AWSS) and Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS)

  1. The following IRMs address tax and information returns processing:

    • IRM 1.15.1 - Records and Information Management - The Records Management Program - Practices and techniques in the creation, maintenance, retrieval, preservation and disposition of all records.

    • IRM 3.8 - Deposit Activity - Deposit procedures for remittances received in campuses.

    • IRM 3.10 - Campus Mail and Work Control - Procedures for receipt and control of all documents received in campuses.

    • IRM 3.11 - Returns and Documents Analysis - Procedures to code and edit individual income tax returns for computer input and processing.

    • IRM 3.13.2 - BMF Account Numbers - Procedures to change the entity portion of a business taxpayer's account, (i.e., name and address changes).

    • IRM 3.13.5 - Individual Master File (IMF) Account Numbers - Procedures to change the entity portion of an individual taxpayer's account (i.e., name and address changes).

    • IRM 3.13.62 - Media Transport and Control - Distribution instructions for output from Campus Computer Services, Machine Services, and Shipping Functions.

    • IRM 3.30.123 - Processing Timeliness: Cycles, Criteria and Critical Dates - Data Processing Operations Objectives for Area Offices, Campuses, and Enterprise Computing Center, Detroit (ECC-DET).

    • IRM 3.40 - Block Out of Balance Resolution - General instructions to resolve Block Out of Balance (BOB) problems.

    • IRM 3.42 - Electronic Tax Administration - An overview of the Electronic Filing Program.

21.1.2.4.2  (10-01-2011)
Unpostable lRMs

  1. The following IRMs provide information, guidelines, and procedures to resolve unpostable conditions:

    • IRM 3.12.32 - General Unpostables - Provides general information for the Generalized Unpostable Framework (GUF).

    • IRM 3.12.166 - EPMF Unpostables - Provides information on working Employee Plans Master File (EPMF) unpostables.

    • IRM 3.12.179 - Individual Master File (IMF) Unpostable Resolution - Provides information on IMF and Payer Master File (PMF) unpostables.

    • IRM 3.12.278 - Exempt Organization Unpostable Resolution - Provides EO unpostable instructions for correcting EO return unpostable to allow to post to Master File.

    • IRM 3.12.279 - BMF/CAWR/PMF Unpostable Resolution - Identifies unpostable transactions/conditions that are not compatible with existing master file data or normal Submission Processing Campus operating procedures and their resolution.

    • IRM 21.5.5 - Unpostables - Provides general instructions for resolving unpostable tax account conditions.

21.1.2.4.3  (10-01-2011)
Accounting IRMs

  1. The following IRMs provide instructions for Campus and Enterprise Computing Center, Martinsburg (ECC-MTB) Accounting and Data Control:

    • IRM 3.17.46 - Automated Non-Master File Accounting - Provides instructions for processing tax information to the Automated Non-Master File by the Accounting function in the Cincinnati Submission Processing Campus.

    • IRM 3.17.79 - Accounting Refund Transactions - Provides procedural and processing instructions to Accounting Operations to approve, schedule and certify refunds.

    • IRM 3.17.220 - Excess Collections File - Provides technical instructions to be used by Accounting Technicians when receiving and adding records to the Excess Collections File (XSF).

    • IRM 3.17.243 - Miscellaneous Accounting - Provides information for campus Accounting Branch to process quick, prompt, and jeopardy assessments.

    • IRM 3.17.277 - Electronic Payments - Provides information for Ogden Submission Processing Center Accounting Branch to operate the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).

21.1.2.4.4  (10-01-2013)
International IRMs

  1. The following IRMs provide instructions for processing international tax returns.

    • IRM 21.7.12 - Non-Master File (NMF) Adjustments - Used by IRS employees to process International NMF adjustments and instructions on filing Form 1120–IC_DISC, Interest Charge Domestic International Sales Corporation Return.

    • IRM 21.8.1 - IMF International Adjustments - Used by Tax Examiners, CSRs and Taxpayer Resolution Representatives (TRRs) in Accounts Management to process International IMF adjustments.

    • IRM 21.8.2 - BMF International Adjustments - Used by Tax Examiners, CSRs and TRRs in Accounts Management to process International BMF adjustments.

21.1.2.4.5  (10-01-2011)
Liability Collection IRMs

  1. The following IRMs provide instructions for securing delinquent returns and assisting with balance due inquiries.

    • IRM 5.19.1 - Balance Due - Provides procedures for campus processing of balance due accounts where "Can't Pay", "Won't Pay" and "Can Pay Later" have been indicated by the taxpayer.

    • IRM 5.19.2 - Return Delinquency - Contains information for working returns delinquency responses in Compliance Services and Accounts Management.

    • IRM 21.3.12 - Accounts Management Balance Due Telephone Contacts - Provides procedures for telephone contacts of balance due.


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