21.3.4  Field Assistance

Manual Transmittal

September 13, 2013


(1) This transmits revised IRM 21.3.4, Taxpayer Contacts, Field Assistance.

Material Changes

(1) IRM Standard Services in a TAC added types of transcripts to last bullet

(2) IRM Alternate Sites/Mobile Units Defined deleted

(3) IRM Telephone Requirements for RRA 98 (Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998) § 3709 updated to remove old procedures and added email procedures

(4) IRM 3709 Line deleted callback and added email procedures

(5) IRM Procedures for Taxpayer Assistance Centers BMF International Fax updated with 3709 Line email procedures; deleted callback and added email procedures

(6) IRM Assisting Taxpayers with Disabilities replaced leaving a message with sending an email

(7) IRM Taxpayers and Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TTY/TDD) removed calls received on the 3709 line

(8) IRM Employee Electronic Filing Assistance for FY 2013 updated

(9) IRM FA Tax Law Referral Tracking added out of scope to (1)

(10) IRM In Scope Account Referrals Added clarification to end of (4)

(11) IRM Out of Scope Procedures revised to only use a suitable office phone when dialing CAS toll-free support and added referral procedures for TACs that cannot put taxpayers on CAS line; changed referral from paper 4442 to Rmail

(12) IRM Multilingual Assistance updated with current OPI Number

(13) IRM Signs clarified language

(14) IRM Threats and Assaults added Note in (6) that Disclosure help desk is internal use only

(15) IRM Caution Upon Contact (CAU) information moved under Threats and Assaults

(16) IRM Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer (PDT) information moved under Threats and Assaults

(17) IRM Safety and Security deleted note in (3)

(18) IRM Payment Drop Box moved under Safety and Security

(19) IRM Time Reporting For TAC Employees updated procedures

(20) IRM FAMIS Form 5311, Field Assistance Activity Report updated procedures

(21) IRM Non-Cash Payments added that money orders must be endorsed when made payable to taxpayer; clarified non-cash payment procedures; added link to IRM 3.8.45

(22) IRM Transaction Code added clarification to (1) and changed TC 430 to 660 in (2)

(23) IRM Remittance Strategy for Paper Check Conversion (RS-PCC) added procedures for processing Form 706 and 709 payments using RS-PCC; added link to payment tracer procedures in (7)

(24) IRM Overview of RS-PCC Payment Processing added Form 1040-C to checks that can be processed using RS-PCC; clarified language in (10) and RPSID Label instructions; added EOD and 215 Deposit ticket reports to retention file in (11); added frivolous checks and added OIC payments

(25) IRM RS-PCC Processing Payment Procedures clarified procedures for processing payments

(26) IRM MICRS Line Approval/Duplicate Check Approval updated procedures

(27) IRM RS-PCC Key Verification (KV) procedure updated; added new requirement to (8); added clarification to (9)

(28) IRM Dollar Amount Approval/SSN/EIN and Name Control Approval added

(29) IRM RS-PCC Batch Management updated procedures

(30) IRM RS-PCC Deposits/Payment Search updated procedures

(31) IRM RS-PCC Balancing added (e); clarified (4) and Note; changed RS-PCC balancing from daily to twice per week

(32) IRM RS-PCC End of Day Reports updated procedures

(33) IRM 215 Deposit Ticket updated information

(34) IRM Reconciliation Report/Shredding clarified procedures

(35) IRM Reconciliation Report/Deposit Ticket Summary clarified (2) and (3); updated procedures

(36) IRM Reconciliation Report Batch Listing updated procedures

(37) IRM Manager/User Responsibility clarified procedures

(38) IRM OTCNet and RS-PCC Access/Security Forms and Passwords clarified procedures

(39) IRM RS-PCC RL II Input Fields updated procedures

(40) IRM Formatting Data Entry Fields procedure clarified; updated DPC; added Form 706/709 to (7); added DPC 07 to (10)

(41) IRM Procedures for Accepting Cash Payments added clarification for accepting cash; updated Form W-7 cash procedures in (j) and (k)

(42) IRM Completing Form 809 added procedures to (4) and deleted table; added clarification to (5)

(43) IRM Preparation of Form 795-A clarified bullets in (1); updated procedures

(44) IRM Reviewing and Shipping Form 795-A and Form 3210 for Payments and Payments with Returns; and Form W-7 Packages added Form W-7 packages to title; clarified procedures; updated follow-up review procedures; updated (7) for mailing Form W-7 packages

(45) IRM Acknowledgement of Form 795-A clarified procedure in (1)

(46) IRM Loss or Shortage of Payments updated (1) and (3) security reporting to Situational Awareness Management Center (SAMC)

(47) IRM Altered and/or Stolen Remittances moved under Loss or Shortage of Payments; updated security reporting to Situational Awareness Management Center (SAMC)

(48) IRM Discovered Remittances moved from; changed Note in (2) from 90 days to 30 days

(49) IRM Offer In Compromise updated to add RS-PCC; Offer In Compromise payment information updated in (4)

(50) IRM Indemnity Agreements added Memorandum for Chief, Accounting and Tax Payment Branch

(51) IRM Reviewer Procedures for Accepting Cash with Courier Service updated to include OTCnet contingency plan; reviewer procedures for accepting cash with courier service clarified in (12)

(52) IRM Input of Applicable Command Codes to Process Cash Payments added Note

(53) IRM OTCnet Contingency Plan procedures updated

(54) IRM Procedures for Accepting Cash with Over-the-Counter (OTC) Depositing updated to include OTCnet contingency plan

(55) IRM Receipt of Tax Returns clarified policy of not accepting tax returns from preparers in Note

(56) IRM Date Stamping Tax Returns changed the word locking to locked in (4)

(57) IRM Receipts For Tax Returns updated (1) and (2)

(58) IRM Receipt of Delinquent Returns updated (1) and (2)

(59) IRM Reviewing and Shipping Form 3210 for Returns without Payments and Returns Received with Payments Processed using RS-PCC (except Form W-7) deleted Note in (5) reviewing and procedures clarified; updated follow-up review procedures; added clarification in (2); added link to Exhibit 21.1.7-1

(60) IRM Forms, Instructions, and Publications updated to include Do Not Stock list, eliminated OPN 5699

(61) IRM Ordering and Stocking Forms, Instructions, and Publications updated procedures and information

(62) IRM Return Preparation Assistance updates for Filing Season 2013; refund inquiry procedures updated; added sentence to (1) that this service is only for taxpayers who can be present during return preparation

(63) IRM Electronic Filing added exception approval authority

(64) IRM Roles and Responsibilities updated

(65) IRM EITC Indicator for e-file Returns removed

(66) IRM Transmission and Acknowledgement updated

(67) IRM Rejects updated; added last sentence and steps to (1)

(68) IRM Retention Requirements updated procedures

(69) IRM Return Preparation Criteria added levy to (2) and (4)

(70) IRM VITA and TCE information updated

(71) IRM Return Preparation Procedures filing season 2013 updates

(72) IRM Return Preparation Help Me Tabs, ITLA, and Software Default Settings updated; Removed Schedule M

(73) IRM Return Preparation Quality Review added use direct deposit for current year only

(74) IRM Earned Income Tax Credit combined Earned Income Tax Credit Activities (IRM

(75) IRM Screening - Disaster Returns corrected exhibit

(76) IRM Return Preparation Disaster Returns updated; clarified (6)

(77) IRM Taxpayer Requests for Address Change updated Note from AMTAP to new name Integrity & Verification Operation (IVO)

(78) IRM Account Management Services (AMS) moved under Accounts; added Note for requirement to use AMS Disclosure Tool in (2)

(79) IRM Account Management Services e-ACS Guide added Note

(80) IRM Account Management Services Letters removed in (2)

(81) IRM Integrated Automation Technologies added mandated use of IAT tools and clarified procedures; Added Note on AMS checklist and removed IAT Compliance Suite Tool in (1)

(82) IRM Manual Refunds Using Integrated Automation Technologies (IAT) added Form 5792 remarks

(83) IRM Balance Due Accounts corrected links and moved installment agreement procedures

(84) IRM Criteria for Filing a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL) updated to include written warning notification

(85) IRM Filing Liens in Field Assistance changed Note at end of (1)

(86) IRM Assisting Taxpayers With Requests for Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL) Withdrawals procedures updated to replace internal Form 13794-W with Form 12277 and streamline procedures

(87) IRM Other Lien Issues (Subordination, Discharge, Withdrawal, Nonattachment) updates procedures to replace internal Form 13794-W with Form 12277

(88) IRM Installment Agreements reorganized

(89) IRM Direct Debit Installment Agreement - Form 433D, Installment Agreement and Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request updated procedures and deleted Auto PDIA

(90) IRM Payroll Deduction Installment Agreement Form 2159 added procedures

(91) IRM Tax Return and Tax Account Transcript Requests added link to IRM in (6); deleted duplicate information and added links to IRM 21.2.3

(92) IRM CP 2000 added link to campus addresses

(93) IRM Adjustments added Note

(94) IRM Form 940, Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) updated tax rate

(95) IRM Form 941, Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return added information on Additional Medicare Tax (AdMT) in (6)

(96) IRM Schedule H, Household Employment Taxes deleted prior year amounts

(97) IRM Overview of Form 2290 added clarification to (1) for accepting returns prior to July 1

(98) IRM Reviewing Form 2290 updated procedures

(99) IRM Securing Payment removed sentence the installment privilege was eliminated effective July 1, 2005

(100) IRM Editing Form 2290 updated procedures; clarified (1)(a) and Example

(101) IRM Mailing Form 2290 added CSC stop #, references, and clarification to the follow-up review log procedures to (2) table

(102) IRM TAC Employees' Responsibilities for Alien Clearances added clarification to (7) and (8)

(103) IRM TAC Employees' Responsibilities for Determining Alien Residency Status moved from exhibit

(104) IRM Completing and Issuing the Certificate of Compliance added link to signature stamp requirements in (3)

(105) IRM Overview of TAC Employees Responsibilities for Processing Form W–7 2013 filing season changes; added reminders and information on identity documents, updated (9) Note and Exception to remove reference to SERP alert 12A0407; reminder on completing DAS, and added reference and link to the Edison website; changed Form 3949 routing procedures in (18); updated Form 5646 information in (19); updated Note in (19)

(106) IRM ITIN Applications Received from Acceptance Agents 2013 filing season changes; updated (1)(c); added clarification to (e)

(107) IRM Supporting Documents 2013 filing season changes; added Note in (1); added additional information

(108) IRM For IRS Use Only Box 2013 filing season changes

(109) IRM Mailing Form W-7/W-7(SP) Packets 2013 filing season changes; updated (5) and (8); deleted first sentence in (8); removed requirement to ship all W-7 packages overnight; added cash payment procedures and reference to (7) table

(110) IRM Researching ITIN Database 2013 filing season changes; updated (2) and (5)(a); updated to eliminate RTS inputs

(111) IRM Form e-4442, Inquiry Referral 2013 filing season changes; updated (1); updated procedures to include suspended cases; updated e-4442 procedures for ITIN Inquiry Referrals

(112) IRM Updating ITIN Database 2013 filing season changes; updated to eliminate RTS inputs

(113) IRM Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) added clarification that LITCs do not prepare returns; added (5)

(114) IRM Combat Zone Exclusion of Income added reference to IRM and deleted old information on Combat Pay Included as Earned Income

(115) IRM Killed in Terrorist Action (KITA) moved under Combat Zone Exclusion of Income

(116) IRM Whistleblower Office info added

(117) IRM Disclosure added requirement to use AMS Disclosure Tool; added additional links; moved CAU and PDT information to Threats and Assaults

(118) IRM Required Stamps for TAC updated; added Form 2063 Area Director stamp requirements

(119) IRM Self-Directed Learning added clarification to (1)

(120) IRM Preparer Issues updated address to send Form 14157

(121) IRM Tax Return Related Identity Theft Issues procedures updated; added clarification Note to (4); deleted 4th row that contained duplicate procedures; added clarification to (3)

(122) IRM Income Document Related to Identity Theft Issues added links to IRM 21.2.3 in table

(123) IRM Other Tax Related Identity Theft Issues updated to correct stop number and add Note; updated procedures in table for taxpayers requesting transcripts and copy of ID theft return

(124) IRM Non-Tax Related Identity Theft Issues changed AMTAP to new name Integrity & Verification Operation (IVO)

(125) Scope of Services exhibit removed

(126) Informant Claims Examiner Address exhibit removed and moved info to IRM

(127) Form 215A Deposit Ticket exhibit removed

(128) Memorandum For Division Commissioners Change of Taxpayer Address and Refund Trace exhibit removed and moved info to IRM

(129) Removed Exhibit 21.3.4-11 Taxpayer Assistance Center Reject Tracking Control Log Time Frame & History Guidelines since it is the same Form as Exhibit 21.3.4-10

(130) AMS Letter Scenarios By Functional Groups exhibit removed

(131) AMS/e-ACSG Checklists exhibit removed

(132) Request For Program and/or Training Funding exhibit removed

(133) Exhibit 21.3.4-2 OPI Activity Codes added back code 990 when issue cannot be determined; updated with current OPI Activity Codes

(134) Exhibit 21.3.4-5 Form 3244 Payment Posting Voucher updated

(135) Exhibit 21.3.4-8 Electronic Filing Reject Letter updated link

(136) Exhibit 21.3.4-10 Taxpayer Assistance Center Reject Tracking Control Log updated link to Form 14408

(137) Exhibit 21.3.4-12 Return Preparation Tool Clarification Chart updated for FY 2013

(138) Exhibit 21.3.4-13 Field Assistance Retention Requirement and Shipment Table updated for FY 2013

(139) Exhibit 21.3.4-17 Completing Form 4852 - Same Employer - Disaster Returns updated with current figures

(140) Exhibit 21.3.4-18 Completing Form 4852 - Different Employer - Disaster Returns updated with current figures

(141) Exhibit 21.3.4-19 Completing Form 4852 – Social Security and Medicare Taxes Withheld - Disaster Returns updated figures

(142) Exhibit 21.3.4-20 Completing Form 4852 - Federal Income Tax Withheld - Disaster Returns updated with current figures

(143) Exhibit 21.3.4-23 3709 Daily Email Tracking/Transcription Sheet removed call and added email and link to area tracking sheet

(144) Exhibit 21.3.4-33 ITIN Document Authentication TACs updated

(145) Exhibit 21.3.4-36 Field Assistance Mandated IAT Tools added

(146) Editorial corrections, edits, and links verified throughout; Exhibits rearranged by topic

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 21.3.4 dated September 07, 2012 (Effective October 01, 2012) is superseded. The following IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs), issued from October 2, 2012 through August 14, 2013, have been incorporated into this IRM: 12U1624, 12U1690, 12U1719, 12U1776, 12U1812, 12U1876, 12U1907, 12U1951, 12U1979, 13U0052, 13U0116, 13U0243, 13U0304, 13U0392, 13U0447, 13U0543, 13U0580, 13U0608, 13U0632, 13U0674, 13U0752, 13U0798, 13U0860, 13U0905, 13U0959, 13U1016, 13U1077, 13U1107, 13U1141, 13U1164, 13U1195, 13U1243, 13U1285, 13U1335, 13U1349.


Wage and Investment (W&I) Field Assistance employees and managers

Effective Date


Related Resources

W&I Insider - Field Assistance http://win.web.irs.gov/field.htm

Michael Beebe
Director, Field Assistance
Wage and Investment Division  (10-01-2011)
Field Assistance Operations Overview

  1. The mission of Field Assistance (FA) is to enhance the taxpayer experience by providing quality face-to-face assistance and facilitate self-assisted services that resolve tax issues and educate the taxpaying public.

  2. This provides program direction for all employees and managers delivering service in FA Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs). The following procedures apply to all FA locations staffed by IRS personnel in the United States and Puerto Rico.  (10-01-2013)
Standard Services in a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC)

  1. The TAC program provides face-to-face assistance to taxpayers who:

    1. Cannot resolve their problem over the telephone or through correspondence

    2. Need a document issued to them in a reasonable period of time

    3. Prefer face-to-face contact

    4. Require solutions to tax issues

  2. All TACs will provide the following services:

    • Multilingual Assistance

    • Account Inquiries

    • Adjustments

    • Payment/Installment Agreements

    • Alien Clearances (Sailing Permits)

    • Tax Law Assistance

    • Need-Based Tax Return Preparation

    • Procedural Inquiries

    • Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax (Form 2290)

    • Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN)

    • Employer Identification Number (EIN)

    • Tax Forms

    • Application for TAO (Taxpayer Assistance Order) referrals (when appropriate)

    • Transcripts of Returns, Tax Account, Record of Account, Wage and Income, and Verification of non-filing.

  3. You should provide the kind of service you would expect to receive. FA has a commitment to standardization when providing taxpayers with consistent service.  (05-18-2012)
Hours of Operations and Locations

  1. Service hours are primarily based on local traffic patterns and available resources.

  2. Full-time offices are open from 8:30am until 4:30pm Monday through Friday, and have full-time TAC staff five days a week, eight hours a day, 12 months a year.

  3. Part-time offices are open from 8:30am until 4:30pm on the days they are scheduled during the filing season. During the non-filing season, part-time offices hours vary.

  4. Extended hours will be available on the last day of the filing season or on any days deemed necessary by Headquarters. Extended hours should only be available when it is warranted by past traffic patterns.

  5. Any change in TAC hours must be updated on the 3709 line, Form 13358, Taxpayer Assistance Center Operating Hours, and posted on IRS.gov before the changes are effective.

  6. Several options for accommodating a taxpayer who arrives at the TAC too late to be served within the regular hours of operation on a particular day include:

    1. Serve the taxpayer with an employee who has tour a of duty that extends beyond the hours of operation.

    2. Serve the taxpayer with an employee who requests and is approved to work credit hours.

    3. If overtime has been previously authorized, work overtime to serve the taxpayer. All overtime must be approved by a manager in advance.

    4. Prior to closing the TAC, solicit taxpayers for routine payments and forms.  (04-12-2012)
Facilitated Self Assistance (FSA)

  1. FSA is defined as a computer with internet access to IRS.gov for taxpayer use located in some TAC offices.

  2. The IAR (Initial Assistance Representative) will offer the taxpayer the option to use the kiosks for tasks that can be accomplished using http://www.irs.gov

    1. If a taxpayer declines to use FSA, the IAR will proceed with issuing the taxpayer a Qmatic ticket for face-to-face assistance as deemed appropriate.

    2. If the taxpayer agrees to use FSA, the taxpayer will be directed to the FSA kiosks and advised that an FA employee will be with them momentarily. The taxpayer will also be provided with a Customer Satisfaction Survey card as outlined in IRM, Providing Survey Cards to Taxpayers. The IAR will notify the designated Facilitator of a waiting taxpayer.


      No Qmatic ticket will be issued, as FSA has its own system for capturing units.

  3. A designated FA employee will act as Facilitator in guiding the taxpayer through IRS.gov.

    1. The Facilitator will not answer any tax law questions.

    2. The Facilitator will not perform any keystrokes for the taxpayer.

    3. The Facilitator will report time but not units to the FSA program on FAMIS. See http://win.web.irs.gov/field/field_FAMIS.htm for specific guidance.

    4. The Facilitator will retrieve taxpayer prints from the FSA dedicated printer.

  4. The FSA kiosks are secured to the self-help workstations in the TAC waiting area.

  5. The designated FSA duplex printer will be located in the IAR workstation or other FA secured space.


    There is a 100 page print limit programmed into the kiosks.

  6. One kiosk per FSA site is designated as Section 508 compliant and located on a pneumatic table, which is Section 504 compliant.

    1. A taxpayer may request headphones to plug into the kiosk to use the Alternate Technology option available.

    2. Each FSA TAC will maintain a small inventory of headphones for taxpayer use.

    3. For sanitary purposes, the headphones are for one-time use only.  (10-11-2012)
Customer Service in Your TAC

  1. The TAC should project a positive, helpful image. It should be professional, well organized, and clean.

  2. Ensure taxpayers can easily identify where to go for assistance.

  3. Taxpayers waiting for assistance should be seated or standing without blocking the office entrance or exit.

  4. Assistance areas should be designed so that taxpayers cannot overhear other taxpayers being helped. Use partitions or other means of protecting and providing privacy for the taxpayer.

  5. Ensure that other taxpayers cannot see the contents of the return or other documentation of the taxpayer you are assisting. Each taxpayer is relying upon you to protect his/her privacy.

  6. Ensure that only you can view account information on the Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) computer screen.

  7. TAC employees must take all possible steps to ensure taxpayer privacy and the security of sensitive taxpayer information. When a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is needed, ask the taxpayer to write down or type (on the numeric key pad) the number instead of speaking the number aloud (e.g., the taxpayer does not provide a notice or other document with the TIN on it). See IRM, Numeric Key Pads for procedures on using the key pads during disclosure.


    If you are a Visually Impaired employee, then a verbal response is acceptable.


    After use of all sensitive documents that do not belong with the taxpayer, properly dispose of the materials in an office container specified for classified waste.  (03-22-2010)
Your Role and Duties While Assisting Taxpayers

  1. Your primary role is to provide taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities.

  2. In addition to providing assistance, your duties may include:

    1. Opening and closing the office (if manager not available)

    2. Ensuring that forms racks are stocked and neatly labeled

    3. Ordering tax and administrative forms, worksheets and publications

  3. Use the following techniques to ensure efficient service:

    1. Rely upon the Initial Assistance Representative (IAR)/Individual Taxpayer Advisory Specialist (ITAS) to direct taxpayers to the appropriate area.

    2. If your office does not have an Initial Assistance Representative, periodic announcements regarding self-service, such as the location of forms should be made to minimize wait time.

    3. Assist taxpayers on a "first come, first served" basis unless you are directed by management to assign certain taxpayers priority service (e.g., forms, payments, etc).

    4. If you see a taxpayer having difficulty reaching or finding a form or opening a door, offer to help.

    5. If the taxpayer has business with a specific IRS employee, such as an audit appointment or has a case assigned to a Revenue Officer, refer to your office phone directory, Discovery Directory or other resources as necessary.

    6. Never leave the office without proper coverage. If you must step away from the counter, have a system in place to let you know a taxpayer is waiting (e.g., a buzzer or bell).

    7. FA will collect documents for Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) on a limited basis. However, SB/SE has the ultimate responsibility for collecting documents that FA has collected on their behalf.  (05-20-2013)
Telephone Requirements for RRA 98 (Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998) Section 3709

  1. Under RRA 98, Section 3709, the IRS is required to publish addresses and phone numbers of local IRS offices in appropriate local telephone directories. The primary purpose of these local numbers is to provide the public with a means of accessing the local IRS office to learn the office location and available services.

  2. Wage and Investment (W&I) Field Assistance has overall responsibility for implementation and management of the Section 3709 process and procedures. This will include TACs and other locations determined to be Section 3709 posts of duty (PODs). Section 3709 PODs are PODs that do not have a TAC Office, but a number is listed due to lack of coverage in the geographic location.

  3. Callers will be greeted with a recorded script. The script will advise the taxpayer of the options available to obtain assistance. These options will include toll-free numbers for individual and business inquiries, IRS.gov and visiting a TAC office without an appointment. Callers will no longer have the ability to leave a message. Elderly or disabled taxpayers that require special accommodations will be referred to a special email address to communicate their special needs.

  4. Appointments will be given to taxpayers who are elderly or disabled that require special accommodations. The intent is to accommodate taxpayers with physical disabilities; however, any taxpayer who states they have a disability will receive an appointment. See IRM, Assisting Taxpayers with Disabilities for more information.


    Specific procedures are covered later in this section.  (05-20-2013)
3709 Line

  1. Elderly or disabled taxpayers that require special accommodations for service can schedule an appointment via email.

  2. The local number will clearly instruct the caller to visit our website at IRS.gov, call the toll-free numbers for tax law and account questions, or visit our office. We no longer schedule appointments on this line.  (05-20-2013)
Procedures for Taxpayer Assistance Centers

  1. Identifying and Listing Telephone Numbers - Telephone numbers will be published for every TAC, except for cities that have multiple offices. For example, Houston, Texas has 3 TAC offices located in the Metropolitan Houston area. At least two TAC telephone numbers will be published to give coverage throughout the metropolitan area. Telephone numbers for offices for which there is no TAC located within an area code will also be published. These offices are defined as "§3709 PODs" .

  2. The ability for taxpayers to leave messages on the 3709 line has been eliminated. Elderly or disabled taxpayers that require special accommodations for service will be referred to a special email address. An automatic reply to the taxpayer will inform them that the IRS will reply within 3 business days.

  3. Email Retrieval - There will be a designated primary and back-up FA employee for each area to retrieve messages. Clerical employees, if available, should be used to retrieve messages.


    If a message contains a threat to the Internal Revenue Service, an IRS employee or if the taxpayer threatens to harm himself/herself follow procedures in IRM, Threats and Assaults.

  4. Routing Messages - All email messages will be returned within three business days regardless of the issue. All employees returning email messages will state their name, ID (badge) number at the beginning of the email message.

  5. A designated clerical FA employee, if available, will return all email messages.

  6. Email messages will be retrieved at least once daily. This should be increased up to 3 times a day if demand warrants.

    1. If the email specifies that they are disabled and require special accommodations, forward the email to the appropriate TAC or group for response.


      See If/Then chart in (9) below for procedures on responding to email messages.

    2. If the email does not specify that they are disabled and require special accommodations, send the following standard reply:
      Thank you for contacting the Internal Revenue Service. This email account is designated for use by taxpayers with a disability that requires special accommodations or the elderly only. Find the help you need on our website at IRS.gov. If you want to call us, for individual tax information call 1-800-829-1040, or for business taxes you may call 1-800-829-4933.

  7. Telephone Number Changes - All requests for telephone number changes or additions will be submitted to the FA Area Coordinator.

  8. Call Tracking Procedures - All emails will be tracked using the 3709 Daily Email Tracking/Transcription Sheet. See Exhibit 21.3.4-22. Detailed instructions for completing the log are included in the exhibit. The email tracking sheet will be maintained in each TAC for a period of two years (electronic or paper) in accordance with http://irm.web.irs.gov/Part1/Chapter15/Section31/IRM1.15.31.asp#1.15.31-1 item #9, Records Control Schedule for Field Customer Service Office.


    Taxpayers names, email addresses, and telephone numbers cannot be maintained on the tracking sheet as this will create an unauthorized system of records. Group Managers will establish the most efficient method to transcribe names and telephone numbers. The information must be destroyed once the call back has been made.

  9. All email inquiries forwarded to TACs for assistance can be resolved via telephone (if a telephone number is provided) or via email. Use the following If/Then Chart when replying via email.

    Procedures For Returning Email Messages (Clerical Employee)
    Taxpayer (TP) did not state they are disabled. Send the message which advises taxpayers that the email account is only for taxpayers with a disability and require special accommodations for service or the elderly. (See Standard Response A).
    TP inquiry states they have a disability and require special accommodations. Respond to the taxpayer to determine the day and time they wish to schedule an appointment. (See Standard Response B).
    Send a confirmation email to the taxpayer. (See Standard Response C).

  10. Scheduling Appointments – FA will schedule appointments for taxpayers with special needs and the elderly. The intent is to accommodate taxpayers with physical disabilities; however, any taxpayer who states they have a disability will receive an appointment. FA will schedule an appointment for any issue that is in scope.

  11. TAC Closings - If a TAC is closed due to inclement weather or any other situation, procedures in IRM, Posting TAC Closings should be followed.  (05-20-2013)
Assisting Taxpayers with Disabilities

  1. Taxpayers with disabilities face unique challenges when attempting to meet their tax obligations. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation and telecommunications. More information is available on the http://www.ada.gov/

  2. The purpose of this IRM section is to provide TAC employees with the necessary tools and information to better assist taxpayers with disabilities.

  3. Taxpayers with disabilities may seek assistance by visiting the TAC or sending an email to the Area email address. If an email is received from a taxpayer who states they have a physical or mental disability, procedures in IRM, Procedures for Taxpayer Assistance Centers, should be followed.

  4. Per IRM, Return Preparation Assistance, Group Managers have the authority to approve return preparation above the income limit to accommodate individual taxpayers on a case by case basis. Special consideration should be given when taxpayers are disabled.  (10-01-2012)
Taxpayers and Interpreter Services

  1. There are instances when our taxpayers who are deaf/hard of hearing have a need for interpreter services as a form of reasonable accommodation. Taxpayers may have their own interpreter, but if they request we provide this service, there are procedures in place and an appointment must be arranged accordingly. Requests for sign language interpreters require advance notice in order to ensure availability and meet the taxpayers’ needs. American Sign language interpreter service can be obtained using the current blanket purchase agreement with TCS Associates. Managers need to coordinate with their territory consumer (scheduler) to schedule an ASL interpreter from TCS Associates. Interpreter requests for TCS Associates should be scheduled at least five business days in advance of the taxpayer appointment. Additional instructions, guidance, and local contacts can be found at http://win.web.irs.gov/edi.htm under the Disability section, Sign Language Interpreter Services.  (05-20-2013)
Taxpayers and Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TTY/TDD)

  1. Taxpayers who are deaf/hard of hearing also have other options for obtaining assistance. They include:

    1. Calling toll-free at 1-800-829-4059, for assistance with tax law and account inquiries. Trained employees using dedicated terminals in the Atlanta, Dallas and/or Indianapolis call sites answer both tax law and account calls through the TTY/TDD systems.

    2. Visiting the IRS website http://www.irs.gov/

    3. FA modified IRM 1.4.11-1, Field Assistance Telephone Scripts/Email Responses, providing deaf/hard of hearing (DHOH) taxpayers the option to use email as a communication method. This will assist FA to effectively communicate with taxpayers with disabilities and/or their representatives. Emails will only be used to schedule appointments and interpreting services. Emails will not be used to answer any type of tax inquiries and/or share personal information.

    4. The deaf/hard of hearing taxpayer or their representative may provide the TAC their email address. The TAC group manager or designee will use an established 3709 mailbox address to communicate with the taxpayer or their representative to schedule appointments and interpreting services.

    5. IRM 1.10.3, Standards for Using Email guidance does not currently cover receipt of email, however it states the IRS should provide a note to taxpayers or their representatives advising that we cannot guarantee the security of their email if they choose to send information via email.

    6. Area Senior Operations Managers (SOMs) are the designated owners of the 3709 mailboxes.

    7. The owner or designee of the 3709 mailbox is responsible for adding members to access and use the 3709 mailbox. To add members, access the Global Address List and search for Access to W&I-IRS. The six (6) 3709 mailboxes will show up. Right click the "Access to list" and left click properties, you will then see modify members. Proceed to add and remove members.

    8. The SOM or designee is responsible for maintaining and designating access to the 3709 email mailbox for each Area.

    Field Assistance Area 3709 mailbox addresses are below:
    *W&I-IRS-FA HQ 3709  (10-01-2010)
Taxpayers and Visual Assistance

  1. When taxpayers who are blind or visually impaired visit TACs, they can usually tell you what type of assistance they need. The challenge is to resolve the taxpayers’ issues while being sensitive to the taxpayers’ limitations.

  2. When these taxpayers visit TACs unaccompanied, TAC employees should acknowledge the taxpayers, determine what services they need and assist them with obtaining Queuing Management System (Qmatic) tickets. This is especially important in TACs without Initial Assistance Representatives (IARs).

  3. In contact recording (CR) sites, TAC employees should advise taxpayers who may not be able to read the CR signs, that their contacts are being recorded. If these taxpayers choose to opt-out of having their contacts recorded employees should follow Qmatic procedures.  (10-01-2008)
Taxpayers and Completing Paperwork

  1. Taxpayers with visual or motor skill limitations may ask for assistance in completing paperwork or writing a check. TAC employees should assist in this area as needed, taking care to ensure that the taxpayers know what is being written. The taxpayers can be expected to sign on their own behalf, and should let the assistor know of methods that would be helpful in executing the signature. Each taxpayer will need varying degrees of assistance based on their individual needs.  (10-01-2008)
Taxpayers and Other Needs

  1. Elderly Taxpayers – A visit to the TAC may be a social outlet for the taxpayer. Engage these taxpayers, but control the conversation. Don’t assume the taxpayers don’t understand their tax situation. Listen completely before responding.

  2. Illiteracy – Although not a disability, Illiteracy may be considered a limitation. Generally, the non-reading taxpayers will not volunteer this information, but instead may ask you what their notice or form says. If these taxpayers ask you to read or explain something, do so willingly and without question. Advise the taxpayers to visit again if they need additional assistance and provide them with the appropriate toll-free numbers to obtain assistance by phone.  (10-01-2008)
Disability Etiquette

  1. It is impossible to know the proper response to every situation involving individuals who are disabled just as it is impossible to know every appropriate way to interact with non disabled persons. Remember the individual with a disability is first a person and should be treated as such. The following are some points to keep in mind when assisting taxpayers with disabilities:

    1. Speak in moderate tones. Always talk directly to the person who is disabled regardless of the disability. It is not necessary to talk louder than normal unless you are asked to do so. Because a person is blind doesn’t mean the person is deaf/hard of hearing.

    2. To facilitate conversation, be prepared to offer a visual cue to a deaf/hard of hearing person or an audible cue to a visually impaired person, especially when more than one person is speaking.

    3. As you work to resolve the taxpayer’s issue, explain what you are doing. Long periods of quiet may make the taxpayer wonder if you are still assisting them.

    4. If you need to leave the desk for any reason, let the taxpayer know that you are leaving and let the taxpayer know when you return.

    5. Respond to the taxpayer verbally. They may not be able to see a nod or headshake.

    6. Demonstrate sensitivity to the taxpayer’s desire to be independent. Never say, "Can’t you get someone to help you?"

    7. Conduct the interview as you would with anyone. Be considerate without being patronizing.

    8. Do not finish sentences or fill in words. This could be taken as demeaning. Refrain from making remarks like "slow down" , "take a breath" , or "relax" . This can be taken as patronizing. Use a relaxed and moderate rate of speech.

    9. Some interviewees with visual or mobility impairments will call on the telephone prior to the appointment date, specifically for travel information. The scheduler should be very familiar with the travel path in order to provide interviewees with detailed information.

    10. Make sure the place where you plan to conduct the interview is accessible by checking: the availability of handicap parking spaces, for a ramp or step free entrance, accessibility of restrooms, and where water fountains or telephones at the proper height for a person in a wheelchair are located.  (10-01-2009)
Large Print, ASCII text files (.txt), Braille Ready Files (.BRF) and Digital Tax Talking Forms

  1. Employees can assist taxpayers who visit TACs by accessing the http://amc.enterprise.irs.gov/ website for the list of available media and order processing instructions. The AMC has made alternative formats available through the same channels as printed products for both internal and external taxpayers. Orders for alternative formats already available will be shipped within 72 hours; all other requests will take 4-6 weeks to process.

  2. Employees or taxpayers can download electronic files from the multimedia electronic publishing website. This website contains a core repository of all the products published by the IRS. This is located on the product catalog information web page. Listed below, are instructions for downloading AMC products or follow this link to download files from the http://publish.no.irs.gov/catlg.html.

  3. The AMC website also contains a list of products available in alternative media formats: ASCII text files (.txt), Braille Ready Files (.BRF) and Talking Tax Forms.

  4. Ordering tax forms and products from AMC: TAC employees, with the approval of their managers, may order AM products on behalf of their taxpayers by email or fax. Send email media requests to altmc@irs.gov and fax orders directly to AMC’s help desk at 202-622-2878. All orders to the AMC must contain the following information:

    • Name and phone number

    • Shipping address including room number/stop number

    • Product(s) and type of media

    • Quantity

    • Date material is needed

    • Manager's name and phone number  (01-30-2012)
Guidance Regarding Service Animals

  1. Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, persons with disabilities accompanied by service animals must be allowed building entry and access to Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs). Service animals are defined as dogs or other animals that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks to assist people with disabilities. These requirements apply to individuals with physical and/or mental disabilities. The following are guidelines for service animals at TACs:

    • The service animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices.

    • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask if the animal is a service animal required because of a disability. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the animal, or ask that the animal demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

    • Allergies and fear of animals are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals.

    • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his/her service animal from the premises unless the animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or the animal is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain services without the animal’s presence.

    • People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons or treated less favorably than other patrons.  (12-15-2011)
Tax Assistance Program for Employees (TAPE)

  1. IRS employees who do not meet their federal tax responsibilities are subject to disciplinary action. The IRS has always treated failure to timely pay the full amount of tax liability seriously. The requirement to timely file and to accurately state the full liability became even more critical when Section 1203 of the Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98) mandated that IRS employees who willfully fail to timely file their tax returns and/or report all of their income are subject to adverse actions.

  2. The Tax Assistance Program for Employees (TAPE) is designed to help employees meet their tax responsibilities and to comply with Section 1203 of RRA 98. FA is responsible for the oversight and administration of the TAPE Program with varying degrees of support from employees of other functions. FA Area Directors will designate one or more TAPE coordinators in each state to handle employees' tax issues. Campuses will designate a TAPE coordinator in each campus to handle employee e-file. Employees will be able to call and schedule an appointment, up to 5 days in advance, with their designated TAPE coordinator for account issues.  (12-24-2012)
Employee Electronic Filing Assistance

  1. FA is responsible for the major components of the Employee e-file program. Campuses (Submission Processing and Accounts Management) will maintain separate employee e-file programs within the parameters set by the Director of Field Assistance.

  2. Many employees will be eligible for free online tax preparation and free electronic filing through a partnership agreement between IRS and Free File Alliance. Employees can locate the Free File website link below. In lieu of forwarding the paper return to the IRS e-file location for transmission, employees who are eligible to participate in one of the vendors’ software programs will link to the IRS Web page from work or home and follow the vendor’s instructions at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Free-File:-Do-Your-Federal-Taxes-for-Free

  3. Employees that elect to use Free File and prepare their returns at work, on their government equipment, will be responsible for researching and understanding the rules governing IRS Policy of Limited Personal Use of Government Information Technology Equipment/Resources in IRM 10.8.27, Information Technology (IT) Security, Internal Revenue Service Policy On Limited Personal Use of Government Information Technology Resources. Information for Free File on the above topic is located on the IRS home page.

  4. Employees who do not qualify to participate in Free File are encouraged to file online at a low-cost online filing option offered through an IRS e-file partner, accessible through hhttp://www.irs.gov/Filing/Filing-Options

  5. Employees who do not qualify or choose not to use the Free File or partners page options may use the IRS Employee e-file program. This program offers employees a fast, easy and convenient e-file alternative.

  6. Trained employees will electronically file employees' completed tax returns. This confidential service is a courtesy offered to IRS employees and their spouses.

  7. For Fiscal Year 2013, the Employee e-file program will be provided February 20, 2013 through March 15, 2013.

  8. Many employee e-file sites may offer to prepare state returns, provided they meet the same criteria as preparing federal returns (e-file) and are in accordance with local Fed-State agreements. Those sites will be identified on the Employee e-file website, prior to the start of the Employee e-file period. If the TAC is not preparing the state return, then the employee e-file program will not electronically file an already prepared state return submitted through the Employee e-file program.

  9. Employees are not required to provide proof of social security numbers (SSNs) for any returns.

  10. Paperless filing will be the recommended method of filing. (Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization will be included in each Employee e-file Kit).

  11. Returns received through the Employee e-file program are not subject to the FA scope of services for return preparation. All forms, schedules, and required documents should be completed and submitted to the designated site per instructions in the Employee e-file Kit (Document 11423) and other local directions provided on the AWSS website.

  12. If the Document 11423, Employee e-file Kit is submitted without all of the required attachments, the package will be returned to the employee or spouse shown on the return to request additional information. If further clarification is required to complete data entry of the return, the package will be returned to the employee or spouse shown on the return to obtain clarification.

  13. Employees needing assistance with return preparation may visit their local TAC. However, assistance with the preparation of tax returns is limited to returns within Field Assistance scope of service and based on the availability of the TAC employees. If the TAC lobby is full, it may be necessary for the employee to make an appointment. Need-based return preparation assistance is provided to taxpayers and employees with total income of $51,000 or less. If an employee is unable to travel to a TAC, they should contact the toll-free telephone number at 1-800-829-1040 or go to http://www.irs.gov for assistance.  (04-02-2010)
Time Reporting for Employee e-file

  1. FA Employees - Field Assistance Management Information System (FAMIS) will be used to track time, hours and units of FA employees working the employee e-file program. See http://win.web.irs.gov/field/field_FAMIS.htm for specific guidelines.

  2. Other Employees - Employees detailed to work the employee e-file program will report their time to their respective business units as directed.  (10-01-2010)
Employee Tax Law Assistance

  1. Employees who need tax law assistance from IRS generally seek in-person help from FA in a TAC or through toll-free by telephone assistance. Employees who seek help from a TAC on issues beyond the scope of FA services will be referred according to IRM, Referral Procedures.  (10-01-2010)
Employee Account Assistance

  1. Employee Tax Compliance: If an employee's intended course of action will result in a failure to fulfill their obligation to file timely, accurately, and pay all the tax due by the April due date without penalty or interest, the TAPE coordinator will advise the employee that this will likely result in their being contacted by the Employee Tax Compliance Program (ETCP), and could ultimately result in referral to management for further action.

  2. Installment Agreements: If an employee indicates an inability to pay the full tax by the April due date and asks for an installment agreement, the TAPE coordinators will be responsible for establishing installment agreements within the scope of services and delegated authority. Installment Agreements outside FA scope of services will be forwarded to the appropriate FA Territory Manager as an account referral. Upon review and approval, the FA Territory Manager will forward the account file to the appropriate Operating Division Territory Manager for immediate assignment and resolution. Employees unable to visit a TAPE coordinator may contact the toll-free Customer Accounts Services (CAS) line, at 1–800–829–1040 for tax law or account assistance.

  3. Mandatory Account Referrals - Referrals identified in IRM 21.3.5-1, Referral IRM Research List, and related referenced IRM sections, will be referred using Form e-4442 and are to include the FA employee's name, identification number, as well as the IRM reference mandating the referral. The e-4442 will note that the person seeking assistance is an IRS employee.  (02-24-2011)
Communicating With and Surveying Taxpayers

  1. This section is your guide to providing quality taxpayer contacts. Effective communication is essential to promoting voluntary compliance. Therefore, TAC employees must always:

    1. Wear a name tag displaying their name while providing face-to-face assistance to taxpayers. If the name tag has not been ordered and received, the employee must verbally identify themselves by providing their name and employee identification number (all 10 digits of their Personal Identification Number) to all taxpayers.

    2. Offer a survey card on odd calendar dates of the month (i.e., 1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.) per IRM, Providing Survey Cards to Taxpayers.

    3. Be courteous with taxpayers at all times and greet the taxpayer with a smile.

    4. Make eye-contact with taxpayers.

    5. Watch for taxpayers’ body language indicating fear, anger, or other distress.

    6. Respond to the taxpayer’s opening statement.

    7. Target the taxpayer’s question.


      Use appropriate paraphrasing showing you comprehend and have identified the question.

    8. Secure the necessary facts; i.e., use a purpose statement when appropriate to prepare the taxpayer for a series of questions.

    9. Actively listen to the taxpayers responses, so they don’t have to repeat information. Control the conversation, avoid extraneous dialog and use talk time that is appropriate to the issue.

    10. Provide a correct and complete response.

    11. Confirm understanding and ask if the taxpayer has any other questions. Apologize if the Service has made an error.

    12. Verify disclosure (account contacts only) and follow the guidelines in IRM, Required Taxpayer Authentication except in the following situations:

      Taxpayer is just picking up a form or publication.
      Payments that are being dropped off with a completed voucher or posting document attached.
      Taxpayer is dropping off a completed return. No review or photocopy is needed.

    13. Use the appropriate length of research and wrap-up time for the complexity of the issue.

  2. Use up-to-date reference materials to stay informed of changes. The most up-to date materials are found on SERP.  (01-20-2010)
Obtaining Survey Cards

  1. The initial supply of survey cards will be shipped to the Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs).

  2. If a TAC needs additional cards before the end of the fiscal year, they can be ordered by sending an email to the Headquarters Analyst, Camille Winter. Include the following information in the email:

    • Group Number

    • Office Designation Number (ODN)

    • TAC office location (city and state)

    • Complete mailing address of TAC (including floor, room, and/or mail stop number)

    • Office contact person and phone number

    • Number of packages needed (each package contains 300 cards)

    • If it is an emergency request  (02-24-2011)
Providing Survey Cards to Taxpayers

  1. On odd calendar dates of the month, the Individual Taxpayer Advisory Specialist (ITAS) or Initial Assistance Representative (IAR) will offer each taxpayer who is provided assistance at a TAC office a Customer Satisfaction Survey card. The employee should advise the taxpayer that:

    • Completion of the card is voluntary

    • Their feedback is used to improve our customer service

    • The card should not be folded

    • The completed card should be placed in the survey card drop box, or when appropriate, the TAC employee can accept the card and place it into the drop box.

  2. On even calendar dates of the month, the ITAS or IAR will not offer the survey card to taxpayers.

    • If taxpayers question why they are not offered a card, the employee should advise the taxpayer that the survey is being offered to taxpayers through a random sample.

    • On even days if a taxpayer requests the card to provide feedback, the card should be provided to the taxpayer.  (10-22-2010)
Processing Completed Survey Cards

  1. At each TAC, a designated employee or manager will ensure the completed surveys are secured at all times. On a weekly basis, the designated employee:

    1. Gathers completed survey cards from the drop box

    2. Counts the number of cards shipped

    3. Mails cards through regular, non-traceable mail using the most cost effective shipping method to the following address:
      Scantron Corporation
      Attn: Data Prep
      1313 Lone Oak Road
      Eagan, MN 55121

  2. At each TAC, a designated employee or manager will record the number of cards shipped on http://se.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/WI/CAR/FA/CSS%20Tally/Forms/CSS%20Tally.aspx (for permission access, contact your Area Customer Satisfaction Survey Coordinator).

    1. Select the appropriate Area folder and locate the appropriate Territory Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) Cards Shipped template.

    2. Verify that no other office has the document checked out by looking at the Checked Out To column. If it is checked out, return at a later time. If it is not checked out, click on the drop down arrow next to the Territory template and select Check Out. If the document remains checked out for a long period of time, contact your Area Customer Satisfaction Survey Coordinator.

    3. Click on the Excel Territory template.

    4. Locate the appropriate week ending column for the shipment being sent and the row with the appropriate TAC office name and ODN number. Enter the number of cards shipped that week. If zero cards were shipped due to none being received, enter the number zero.

    5. Save the file by selecting File, Save, and Save.

    6. When exiting the file, select the Save Changes and Check In tab, OK, and OK.

    7. Area and HQ Analyst will retain backup copies of the templates monthly on the U drive for the respective Area, with the final annual copy in the retention file.  (10-01-2012)
Tax Law Assistance

  1. The Interactive Tax Law Assistant (ITLA) will be used to answer tax law questions in TAC offices. If an ITLA Tax Law Category (TLC) is available, the use of this tool is mandatory to answer tax law questions. See the ITLA Homepage on SERP for a list of tax law topics covered by ITLA TLCs.

  2. If an ITLA TLC is not available, employees will use the Publication Method to assist taxpayers with tax law questions. Specifics about the use of these methods are covered in more detail later in this section of the IRM.

  3. ITLA TLCs will not cover every possible tax law question received in a TAC. Employees must use their tax law skills and appropriate publications to answer in-scope questions beyond the scope of ITLA.

  4. Taxpayers with questions and issues regarding forms and schedules will be assisted in meeting their filing and compliance requirements. The scope of services for tax law assistance will include issues involving basic forms and schedules.

  5. Only questions within FA scope will be answered. For a detailed scope of services, employees should refer to the FA Scope Search Engine/Alpha Scope List on the ITLA homepage.

  6. While assisting taxpayers with an account inquiry, it is common to encounter issues that have tax law implications. Even though the taxpayer's initial question may be account related, be sure to use the appropriate tax law procedures as outlined in this section during the account contact. It does not matter who brings up the tax law issue (the ITAS or the taxpayer), ITLA is required to be used when an issue covered by ITLA is identified.


    Remember Taxability, Eligibility and Deductibility (TED), and if phrases such as, "that is not taxable" , "you are not eligible" , or "that is not deductible" are used, access any applicable ITLA topic immediately.  (10-01-2012)
Publication Method

  1. All Field Assistance employees are required to use the Publication Method when answering tax law questions. For topics covered by the Interactive Tax Law Assistant (ITLA), use of the guides is mandatory. On all tax law contacts, take the following steps to ensure a complete and correct response:

    1. Respond to the taxpayer’s opening statement by acknowledging that you will help. Actively listen to the taxpayer’s question/issue.

    2. Target the taxpayer’s question/issue. Determine if the tax law question/issue is in scope. If not, refer appropriately. Do not answer an out of scope tax law question.

    3. Go to the ITLA Homepage on SERP to determine if the topic is covered by an ITLA TLC. Use the appropriate method to provide assistance.

      If: Refer to:
      ITLA topic IRM
      Not covered by an ITLA TLC IRM
      Current TLC or publication not available IRM

    4. Close the conversation by summarizing the information you provided to ensure a correct and complete response. Check for the taxpayer’s understanding. Determine if the taxpayer has any other questions.

  2. Every taxpayer with a tax law question must be offered either an answer or a referral. It is never acceptable to ONLY give publications to taxpayers who have a tax law question.

  3. All out of scope tax law questions should be handled using current referral procedures. See IRM, Referral Procedures.  (10-01-2012)
Steps in the Publication Method for Interactive Tax Law Assistant (ITLA) Topics

  1. Find the appropriate Tax Law Category (TLC) in ITLA. The FA Search Engine is the most complete resource for determining the scope of the topic and which TLC should be used.

  2. Advise the taxpayer you are going to cover the topic thoroughly. Use a purpose statement to let the taxpayer know you will be asking a series of questions designed to gather the necessary information to ensure they receive an accurate response.

  3. Ask the questions in sequential order.

  4. Address all questions with the taxpayer.

  5. If you have to paraphrase a question to ensure the taxpayer's understanding, be sure to address all elements of the question.

  6. Watch for any instruction the ITLA TLC provides to YIELD or STOP. Be aware of instructions that differ for Field Assistance (FA) and Accounts Management (AM). These differences generally occur because of scope differences between the AM and FA functions.

  7. Be sure to read all assistor "notes" and/or "cautions" , and take any required actions. These notes and cautions are for the assistor only and are not meant to be shared with or read to the taxpayer.

  8. Use the interactive links within the ITLA TLC to publications, forms, instructions and other resources. These links provide definitions and expanded explanations.

  9. Link to and use self-populating worksheets when applicable or instructed to do so.

  10. The Data Review feature located in the upper right-hand corner of each question screen allows you to change answers to previously asked questions. Generally, if you must change more than one item, use the Restart function located at the top left-hand corner of every question screen.

  11. Verbally provide the taxpayer with the correct and complete response from the generated Response Page.

  12. Use the Summary section of the Response Page to clarify or change any previous probe answer the taxpayer provided. You are not required to read the response verbatim but you are required to cover all issues listed in the response in an accurate and complete manner. The Change feature located after each question in the Summary section allows you to change answers to previously asked questions. Generally, if you must change more than one item, use the Restart function located at the top left-hand corner of the Response page.

  13. You may provide the taxpayer with a printed copy of the Response Page.

  14. If requested, and the taxpayer has all the necessary information, provide assistance with applicable forms or worksheets.

  15. If a technical error (such as erroneous tax law direction or a misspelling) is discovered when using ITLA, submit feedback via the Feedback link at the top of the ITLA homepage. Once on the SERP Feedback homepage, select "Submitter Feedback Form," and then select "ITLA" from the dropdown menu on the resulting submission page. First time users will have to fill out a registration form before submitting the feedback. On the registration form, be sure to select "TAC (Taxpayer Assistance Center)" in the dropdown when identifying the "Campus" you work for. SERP Feedback should not be used to request answers to questions related to interpretation or clarification of tax law. Discuss those types of issues with your manager.  (01-26-2010)
Steps in the Publication Method For Non-ITLA Topics

  1. Determine the appropriate publication (this could be a form or instructions).

    • Advise the taxpayer you are going to cover the topic thoroughly. Use a purpose statement to let the taxpayer know you will be asking a series of questions designed to gather the necessary information to ensure an accurate response.

  2. Identify the appropriate section of the publication, form or instructions.

    • Solicit a response from the taxpayer that the section you identified is appropriate.

    • You may find it helpful to highlight applicable sections of the publication, form or instructions as you discuss the topic with the taxpayer.

  3. As you gather all relevant tax law facts by questioning the taxpayer, address all appropriate sections of the publication, form or instructions to ensure you provide a complete and correct response.

    • As topics are addressed, continue to solicit responses or acknowledgement from the taxpayer that you are answering their question.

  4. Always look further when:

    • The taxpayer does not meet the general rule - look for exceptions.

    • The publication says "generally" or "usually" - look for more explanation when the taxpayer’s situation is different.

    • The publication says "see any topic heading" - find that section and read it to see if anything there applies to your taxpayer.

    • There is a footnote or any reference to another page or another publication.

  5. Provide the taxpayer with a correct and complete response.

  6. Show the taxpayer the answer to their question in the publication.

  7. If requested, and the taxpayer has all necessary information, provide assistance with applicable forms or worksheets.

  8. If the taxpayer requests it, provide the publication or other reference material to the taxpayer to take with them.  (10-01-2010)
ITLA Procedures Before Appropriate Year Publication and Tax Law Categories (TLCs) Are Available

  1. This IRM section addresses when a taxpayer asks a tax law question and the applicable year publication and ITLA TLC are not yet available.

  2. When the appropriate tax year ITLA TLC and appropriate tax year publication are not yet available, follow procedures in IRM, Steps in the Publication Method For Non-ITLA Topics using the most current publication. Use of the most current year ITLA TLC as a resource/guide for covering required probes is not precluded, provided the steps below are followed.

    1. The employee must advise the taxpayer the information provided is based on the prior year publication.

    2. The employee must further caution the taxpayer that the tax law may change before the end of the tax year. When possible, the employee should advise the taxpayer when the revised publication is expected to be available.

    3. When the employee is aware of already enacted legislative changes that will impact the taxpayer, they should use information from IRS.gov, the "What’s New for YYYY" section of the available publication or Field Assistance Headquarters’ communications to share the tax law changes with the taxpayer.

    4. Employees should not address out of scope tax law during these contacts.

  3. When the appropriate tax year publication is available but the appropriate ITLA TLC has not yet posted, follow procedures in IRM, Steps in the Publication Method For Non-ITLA Topics and the steps below, using the tax year appropriate publication.

    1. Read the "What’s New for YYYY" section in the current year publication for the taxpayer.

    2. Incorporate any tax law changes in the answer you provide to the taxpayer.

    3. Review the relevant sections in the publication. Use of the most current year ITLA TLC as a resource/guide for covering required probes in not precluded. However, provide the taxpayer with a correct response from the publication.

    4. Provide assistance with applicable forms or worksheets (if the taxpayer has all necessary information).

  4. Follow these procedures until the current year TLC for that tax law topic is available electronically on the ITLA homepage (on SERP).  (10-01-2012)
Referral Procedures

  1. Providing high quality service depends on employees knowing when and where to refer issues that are outside of FA's scope of services. See the http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/irm-sup.dr/current/itla/itla-home.htm for Field Assistance.

  2. Taxpayer issues beyond these levels will be handled through a clearly defined referral process.

  3. Each group will have a Group Referral Coordinator (GRC) as per IRM, Receiving Referrals. The Group Manager (or designee) will make the final determination on disposition of the referral.

  4. It is essential that the employees "own" the issue and work with the taxpayer until the issue is appropriately referred. This is a key component in the process of providing accurate answers to taxpayers.  (10-01-2011)
Definition of Referral

  1. A referral is a written/electronic document prepared when a taxpayer inquiry cannot be resolved while the taxpayer is in the TAC. See IRM, Preparing an e-4442.

  2. There are three categories of referrals:

    1. Personal Referrals – Created when the employee is unable to complete the closing actions before the taxpayer leaves the TAC, but is expecting to personally resolve the issue by close of business. A personal referral not closed by the originating employee by close of business will be converted to an in-house referral after managerial review on the next business day. For additional information see IRM, In Scope Account Referrals.


      Do not create personal referrals simply to claim ownership of an account issue. If there is no expectation that the account issue will be resolved by close of business, follow procedures in b) below.

    2. In House Referrals – In-scope tax law or account issues for FA that the employee is unable to work due to a variety of reasons, i.e., training, unavailable Designated FA Specialist/Subject Matter Expert (SME), Integrated Data Retrieval System/Account Management System (IDRS/AMS) down or unavailable, 809 receipt book, etc. For additional information see IRM, In Scope Account Referrals.


      See IRM 21.3.5, Taxpayer Inquiry Referrals Form 4442 when IDRS/AMS is unavailable.

    3. IRM Referrals – Account issues that must be referred to another function outside of Field Assistance. The most common reasons are due to an open IDRS control base or an IRM reference mandating a referral. See http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/irm.dr/current/21.dr/21.3.dr/21.3.5.dr/21.3.5-1.htmReferral IRM Research List, for a list of some possible IRM mandated referrals. Carefully research the given IRM reference to determine if your issue meets the referral criteria. For additional information see IRM, Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) Referrals.  (10-01-2009)
Group Referral Coordinator Responsibilities

  1. As set forth in IRM, Receiving Referrals each FA Group Manager will designate a Group Referral Coordinator (GRC). The Group Referral Coordinator will:

    • Serve as a resource person for the group regarding referrals

    • Serve as the primary contact for all group referrals

    • Review all referrals for completeness, accuracy, and feasibility (IRM reference, IDRS control base)

    • Input R-Mail Add Question Form into FA R-Mail system on a daily basis (within one day of receipt)

    • Fax Form e-4442, mandatory IRM Referrals to appropriate Campuses when they are not accepted electronically

    • Periodically review Form e-4442 reports to monitor inventory levels, overage cases, timely closure of rejects, and group profile reports

    • Ensure the accurate and timely assignment of referral to an SME

    • Update R-mail if an interim letter is sent for Tax Law Referrals

    • Follow up on all overage referrals to determine status

    • Identify emerging issues regarding referrals or the referral procedures, research using IRM, SERP, etc. and attempt to resolve the issue

    • Elevate any unresolved emerging issues regarding referrals or the referral procedures to the Area Coordinator through the GM for concurrence  (03-29-2012)
In-Scope Procedures

  1. It is expected that all issues within the FA scope of services will be resolved and worked in the TAC. If the FA employee who receives the taxpayer’s inquiry is unable to resolve the issue, they should attempt to contact a designated FA specialist while the taxpayer is still in the TAC.  (10-01-2008)
Designated FA Specialist/Subject Matter Expert (SME)

  1. FA employees will contact a designated FA specialist (e.g., GS-11 ITAS) for technical support on tax law or account issues. If a designated FA specialist is not available to assist the taxpayer, the employee will attempt to contact a Subject Matter Expert.

    1. Subject Matter Experts (SME) will be designated in each Group, Territory or Area.

    2. Group Managers (GM) are responsible for designating SME. Each Group/Territory/Area will compile a list of experts within their Area including name, subject matter and telephone numbers. This list will be provided to all employees within the Group/Territory/Area.

    3. The area analyst will update this list annually by 10/1.

  2. If a designated FA Specialist or SME is not available or unable to assist, the FA employee will offer the taxpayer a referral based on whether it is an In-Scope tax law or an In-scope account issue.  (03-29-2012)
In-Scope Tax Law Referrals

  1. When a designated FA Specialist/SME is not available or unable to assist with an in-scope tax law issue, the FA employee will offer the taxpayer a referral via the FA R-mail system. The FA employee will inform the taxpayer that they will receive a response within 15 business days per IRM, Referral Procedures.

    1. The FA employee will complete the R-Mail Add Question/Tax Law Only Form 13344 and send it to the Group Referral Coordinator (GRC).


      Do not prepare a tax law referral using the Form e-4442.

    2. The GRC will review the Form 13344 and send it to the Group Manager/designee.

    3. The Group Manager/designee will review and approve the form, identify an employee who will work the referral, and send the form back to the GRC. The GRC will enter the form into the FA R-mail system and assign the referral to the employee on the next business day.

    4. If a tax law referral is not resolved within 15 business days, the employee working the referral must provide the taxpayer with an interim response (by telephone or in writing). This interim response must be documented on R-Mail.

    5. Two telephone attempts at different times of the day on two separate days should be made to resolve the referral. The calls must be attempted during the "best time" to contact designated by the taxpayer. (e.g., First attempt on Monday morning and second attempt on Tuesday afternoon)

    6. If attempts to reach the taxpayer by phone are unsuccessful, a written response to the taxpayer’s question must be sent using the R-Mail No Contact letter.

    7. If the information present on Form 13344 is not sufficient to respond fully to the taxpayer’s inquiry, the designee or the GRC will use the R-Mail No Contact letter feature and send a letter advising the taxpayer of their options to either call toll-free or visit their local TAC for further assistance.

  2. When appropriate, see IRM, ITLA Procedures Before Appropriate Year Publication and Tax Law Categories (TLCs) are Available.  (10-01-2013)
FA Tax Law Referral Tracking

  1. R-mail will be used as the tracking mechanism for both in scope and out of scope tax law referrals.

  2. All tax law referrals assigned to a FA employee must be input into R-mail, unless the referral can be closed by close of business. Each Referral will be entered into R-mail and updated as necessary.

  3. Employer Identification Numbers and Social Security Numbers cannot be put on the R-Mail system.

  4. The Group Manager is responsible for ensuring all R-Mail messages are worked and closed timely.  (10-01-2013)
In-Scope Account Referrals

  1. All account inquiries, unless IRM specified, are in scope for FA. Some IRMs that may be used to perform your official duties are found in IRM,Multi-Functional IRMs. This reference is not all inclusive for FA account work. There are two types of in-scope account referrals.

  2. Personal Account Referrals must be resolved by the originating employee by close of business the same day the taxpayer visits the TAC.

    1. This option is to be used only for issues you expect to complete by close of business on the same day the taxpayer visits the TAC.

    2. Employees must complete the Form e-4442 before the taxpayer leaves the counter and close the Form e-4442 by close of business the same day the taxpayer visits the TAC.

    3. Items in personal inventory will move automatically to the managers review folder if they are not resolved by close of business, on the day the taxpayer visits the TAC and be converted to an in-house Account Referral.

  3. In-house Account Referrals must occur under any of the following circumstances:

    • The FA employee does not have the technical training to resolve the contact and the FA designated specialist/SME is not available, or is unable to assist

    • The FA employee does not have the required IDRS profile necessary to complete the contact

    • IDRS/Automated Collection System (ACS) is down or unavailable

    The FA employee will:

    • Apologize to the taxpayer that you will not be able to assist them

    • Advise the taxpayer that the issue will have to be referred, and that they will receive a response within 30 days

    In house referrals are also required when documents requested, such as account transcripts, are not obtainable by close of business the same day. See IRM,, Requesting Documents When Creating e-4442 Referrals.

  4. The FA employee will complete Form e-4442 on AMS. See IRM, Preparing an e-4442. Form 4442 (paper) will only be prepared if the Form e-4442 function is unavailable or an IRM specifically directs you to prepare a (paper) Form 4442.


    Electronic In-house functionality of AMS (Account Management Services) was rolled out to FA in late 2006. As a result, manual input of the control base is no longer required. A systemically created control base will recognize the initiator’s IDRS number, will assign the Activity Code based on the location of the initiator, and will establish the Status Code as "B" . The ITAS will indirectly determine the Category Code from these new options: FACO (collection), FARE (refund), FAOT (other). The Category Code is based on the type of in-house referral the ITAS selected when creating the referral.

  5. See IRM, FA Account Referral Tracking for responsibilities of employees assigned to work In house inventory.  (02-13-2009)
FA Account Referral Tracking

  1. Account Management Services (AMS) will be used as the tracking mechanism for In-Scope account referrals. Control bases, Activity Codes, Status Codes, and Category Codes will all be systemically generated regardless of the type of referral, based on the employee’s selections as they created the Form e-4442.

  2. All referrals created by a FA employee through AMS will be systemically sent to the GM/GRC for review. This review must be completed within four business days.

  3. As a reviewer, the GM/GRC will have several options regardless of the type of referral.

  4. If the Form e-4442 was submitted as a Personal or In-house referral the GM/GRC can accept/approve and the referral will be assigned a generic group IDRS number, maintaining the "A" Status Code, and will move into an electronic inventory queue.


    Personal referrals not closed by close of business on the day they were created must be converted to an In-house referral.

    1. FA employees working from the electronic inventory queue will pull the next case based on their assigned Referral Skill Set profile.

    2. Once the case is pulled by the employee, the Status Code will automatically update to "A" and the control base will be assigned to the employee’s IDRS number.

    3. Interim Letters for all open Form e-4442 cases are systemically generated and then recorded in Part II of the form, based on the following schedule:
      Letter 2645C, Interim Letter 30 days from Form e-4442 creation date (use paragraphs A, B, C, U, 7, a)
      Letter 2644C, Second Interim Response 60 days from Form e-4442 creation date (use paragraphs A, B, C, K, L).
      Subsequent Letter 2645C every 30 days from previous interim letter date until the case is closed. An authorized user (GM/GRC) will have the ability to suspend systemic generation of the interim letters, if necessary.

    4. After the employee completes the required account actions and enters closing comments in Part II of the Form e-, the control base will systemically be closed and boxes 25-30 of the Form e-4442 will automatically be recorded.

  5. The GM/GRC can also reject a personal or in-house referral back to the originator with comments identifying the reason for rejection.

    1. The control base systemically updates to Status Code "A" , and the originator’s IDRS number will be assigned.

    2. The employee will have three days to work the reject.

    3. The employee can correct the error and resend the Form e-4442 to the GM/GRC for approval, or they can close the case, eliminating the referral.

  6. If the Form e-4442 was submitted as an IRM Referral the GM/GRC can accept/approve and the referral will be sent electronically to the campus function (if the receiving campus has been set up for electronic receipt), or will be faxed to the campus function. Once the Form e-4442 is approved, the GM/GRC is not responsible for further tracking of an IRM Referral.

  7. The GM/GRC can also reject an IRM Referral back to the originator with comments identifying the reason for rejection. If an IRM Reference requiring the campus or functional referral is not provided, the GM/GRC must reject the Form e-4442 back to the originator.

    1. The control base systemically updates to Status Code "A" , and the originator’s IDRS number will be assigned.

    2. The employee will have three days to work the reject.

    3. The employee can correct the error and resend the Form e-4442 to the GM/GRC for approval, or they can close the case, eliminating the referral.  (10-01-2010)
Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) Referrals

  1. IRM Referrals are account issues that must be referred to another function because:

    1. The account has an open control that prevents you from taking action. Refer to IRM, Adjustment Guidelines – Research for additional information on open controls.


      Not all open control bases prevent FA from resolving the account.

    2. A subject specific IRM section specifies that Form e-4442 must be referred. See http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/irm.dr/current/21.dr/21.3.dr/21.3.5.dr/21.3.5-1.htm, for a list of possible referrals with IRM references.


      The presence of a topic on this list does not automatically make it a mandatory referral for FA. Thorough research must be completed when using this list to select a specific reference to ensure the referral is routed correctly. If you cannot locate the applicable issue on this list, select "Other" and manually input the correct IRM Reference in the "Taxpayer Inquiry/Proposed Resolution" section of the Form e-4442.


      The subject specific IRM is the controlling IRM for the topic.


      IRM 21.4, Refund Inquiries is the subject specific IRM for Refund Inquiries. No other IRM can override IRM 21.4 concerning refund inquiries.

  2. The Form e-4442, through AMS, must be used to prepare, review, and electronically route IRM referrals. Routing exceptions:

    1. Some campus functions do not yet accept electronically routed Form e-4442s. These referrals will be printed, reviewed and approved by the GM/GRC, and faxed to the function/campus within 4 business days from the day the taxpayer entered the TAC.

    2. TAC employees often deal with taxpayers bringing in documents or information they want assistors to send to other functions. FA will not fax information to other functions except in very rare situations. All mandatory referrals must be sent electronically. Any attachments will be faxed separately and noted in the remarks section of the Form e-4442.


      Keep in mind appropriate attachments do not generally include IDRS screen prints, copies of notices, or other information that the campus functions can readily access. In addition, the assistor must identify the IRM reference that directed the referral and the fact that there are attachments in the "Taxpayer Inquiry/Proposed Resolution" section of the Form e-4442. Group Managers (or their designees) must ensure the appropriateness of the attachments before approving and faxing the Form e-4442.

    3. An example of an appropriate attachment referral: Sometimes a late reply to a Combined Annual Wage Reporting (CAWR) assessment can be a required referral. If supporting information needs to be attached to the Form e-4442, the assistor would select "Other" , rather than "CAWR" from the referral type drop down menu.

    4. An example of an inappropriate attachment referral: Creating a Form e-4442 simply to forward the taxpayer’s response to a letter from the Error Resolution System (ERS) function. FA would instead forward the taxpayer’s documents using Form 3210, Document Transmittal through regular mail procedures, without a Form e-4442.  (10-01-2013)
Out of Scope Procedures

  1. Referrals to other functions for Tax Law questions that are beyond the FA scope of services will be handled as set forth in the procedures below. Refer to thehttp://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/irm-sup.dr/current/itla/itla-home.htm for guidance on which topics are within FA's scope of services.


    Tax law questions within FA’s scope of services will NOT be referred to other functions. See IRM for In Scope Procedures.

  2. When the taxpayer's question is out of scope for FA, the taxpayer must be advised and provided with the following options:

    1. Contact the appropriate toll-free number (1-800-829-1040 for Individuals or 1-800-829-4933 for businesses). Inform taxpayer of the hours of operation (Mon - Fri 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM). Advise that the best times to call during April are before 10:00 AM and that Mondays are the heaviest traffic day.

    2. Use the IRS.gov website, if applicable.

    3. Offer Pub 1769, IRS (English and Spanish) Bookmark for future reference.

    4. Direct to the appropriate reference materials (publication number, form number, instructions) to research, if known.

    5. After the above options are communicated, and the taxpayer still wants to wait in the TAC for assistance, ensure they have no other questions that are within FA's scope of services. If not, escort the taxpayer to a vacant workstation (if available) and make an attempt to reach the Customer Account Services (CAS) support line while the taxpayer is in the TAC (do not promise an answer today). All calls will be "assisted calls" . The FA employee must initiate the phone call to the CAS support line and only use a suitable office phone (i.e., an empty cubicle). Taxpayers will not initiate calls to the CAS support line.


      If a vacant workstation is not available, do not contact CAS support for the taxpayer, see (3) below.

    6. The CAS support line is only to be used by FA employees to refer complex tax law inquiries beyond FA tax law scope. FA will not refer inquiries on tax form or schedule preparation, tax planning, or legal opinions to CAS. The CAS support line phone number is located on the FA Insider http://win.web.irs.gov/field/fadocs/jobaids/Internal_Use_Only_numbers.pdf


      The CAS support number will not be provided to other IRS personnel or to the general public (for FA internal use only).

    7. The FA employee must identify him/herself to the CAS employee by name and badge number and secure the name and badge number of the CAS employee. The CAS employee should identify self by name and badge number to the taxpayer.

    8. Once the CAS employee is on the line, the FA employee should follow normal procedures for closing a contact. The CAS employee will answer the taxpayer's question or write up the inquiry for callback.


      Periodically check on taxpayers using an empty workstation to ensure they are receiving service. If you witness a taxpayer destroying government property, immediately notify your manager for further guidance.

  3. If a CAS employee is not available within a reasonable amount of time, the FA employee will offer to write-up a tax law referral via the FA R-mail system. The FA employee will inform the taxpayer that they will receive a response within 15 business days per IRM, Referral Procedures.


    The FA employee should also offer to write-up a tax law referral in situations where the taxpayer is requesting our assistance after alternative options are offered and there is no empty workstation with a suitable phone available to call the CAS line.

    1. The FA employee will complete the R-Mail Add Question/Tax Law Only Form 13344 and send it to the Group Referral Coordinator(GRC). The FA employee should document on Form 13344 all the pertinent facts on their attempt to reach a CAS employee, i.e., date and time of call (if applicable).

    2. The GRC will enter the form into the FA R-mail system.

    3. The GRC is responsible for reaching a CAS employee and obtaining an answer to the taxpayer's inquiry.

    4. If a tax law referral is not resolved within 15 business days, the GRC must provide the taxpayer with an interim response (by telephone or in writing). This interim response must be documented on R-Mail.

    5. Two telephone attempts at different times of the day on two separate days should be made to resolve the referral. The calls must be attempted during the "best time" to contact designated by the taxpayer


      First attempt on Monday morning and second attempt on Tuesday afternoon.

      The GRC also has the option of conducting a conference call between CAS and the taxpayer. If this method is used, CAS will be contacted first to avoid additional wait time for taxpayer.

    6. If attempts to reach the taxpayer by phone are unsuccessful, a written response to the taxpayer’s question must be sent using the R-Mail "No Contact" letter.

    7. If the information present on Form 13344 is not sufficient to respond fully to the taxpayer’s inquiry, the GRC will use the R-Mail "No Contact" letter feature and send a letter advising the taxpayer to call toll-free.

    8. The GRC must ensure the referral is closed on R-mail.

  4. For tracking purposes only, an FA employee who is unable to reach a CAS employee should also submit an email to their GM, who will forward it to the Area and Headquarters Referral Analysts. The message must contain the following information:

    • Date and time of call

    • Number called

    • Location of TAC making the call

  5. If after speaking with CAS and the taxpayer approaches with another issue, the assistor should open a "walk-direct" on Qmatic.

  6. If the CAS employee is unable to answer a question because it is beyond his/her skill level, it is the CAS employee’s responsibility to write up a referral.


    The Over-the-Phone Interpreter (OPI) line will not be used for Out of Scope issues. If the taxpayer needs bilingual assistance for Out of Scope issues, they have two options: (1) advise them that they may contact the toll-free number at 1-800-829-1040. The toll-free service will give two options to continue in English or Spanish (taxpayer would need to provide an interpreter for all other languages); (2) advise them that they may visit our website at http://www.irs.gov

  7. Out of Scope Account – All account inquiries, unless specified in the IRM, are in scope for FA. When an In-Scope account inquiry, such as a math error notice, also has an out of scope tax law issue, the employee should call the CAS Toll-Free support line to obtain assistance on the tax law portion. Once an answer is obtained on the tax law portion of the inquiry the employee should be able to resolve the account issue, such as correcting the math error adjustment. Regardless of the account issues, FA will not refer inquiries on tax form or schedule preparation, tax planning, or legal opinions to CAS.  (10-01-2012)
Research Materials

  1. Do not try to memorize every procedural and technical issue. Know where to locate the information. When taxpayers see you reading instructions to provide answers, you are setting an example for them.

  2. Demonstrate your research skills to taxpayers as you assist them, so they will not have to return in the future.

  3. Check the alerts posted on the Servicewide Electronic Research Project (SERP) at least once a day.

  4. The following references are guides. You can access many of these references through the intranet using SERP. This listing of references is not all-inclusive. Ensure when assisting taxpayers that the reference materials you are using are for the tax year that the taxpayer is inquiring about. Work with your manager to ensure that you have access to the reference material from this list.

    • Internal Revenue Code (IRC)

    • Code of Federal Regulations, Title 26

    • Pub 17, Your Federal Income Tax

    • Pub 1796, IRS Tax Products DVD (FINAL Release)

    • Internal Revenue Bulletins (IRB)

    • All applicable sections of IRM 21 - Refer to the table of contents for a list of available sections

    • IRM 3.0.167, Losses and Shortages

    • IRM 3.21.263, IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Real Time System (RTS)

    • IRM 4.1.1, Planning, Monitoring, and Coordination

    • IRM 5.19, Liability Collection

    • IRM 11.3, Disclosure of Official Information

    • IRM 13, Taxpayer Advocate Service

    • IRM 20.1, Penalty Handbook

    • IRM 25.16, Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief

    • Document 6209, IRS Processing Codes and Information

    • Document 7130, National Distribution Center (NDC) Product Catalog  (02-07-2013)
Multilingual Assistance

  1. Multilingual services will be offered to taxpayers with a language barrier. The primary vehicle for providing this service is through bilingual employees and an Over-the-Phone Interpreter (OPI). However, the OPI line will NOT be used for Out of Scope issues.

  2. If the taxpayer needs multilingual assistance, did not bring an interpreter and the issues cannot be determined, a Qmatic ticket will be given by an IAR if available.

  3. The IAR will refer the taxpayer to a bilingual employee to determine if issues are In-Scope and provide the needed assistance.

  4. If a bilingual employee is not available to assist a taxpayer, the OPI service will be used. Taxpayers should not be made to wait to be serviced by a bilingual employee.

  5. If during the OPI service it is determined that the issues are Out of Scope, the taxpayer has the following options:

    • May contact the toll-free number at 1-800-829-1040 (English or Spanish options only – taxpayer will need to provide an interpreter for all other languages)

    • May visit our website at http://www.irs.gov

    • May be referred to the CAS line

  6. If a bilingual employee is available to assist a taxpayer with In Scope issues, the bilingual employee may be used prior to seeking the Over-the-Phone (OPI) service. If a bilingual employee is unavailable to assist the taxpayer, the OPI service will be used for In-Scope issues only.

  7. The OPI contractor provides a Language Identification Card that lists all available languages and has specific instructions for the use of the service. Interpreters can be reached by dialing the access telephone number 1-866-517-3852 from any office telephone.

  8. Each TAC must use its own unique client identification number, also known as the "access code" . This number identifies the TAC making the call. The client identification number must not be shared with other business units or TACs. Questions regarding your client identification number or access code should be addressed to the Field Assistance Area analyst.


    If you call for interpreter services without the client identification number (access code), you will be told to call back with the appropriate number. This code is a six digit number.

  9. The IRS/OPI contract allows the disclosure of tax information to the OPI interpreter. The assistor should limit disclosure to only that information necessary to resolve the issue. The interpreters are not employees of IRS so communicate to them exactly as you would advise the taxpayer.

  10. Use the Language Identification Card to help the taxpayer identify their language. Language Identification Cards are supplied by the vendor. The Headquarters Analyst assigned the program will request a yearly supply of the cards from the vendor for distribution to each TAC.

  11. Determine the OPI activity code prior to dialing the interpreter service. Input the three-digit activity code displayed in Exhibit 21.3.4-2, OPI Activity Codes using the dial pad on the telephone when prompted to do so. This prompt will occur prior to being connected to an interpreter.

  12. Input employee SEID when prompted.

  13. Care should be taken to use the service efficiently, including, termination of the call while performing case research, and calling back when research is completed.

  14. When dialing the OPI line and a busy signal is received, make a second attempt in dialing. If there is a hold time, wait a reasonable amount of time (at least 5 minutes) prior to ending the call. Contact the IRS Tax Centers emergency line at 1-800–523–1786 to be connected should these problems exist. You will need to input the Client ID that is specific to your TAC. This line should only be used in the event of failed attempts due to busy signals and long wait times. Report any busy signals, long wait times or any issues with the language line to your Area OPI Analyst. The Area OPI Analyst will forward the following information to the OPI Headquarters Analyst:

    • Client ID

    • Interpreter ID (This is provided by the Interpreter during the beginning of the call)

    • Problem/Issue

    • Date and Time of Problem/Issue

    • Language

  15. All IRS employees who use the Over-the-Phone Interpreter (OPI) service can provide feedback about the service by completing Form 14162, OPI Service Feedback.

  16. The OPI contract only allows for services rendered over the phone. Do not send written inquiries to the vendor for interpretation.  (10-01-2013)

  1. The IRS Design Office is responsible for designing all TAC signage.

  2. All signage displayed in the TACs must adhere to IRS Design Guidelines.

  3. All TAC offices will display Required Signs provided by Headquarters.

  4. All other signs or handouts displayed or distributed in the TACs must be specifically approved by the Director, Field Assistance or Headquarters designee (e.g., signs from other business units, new signs, temporary signs).

  5. TACs must display the latest revision of Required Signs (outdated signs must be removed when a new revision has been received or the end of the initiative being publicized).

  6. Handwritten signs are not to be displayed in the TAC.

  7. Signs should be displayed in the TACs where they can be easily seen.

    Required Signs
    Form 13358 25223R Taxpayer Assistance Center Hours of Service
    Pub Publication 4983 59182J Return Preparation Services Sign
    Pub Publication 4984 59183U Return Preparation Services Days of Week Inserts
    Pub Publication 4987 59252W Relocation Poster
    Form 14098 53741M Relocation Poster Address Insert. (Used with Pub 4987)
    Pub Publication 4992 59435N Prohibited Items Poster
    Pub Publication 4994 59437J Controlled Access Wall Sign
    Pub Publication 4995 59438U We Can Help With Poster
    Pub Publication 4996 59439F Making A Payment – No Cash Accepted (This is used in place of Pub 4997 in offices that do NOT accept cash or issue a receipt for non-cash payments)
    Pub Publication 4997 59440G Making A Payment
    Pub Publication 4998 59441R No Return Preparation Services Poster
    Pub Publication 5002 59445J Closing Notice Sign
    Pub Publication 5004 59447F Your Contact Will Be Recorded
    Pub 4053 34303M Your Civil Rights Are Protected Poster
    Pub Publication 4053 (SP) 34304X Sus Derechos Civiles Estan Protegidos
    Optional Signs
    Pub Publication 5003 59446U Forms and Payments Only
    Pub Publication 5007 59490M Tax Forms QR Poster (Contains QR code)
  8. The following list contains signs from other business units approved for indefinite posting by the Director of Field Assistance:

    • Pub 4631, "Your Voice at the IRS" , Taxpayer Advocate Service

    • Pub 4487, "Want to Improve the IRS?" , Taxpayer Advocacy Panel

    • Pub 4736, "IRS is Speaking Your Language" , Multilingual Initiative Strategy Office

  9. Pub 4993 is optional. It is for use in TACs where cell phone use by taxpayers interferes with contact recording.

  10. Pub 4996 is posted in TACS that do not accept cash payments. A deviation is required to post this sign.

  11. Pub 5002 is used to assist with high traffic volume near the close of the day if the manager determines we cannot serve additional customers and we need to stop issuing tickets. The sign will be displayed no more than two hours before closing.

  12. Pub 5003 is used in TACs when the Group Manager determines it is necessary to dedicate an employee for forms and payments in order to serve large numbers of taxpayers more efficiently.

  13. Pub 5004 is only required where Contact Recording is installed.

  14. Pub 5006, "While You Are Waiting" explanation of Qmatic (in English and Spanish) is used in TACs with full Qmatic when the Group Manager determines it is necessary to explain the numbering/queuing system to taxpayers and minimize confusion.  (11-26-2010)
Numeric Keypads

  1. When conducting disclosure, follow the procedures below when using a numeric key pad.

    1. Prior to handing the numeric keypad to the taxpayer, place the cursor in the TIN field.

    2. Hand the taxpayer the numeric keypad and request they input their TIN. They must edit their TIN appropriately (i.e., xxx-xx-xxxx for a SSN or ITIN, xx-xxxxxxx for an EIN). Taxpayers cannot submit their TIN directly into the system because the enter key on the pad is disabled.

    3. Once the taxpayer has input their TIN, employee will input any additional required information (i.e., MFT, Tax Period) and submit.

      If Then
      TIN is correct Continue with Disclosure
      TIN is incorrect
      1. Follow procedures under the Exception in IRM to report the inadvertent access.

      2. Request taxpayer re-enter their TIN, and

      3. Go to step d.

    4. Have taxpayer reenter their TIN as in step c:

      If Then
      TIN is correct Continue with Disclosure
      TIN is incorrect on 2nd attempt
      1. Employee will make no further attempts to have taxpayer input TIN.

      2. Request the taxpayer provide it to them in writing (see Exception under IRM

      3. Follow procedures under the Exception in IRM to report the inadvertent access.  (10-01-2011)
Quality and Accuracy

  1. FA has contracted with the Joint Operations Center (JOC) Centralized Quality Review Section (CQRS) to measure FA Tax Law, FA Accounts, FA Return Preparation and FA Procedural quality through the use of Contact Recording. FA worked with the Statistics of Income (SOI) section and designed an algorithm that will select a statistically reliable sample that will be valid at the Area level quarterly. The results of the reviews will be placed on the National Quality Review System (NQRS). Area Quality Analysts will have access to reviews and will share them with the field, but the results will not be evaluative to the individual employee. There are five NQRS measures:

    • Customer Accuracy: giving the correct answer with the correct resolution.

    • Regulatory Accuracy: adhering to statutory/regulatory process requirements when making determinations on taxpayer accounts.

    • Procedural Accuracy: adhering to nonstatutory/nonregulatory internal process requirements.

    • Professionalism: promoting a positive image of the Service by using effective communication techniques.

    • Timeliness: resolving an issue in the most efficient manner through the use of proper workload management and time utilization techniques.

  2. Area Directors and other levels of management will receive reports on all five measures: Customer Accuracy, Regulatory Accuracy, Procedural Accuracy, Professionalism, and Timeliness. The categories known as product lines for which these measures are reported are:

    • Tax Law

    • Accounts

    • Return Preparation

    • Adjustments/CIS  (10-01-2012)
Safety and Security

  1. This sub-section supplements information in IRM, Safety and Security Overview.

Your Safety and Security

  1. Your office should be safe and secure. This applies to both the taxpayer waiting area and your work area.

  2. If you notice outlets, cords, chairs, or office fixtures in need of repair or replacement, notify your manager or the Commissioner's Representative (CR) in your Post of Duty (POD) to ensure necessary repairs are made.

  3. http://getservices.web.irs.gov/webtier/ess.do is also available to report problems with lights, water leaks or other noticeable repairs needed. The link to the OS Get Services is available on the IRS Intranet Home Page.

  4. You should have direct numbers for the local office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), your manager, the CR, Criminal Investigation (CI) (if present at your location), the local physical security representative, local guards where applicable, local police, building manager or other facilities support, fire department and other necessary numbers readily available. Keep Form 9166, Bomb Threat Card at each desk and counter.

Threats And Assaults

  1. A threat is defined as the intention to inflict harm. An assault is defined as an attack by action or by word. Internal Revenue Code IRC 7212, Attempts to interfere with administration of Internal Revenue laws, and 18 USC § 111 Assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers or employees, provide criminal penalties of imprisonment and fine for anyone convicted of threatening, assaulting, or impeding an IRS employee acting in his/her official capacity.

  2. You are sometimes the focal point for the anger, fear, frustration or other emotional outbursts of a taxpayer. If you fear for your safety, take immediate action to protect yourself.

  3. Threats or assaults do not have to be directed toward you for you to take action. If a taxpayer is threatening your family, your co-workers or any other government employee, try to obtain the following information:

    • Taxpayer’s name

    • Social Security number

    • Current address

    • Statements taxpayer makes

    • Any other general information to aid the TIGTA office in its investigation (e.g., physical description; unusual behavior)


    The above also applies if a taxpayer is threatening harm to him/herself. Use the SERP Emergency site and IRM, Suicide Threats to assist you with actions appropriate with this type of situation.

  4. If a taxpayer becomes abusive, try to calm him/her down. If the taxpayer's behavior does not improve, advise the taxpayer that you are unable to help him/her at this time. Ask the taxpayer to leave.

  5. If a taxpayer refuses to leave:

    1. Push the duress button, if one is available in your office.


      If you discover that your duress alarm is inoperable or missing, it is imperative that you notify your manager immediately.

    2. Call CR, TIGTA, or local guard service (if located on site).

    3. If no help is available on site, contact your local law enforcement agency (Federal Protection Service, police, sheriff, or state patrol) in an emergency situation.

    4. Contact your manager and the Commissioner's Representative.

  6. If you must contact a local law enforcement agency, inform the agency that you have been threatened while performing official duties. Disclose ONLY the name and address of the location where the threat occurred. Contact the Disclosure Help Desk at 1-866-591-0860 before releasing confidential tax information to the local law enforcement agency.


    The Disclosure Help desk phone number is for internal use only.

  7. IMMEDIATELY REPORT to TIGTA all assaults, threats or forcible interference made against you in the course of your official duties, or made against members of your family to impede the performance of your official duties.

  8. You should report every incident, no matter how insignificant it may appear on the surface. The determination of what action, if any, is to be taken, will be made by TIGTA.  (10-01-2005)
What You Should Do When Your Security Is Threatened

  1. In all of the situations identified under IRM, Threats and Assaults, notify the local TIGTA Office, your manager, the Commissioners Representative, local security personnel, and other agreed upon personnel.

  2. You should contact appropriate individuals as soon as possible after the incident occurs or upon leaving the office.

  3. Write down events on any sheet of paper or on an appropriate form, such as Form 9166, Bomb Threat Card.

  4. Review safety and security procedures with your manager at least once a year.  (10-01-2013)
Caution Upon Contact Taxpayer (CAU)

  1. For general information on "CAU" , see IRM 25.4.2, Caution Upon Contact Taxpayer.

  2. The "CAU" indicator will appear on the AMS Account Summary and Disclosure screens with the alert "Caution Taxpayer." For a listing of other locations to find the "CAU" Indicator, IRM 25.4.2–1, List of "CAU" Coded Systems and Documents.  (10-01-2013)
Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer (PDT)

  1. For general information on PDT, see IRM 25.4.1, Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer.

  2. For procedures relating to PDT, see IRM, Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer (PDT) or Caution Upon Contact (CAU) Indicators.

  3. The PDT indicator will appear on the AMS Account Summary and Disclosure screens with the alert "Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer" . For a listing of other locations to find the PDT Indicator, see IRM 25.4.1–1, List of "PDT" Coded Systems and Documents.  (10-01-2008)
Gifts Of Nominal Value

  1. See IRM, Bribery Attempts for handling bribe attempts, including offers of gifts.

  2. An employee may not solicit or accept a gift (even one of nominal value - $20 or less) to influence him/her in performing his/her official duties. Other rules regarding gifts received from outside sources (not intended or received as bribes) are contained in 5 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 2535.201 - 2635.205 and in Document 12011, Plain Talk About Ethics and Conduct. Contact your manager for guidance.  (10-01-2013)
Physical Security and Safety

  1. Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) should be treated as a controlled access environment at all times. Controlled access is an essential aspect of ensuring that FA has adequate safeguards in place to protect taxpayers' information from disclosure and prevent unauthorized access to both information and property. In determining the security criteria for TACs, consideration should be given to the types and volumes of assets regularly received and stored. Examples of such assets include, but are not limited to, cash remittances, Form 809 Receipts "Received" and "Received with Remittance" stamps, tax returns, and return information.

  2. Among other security precautions, at a minimum managers should:

    • Visually monitor traffic in and out of TACs.

    • Deny entrance to TAC space if the individual is not assigned to perform FA Operations.


      Allow access to the TAC to employees from any organizational unit impacted by hurricanes or natural disasters. When non-TAC employees are located in TAC space, compensatory controls should be implemented (i.e., non-TAC employees cannot walk behind counters). Limit their access to what is necessary.

    • Conduct after hour reviews.

  3. All TAC managers and employees should keep in mind that "The basic principle of security within IRS or anywhere is to limit access to assets based upon need." When protecting assets and information, access should be limited to those persons with a need to access the information due to their official duties and/or responsibilities. See IRM, Controlled Area.

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