21.3.4  Field Assistance

Manual Transmittal

September 19, 2014


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

Material Changes

(1) IRM Standard Services in a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) updated services in (2); removed Employer Identification Number and "on an excepted basis only" in (2)

(2) IRM Hours of Operation and Locations added link to IRS.gov in (1)

(3) IRM Virtual Services Delivery (VSD) added procedures

(4) IRM Customer Service in Your TAC adds 2D barcode to Exception in (7)

(5) IRM 3709 Line added VSD information

(6) IRM Procedures for Taxpayer Assistance Centers revised to delete information on TAC closings and add procedures for appointment related emails in (11)

(7) IRM Assisting Taxpayers with Disabilities deleted return preparation assistance procedures in (4); added link to Accommodating Persons with Disabilities Referred from Taxpayer Assistance Centers

(8) IRM Taxpayers and Interpreter Services updated link

(9) IRM Tax Assistance Program for Employees (TAPE) deleted section

(10) IRM Employee Electronic Filing Assistance deleted section

(11) IRM Time Reporting for Employee e-file deleted

(12) IRM Employee Tax Law Assistance deleted section

(13) IRM Employee Account Assistance deleted section

(14) IRM Obtaining Survey Cards added (3) for VSD site survey procedures

(15) IRM Providing Survey Cards to Taxpayers added VSD site survey procedures to (1) and (2)

(16) IRM Processing Completed Survey Cards added VSD site survey procedures to (1) (d) and (2); clarified CSS procedures; added clarification for designated TAC Manager to (1)(d)

(17) IRM Tax Law Assistance updates when assistance is provided in (5)

(18) IRM Publication Method updates procedures in (2); replaced Pub 1769 with Pub 5136 in (2)

(19) IRM Referral Procedures editorial changes; clarified language

(20) IRM Definition of Referral clarified IRM referrals

(21) IRM Group Referral Coordinator clarified duties and added link to IRM 1.4.11

(22) IRM FA Account Referral Tracking updated procedures

(23) IRM Out of Scope Procedures removes CAS line and updates procedures; replaced Pub 1769 with Pub 5136; updated to include Service Approach changes

(24) IRM Multilingual Assistance updated out of scope referral procedures

(25) IRM Signs deleted Pub 4983 and Pub 4984 from Required Signs; updated Required and Optional signs; added VSD signs; added Pub 5100 and Pub 5169 to required signs

(26) IRM Quality and Accuracy deleted return preparation

(27) IRM Safety and Security added link to IRM; consolidated Your Safety and Security procedures

(28) IRM Workplace Violence (WPV) added

(29) IRM What You Should Do When Your Security Is Threatened updated procedures

(30) IRM Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer (PDT) added reference to IRM 25.4.2

(31) IRM Physical Security and Safety added "Proof of Delivery" to (1)

(32) IRM Payment Drop Box updated payment methods in (1)

(33) IRM FAMIS Form 5311, Field Assistance Activity Report added VSD procedures

(34) IRM Receipt of Payments clarified requirements for locked containers for remittances

(35) IRM Transaction Code (TC) added clarification for payments where Identity Theft is involved; added bullet and link for RS-PCC Transaction Codes; added link to IRM for special circumstances and deleted repetitive information and examples in (2)

(36) IRM Designated Payment Code (DPC) replaced list of codes with 6209 retriever information

(37) IRM Remittance Strategy for Paper Check Conversion (RS-PCC) added circuit riding statement to (4)

(38) IRM Overview of RS-PCC Payment Processing added to forward frivolous checks with Form 795-A to the Frivolous Filer Unit; updated guidance

(39) IRM RS-PCC Processing Payment Procedures added Note on 2D scanner

(40) IRM RS-PCC Key Verification (KV) clarified

(41) IRM RS-PCC Access/Security Forms and Passwords updated title; added (10) and Note

(42) IRM OTCnet Access/Security Forms and Password updated title; added procedures

(43) IRM RS-PCC RL II Input Fields revised RPSID Range

(44) IRM Formatting Data Entry Fields deleted repetitive information

(45) IRM Unidentified Remittances added new procedures; renumbered remaining sections

(46) IRM RS-PCC Error Correction revised (1) and (2)

(47) IRM Cash Payments added the word "permanent" as it relates to deviations

(48) IRM Procedures for Accepting Cash Payments added clarifications to alpha list; clarified procedures for smart safe and added link

(49) IRM Form 795-A, Remittance and Return Report updated to include preparation instructions; removed cash or non-cash from Payment Type; added Note for when AMS is not available; combined with preparation instructions

(50) IRM Reviewing and Shipping Form 795-A and Form 3210 for Payments and Payments with Returns removed and Form W-7 Packages from title; Data Protection and Inadvertent Disclosures reporting office phone number and name change from SAMC to PGLD/IM; updated procedures

(51) IRM Supplemental Form 795-A added clarification

(52) IRM Preparing Unidentified Remittance Package for Mailing added Unidentified to title

(53) IRM Mailing Unidentified Remittance Packages added Unidentified to title

(54) IRM Form 5919, Teller's Error Advice clarified procedures and specified link

(55) IRM Loss or Shortage of Payments; Data Protection and Inadvertent Disclosures reporting office change from SAMC to PGLD/IM

(56) IRM Discovered Remittances added sentence on tax class 02 to (5)

(57) IRM Unidentified Remittances; Data Protection and Inadvertent Disclosures reporting office phone number and name change from SAMC to PGLD/IM

(58) IRM Offer In Compromise updated DPC from 09 to 35

(59) IRM Accepting Cash Payments in TACs with Courier Services or Over the Counter Depositing; updated title and added procedures

(60) IRM Creating the Trace ID Number; updated title; moved and added (2) and (3)

(61) IRM Preparing Form 2679, Teller's Daily Balance and Reconciliation; moved and updated procedures

(62) IRM Preparing Form 10160, Receipt for Transport of IRS Deposit; added new procedures

(63) IRM Procedures for Processing Cash in TACs with Courier Service; updated procedures

(64) IRM Courier Service Issue Log and Performance Matrix; added new procedures

(65) IRM Loss or Shortage in TACs with Courier Service or Over the Counter Depositing; added new procedures

(66) IRM Accepting Cash Payments in TACs with Smart Safe Services; added new procedures

(67) IRM Creating the Trace ID Number for TACs with Smart Safe; added new procedures

(68) IRM Procedures for Processing Cash in TACs with Smart Safe Service; added new procedures

(69) IRM Smart Safe Service, Manual Drop; added new procedures

(70) IRM Smart Safe Service Issue Log and Performance Matrix; added new procedures and links

(71) IRM Loss Or Shortage in TACs with Smart Safe Service; added new procedures

(72) IRM Segregation of Duties for Courier Cash Payments; added new procedures

(73) IRM Receipt of Tax Returns added Note on assembling the return; added funny box procedures

(74) IRM Receipt of Delinquent Returns added link to IRM 5.19.2; deleted repetitive information

(75) IRM Reviewing and Shipping Form 3210 for Returns without Payments and Returns Received with Payments Processed at the TAC; removed Except Form W-7 and using RS-PCC from title; updated example; added initialing information; updated Form 3210 acknowledgement time frame to 10 business days; clarified procedures; Data Protection and Inadvertent Disclosures reporting office phone number and name change from SAMC to PGLD/IM; added link to funny box procedures; clarified procedures in (11) and (13)

(76) IRM Forms, Instructions, and Publications added instructions to only print necessary pages of pubs

(77) IRM Ordering and Stocking Forms, Instructions, and Publications added link to label procedures

(78) IRM Return Preparation Assistance updates procedures to remove Return Preparation Service, Electronic Filing, Return Preparation Criteria, VITA and TCE, Return Preparation Procedures, Return Preparation Help Me Tabs, ITLA, and Software Default Settings, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and Return Preparation Criteria for Taxpayers Affected By Federally Declared Disaster; added Caution to (3); removed National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) from list of alternative resources in (3); added instructions to (3) caution to advise taxpayer of requirements to use their services when advising of types of services offered; added (4) for procedures on referring disabled taxpayers for return preparation; added link to Pub 3676-B; clarified procedures

(79) IRM Taxpayer Requests for Address Change added link to IAT; deleted link to IRM; replaced "appropriate Criminal Investigation Function" with "Criminal Investigation, Pacific Scheme Development Center, Ogden Post of Duty"

(80) IRM Scrambled SSN, Mixed Entity, and Missing or Invalid TIN Procedures replaced "Fraud Detection Center" with "Scheme Development Center"

(81) IRM Account Management Services added Note and Examples to clarify mandated IAT tools

(82) IRM Integrated Automation Technologies (IAT) added Note and Example to clarify mandated IAT tools

(83) IRM Innocent Spouse updated address

(84) IRM Balance Due Accounts added link to IRS Direct Pay information; removed return preparation and added procedures in (5); added procedures to provide Pub 5034 and links for making electronic payments in (6)

(85) IRM Filing Liens in Field Assistance removed CDPTS, use has been discontinued

(86) IRM Lien Release Request added Caution

(87) IRM Direct Debit Installment Agreement - Form 433-D, Installment Agreement and Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request replaced express mail with fax and replaced Form 3210 with Form 4442 in (8)(c); changed to allow fax instead of express mail in (7)(d)

(88) IRM Tax Return and Tax Account Transcript Requests added Form 8821 to Exception

(89) IRM Returned Refund Checks added Note to (5)

(90) IRM Credit Transfers updated procedures; added link

(91) IRM Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) updates EIN application procedures

(92) IRM Combined Annual Wage Reporting (CAWR) updated procedures and links

(93) IRM TAC Employees’ Responsibilities for Form 2290 updated (4)

(94) IRM Overview of Form 2290 deleted Note in (1) applicable to the extension that applied to the 2011-12 tax period

(95) IRM Reviewing Form 2290 deleted sentence in (3)

(96) IRM Securing Payment updated Note

(97) IRM Mailing Form 2290 corrected IRM title in (4) and (5); updated procedures in table

(98) IRM Form 2290, VIN Correction deleted last sentence in (4) that said "Referrals for this purpose are not part of the Form e-4442 system, nor are they submitted through the Group Referral Coordinator (GRC)"

(99) IRM Form W-7, Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) added (5) and (6) information on ITIN expiration

(100) IRM Overview of TAC Employees Responsibilities for Processing Form W-7 separated processing procedures to new subsection (

(101) IRM ITAS Responsibilities for Processing W-7 Applications in the TAC; new subsection; deleted Note in table under Tax Law Contact about not using OPI for out of scope issues; added new information; updated Form 5646 availability; added procedures for reporting and sending mis-routed PII documents; Data Protection and Inadvertent Disclosures reporting office name change from SAMC to PGLD/IM

(102) IRM Supporting Documents updated links and information

(103) IRM Mailing Form W-7/Form W-7(SP) Packets added clarification Note below Figure 21.3.4-1 in (5); updated address in (7) and corrected IRM titles in (8) ; Removed Remittance Perfection Manager from mailing instructions in (7); updated procedures in (8)(a) and (b);

(104) IRM Researching ITIN Database added (a) to (2); added reference to (2)(a); replaced CP 569 with CP 574

(105) IRM Updating ITIN Database replaced CP 569 with CP 574

(106) IRM Whistleblower Office deleted address

(107) IRM Disclosure added PDT and CAU references

(108) IRM Required Stamps for TAC deleted requirement to maintain Electronically Presented stamp in (5)

(109) IRM Letter 2916 Contacts added procedures

(110) IRM Listening to FACR Contacts changed stored contacts from 10 days to 30 days in (3)

(111) IRM Identity Theft Overview added to Note: Field Assistance is NOT authorized to input the TC 971 with AC 522 on BMF accounts

(112) IRM Tax Return Related Identity Theft Issues changes to the last block of the IF then chart in (3); Updated procedures; deleted Note in table about preparing return; removed direction to attach the substantiating documentation to the Form e-4442 in (3); added new TPP procedures; updated procedures for TC 971 AC 522 input

(113) IRM Tax Return Related Identity Theft Issues updated procedures for TC 971 AC 522 input; clarified procedures in (3) block 2

(114) IRM Income Document Related to Identity Theft Issues updated procedures for TC 971 AC 522 input

(115) IRM Other Tax Related Identity Theft Issues updated procedures for TC 971 AC 522 input; updated address to send Form 3949-A; removed requirement of a freeze on the account in (1) left column; removed "appropriate" ; updated name and address of center; removed "See Exhibit 21.3.4-19" ; removed what information can be provided from filed return

(116) IRM Non-Tax Related Identity Theft Issues updated procedures for TC 971 AC 522 input; deleted step to input TC 971 AC 522

(117) IRM IRS Employee Tax Related Identity Theft Issues updated procedures for TC 971 AC 522 input; removed procedure to contact local TIGTA office deleted steps to input TC 971 AC 522

(118) Exhibit 21.3.4-1 Qmatic Closing Codes updated for FY 2014

(119) Exhibit 21.3.4-2 OPI Activity Codes updated for FY 2014; removed 202 and 203

(120) Exhibit 21.3.4-4 Form 809 Instructions and Definition of Critical and Noncritical Fields updated instructions

(121) Exhibit 21.3.4-7 IRS Return Preparation Checklist deleted; Field Assistance Retention Requirement and Shipment Table renumbered and added retention requirements

(122) Exhibit 21.3.4-8 Electronic Filing Reject Letter – Due Date April 15 deleted

(123) Exhibit 21.3.4-9 Employee e-file Control Log deleted

(124) Exhibit 21.3.4-10 Taxpayer Assistance Center Reject Tracking Control Log Time Frame and History Guidelines deleted

(125) Exhibit 21.3.4-11 Return Preparation Tool Clarification Chart deleted

(126) Exhibit 21.3.4-14 Return Preparation Taxpayer Authentication deleted

(127) Exhibit 21.3.4-15 Disaster IRS Return Preparation Checklist deleted; Contact Recording Job Aid renumbered and updated link

(128) Exhibit 21.3.4-16 How to Report Identity Theft renumbered

(129) Exhibit 21.3.4-17 What To Advise The Taxpayer Or Employee updated and renumbered

(130) Exhibit 21.3.4-18 FA Monitoring Process for Cases With Open Controls in the Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) Referrals (Form 14027-B) renumbered

(131) IRM 21.3.4-19 updated titles from "Fraud Detection Centers" to "Scheme Development Centers" and updated contact info; moved exhibit to intranet and added link

(132) Exhibit 21.3.4-20 ITIN Document Authentication TACs updated link

(133) Exhibit 21.3.4-23 Field Assistance Mandated IAT Tools added link

(134) Exhibit 21.3.4-24 Identity Theft Tax Administration Source Descriptions deleted

(135) Exhibit 21.3.4-25 Identity Theft Action Codes deleted

(136) Exhibit 21.3.4-29 How to Input TC 971 AC 522 on Identity Theft Cases for Field Assistance deleted

(137) Exhibit 21.3.4-30 Reversal of TC 971 AC 522 Input on ID Theft Cases deleted

(138) Editorial changes made throughout

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 21.3.4 dated September 13, 2013 (Effective October 01, 2013) is superseded. The following IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs), issued from August 23, 2013 through July 02, 2014, have been incorporated into this IRM: 13U1382, 13U1450, 13U1534,13U1680, 13U1683, 13U1710, 13U1739, 14U0015, 14U0117, 14U0170, 14U0272, 14U0317, 14U0388, 14U0450, 14U0542, 14U0554, 14U0580, 14U0629, 14U0674, 14U0714, 14U0724, 14U0773. 14U0840, 14U0904, 14U0934, 14U1038, 14U1094.


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

Peter C. Wade
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 IRM 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.  (10-01-2014)
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 through IRS online services, over the telephone, or by correspondence

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

    3. Require face-to-face contact

    4. Require solutions to tax issues

  2. All TACs may provide the following services:

    • Multilingual Assistance

    • Account Inquiries

    • Adjustments

    • Payment/Installment Agreements

    • Alien Clearances (Sailing Permits)

    • Tax Law Assistance (in-scope, January 2 – April 15 only)

    • Procedural Inquiries

    • Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax (Form 2290)

    • Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN)

    • Tax Forms, instructions and publications

    • Assisting with request for Application for TAO (Taxpayer Assistance Order) Form 911 referrals (when appropriate).

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

  3. Direct taxpayers to access alternative services online, such as Direct Pay, Get Transcript, Online Payment Agreement, Return Preparation locations (VITA and TCE volunteer sites). You should provide the kind of service you would expect to receive. FA has a commitment to standardization when providing taxpayers with consistent service.  (10-01-2014)
Hours of Operations and Locations

  1. Service hours are primarily based on local traffic patterns and available resources. A list of locations are posted on www.IRS.gov

  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 may be available on the last day of the filing season or on any days deemed necessary by headquarters. Extended hours will 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 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 the Field Assistance Management Information System (FAMIS). See FAMIS Guide 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.  (05-30-2014)
Virtual Services Delivery (VSD)

  1. VSD uses video conferencing technology to assist taxpayers at select TACs and IRS partner sites in an effort to provide alternative service delivery channels and address staffing and workload issues.

  2. Taxpayers receive virtual face-to-face service from a TAC employee at a different location. Most tasks can be assisted through VSD except:

    • Copies of tax returns

    • Payments

    • Accepting forms/other correspondence

  3. VSD services provided:

    • Tax law assistance

    • Letters/Notices

    • Forms/Instructions/Publications (order via Enterprise Logistics Information Technology (ELITE)

    • Form 2290 procedures and related tax law inquires

    • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Form W-7 procedures and related tax law inquires

    • Application for Tax Assistance Order (ATAO) Form 911

    • Employer Identification Number (EIN) (account and procedural inquiries only)

    • Identity theft inquires

    • Payment arrangements (except Direct Debit)

    • Procedural inquires

    • Refund inquiries

    • Account inquires (Business Master File (BMF)/Individual Master File (IMF)

    • Transcripts (using Transcript Delivery System (TDS) mail option)


    For services VSD cannot provide, follow the instructions provided in IRM, VSD Qmatic


  4. Over the phone interpreter (OPI) services will be offered to taxpayers with a language barrier. If the taxpayer is unable to hear the OPI assistor or has an out of scope inquiry, refer to IRM, Out of Scope Procedures.

  5. For deaf/hard of hearing taxpayers that request a sign language interpreter, follow procedures in IRM, Assisting Taxpayers with Disabilities.

  6. When the VSD assistor is temporarily unavailable to provide assistance, the assistor will mute the microphone, point the camera at a sign furnished to each support site that informs the taxpayer of the inability to assist and promises to return in a moment. VSD and support sites have additional signage listed in IRM, Signs.

  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:

    • Hold his/her social security card or notice to the camera or

    • Place it on the desk and point the camera down instead of speaking the number aloud.


    Inform the taxpayer to collect all personal belongings prior to closing the contact.

  8. For taxpayer facing VSD sites, designated TAC managers are responsible for assigning VSD workstations the appropriate VSD priority on Qmatic. The designated TAC manager is listed in FAMIS as the manager of the Office Designation Number (ODN) assigned to the taxpayer facing VSD site. ITAS will use the Next button to call the next taxpayer waiting that falls within the VSD priority.

  9. For partner sites, designated TAC managers are responsible for assigning VSD workstations to the walk-direct priority. Assistors providing service to these sites will use walk-direct to call taxpayers.

  10. VSD service will end at 4 p.m. each day. If there are taxpayers still waiting after 4 p.m., the VSD assistor will explain that he/she will be unable to assist them today and will provide the taxpayer with the option of:

    • Returning another day,

    • Calling the IRS toll free line for assistance, or

    • Visiting the IRS.gov website for assistance

  11. See IRM, Time Reporting for TAC Employees for time reporting and IRM, Communicating With and Surveying Taxpayers, for Customer Satisfaction Survey procedures.

  12. See IRM, Virtual Services Delivery (VSD), for procedures Group Managers must follow.

  13. Refer to IRM 22.30.1, Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication, for SPEC procedures and guidance.

  14. Refer to the VSD procedures located on the FA Insider http://win.web.irs.gov/field.htm for additional information.  (01-02-2014)
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. If a 2D Bar Code Scanner is installed on the workstation, notices that have the social security number masked by the 2D Bar Code may be read using the scanner. Please refer to IRM, 2D Bar Code Procedures for additional information.


    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.  (05-30-2014)
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.

  3. VSD partner sites and unstaffed VSD sites have separate 3709 scripts located in IRM 1.4.11-1, Field Assistance Telephone Script. There is no other difference to the general responsibilities for managing the VSD 3709 lines. The VSD site Group Manager (GM) will prepare the appropriate closure forms to update the 3709 line and website in the event of an office closing. See IRM, Posting TAC Closings.  (02-12-2014)
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 21.3.4-14. 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 Document 12990, Records and Information Management Records Control Schedules.


    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)
    If... Then...
    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 in IRM 1.4.11-1, Field Assistance Telephone Scripts/Email Responses).
    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) in IRM 1.4.11-1, Field Assistance Telephone Scripts/Email Responses).
    Send a confirmation email to the taxpayer. (See Standard Response C in IRM 1.4.11-1, Field Assistance Telephone Scripts/Email Responses).
  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. Once the appointment is scheduled, either by phone or email, delete all emails related to the taxpayer's inquiry. Your Inbox and Sent folders should be checked for any taxpayer related emails.  (03-21-2014)
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. The ADA website is located at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm

  2. The purpose of this IRM section is to provide TAC employees with the necessary tools and information to better assist taxpayers with disabilities. See IRM, Accommodating Persons with Disabilities Referred from Taxpayer Assistance Centers, for procedures to follow when a taxpayer with a disability visits a TAC for return preparation.

  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.  (11-22-2013)
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://irweb.irs.gov/AboutIRS/ican/reasonable/request/sign/35309.aspx  (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. TAC employees should advise taxpayers who may not be able to read the Contact Recording signs, that their contacts are being recorded. If these taxpayers choose to opt-out of having their contacts recorded employees should follow Qmatic procedures.

  4. 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.  (03-21-2014)
Alternative Media Center (AMC)

  1. The purpose of AMC is to provide alternative media resources to IRS employees and external customers with disabilities and to exemplify the spirit of the laws designed to enhance access to government information by people with disabilities. Employees can assist taxpayers who visit TACs by accessing the Alternative Media Center (AMC) website http://amc.enterprise.irs.gov/ for a list of available media products and services. 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. Upon management approval, TAC employees may order Alternative Media products on behalf of their taxpayers by completing the AMC order form http://amc.enterprise.irs.gov/order.html using your Order Point Number (OPN).

  3. The AMC help desk staff is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST at (804) 916-8606 or by email altmc@irs.gov  (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.  (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.  (02-27-2014)
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

  3. For unstaffed and partner Virtual Service Delivery (VSD) sites, the VSD site Point of Contact (POC) will contact the designated TAC Manager who will request the additional shipment of cards. The designated TAC Manager is listed in FAMIS as the manager of the Office Designation Number (ODN) assigned to the taxpayer facing VSD site.  (02-27-2014)
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 (CSS) card. For Virtual Service Delivery (VSD) sites, when the VSD Assistor is offering the survey card, instructions will be provided to the taxpayer that the survey card should be located near the monitor. 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.

    • For VSD sites, the VSD Assistor will provide instructions to the taxpayer to place the completed survey card in the survey card drop box located near the VSD monitor.

  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.

    • For unstaffed and partner VSD sites, the VSD site Point of Contact (POC) will maintain an ample supply of survey cards near the VSD monitor. Although the cards will be on the desk everyday, VSD Assistors will follow the procedures listed in IRM, Providing Survey Cards to Taxpayers with offering the survey cards only on odd calendar dates of the month.  (03-06-2014)
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

    4. For unstaffed and partner Virtual Service Delivery (VSD) sites, the VSD site Point of Contact (POC) will collect the survey cards and mail them to the attention of the designated TAC Manager. The designated TAC Manager is listed in FAMIS as the manager of the Office Designation Number (ODN) assigned to the taxpayer facing VSD site.

  2. At each TAC, a designated employee or manager will record the number of cards shipped on SharePoint at: https://organization.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/WICARFa/CSS%20Tally/Forms/AllItems.aspx. For unstaffed and partner VSD sites, the designated TAC Manager will be responsible for recording the count for the VSD site. For permission access, contact your Area Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) Coordinator.

    1. Select the appropriate Area folder and locate the appropriate Territory CSS Tally template.

    2. Verify that no other person has the document checked out by looking for the checked out indicator next to the Excel icon. 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 CSS Coordinator.

    3. Click on the Excel Territory CSS Tally 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 and Save.

    6. When exiting the file, select the Yes to check in the file now and then OK.

    7. The Headquarters and Area Analysts will retain backup copies of the templates monthly on the U drive for their respective Area, with the final annual copy in the retention file.  (01-02-2014)
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. IMF/1040 tax law questions within FA scope will be answered from January 2 - April 15 only. For a detailed scope of services, employees should refer to the FA Scope Search Engine/Alpha Scope List on the ITLA homepage. BMF tax law questions and tax law needed to work certain issues, such as, Form 2290, ITIN, Alien Residency and Alien Clearance, will be answered year round.

  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.  (05-12-2014)
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. Direct taxpayers with out of scope or in scope tax law inquires after April 15th to alternative services, including IRS.gov or a tax professional. Provide the appropriate reference material (form, instruction, publication) to the taxpayer, if available. If not available, provide reference number and how to order. Offer Pub 5136, IRS Services Guide for future reference.


    Pub 5136 is not available to order and must be printed for the taxpayer. Only print when offered to the taxpayer you are assisting.

  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).  (10-01-2014)
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.

  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 required per IRM, Receiving Referrals. The Group Manager (or designee) will make the final determination on disposition of the referral.

  4. It is essential that 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.  (10-01-2014)
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 written instructions in an IRM reference mandating a referral. For additional information see IRM, Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) Referrals.  (10-01-2014)
Group Referral Coordinator

  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 In-Scope Tax Law Referrals

    • Follow up on all overage referrals to determine status

    • Identify and elevate any emerging issues regarding referrals or the referral procedures to the Area Coordinator through the GM for concurrence.


      Before raising issues/questions to the GM, through Area Coordinator, the GRC should research using IRM, SERP, etc., and attempt to resolve the issue.

  2. See IRM, Referral Responsibilities, for responsibilities of Group Manager, Area, and Headquarter Referral Coordinators.  (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/SME 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.  (10-01-2014)
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 create the Form e-4442 referral.

  2. All referrals created by a FA employees 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-4442, 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 IRM 21.3.5-1, Referral IRM Research List, 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.  (05-22-2014)
Out of Scope Procedures

  1. Out of Scope Accounts - All account inquiries, unless specified in the IRM, are in scope for FA.

  2. Out of Scope Tax Law - 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 the ITLA Scope Search Engine http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/irm-sup.dr/current/itla/itla-home.htm for guidance on which topics are within FA's and Account Management'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.

  3. When the taxpayer's question is out of scope for FA, advise them FA offices do not answer the out of scope topic and identify the following alternative service options depending on the time of the year:

    All Year (Including Filing Season): Provide the alternative service options below (1-6) to taxpayers with tax law questions out of scope for FA.
    1. IRS.gov website

    2. Applicable reference materials (publication number, form number, instructions), if known.

    3. Services of a tax attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), or other tax professional.

    4. Return preparation software may also provide answers to some tax law questions.

    5. Pub 5136, IRS Services Guide.


      Pub 5136 is a web-based product that directs taxpayers and tax practitioners to tax information and online tools available on IRS.gov; and provides contact telephone numbers for future reference. It is not available to order and must be printed for the taxpayer. Only print when offered to the taxpayer you are assisting.

    6. Toll-free tax law assistance is available for out of scope Business, Excise, and Exempt Organizations questions all year. Provide the taxpayer with the applicable toll-free number and hours of operation as follows:

    Telephone Assistance for Businesses: Toll-Free, 1-800-829-4933 Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska and Hawaii follow Pacific Time).
    Telephone Assistance Excise Tax (other than Form 2290): Toll-Free 1-866- 699-4096 Hours of Operation: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.– 6 p.m., ET
    Telephone Assistance for Exempt Organizations, Retirement Plan Administrators, and Government Entities: Toll-Free, 1-877-829-5500 Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. your local time.
    Filing Season Only: In addition to the options above, provide the following option, available from January to mid-April (Form 1040 Due Date) ONLY, for tax law topics which are: Out of Scope for FA, and In-Scope for Accounts Management. These topics are identified in the FA Scope Search Engine with the designation, "REFER TO ACCOUNTS MANAGEMENT" . Provide the toll-free number and hours of operation for Individuals as follows:
    Telephone Assistance for Individuals: Toll-Free, 1-800-829-1040 Hours of Operation: Monday - Friday 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. The best time to call is before 10 a.m. Mondays have the longest wait time.
  4. After the above options are communicated, the taxpayer may still request assistance or ask if there is anything else you can do. If the taxpayer is willing to wait up to 15 business days for a response, proceed as follows:

    1. For tax law topics out of scope for FA but within scope for Accounts Management, offer to write up a tax law written referral on Form 13344, R-Mail--Add Question Form to be input into the R-mail system. Inform the taxpayer that they will receive a response within 15 business days per IRM, Referral Procedures.


      This option is available from January to mid-April (Form 1040 Due Date) ONLY.

    2. For tax law topics out of scope for both Field Assistance and Accounts Management, apologize and advise the question is no longer answered by the IRS. Reiterate the alternative options above, if necessary.

  5. Always ensure any additional questions the taxpayer has are addressed, according to the scope of the topic, while the taxpayer is in the TAC.  (10-01-2013)
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

    • 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  (01-02-2014)
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.

  5. If it is determined that an issue is Out of Scope for Field Assistance, see IRM, Out of Scope Procedures.

  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 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.

  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 OPI 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. TAC employees should only disclose taxpayer information that is 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 OPI Analyst 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 Headquarters OPI 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 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.  (10-01-2014)

  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, and 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 (EN/SP) 35278W Taxpayer Assistance Center Hours of Service
    Publication 4987 59252W Relocation Poster
    Form 14098 53741M Relocation Poster Address Insert. (Used with Pub 4987)
    Publication 4992 (EN/SP) 59435N Prohibited Items Poster
    Publication 4994 59437J Controlled Access Wall Sign
    Publication 4995 (EN/SP) 59438U We Can Help With Poster
    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 - A deviation is required to post this sign)
    Publication 4997 59440G Making A Payment
    Publication 4998 59441R No Return Preparation Services Poster
    Publication 5002 59445J Closing Notice Sign (Used to assist with high traffic volume near the close of the day if the manager determines the office cannot serve additional customers and no more tickets will be issued. The sign will be displayed no more than two hours before closing.)
    Publication 5004 (EN/SP) 59447F Your Contact Will Be Recorded (Only required where Contact Recording is installed.)
    Publication 4053 (EN/SP) 64031P Your Civil Rights Are Protected Poster
    Publication 5100 (EN/SP) 64022E Affordable Care Act Information Poster for Field Assistance Taxpayer Assistance Center
    Publication 5134 66168X Service Approach Counter Sign (Required in locations with no IAR workstation or where taxpayers pull their own tickets, this sign must be posted)
    Publication 5169 66847B Taxpayer Bill of Rights Poster (External)
    Optional Signs
    Publication 4993 (EN/SP) 59436Y No Cell Phone Use Desktop Sign (For use in TACs where cell phone use by taxpayers interferes with contact recording.)
    Publication 5003 59446U Forms and Payments Only (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.)
    Publication 5007 59490M Tax Forms QR Poster (Contains QR code)
    Publication 5117 65241X Tax Products QR Code Bookmark
    Publication 5127 66013N Tax Products QR Code Flyer
    Publication 5128 66014X Tax Products QR Code Poster
  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 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.

  10. Virtual Service Delivery (VSD) and support sites will have additional signage that is described below.

    VSD Signage
    Publication 4954 (EN/SP) 58550T IRS Taxpayer Assistance Offered Here; Assistance will discontinue at 4 p.m. (22x28) Place in unstaffed and partner sites
    Publication 4955 (EN/SP) 58551E IRS Taxpayer Assistance is not available today Post in unstaffed and partner sites when service not available
    Publication 4956 (EN/SP) 58552P Welcome to IRS Taxpayer Assistance; We will help you in a moment VSD Assistor displays on monitor when they step away
    Publication 4957 (EN/SP) 58553A We are experiencing technical difficulties; please stand by VSD Assistor displays on monitor when needed
    Publication 4958 (EN/SP) 58555W IRS Taxpayer Assistance Offered Here (5x7) Place at taxpayer-facing VSD monitor
    Publication 4959 (EN/SP) 58556H IRS Taxpayer Assistance Offered Here (A-frame 5 ft.) Placed outside partner site
  11. The VSD site managers should ensure that all required VSD signs are posted. VSD site manager for "unstaffed TACS" will ensure that any required signs that contain incorrect information are removed and stored for possible future use.

  12. For VSD Partner Sites, a sign will be posted at the former TAC location and/or the closest TAC directing taxpayers to the VSD Partner Site. See the VSD homepage http://win.web.irs.gov/field/VSD_Home_Page.htm for details and publication number.  (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, Account Management Services (AMS) 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, Account Management Services (AMS) to report the inadvertent access.  (01-02-2014)
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, 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

    • Adjustments/CIS  (10-01-2014)
Safety and Security

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


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

  4. 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.

  5. The online OS Get Services is 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.

  6. 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.

  7. If you are responsible for opening packages, refer to IRM, Suspicious Packages and Letters.



  8. For procedures on reporting a missing child, see IRM, Reporting A Missing Child From or Within IRS Facilities.  (10-01-2014)
Workplace Violence (WPV)

  1. See IRS Deputy Commissioners Policy Statement on Workplace Violence at the following link: http://irweb.irs.gov/AboutIRS/co/dcos/memo/36849.aspx

  2. Violence in the workplace is defined as including, but not limited to, an actual or perceived threat of force, abuse, damage, physical battery, assault, bomb threat/event or terrorist attack. The workplace includes federal facilities, telework locations, alternate worksites and locations where IRS employees conduct official business.

  3. As outlined by the Interagency Security Committee, an act of workplace violence generally can be categorized as one of four types:

    1. Criminal Intent: The perpetrator has no legitimate relationship to the agency or its employees and is usually committing a separate crime such as robbery, in conjunction with the violence.

    2. Customer/Client: The perpetrator has a legitimate relationship with the agency and becomes violent while being served by the agency. This category includes customers, clients, and any other group for which the agency provides services.

    3. Employee-on-Employee: The perpetrator is a current or former agency employee who attacks or threatens another current or former employee(s) in the workplace.

    4. Personal Relationship: The perpetrator usually does not have a relationship with the agency but has a personal relationship with an agency employee.

    Examples of prohibited behaviors could include, but are not limited to:

    • Direct threats or physical intimidation.

    • Implications or suggestions of violence.

    • Stalking.

    • Possession of weapons of any kind on agency property, including parking lots, other exterior agency premises or while engaged in agency activities in other locations or at agency-sponsored events, unless such possession or use is a requirement of the job.

    • Assault of any form.

    • Physical restraint or confinement.

    • Dangerous or threatening horseplay.

    • Loud, disruptive or angry behavior or language that is clearly not part of the typical work environment.

    • Blatant or intentional disregard for the safety or well-being of others.

    • Commission of a violent felony or misdemeanor on agency property.

    • Any act that a reasonable person would perceive as constituting a threat of violence.  (10-01-2013)
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. 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 http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/irm.dr/current/emergency.htm 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 the Commissioner's Representative (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 CR.

  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.  (10-01-2014)
What You Should Do When Your Security Is Threatened

  1. In all of the situations identified under IRM, Threats and Assaults, notify:

    • Local TIGTA Office,

    • Your manager,

    • Commissioners Representative,

    • Local security personnel, and

    • Other agreed upon personnel.

  2. You should report the incident within a 30 minute time frame to the Situational Awareness Management Center (SAMC) by using this web link http://gdi.web.irs.gov/archibus/schema/ab-products/gdi/samc/csi_samc_reporter_report_incident.axvw

  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 (CAU) Taxpayer

  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.  (11-25-2013)
Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer (PDT)

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

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

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

  4. 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.  (10-01-2014)
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, "Proof of Delivery" , "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.  (10-01-2014)
Payment Drop Box

  1. Payment drop boxes are not authorized in TACs. All payments must be accepted in person, mail, or through our online service at IRS.gov. Payments placed in drop boxes have been found to require significant additional research, including calling the taxpayer to perfect the payments. In addition these boxes pose employee safety issues since we cannot be sure what taxpayers may place in them.

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