3.42.7  EPSS Help Desk Support

Manual Transmittal

September 15, 2014


(1) This transmits revised IRM 3.42.7, Electronic Tax Administration, EPSS Help Desk Support.

Material Changes

(1) Title of IRM 3.42.7 changed from e-help Desk to EPSS Help Desk Support.

(2) Various grammatical, editorial, and link corrections throughout IRM 3.42.7.

(3) IRM, Overview of EPSS - Removed IRS Employee e-file Offices no longer applicable.

(4) IRM, Hours of Operation - Updated to reflect 2014 extended service for e-help Desk, IPU 14U0195 issued 01-27-2014.

(5) IRM, Hours of Operation - Updated to reflect 2015 extended service for e-help Desk.

(6) IRM, Electronic Products Definitions - Added the word e-file before Application.

(7) IRM, Electronic Products Definitions - Updated Definition for FATCA.

(8) IRM, Privacy and Information Protection - Updated Title from Identity Protection and Incident Management to Privacy and Information Protection. Updated reference to PIPDS to read Privacy, Governmental Liaison and Disclosure (PGLD).

(9), EPSS Training - Removed content does not belong in this IRM and is available in the training curriculum. Remaining subsections IRM through IRM renumbered.

(10), Related Publications and IRMs - Updated IRM 3.42.8 title from e-services Procedures for e-help Desk Assistors to e-services Procedures for Electronic Products and Services Support (EPSS). Added Publication 1345, Handbook for Authorized e-file Providers of Individual Tax Returns. Removed Publication 1437 and Pub 1438 Updated various publications titles. .

(11) IRM, SERP Feedback - Updated IRM 3.42.8 title from e-services Procedures for e-help Desk Assistors to e-services Procedures for Electronic Products and Services Support (EPSS). Also updated Note: to specify Site Training Coordinator

(12) IRM, Compliance Check Tool - Removed section as it belongs in the IRM 3.42.10.

(13) IRM, Quick Alerts - Removed Quick alerts may be reissued via EPSS Communications.

(14) IRM, Search Knowledge- Updated company to customer.

(15) IRM, Business Unit - Added Affordable Care Act as a Business Unit, IPU 14U0502 issued 03-17-2014.

(16) IRM, Product Type - Added Affordable Care Act as a Product Types, IPU 14U0502 issued 03-17-2014. Changed the word call to inquiry to include other communication streams.

(17) IRM, Product Type - Added specific instructions for documenting a Disclosure Authorization or /EAR call, IPU 13U1678 issued 11-21-2013.

(18) IRM, Product Type -Updated to reflect Form 943, and 945 e-file, IPU 14U0583 issued 03-28-2014.

(19) IRM, Problem Types- Updated problem type IRS acknowledgment to IRS acceptance/ acknowledgement and updated definition to include verifying an accepted return, IPU 14U0502 issued 03-17-2014.

(20) IRM, Problem Types - Removed Problem Type Defect and Penalty Abatement.

(21) IRM, Contribute Knowledge - Added note regarding timely submission for Knowledge Articles, IPU 14U0502 issued 03-17-2014.

(22) IRM, Contribute Knowledge - Updated the Team Lead and Manager and, the Solution Board Lead actions.

(23) IRM, Annual Certification of Solutions - Updated the word expired to retired, IPU 14U0502 issued 03-17-2014.

(24) IRM, Email Function - Updated title to IRM reference IRM System Downtime Procedures.

(25) RM, Email Function Updated to include FFIs and NFFEs.

(26) IRM, Software Template - Removed 990 and 1120 as this includes all software development.

(27) IRM, Email Etiquette - Added to correct name format in EHSS emails, IPU 14U0725 issued 04-18-2014.

(28) IRM, FATCA Emails _ Updated definition and purpose of the FATCA Online Registration System.

(29) IRM, Queuing International Calls - Explained acronym of (ISN) Internet Service Node and (CVP) Customer Voice Portal.

(30), Applications - Updated TSO application definitions.

(31) IRM, Agent Groups - Removed Agent group 711,712,713,715,717,718,719, & 721. Updated Agent group 716 and 710. and added Agent group 722. Removed statement that all Spanish application are served by a single Spanish agent group.

(32) IRM, Initial Greeting - Updated to state employees must use their 10-digit Smart ID Badge Number when communicating with taxpayers IPU 14U1142 issued on 07-15-14.

(33) IRM, Authentication and Authorization Guidelines - Added procedures for outgoing calls, IPU 14U0502 issued 03-17-2014.

(34) IRM, Authentication and Authorization Guidelines - Added procedures if the customer reuses to provide the last four digits of their SSN have the customer call toll free number for further assistance.

(35) IRM, Authentication/Authorization for e-file Application - Delegated User Column reference change from paragraph 8 to paragraph 9.

(36) IRM, Authentication/Authorization for e-file - Added to exclude probes DOB and Refund amount for Form 4868. Deleted DCN and Received/rejected date and reference to 1544.

(37) IRM, Authentication/Authorization for e-file - Added to verify the EFIN is in the transmitted return, IPU 14U0725 issued on 04/18/2014.

(38) IRM, Authentication/Authorization for e-services (Other Than e-file Application) -Removed statement to contact the Disclosure Help Desk, this is for internal customers only.

(39) IRM, Authentication for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Online Registration System - Revised authentication probe for FATCA ID and Access code, IPU 14U0502 issued 03-17-2014.

(40) IRM, Authentication for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Online Registration System - Updated Title to Authentication for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Online Registration System.

(41) IRM, Authentication for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Online Registration System - Removed Note The temporary Access code will not be available until after October 15, 2013.

(42) IRM, Transferring Calls - Updated procedures for when a customer calls back with an administrative extension.

(43) IRM, Call Transfer Basics - Added note that transfers no longer receive priority.

(44), Contact Recording - Updated Private Mailing Service Address for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

(45) IRM, Software Developers Contact Procedures, Updated to include Pub 4164 and IRM

(46) Exhibit 3.42.7-2 , e-help Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) Codes (Paper) - Added Program codes for Form 8453-FE, Form 8879-FE, Form 8453-EMP, Form 8879-EMP, - Added Program codes for Form 8453-FE, Form 8879-FE, Form 8453-EMP, Form 8879-EMP, IPU 13U1678 issued 11-21-2013 .

(47) Exhibit 3.42.7-2, e-help Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) Codes (Paper) - Updated Program Codes.

(48) Exhibit 3.42.7-5, Agent Group to Application Mapping - Deleted exhibit.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 3.42.7, dated 10/01/2013, is superseded. This IRM incorporates the following IRM Procedural Updates (IPU) are issued from October 1, 2013 through July 15, 2014. (IPU) - 13U1678, 14U0195, 14U0502, 14U0583 14U0725, and 14U1142.


These procedures will be used by e-help Desk assistors and Technical Services Operation (TSO) employees. Also intended for managers, analysts, business owners, and others who provide support to users of IRS electronic products and services.

Effective Date


Patricia LaPosta
Director, Electronic Products & Services Support
Wage and Investment Division  (10-01-2014)
Overview of EPSS

  1. Electronic Products & Services Support (EPSS) organization is a stand-alone organization reporting to the Director, Customer Accounts Services (CAS) in the Wage & Investment (W&I) Division. EPSS is a centralized office for the management of IRS electronic products and services within W&I CAS. The EPSS vision is to "Advance IRS electronic business opportunities to meet the changing demands of the future while delivering a positive customer experience." The mission is "To support customer-valued e-solutions for Service-wide electronic products and services." Visit the EPSS web site at http://win.web.irs.gov/epss/epss_home.html for more information.

  2. EPSS has two operations responsible for providing support to customers.

    • E-help Desk Operation provides support to individuals, businesses and e-file providers, with electronic products and services. The five e-help Desk sites are located in Andover, Atlanta, Austin, Cincinnati and Ogden,

    • Technical Services Operation (TSO) provides technical support to information return filers and employers. TSO handles inquiries from the payer/employer community in relation to the preparation and filing of information returns. Inquiries relate to tax law, filing requirements, preparation, and submission of electronic files.

  3. EPSS supports the following electronic products and services:

    • Electronic Filing (e-file)

    • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)

    • Electronic Services (e-services)

    • Information Return Filing

    • System for Award Management (SAM)

    • Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) Acceptance Agent Application

    • Foreign Account Taxpayer Compliance Act (FATCA) online registration

    • Affordable Care Act Acceptance Form (AFA)

  4. Users of IRS electronic products include, but they are not limited to, the following:

    • Attorneys

    • Certified Public Accountants (CPA)

    • Electronic Return Originators (ERO)

    • Enrolled Agents (EA)

    • Financial Institutions

    • Governmental Agencies

    • Government Contractors

    • Information Return Filer/Payer

    • Intermediate Service Providers (ISP)

    • Large Corporations

    • Low Income Tax Clinics (LITC)

    • Reporting Agents (RA)

    • Software Developers

    • State Taxing Authorities

    • Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Sites

    • Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC)

    • Transmitters

    • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Sites

  5. The e-help Support System (EHSS) provides a holistic view of a customer's contact history with the EPSS Help Desks . Each contact with the customer is documented in EHSS as an Interaction/Incident. An Interaction/Incident is the electronic version of a customer's contact. If the Interaction/Incident is still open and the customer is providing/requesting additional information on the same issue, document and update the activities section of the Interaction/Incident.


    It may not be necessary to create an Interaction for a call that is being transferred. See IRM, Escalating/Transferring Interactions.

  6. Assistors create Interactions/Incidents to record the customer information, problem details, and resolution of the issue. EHSS interacts with the Third Party Data Store (TPDS). TPDS contains information about e-services users. See IRM,Introduction to the e-help Support System (EHSS) for further information on e-services and e-file Providers.

  7. E-help and TSO assistors do not answer account-specific questions (i.e., calls received regarding individual tax accounts). Exception: Callers who contact the e-help Desk for assistance with Data Verification issues with SAM or EFTPS enrollment. E-help Desk assistors will help all Business Master File (BMF) e-file participants (taxpayers and tax professionals) with e-file inquiries (e.g., rejected returns, e-file application issues, etc.). If the e-file return is rejecting due to an existing account issue (e.g., filing requirement, business name issue, etc.), the customer should be referred to the appropriate office. See IRM, Handling e-file inquiries.

    Figure 3.42.7-1

    If ... Then ...
    An individual taxpayer has a question regarding rejects and/or refund inquiries Refer them to Accounts Management (AM) at 1-800-829-1040.


    It is the online provider's responsibility to tell the filer what was rejected and why. However, if the provider has not or will not help the customer, AM has instructions on how to provide assistance.

    A business taxpayer is filing a business return and it is rejecting due to an existing account issue (e.g., filing requirement, business name issue, etc.)
    • Refer them to the Business and Specialty line at 1-800-829-4933.

    • Refer Form 990, Form 990-EZ, or Form 990 PF, 1120-POL to the Tax Exempt/Government Entity (TEGE) line at 1-877-829-5500.

    A taxpayer is calling to report that an Authorized IRS e-file Provider may be violating IRS e-file rules or through research the assistor finds that an Authorized IRS e-file Provider may be violating IRS e-file rules Follow the solutions for the appropriate procedures.
  8. For a listing of IRS e-file Monitoring Coordinators by state, visit the Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) web site at http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/who-where.dr/e-file-monitor.dr/e-file_monitor_coord.htm.  (10-01-2014)
Hours of Operation

  1. Hours of operation for EPSS:

    Figure 3.42.7-2

    Core Hours (Non-Peak)
    Days Hours
    e-help Monday through Friday 6:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Central Time
    TSO Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Central Time

    Figure 3.42.7-3

    Extended Service (e-help Desk only) - January 20, 2015 through April 17, 2015 (Peak)
    Days Hours
    Monday through Friday 6:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Central Time
    Saturday 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Central  (10-01-2014)
Electronic Products Definitions

  1. E-file is the electronic submission of customer return data for both individual taxpayers and businesses. IRS has partnered with various private industry companies that offer e-file and electronic payment options to the individual taxpayer. Electronic filing and payment options for corporations, tax exempt organization, partnerships, estates, trusts, information returns, employment and excise taxes are also available. Modernized e-file (MeF) is being used for a growing number of returns.

  2. EFTPS provides ways for business and individual taxpayers to make Federal tax payments electronically using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). EFTPS allows users to make remittances, validate payments, and view payment history via the Internet or telephone. For additional information, visit the IRS.gov web site at http://www.irs.gov/uac/EFTPS-The-Electronic-Federal-Tax-Payment-System.

  3. E-services is a suite of web-based products that allows firms or individuals to do business with the IRS electronically. Below is a list of the products available to authorized users of e-services:

    • Registration – allows eligible users to create an online account, which is the first step in gaining access to IRS electronic products. A username, password, signature Personal Identification Number (PIN), and secure mailbox are established as a result of a successful registration.

    • E-file Application – Allows e-services users to submit a new or revise an existing e-file application to become an Authorized IRS e-file Provider.

    • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Matching – enables users to electronically match a TIN with a taxpayer name.


      To participate in TIN Matching, payers MUST be listed in the IRS Payer Account File (PAF) Database. If the firm has not filed information returns with the IRS in one of the past two tax years, the application will not be available.

    • Transcript Delivery System (TDS) – allows users to electronically request and receive transcripts of taxpayer accounts (provided they have a valid Power of Attorney or Reporting Agent Authorization on file).


      Income Verification Express Service (IVES) - provides users with income verification transcripts with a two-business day processing and delivery of return transcripts and/or wage and income documents. The fee-based service replaces the process that required manual pick-up and delivery of transcripts from the eight IRS Return and Income Verification Services (RAIVS) units located across the country.

      Figure 3.42.7-4

      Only approved IRS business partners as noted below are eligible to participate in e-services
      Customer e-services Product
      Tax professionals who register Registration and online e-file Application
      Electronic Return Originators (ERO) who have e-filed 5 or more accepted returns


      Un-enrolled Return Preparers can no longer submit a Form 2848.

      Low Income Tax Clinics TDS
      Circular 230 Practitioners who qualify as Attorneys, CPAs or EAs TDS
      State Taxing Authorities TDS
      Payers of income subject to back-up withholding TIN Matching Application, Interactive TIN Matching, Bulk TIN Matching

      For additional information, visit the IRS.gov web site at http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/e-services---Online-Tools-for-Tax-Professionals.

  4. System for Award Management (SAM) is a TIN matching program. SAM is owned by the Department of Defense (DoD) in partnership with W&I Compliance. The TIN matching process is a joint effort between the General Services Administration (GSA), the DoD, and the IRS to improve the quality of data in government acquisition systems. The TIN is mandatory in SAM unless the vendor is located outside the United States and does not pay employees within the United States. New registrants will go through the IRS TIN validation process at the time of initial registration. Current vendors will go through the IRS TIN validation process at the time of annual renewal. For additional information, visit the SAM web site at https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/.

  5. Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) is the system used by filers of Form 1042-S, Form 1098 series, Form 1097-BTC, Form 1099 series, Form 3921, Form 3922, Form 5498 series, Form 8027, Form 8935, Form 8955–SSA, electronic Extension of Time to File, and Form W-2G, to file their returns electronically with the Internal Revenue Service. IRC 6011(e) requires payers that file 250 or more information returns to file those returns on magnetic media. Filing electronically through the FIRE system fulfills the magnetic media requirement. Payers who are under the filing threshold requirement are encouraged to file electronically.

  6. Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) Acceptance Agent Applications are received, entered, and reviewed for compliance with suitability criteria for the ITIN program office. For additional information refer to IRS.gov http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/New-ITIN-Acceptance-Agent-Program-Changes .

  7. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Online Registration System is an online system for entities, including foreign financial institutions (FFIs) and certain non-financial foreign entities (NFFEs), to register as participating FFIs for FATCA compliance purposes.  (08-24-2012)
Escalation Path for Assistance

  1. The escalation path for assistance is as follows:

    1. Level 1 – Level 1 is the first point of contact for customer issues. Level 1 maintains contact directly with the customer and interfaces with internal support groups as necessary. They handle all issues within the scope of their training and authority. They are responsible for documenting the Interaction in a detailed and complete manner. Typical issues include, but are not limited to, failed transmissions, rejected returns, and assistance with Internet-based applications. If an issue is beyond the scope of their jobs, the Interaction is escalated to a Level 2 provider group or as instructed in the solution.

    2. Level 2 –Personnel with more experience, knowledge and training needed for resolution of the issue. Level 2 personnel includes but is not limited to, leads, managers, business analysts, etc. They resolve issues and follow up with the customer to ensure that all issues have been resolved to the customer's satisfaction. Typical issues include, but are not limited to, error code issues resulting from web products, password resets, communication and connectivity issues not resolved at Level 1. Level 2 will engage Level 3 as necessary. See IRM, EHSS Level 2.

    3. Level 3 – Personnel such as system administrators and developers, who handle issues including but not limited to web server down and undocumented hard code errors. They interface with internal groups, not external customers.  (10-01-2005)
Impact of Other IRS Offices

  1. Assistors should be aware of the policies and procedures of other IRS offices that impact the e-help Desk. Some of those offices follow.  (10-01-2013)
Office of Disclosure

  1. The Office of Disclosure administers the provisions of IRC § 6103, "Confidentiality and disclosure of tax returns and return information." All IRS employees are responsible for ensuring that taxpayer confidentiality is protected and tax records are properly safeguarded and disclosed only as provided by law.

  2. EPSS assistors must take measures to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of prohibited information. When giving information, verify that the caller is authorized to receive it. Disclose only what is necessary when giving information to third parties. Confirm the identity of the person you are speaking with on the telephone. Follow e-help Desk and Technical Services Operation authentication and authorization procedures. See IRM, IRM 21.3.11 and IRM 3.42.9Authentication and Authorization Guidelines.

  3. Answering machines and voice mail are frequently used when communicating with taxpayers, tax preparers, representatives, and other IRS employees. These systems are not secure and may not be used to transmit sensitive information, including tax information, except under the provisions of IRC § 6103. Guidelines for leaving information on answering machines/voice mail may be found in IRM, Leaving Information on Answering Machines/Voice Mail.

  4. Governmental Liaison and Disclosure has developed rules to deal with disclosures of Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information (e.g., information protected by IRC § 6103 or the Privacy Act) when using cell phones or other cordless devices. Refer to IRM, Use of Cell Phones and Cordless Devices.

  5. Faxing of tax information to other IRS offices is permitted consistent with existing internal rules. See IRM, Facsimile Transmission of Tax Information, for guidance in faxing information to taxpayers and their authorized representatives.

  6. Employees may not use email to transmit SBU data unless they use the IRS Secure Messaging system. SBU data may not be sent outside of IRS, including to other government agencies, taxpayers or their representatives. See IRM, Electronic Mail and Secure Messaging, for general rules for email and Secure Messaging.

  7. Answers to other questions on Disclosure, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and the Privacy Act, may be found in IRM 11.3.1, Introduction to Disclosure.

  8. Employees must report an inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information, whether it be electronically, verbally or in hardcopy form, or the loss or theft of an IT asset, within one hour by filling out the appropriate form located under Employee Tools/Data Protection. It can be found at http://irweb.irs.gov/AboutIRS/bu/pipds/information_protection/default.aspx.  (09-23-2011)
Taxpayer Advocate Service

  1. Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) provides assistance to taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, who are seeking help resolving tax problems that the IRS has not resolved through normal channels, or who believe an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should be.

  2. In general, EPSS does not answer account-specific questions (i.e., calls received regarding individual tax accounts). Refer taxpayers to TAS (See IRM 13 Taxpayer Advocate Service) when the contact meets TAS Criteria IRM 13.1.7, TAS Case Criteria and you can't resolve the taxpayer's issue the same day. The definition of "same day" is within 24 hours. Same day cases include cases you can completely resolve in 24 hours, as well as cases in which you have taken steps within 24 hours to begin resolving the taxpayer's issue. Do not refer same day cases to TAS unless the taxpayer asked to be transferred to TAS and the case meets TAS criteria. Refer to IRM, Same Day Resolution by Operations. when you refer cases to TAS, use Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order), and forward to TAS. See IRM, TAS Case Criteria , for more information. Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order), can be found at http://publish.no.irs.gov/FORMS/PUBLIC/PDF/16965F07.PDF.

  3. If a taxpayer specifically requests TAS assistance and it meets TAS criteria listed below:

    1. The taxpayer is experiencing economic harm or is about to suffer economic harm.

    2. The taxpayer is facing an immediate threat of adverse action.

    3. The taxpayer will incur significant costs if relief is not granted (including fees for professional representation).

    4. The taxpayer will suffer irreparable injury or long-term adverse impact if relief is not granted.

    5. The taxpayer has experienced a delay of more than 30 days to resolve a tax account problem.

    6. The taxpayer has not received a response or resolution to their problem or inquiry by the date promised.

    7. A system or procedure has either failed to operate as intended, or failed to resolve the taxpayer’s problem or dispute within the IRS.

    8. The manner in which the tax laws are being administered raise considerations of equity, or have impaired or will impair the taxpayer’s rights.

    9. The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) determines compelling public policy warrants assistance to an individual or group of taxpayers.


      Case criteria are not meant to be all inclusive; each taxpayer situation should be evaluated based on the unique facts and circumstances of each case.

    Refer the case immediately to the TAS office. You must notate on Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance order) Section III; :

    • The TAS Criteria number

    • The specific circumstances of the hardship

    • The reason you did not provide the relief


      Please see Form 911, Section III Instructions, for box 8 examples of reason(s) that prevent you from resolving the taxpayer's problem.

  4. Form 911 must be reviewed and approved by a manager or lead before submission to TAS. Submit this request to the Taxpayer Advocate office located in the city or state where you reside. That information can also be found on the IRS.gov website at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Contact-a-Local-Taxpayer-Advocate.

  5. There is a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between TAS and the Commissioner, Wage and Investment (W&I) Division, as well as SLAs between TAS and the other Operating Divisions. These agreements outline the procedures and responsibilities for the processing of TAS casework when the authority to complete the case transactions rests outside of TAS. The W&I SLA is available at: http://tas.web.irs.gov/policy/sla/default.aspx.

  6. TAS emphasizes the polite and respectful treatment of taxpayers and practitioners by IRS employees. See IRM, Telephone Etiquette.

  7. Congressional inquiries are referred to TAS.  (10-01-2014)
Free File

  1. Wage & Investment, Industry Stakeholder Engagement & Strategy Branch manages the Free File Program. Free File is the result of a public-private partnership agreement between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, LLC, a group of tax software companies providing free online tax preparation and electronic filing services to qualifying taxpayers. Electronic Products Services and Support (EPSS) provides back-up assistance for resolving Free File Fillable Forms escalations. EPSS assistance only applies to taxpayers who contact the IRS.gov website help desk. The e-help Desk phone line is reserved for helping tax preparers and Electronic Return Originators. IRS Customer Service Representatives should not refer taxpayers to the e-help Desk for Free File Fillable Forms issues. Refer to IRM, IRS Free File Overview: The Free Way to Prepare and e-file Federal Taxes, for program-related information.  (10-01-2014)
Privacy and Information Protection

  1. Privacy and Information Protection was established to address the increase in identity theft and data loss trends and the need for an IRS authority on policy, procedure, roles and governance policy. Identity theft is a serious crime where someone obtains personal or financial information for personal gain. That information can include, but is not limited to, Social Security Number, birth date, address, bank account information, and even tax records.

  2. If you receive a call from a taxpayer who has received a suspicious, bogus, or phishing email that claims to be from the IRS, advise the taxpayer to send ("Forward" ) the email to the electronic mailbox: phishing@irs.gov. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.

  3. See IRM, Scams (Phishing) and Fraudulent Schemes, for additional guidance. Also visit the Privacy, Governmental Liaison and Disclosure (PGLD) web site for additional information at http://irweb.irs.gov/AboutIRS/bu/pipds/default.aspx.

  4. The Identity Protection and Incident Management teams work with other business units to provide the IRS with the tools and resources necessary to protect sensitive taxpayer and employee data from identity theft and from disclosure due to loss or unauthorized access. See IRM, Identity Theft Incident Tracking Indicators, for additional information.

  5. If a taxpayer has previously been in contact with the IRS and has not achieved a resolution, refer them to the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.  (10-01-2013)

  1. Resources available to help assistors in the performance of their duties include: Training, publications and IRMs, and EPSS communications. Assistors should report their time under the appropriate Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) codes for tracking purposes.  (10-01-2014)
Related Publications and IRMs

  1. The following publications and IRMs are updated periodically and are used to resolve issues related to the various product lines serviced by EPSS assistors:

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

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

    • Publication 1187 – Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding

    • Publication 1220 – Specifications for Filing Form 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8935, and W-2G Electronically

    • Publication 1239 – Specifications for Electronic Filing of Filing Form 8027, Employer's Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips

    • Publication 1345 – Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns

    • Publication 1346 – Electronic Return File Specifications and Record Layouts for Individual Tax Returns

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

    • Publication 1474 – Technical Specifications Guide For Reporting Agent Authorization and Federal Tax Depositors

    • Publication 1516 – Specifications for Filing Forms 8596, Information Returns for Federal Contracts Electronically

    • Pub 2108-A - e-Services On-Line TIN Matching Program

    • Publication 3112 – IRS e-file Application and Participation

    • Publication 3189 – Volunteer e-file Handbook

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

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

    • Publication 4164 – Modernized e-file Guide for Software Developers and Transmitters

    • Publication 4810 -Specifications for Filing Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants and Deferred Vested Benefits, Electronically

    • Publication 5078,Modernized e-File (MeF) Test Package

    • Rev. Proc. 2000-31, Tax Forms and Instructions

    • Rev. Proc. 2002-9, – Requirements of the Electronic Filing Program for Reporting of Form 940, Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return

    • Rev. Proc. 2007-40 – Requirements of Participants in the IRS e-file Program

    • Rev. Proc. 2003-9 – e-services Online TIN Matching Program

    • Rev. Proc. 97-22 - Guidance on Electronic Records

    • IRM 2.7.9 – Enterprise Computing Center - Martinsburg (ECC-MTB) Processing Timeliness

    • IRM 3.42.4 – IRS e-file for Business Income Tax Returns

    • IRM 3.42.5 – IRS e-file for Individual Income Tax Returns

    • IRM 3.42.8 – e-services Procedures for Electronic Products and Services Support (EPSS)

    • IRM 3.42.9 - Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)

    • IRM 3.42.10 – Authorized IRS e-file Providers

    • IRM 3.21.264 - IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Acceptance Agent Program

  2. The Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) serves as the single, official source of IRS "instructions to staff" relating to the administration and operation of the Internal Revenue Service.


    See IRM 1.11.1, Internal Management Documents Systems, IMD Program and Responsibilities, for details on instructions to staff.

    To ensure the IRM is the "single source," the IRM must contain all instructions to staff needed to conduct business. Specifically, instructions to staff contained in job aids, desk guides, web sites, documents, or any other sources must be incorporated into the IRM. Delivery of accurate content to our employees is critical to consistent administration of the tax laws.

  3. The Servicewide Electronic Research Portal (SERP) is designed to provide all IRM employees intranet access to IRMs and other reference materials, and to retrieve frequently-referenced documents required to perform their jobs. Use the IRMs posted on SERP for the most up-to-date procedures.  (10-01-2014)
SERP Feedback

  1. To maintain the accuracy of EPSS IRMs, send corrections and change requests (not questions) to the appropriate IRM author via the SERP Feedback Application (Database).


    Questions regarding policies and procedures in the IRMs should be directed to managers or leads. If additional clarification is needed, managers and leads should escalate the request to EPSS authors through the sites training coordinator. The Site Training Coordinators must ensure that the request for clarification is valid.

  2. The SERP Staff will forward SERP Feedback to the appropriate author for consideration of the requested IRM procedural change. The following IRMs used in EPSS are :

    • IRM 3.42.4, IRS e-file for Business Tax Returns

    • IRM 3.42.5, IRS e-file of Individual Income Tax Returns

    • IRM 3.42.7, EPSS Help Desk Support

    • IRM 3.42.8, e-services Procedures for Electronic Products and Services Support (EPSS)

    • IRM 3.42.9, Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)

    • IRM 3.42.10, Authorized IRS e-file Providers

    • IRM 3.42.20, Preparer e-file Hardship Waiver Requests

    • IRM 21.3.11, Information Returns Reporting Procedures

    • IRM 3.21.264, IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Acceptance Agent Program

    • IRM, EFTPS Enrollment Procedures

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

  4. Complete all required fields. The Identification field MUST be completed or the feedback will not be forwarded. Use the Submitter/Submitter Manager Instructions on the SERP Website: http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/Feedback_Instructions/Feedback.htm.

  5. The employee's manager receives an email confirming the submission of an issue and when a response is posted to SERP.

  6. All changes are considered, but may not be accepted. Accepted changes are usually published on SERP as IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs). IPUs are announced on the EPSS SERP Portal, Daily Newsflash. Each IPU is assigned a number and identifies the Business Operating Division (BOD) and the intended audience.

    • Previous IPUs can be accessed via SERP through the IRM Updates link under the IRM Supplements Tab.

    • IPUs are numbered consecutively through the fiscal year (October through September).

    • At the end of the fiscal year, the previous year's IPUs can be accessed via the SERP Archives.

  7. You can view responses to SERP Feedback via the SERP Feedback Response by selecting IRM or topic.

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

    • Editorial changes

    • Forms

    • Letters

    • Notices

    • Policy, policy statements, tax law and regulations

    • EHSS system changes

    • Suggestions

  9. Leads, or other designated personnel, should monitor SERP each day for pertinent IRM changes and alert all employees at their sites.  (10-01-2014)
EPSS Communications

  1. EPSS Communications are email messages that are sent to individuals, such as assistors, analysts, managers, etc., to communicate information across EPSS. The source of information will be from operations within EPSS or National Office Business Analysts. The following types of information are included in EPSS Communications (the list is not all inclusive):

    1. New procedures or information that impacts the e-help Desk and TSO

    2. IRM updates

    3. System/Application changes

    4. System problems/outages

    5. New/revised solutions

    6. Site closures

  2. To request an EPSS Communication, pertinent information must be sent to the designated EPSS, Operations Support Analyst with a courtesy copy to the back-up analyst. For example, systems used for software testing or e-file production should be sent to the PM Analyst assigned to the program. Employee User Portal (EUP) issues should be addressed by the e-services Analyst on the Operation Support staff.

  3. The following information must be included in EPSS Communication:

    1. Subject - Title of your EPSS Communication

    2. Content - Message should be clear and concise. Remember to check spelling and grammar

    3. Source - Organizational symbols (i.e., EPSS:OS:PSS, EPSS:TSO, etc.)  (10-01-2014)

  1. QuickAlerts are delivered by email to communicate with Tax Professionals using a subscription based service. Tax Professionals receive immediate updates for e-file transmitters, authorized e-file providers and software developers throughout the year. QuickAlerts are open to any individual, including IRS employees. Quick Alerts subjects include processing delays, programming problems, and error reject code information.

  2. To keep abreast on the information being disseminated to software developers, transmitters, and authorized e-file providers, subscribe to QuickAlerts. Subscribe to QuickAlerts on irs.gov following the steps below:

    • Click "News & Events"

    • Click "e-News Subscriptions"

    • Click "Subscribe to QuickAlerts"

    • Click "Subscribe/Unsubscribe"

    • Click "Leave IRS site"

    • Click Enter email address, Click "Go"

    • Select "Subscription Topics"

    • Click Submit  (10-01-2006)
Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) Codes

  1. Organization, Function and Program (OFP) codes are recorded on Form 3081, Employee Time Report, to identify work that IRS employees perform daily. See Exhibit 3.42.7-1, Organization, Function and Program (OFP) Codes (Phones and email), and see Exhibit 3.42.7-2, e-help Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) Codes (Paper), for programs to use when working telephones, email, and paper. Report your time under the appropriate OFP codes for tracking purposes.  (10-01-2013)
Introduction to the e-help Support System (EHSS)

  1. The e-help Support System (EHSS) is used to provide support to IRS's external customers. The Third Party Data Store (TPDS) maintains contact data for e-services users and e-file Providers. EHSS also receives contact data for Information Returns from the Transmitter Control Database. As customers contact the e-help Desk, assistors are able to access their contact history which is contained in EHSS through Interactions and Incidents. Each customer contact must be documented in an Interaction or Incident.


    It may not be necessary to create an Interaction for a call that is being transferred. Refer to IRM, Escalating/Transferring Interactions. Also if the Interaction/Incident is still open and the customer is providing/requesting additional information on the same issue, document and update the activities section of the Interaction/Incident.  (08-24-2012)
EHSS Home Page

  1. After successfully logging in to EHSS, the Navigation Pane appears on the left hand side. The following menu items are used by assistors:

    • Favorites and Dashboards – Click on Favorites and Dashboards will provide the commonly viewed links selected by the user within EHSS.

    • Service Desk – Click on Service Desk will allow the user to Open New Interactions, Search Interactions and review the Interaction Queue.

    • Incident Management - Click on Incident management will allow the user to Open New Incidents, Search Incidents and review the Incidents Queue.

    • Knowledge Management – Search for solutions by entering in key words or using the advanced search feature. It also allows you to add solutions or contribute to existing solutions for consideration.

    • Miscellaneous – Click on Miscellaneous will allow the user to select their Worklist or their group worklists.  (10-01-2013)
Interaction Overview

  1. Although Interactions/Incidents vary in complexity, the same basic process is used to create all Interactions/Incidents. Assistors will spend a majority of their time creating Interactions. The method for creating an Interactions is to use the "Open New Interaction" menu selection located under the Service Desk.

  2. The buttons across the top of the screen allow the user to Add to My Worklist, Cancel, Escalate and Close the Interaction as well as Apply a Template.

  3. The Interaction is divided into three interrelated sections, the Interaction Details, Solution, and Attachments.

    • Interaction Details – allows input of all pertinent information about the nature of the customer problem.

    • Solution – contains information used to solve the customer's problem.

    • Attachments – displays all of the attachments associated with the Interaction.

  4. A link to the e-help Authentication/Authorization Job Aid is also located on the Interaction page adjacent to the Problem Type. Click the link to refer to the job aid, which will display in a new window. Be sure to use this helpful link. Refer to IRM, Authentication and Authorization Guidelines, for additional information.  (10-01-2013)
Interaction Details

  1. The Interaction Details section is used to record information about the nature of the problem. In this window you can:

    1. Identify the Product Type

    2. Identify the Problem Type

    3. Enter call details using free-form text in the Description

    4. Categorize the Interaction based certain values (Priority and Source)

    5. Assign the Interaction to a group or person

    6. Indicate if the caller speaks Spanish

  2. There are several components within the Interaction Detail.

    • Interaction ID

    • Contact

    • Business Unit

    • Product Type

    • Problem Type

    • Provider Group

    • Priority

    • Source

    • Call Selected for CSS?

    • Description

    • Search Knowledge

    • Notify on Close By

    • Spanish Box

    • Internal Comments/Template Instructions


    The asterisk (*) within EHSS indicate that it is a required field.

  3. At a minimum, the following items should be completed/documented while the customer is on the phone:

    • Business Unit

    • Product Type

    • Problem Type

    • Description

    • All applicable solutions

  4. There is an Apply Template Button located at the top of the tool bar that provides predefined information and populates fields with appropriate information. The Business Unit, Product Type, and Problem Type are automatically populated based on the template selected. A solution may be attached and the issue may be documented in the description area. Once the template is selected the fields can be edited.  (10-01-2013)

  1. A contact must be selected to create an Interaction.

  2. The search options listed for a contact in EHSS are:

    • Customer Name

    • Employer Identification Number (EIN) (e-file App)

    • Doing Business Name (DBA)

    • Legal Company Name

    • Username

    • Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN)

    • Electronic Transmitter Identification Number (ETIN)

    • Title (Prin, RO, Contact)

    • Transmitter Control Code (TCC) number (only used by TSO)

  3. You must search by EFIN, ETIN or TCC if known. If unknown, or customer does not have one, refer to IRM and enter one of the other options.


    EFIN will only be found if Active or Inactive. If EFIN has been dropped, it will no longer be available in EHSS.

  4. If your first search is unsuccessful you must conduct a second search using criteria relevant to the call. These searches should be conducted as follows:

    • Username - when the contact is regarding an existing registration or login issue, PIN, password change, or incorrect organizational links. Enter the Username in all capital letters.

    • TIN – when the contact is regarding an e-file Application or Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE). Enter the TIN of the firm/business.

    • Contact – when the customer is registered, or the e-file application they are associated with has an active or inactive EFIN.

  5. Whenever possible, assistors should create a registered case. If e-help Desk assistors are unable to locate customer information in the system, the case must be created using the Contact Name "e-Product User" . When addressing a tax law issue or a general question where customer information is not in FIRE, assistors in TSO will create a case with the Contact Name "TSO. The contact name, company name (if applicable) should be documented in the description. See IRM, Description.


    EFTPS, SAM, 990-N e-Postcard, 94x PIN Registration, and FATCA customers will always have a contact as "e-Product User.”

    If you determine that a customer should have been registered in EHSS (i.e., registration confirmed, customer has an active EFIN with application in completed status, customer has a TCC.) and the caller is not found, resolve the issue, update the Description appropriately and then close the case using the Status of Closed if appropriate. Be sure to include the contact information as required. See IRM, Description.  (03-17-2014)
Business Unit

  1. To select the Business Unit, click on fill field arrow and all Business Units will appear. Select the appropriate one.

    • Affordable Care Act

    • Business

    • Employment

    • e-services

    • Individual

    • Technical Services Operation

    • IRS.gov Online Tools & Products (ONLTP)

    • EHELP Paper

    • TSO Paper  (10-01-2014)
Product Type

  1. The product type must be documented as part of an Interaction. Products Types are broad based categories that allow us to identify the overall reason for the inquiry. There are various products associated with different customers; not all customers use all products. The eight Business Units (Business, Employment, e-services, Individual, TSO, EHELP paper, TSO Paper, and ONLTP) in EHSS have distinct product types. Because we frequently receive inquries that are not supported by the EPSS Operations, an unsupported product type has been added to each business unit. Select the Product Type that best identifies the first issue that the customer is contacting us about.


    Once the Business Unit has been selected it will automatically display the Product Type associated with the Business Unit.

  2. The Affordable Care Act product types are as follows:

    • Form 8963

    • Form 8947

    • Unsupported

  3. The Business tax return product types are as follows:

    • 1041 e-file

    • 1065 e-file

    • 1120 e-file

    • 2290 e-file

    • 720 e-file

    • 8849 Claims

    • 990 e-file

    • 990-N e-postcard

    • SAM

    • EFTPS

    • Extension

    • Phone

    • Unsupported Product

  4. The Employment tax return product types are as follows:

    • 940 e-file

    • 941 e-file

    • 943, 944, 945 e-file

    • Phone

    • PIN Registration

    • Unsupported Product

  5. The e-services product types are as follows:

    • Application

    • Phone

    • Registration

    • TDS

    • TIN Matching

    • Unsupported Product


      Disclosure Authorization (DA) and Electronic Account Resolution (EAR) retired on August 30, 2013. Disclosure Authorization and EAR product types still exist in EHSS for tracking purposes. If a customer inquires about Disclosure Authorization or EAR, document the Interaction with the customer's comment under the appropriate Product Type “Disclosure Authorization”, or “EAR” in EHSS, select the Problem Type "Customer Comment" and close it accordingly.

  6. The Individual tax return product types are as follows:

    • 1040 e-file

    • Electronic Transmitted Documents (ETD) e-file

    • Phone

    • State e-file

    • Unsupported Product

  7. The Technical Services Operation products are as follows:

    • Application

    • Electronic Processing

    • Information Returns

    • Notices

    • Phone

    • Unsupported Product

  8. IRS.gov Online Tools & Products (ONLTP) are as follows:

    • Foreign Account Tax Compliance (FATCA)

    • Phone

    • Unsupported Product

  9. The TSO paper Products are as follows:

    • 750-12810 Form 8508 Waivers

    • 750-12820 Form 8809 Extension of Time

    • 750-12821 Prep Time for Form 8809

    • 750-12850 Form 4419

    • 750-12851 Prep Time for Form 4419

    • 750-12870 TSO Research

    • 750-12871 Unpostables

  10. The EHELP Paper Products can be found by selecting the fill field. See Exhibit 3.42.7-1 and Exhibit 3.42.7-2.  (10-01-2014)
Problem Type

  1. Once the Product Type has been selected, the Problem Type must be identified. Problem types are directly related to the product that was selected in that you must first select a product before the system displays values from which to choose. Choose the Problem Type that most closely represents the problem being resolved.

  2. Problem Types and their definitions are shown below:

    Figure 3.42.7-5

    Problem Type Definition Example
    Application to Application (A2A) A "system to system" communication that requires a web service connection. Received error when using Automated Enrollment. Customer can't link to access A2A.
    Application Use for questions concerning the status, modification or submission of IRS e-file Application (including fingerprint cards), ITIN Acceptance Agent, TIN Matching, IVES application etc. How to get applications; who needs to apply; My EFIN has been deactivated.


    For signature issues, use "Signature."

    Browser Use for calls related to problems using the web browser in an e-services product. Text being displayed improperly; problems with using or updating a browser; problems printing.
    Confirmation Codes Use with the Registration product. IRS sends this code once the customer has registered. Confirmation Code not received; Confirmation Code not working.
    Correspondence Use when the customer is calling about correspondence received or not received from the IRS. EMS password letter not received; acceptance letters.
    Customer Comment Use only for calls concerning positive and negative feedback and suggestions.


    When there is a comment from a customer (feedback or suggestion), the Interaction Description should contain a clear and concise restatement of the comment and any other pertinent information.

    Use only when Interaction is being escalated/transferred to an analyst or Business Owner.
    Data Verification Use when customer needs to verify their data. Name, address, and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI); EFTPS or SAM.
    Due Date Use when caller wants to know the due date of a return. "When is Form 1040 due? "
    Error Message Use for calls where the caller is reporting a specific error message. System returns an error when trying to submit an application (other than e-file Application).
    Extensions Use for questions about extensions of time to file for all return types. Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, or Form 7004, Application for Automatic 6-Month Extension of Time To File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns.
    File Format Use for ACA upload questions or errors. Caller would like to know the file format for Form 8963, 8947, or 8453-R, how to upload the file, the valid file type (pdf and .zip).
    File Status Use for questions concerning the ACA file status (dup, accepted, rejected). Caller wants to know how to track their submission status, how to correct an error.
    Forms and Publications Use for requests about forms and publications. "How do I get one?" "Which one should I use?"
    General Information Use for giving information found in Publications and IRMs, and IRS.gov, when explaining procedures that do not involve filer or return specific topics. Use for a general question where a more specific Problem Type is not available. "How do I register for e-services?" "How do I participate in the e-file program?" , "Where do I find the Online Registration FATCA System?" .


    This problem type should be used infrequently. Document the Interaction to support the reason it is being used.

    IRS Acceptance / Acknowledgements Use for calls concerning return acceptance data contained on the Acknowledgment (ACKS) Record. Verifying an accepted return, rehang file; non-receipt of file; inability to read file; requesting time the ACK file will be available.
    IVES Use for calls about transcript issues and the caller is a member of the IVES program. Use when IVES user is having issues with Secure Object Repository (SOR) response time, transcripts not received in their SOR, cannot download transcripts from their SOR.
    Links Use when links to e-services products are not displayed on the main e-services web page. Links not displaying or links not working.
    Locked Out Used when determining why someone is having trouble logging in and is locked out. Applies to all systems. EMS password is locked. Attempting to register for e-services and had three unsuccessful attempts in the same browser session.
    Login Use when a customer cannot log in to the system or their login information is not working. The caller is having trouble logging in to e-services, Electronic Management System (EMS), or FATCA.
    Mandate Use for calls concerning any issue involving the mandate of Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax; Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return; Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income; and Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return. "What are the mandate limits?" "Do I have to file electronically?"
    Misdirected External Use for external calls for products and services that the e-help Desk does not support. A taxpayer calls the e-help Desk with a tax law or tax account question.
    Misdirected Internal Use for internal calls for products and services that the e-help Desk does not support. A taxpayer is transferred or an IRS employee is referred to the e-help Desk in error from another area of IRS, such as AM.
    Out of Scope Use only for questions related to the regulations, tax law or other issues not related to the FATCA registration (input) system. A financial institution is inquiring about tax law issues, regulations on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
    Password Use for calls concerning IMF, BMF, MeF, EMS, e-services, and password issues. Lost, forgotten, expired, or changing passwords.
    Payments Use for calls concerning payment-processing issues. Credit/debit card, ACH Debit and/or Credit, Lockbox, and form payment record.
    PIN Use for calls concerning BMF taxpayer, e-services, and filer PIN issues. Lost or forgotten PINs; Rejected PIN Enrollments.
    Production Use for calls concerning live processing issues. Processing schedules, drain times, cycle schedules.
    Registration Used when troubleshooting registration, and/or FATCA. registration issues. Login names, AGIs, Registration 508 compliance issue.
    Rejects Use for calls concerning live and test reject conditions. Request for reject condition, including those occurring after a software update or problems with software package.
    Signature Use for calls concerning IRS generated letters for missing or incomplete; Form 8453-F, U.S. Estate or Trust Income Tax Declaration and Signature for Electronic Filing; Form 8453-P, U.S. Partnership Declaration for Magnetic Tape/Electronic Filing; Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax; Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization; and Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return. Suspense file letters and alternative methods of signature.
    State Acknowledgements Use for calls concerning the State Only Acknowledgements. "I did not receive my State acknowledgement." "I cannot read my State acknowledgement."
    System Unavailable Used for calls when Technical difficulty, system unavailable, known outage for FATCA. I am unable to access the site, the system is unavailable.
    Suitability Use for calls concerning receipt of suitability letters. Use for both new and previously accepted applications in accepted or failed suitability status. Background check of applicant, fingerprint card check, IRS tax data, suitability letters, and status of suitability process.
    Testing Use for calls concerning test-processing issues. Communication tests, specifics contained in the testing package, phone numbers to use, password for testing, problems identified during testing with software packages, and drain processing schedule information.
    Transmission Use for calls concerning live and test research issues on any IRS processing system. Logging in to system, connecting with system, sending and receiving data to system, aborted transmissions, and not receiving transmissions.
    Trouble Use for calls that prevents you from communicating with the customer. For instance, ‘dead air’, phone static, poor connection, or lost connection. Speaking with a customer and the phone connection is: poor, lost, static, dead air, Joint Operations Center (JOC) test calls etc.
    Update Use when a customer needs to update their application, is having trouble updating or has questions on updating their application. Use for e-services applications, registration, and Employment - 94X PIN Registration Application.
    Username Use when an e-services customer calls about a Username issue. e-services has returned an invalid Username error to the customer or the customer needs to recover a forgotten Username.
    Waivers Use for calls about mandated e-file issues. "How do I get a waiver?" "What is the status of my waiver request?"
  3. TSO Problem Types are in the figure below:

    Figure 3.42.7-6

    Problem Type Definition Examples
    Combined Federal/State Filing (CF/SF) Program Use for questions on the requirements for the Combined Federal/State Filing (CF/SF) Program and when to submit a test file to qualify for CF/SF. Caller is inquiring on the types of information returns that may be filed with the CF/SF program.
    CP2100, CP2100A, and 972CG Use for any questions concerning IRS Notice CP2100, CP2100A or 972CG. Caller lost the notice, did not receive notice or is missing the payee page of the notice, and now needs a notice recreated.
    CP2000 / Underreporter Use when a payer or employer may have over reported money amounts for payees or employees on Form 1099 or Form W-2. Payer/employer filed two Forms 1099 or Forms W-2 with the same money amount for the payees/employees.
    Corrections Use for questions concerning how to correct a previously accepted electronic form. Caller is requesting guidelines on the requirement to submit corrected returns electronically.
    Due Dates Use for questions concerning the due date for filing information returns. Caller wants to verify electronic due date for filing Form 1042-S.
    Duplicate file Use for questions concerning duplicate reporting. Caller requests procedures to cancel one Form 1042-S file because they sent the same file twice.
    Electronic Extension of Time to File Information Returns Use for any questions concerning the processing and status Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns submitted electronically. Caller is requesting Legal Name/EIN verification.
    Electronic Form 4419 Use for any questions concerning the submission and status of Form 4419 submitted electronically. Caller submitted Form 4419 electronically and would like to know when a TCC would be issued via e-mail?
    File Format Use for any questions concerning specifications as listed in Publication 1187, 1220, 1239 and 4810. Also, ACA upload questions or errors. Caller would like to know the file format changes for Form 1099-B.
    File Status Use for questions concerning the status of an electronic file. Also, ACA file status (dup, accepted, rejected). Caller says the status of Form 1099 Misc. file is bad and would like to know how to correct a bad file.
    Form 10301 or CD Use for any questions concerning, Form 10301, CD encryption code, damaged and non-receipt of CD. Caller has a question about completing Form 10301 or wants to know if they will be receiving a listing on a CD.
    Form 8508 Use for any questions concerning the submission and status of Form 8508, Request for Waiver From Filing Information Returns Electronically (Forms W-2, W-2G, 1042-S, 1097-BTC, 1098 Series, 1099 Series, 3921, 3922, 5498 Series, and 8027). Caller would like to know if Form 8508 is required to be submitted every year?
    On-line Form 8809 Use for any questions concerning the processing and status of Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns, submitted on-line. Caller would like to know if approvals are displayed online.
    Paper Form 4419 Use for any questions concerning the submission and status of Form 4419 submitted by paper of fax. Caller would like to know how long it takes to process Form 4419.
    Paper Form 8809 Use for any questions concerning the processing and status of Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns, submitted by paper or fax. Caller wants to know how to request an extension to issue recipient copies.
    Password / PIN / UserID Use for calls relating to passwords, PINS and USER ID. Caller wants to know if special characters are needed for a User ID or has questions about how to create a new PIN.
    Questionable Form Use for any questions concerning Form 1099-OID, Form 1099-A, or other Form 1099, if questionable filing is suspected. Caller needs to order forms to report a large withholding amount on Form 1099-OID, Form 1099-A.
    Software Requirement Use for any questions concerning software types and on-line fill-in forms. Caller asks if IRS recommends a type of software.
    TCC Problem Use for any questions concerning an assigned Transmitter Control Code issues. Caller cannot submit file because of a TCC/EIN mismatch.
    Tax Law Use for questions received pertaining to how to file and or report information on Forms 1097, 1099, 1098, 3921, 3922, 5498, W-2, W-3, and Form W-2G. Caller has a question about how to report wages on Form W-2 and Form W-3 or payments of other types of income reported on Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922 5498 and W-2G.
    Test Use for questions concerning time frames for testing and test file format. Caller asks when test files can be submitted through FIRE.
    Trouble Test call, dead air, phone static, poor connection or lost connection. Speaking with a customer and the phone connection, is: poor, lost, static, dead air, JOC test calls etc.
    Misdirected Use for questions from external caller for services that TSO does not support. A individual taxpayer calls TSO with a refund issue or Form 1040.  (08-24-2012)

  1. The Source is the communication channel used by the person who originally reported the problem. A person may report a problem by the following sources:

    Figure 3.42.7-7

    Source Definition
    Correspondence Letters (including faxed suitability appeals)
    Direct Call Incoming Call (Default)
    Email Email received
    Fax Faxed In
    Referral From another IRS office
    Voice Mail Voice mail Messages  (08-24-2012)
Provider Group

  1. Provider Groups are pools of personnel with something in common (i.e., assistors who support a certain product or assistors who work at a particular call site). Assistors only assign Interactions directly to Provider Groups and not individuals.

  2. Click the fill field icon adjacent to the field to select your Provider Group or view a listing of all Provider Groups that you are in.  (08-24-2012)

  1. The Priority typically classifies the Interaction according to its affect on the caller's ability to continue operations. A problem that stops mission-critical activities has a higher priority than a problem that has a work-a-round or that just inconveniences someone.

    Figure 3.42.7-8

    Priority Level Definition
    1 High
    • Issues affecting a number of users such as a reject code not working, a software developer that is experiencing problems, a large number of refunds that have been re-sequenced or data not received at ECC - MTB for posting.

    • Work stoppage affecting all users at all sites or at any one site. This will be any system that has gone down. A Knowledge Incident/Problem Service Asset Management (KISAM) ticket may be opened.

    2 Medium Work stoppage affecting a number of users, an irate customer, or a recurring problem for a customer.
    3 Low Normal (Default)  (10-01-2013)

  1. The Description is used to document the problem(s) a customer is reporting. Start the Description with a relevant phrase that identifies the customers issue(s) (e.g., ERC 501, 905, R0000-902, reject child's date of birth ).

  2. Properly documenting the Interaction will prevent customer frustration by providing an audit trail. Complete details in the Description field are essential when referring an Interaction to any Level 2 provider group. See IRM, EHSS Level 2.

  3. Once the Description is documented select Search Knowledge. A list of solutions will appear based on the information in the Description area.


    If you need to search for an additional solution or the solution does not answer your concern, run a separate query to find the appropriate response.

  4. If the caller is an e-help/TSO customer, and you must create an "e-Product user" or" TSO" case, then your Description must contain: contact name, company name (if applicable) when you create an Interaction/Incident where the contact is an e-Product or TSO User.


    It is not necessary to include contact information for taxpayers who contact us in error. In addition, contact information is not required for customers who contact the e-help Desk or TSO requesting general information.


    Be careful not to misinterpret "if applicable" if related to Company Name. Some individuals or businesses (i.e., Sole Proprietors) do not have a business name, therefore, the company name is not applicable. This phrase does not mean that the company name is optional.

  5. Do not enter the SSN in the Description field.

  6. Be concise, but thorough. Use the standard e-help abbreviations when possible (e.g., Confirmation Code issue , e-file application processing time, R0000-902, FW2-505-01, F1040-512). Refer to Exhibit 3.42.7-4, e-help Abbreviations.


    Data Verification Steve Hare; Hare Enterprises.


    ERC 507


    Suitability ERO Received a suitability letter.  (10-01-2013)
Writing Descriptions for e-services Level 2

  1. Ensure that the Description field is completed properly before escalating to Level 2. Record corrections in the Description field if the information in EHSS is incorrect in the Customer Information section (i.e., the Customer Details or Contact Details).


    Do not enter the SSN in the Description field.

  2. Include the following basic information on all Interactions:

    • Customer's first and last name

    • Username

    • Telephone number with time zone (if incorrect or missing in EHSS)

    • Email address (if incorrect in EHSS)

    • Attempted solution

    • Error code and message

  3. In addition, make sure that the following information is included for e-services products:

    • Registration – DOB and year with AGI

    • Confirmation – Check to see if they are already confirmed

    • e-file Application – EFIN and/or EIN.

    • TIN Matching TIN, date and time of submission, and tracking number (if known)

    • TDS – CAF, client's name, tracking number (if known), method of delivery

    • IVES – Consolidator/participant's number, company's legal name  (10-01-2014)
Search Knowledge

  1. Once the customer reporting the problem has been identified and the details about the problem recorded, a solution to the problem must be determined before the Interaction is closed. A set of predefined solutions for common problems is available to resolve the customer's problems quickly and efficiently.

  2. When searching Knowledge, assistors have the option of "Use Solution" or "Cancel" the solution. If you select a solution to review from the search results and it is not relevant, select "Cancel" to remove the solution from consideration.

  3. Assistors should review and select the solutions that resolve the customer's issue(s) while the customer is on the phone to ensure they provide the customer with all the pertinent information contained in the solution(s). Reviewing the solution(s) while the customer is on the phone ensures the customer receives a complete and accurate response.


    New and revised content changes will be highlighted in EHSS. Removed content will not be shown. Assistors will be notified through EPSS Communications when a new solution is added. Assistors are responsible for reading all communications and adhering to changes. You must ensure that you have added the proper solution to the Interaction. Failure to do so will result in you providing incorrect information to the customer. If you need assistance, see your lead or manager.

  4. The Search Knowledge includes two fields that offer different ways of searching for potential solutions – Search and Advanced Search.

  5. Advanced Search displays a separate page where you can identify a solution by completing the applicable fields.  (08-24-2012)
Internal Comments/Template Instructions

  1. This section is "Reserved" for future use.  (10-01-2013)

  1. The components within this section are:

    • Solution ID - This is a pre-populated field generated when a solution ID from the Search Knowledge base is selected. The solution ID appears as KM000001.

    • Solution - This is a pre-populated field generated when the solution is selected. It displays the narrative of the solution.

    • Send Email -This allows you to send an email within the system.

    • Knowledge Articles Attempted- This field displays all solutions selected. You may view the contents of the solution utilized by selecting the Knowledge Management ID Number.

    • Remove Solution - This allows a solution to be removed if it is selected erroneously before closing your case.  (08-24-2012)
Resolving Interaction/Incident

  1. An Interaction/Incident is considered resolved when a solution has been selected and the Close Interaction button or the Close Incident button has been selected from the tool bar. Once an Interaction/Incident is resolved, you can search for the Interaction/Incident and review the case.

  2. If you have resolved more than one issue for the customer, a separate solution for each issue may need to be selected. The solutions the assistor used to resolve all issues are visible in the Solution section. For example, an assistor may help a caller with a registration issue and an e-file application issue, both solution numbers are visible in the Solution Section.  (10-01-2013)
Escalate an Interaction

  1. There may be instances when you need to assign the case to another Provider Group or you will need to escalate the case to a higher level for resolution. When this occurs it is called escalating an Interaction.

  2. A message will appear stating your Interaction SD Number has been associated with an IM Number. Your Interaction number will appear on your worklist as Open-Linked. The open-linked Interaction will remain on your worklist until the associated Incident is closed.

  3. Once an Interaction is escalated it becomes an Incident. The Interaction and Incident are linked together and appear under Related Records.  (10-01-2013)
Relate Interactions

  1. At times you will receive inquiries regarding the same issue/ problem and the Interaction will need to be elevated to another level.

  2. Interactions can be related to Incidents for numerous reasons. The most common reason could be a system is not working properly, causing numerous calls for the same issue/ problem.

  3. When the above, or similar condition exists, an Interaction is escalated and related to a common problem creating a new Incident.

  4. When customers contact us about a common problem, their Interactions can be related to the open Incident (if one exists). Whenever you attempt to escalate an Interaction the system will prompt you with potentially related Incidents. A message will appear stating the Interaction SD number has been associated with the Incident (IM Number).

  5. Once an Interaction is related to an Incident, you can access the Incident from the Interaction (and vice versa) in the Related Records section of the case.

  6. When the Incident is closed all related Interaction cases will close.

  7. If you need to call your customer back you will be notified when the Incident will be closed through an EPSS Communication. If you selected the "Notify on Close By" button, you will not need to call the customer back to inform them their problem has been resolved as an email will be automatically sent to their email address notifying the customer the problem is solved.  (08-24-2012)
Knowledge Management

  1. The components within this section are:

    • Contribute Knowledge allows you to add solutions or contribute to existing solutions for consideration.

    • Search Knowledge Base allows you to search for solutions by entering in key words or using the advanced search feature. You can "Add Feedback" to a solution. When the "Add Feedback" button is selected you can add comments and associate them with the solution. The comments will be reviewed and taken into consideration during the Annual Certification Process.  (10-01-2014)
Contribute Knowledge

  1. When a user (e.g., an assistor or analyst) determines that a solution article does not exist to resolve the customer's issue, the user may recommend an existing solution be revised or a new solution be created. All EHSS solutions articles are reviewed and approved by the Solutions Board.


    Contribute Knowledge Articles should be submitted timely to the Team Lead/Manager. Unapproved Contribute Knowledge Articles will be deleted by the Solutions Board Lead one year after creation.

  2. If an operational change requires a change to a solution article or a new solution, the operations should submit the change soon as possible to ensure the changes are available when the change is implemented.

  3. When the assistor submits a potential solution, it must be routed to their manager or lead for review before it can go onto the Solutions Board.

  4. The manager or lead can add comments to the solution through the "Updates" section. If the solution is returned to the assistor, the assistor should review the comments to determine if additional action is needed.

  5. The Team Lead/Manager will review the proposed solution. The Team Lead/Manager review is the first step of the review process.


    Contribute Knowledge Articles should be submitted timely to the Solutions Board. Unapproved Contribute Knowledge Articles will be deleted by the Solutions Board Lead one year after creation.

  6. When the Team Lead/Manager agrees that a new solution or update may be needed, he/she will:

    1. Edit the solution, if necessary.

    2. Submit the request for consideration.

  7. The Solutions Board lead will:

    • Evaluate the request and if needed, contact the appropriate Solutions Board member(s) for additional action.

    • Make the final determination on whether or not a new solution is needed.

    • Verify the source of the content of the solution.

    • Correspond via email with the appropriate Business Owner for review, research and/or approval.

    • Publish the new solution or update when applicable.

    • Notify the assistor of the final disposition (e.g. rejected with reason for rejection, adopted, referred, etc.).

  8. Business Owners play an important role in ensuring the accuracy and timeliness of solutions. The Business Owner will:

    1. Review the proposed solution.

    2. Suggest another Solution ID if they believe a more appropriate solution exists.

    3. Suggest changes or rewrite the solution as needed.

    4. Work with the Solutions Board lead to finalize the solution.

    5. Review and approve solution revision and digitally sign the Solution Approval Record for newly created solutions if needed.


      Business owners are provided an export of all Active solutions annually to review and provide feedback for the EHSS solutions certification process. Refer to IRM, Annual Certification of Solutions.

  9. When all modifications are made and the solution has been approved, the Solutions Board lead will:

    1. Ensure that the Contribute Knowledge Base is updated.

    2. Notify the EPSS Communications analyst of the new or modified solution when applicable so all sites can be alerted.

    3. Retain a copy of all new and revised solutions, and the Solution Approval Record when applicable.


      Only select employees have permissions to access and update the Contribute Knowledge Base.  (03-17-2014)
Annual Certification of Solutions

  1. Solutions Certification activities occur throughout the year and are overseen by the EHSS Solutions Board (SB) Lead. Working with SB members, the Board Lead will review all “Active” solutions in the Knowledge Base. Prior to this review, Business Owners/Policy Analysts will receive a copy of all applicable EHSS solutions from the Board Lead. Business Owners/Policy Analysts will review the solutions for accuracy and provide feedback to the Board Lead.

  2. The Board Lead and designated SB members will review each solution for accuracy. Solutions that are no longer needed will be retired. Attachments will be added or updated accordingly. Modifications and additions will be made to the EHSS Knowledge Base. Business Owners/ Policy Analysts will review the solutions for accuracy and provide feedback to the Board Lead.

  3. The Board Lead will submit an Annual Certification memorandum to the EPSS management official. The memorandum will certify the completion of the Annual Certification of Solutions including all required certification activities.  (08-24-2012)
Other Components in EHSS

  1. Working an Interaction/Incident primarily involves identifying and resolving a problem. In addition to covering problem information and resolution, there are other case management activities that are performed in other pages in the Interaction/Incident section. The other pages utilized in EHSS are:

    • Activities Section

    • Related Records

    • Attachments

    • Status Fields

    • Send email  (10-01-2013)
Activities Section

  1. When the complexity of the problem or the depth of research requires additional information to be captured or other documentation to be referenced, utilize the "Activities Section" . The Activities section can be utilized to input documentation on an Escalated or Open Interaction/Incident. Recording pertinent information and attaching files to this section is often essential to working the Interaction/Incident.


    Level 1 assistors should open a new Interaction if the Interaction/Incident was Closed and the customer is calling about the same issue. Review the closed Interaction to review what guidance was provided and open a new Interaction to document the issue.

  2. Activities information allows research and communications to be tracked. If files are exchanged with the internal/external customer, the files need to be associated with the Interaction/Incident.

  3. The input fields within the Activities section are:

    • Assistor Update Type - Provides a selection of choices on why you are updating the case.

    • Assistor Update Entry - Allows you to add additional description on why you are updating the case.

    • Assistor Update Log - Provides the date, time and who updated the case with the description of the action taken.

    • Send email - Allows you to send an email regarding the Interaction/Incident.  (08-24-2012)
Related Records

  1. Interaction/Incidents can be related to each other for numerous reasons. The Related Records section displays a list of all Interaction/Incidents that are related to the current case. You can select the Interaction or Incident number and it will bring up the details of the case for your review or update.

  2. If you have new information on a related case utilize the Activities Section to update and document any new or revised information.

  3. If you receive information that resolves an escalated Interaction, close the Incident which will also close all related Interactions.  (08-24-2012)

  1. This section allows you to attach a document to your Interaction/Incident. You may only add attachments that are 5 megabite(mb) or less. No more than 10mb per Interaction/Incident can be added to an Interaction/Incident.  (08-24-2012)
Status Field

  1. The Status Field shows where the Interaction/Incident is in its life cycle. An Interaction status is updated automatically. An Incident Status case is closed by choosing the appropriate status in the Status Field.

  2. Although the actual Interaction/Incident Status value may vary, all Interaction/Incident status values will fall into one of the following categories:

    1. Open Idle - If the Interaction/Incident was "Saved" only, it will appear as Open Idle. This will appear on your worklist, which indicates the Interaction/Incident needs to be worked or closed.

    2. Open Linked - If a case is escalated or linked to another case the Status will appear as "Open Linked"

    3. Closed status indicates that the Interaction/Incident is resolved and no further work is necessary.


      The following Status are for Incidents only


    4. Open Change Request - Reserved and will not be used at the present time.

    5. Open Escalated - Forwarding to lead or manager within the escalation chain, sends an e-mail to the next workgroup, and does not change "Assigned To" field.

    6. Open Pending User - Waiting for response from the user

    7. Open Researching - Researching additional information.

    8. Pending Internal - Awaiting a response from an IRS entity.


      When an Interaction/Incident is closed, saved or escalated the current date and time appear in the Activities section.  (10-01-2013)
Send Email

  1. Email is available within the solution section by selecting the "Send Email" Link. You can send an email within the system from the Send Email link in the Solution section.

  2. Emails can also be sent to all users in a provider group.

  3. The following must be completed:

    1. Provide Contact names and Email Addresses in the "To" field.

    2. Select the appropriate template. Be sure to add the template to the email using the plus symbol.

    3. Provide a brief subject in the "Subject" field.

    4. Complete required fill-ins or add your message between Case Status and Kindest regards, if appropriate.

    5. Use spell check.

    6. Select Email button located on the top of tool bar.  (10-01-2013)

  1. Worklists consist of queues with all of the Interactions/Incidents that are assigned to your group or to you specifically.

  2. There are a number of queues available to you that you can use to navigate the EHSS system quickly and easily. Some of the queues are redundant in that they provide access to the same records. Some of the queues that you will use most often have been made into shortcuts and are available under favorites. The available queues are:

    1. Interaction Queue

    2. Incident Queue

    3. Knowledge Document

    4. Worklist

  3. Additionally there are available queues under Favorites and Dashboards that will provide the same information:

    1. My Groups Worklist

    2. My Worklist

    3. Open Incident assigned to my Groups

    4. Open Incidents by Provider Groups

    5. Closed Interactions with Additional Email Response  (08-24-2012)
Reviewing the Worklist

  1. As an Interaction/Incident moves through its normal workflow, a lead or manager may assign the case to an assistor.

  2. Your Worklist will display under Miscellaneous Tab on the navigation pane. Click on the Worklist and your worklist items will appear.


    Always click the Refresh button at the top of the Internet Explorer Toolbar after bringing up your worklist. Clicking refresh ensures that you have the most current copy of your worklist.

  3. The Worklist should be checked at the beginning of the shift and periodically throughout the day.

  4. There is a My Group's Worklist for cases not assigned to an individual. The lead or manager should monitor My Group's Worklist throughout the day and assign Interaction/Incidents to the individual Worklists. When assigned to an individual, the Interactions/Incidents cases will drop off of the My Group's Worklist.

  5. A Worklist Assignment document for assistors has been created to help avoid misrouted email cases. The document identifies the Provider Group by program to ensure Interactions/Incidents are worked timely. The document, EPSS case Worklist Assignments, is located at the EPSS website. This list may also be used in the case of business continuance (e.g., inclement weather) when telephone calls should not be transferred and Interactions/Incidents must be created.  (10-01-2014)
Email Function

  1. Email is an available function within EHSS. The email function directs and tracks emails from arrival through response and includes intelligent routing and service-level management and reporting.

  2. Incoming email is used primarily by the state taxing authorities, TSO customers, software developers, Circular 230 participants, e-file Monitoring Coordinators, e-services Level 2 Provider Groups, FATCA’s (FFIs and NFFEs), and Small Tax Exempt Organizations (990-N e-Postcard Emails). Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC) also uses this function to send email inquiries on behalf of external customers. Outgoing email can be sent at any time. See IRM, System Downtime Procedures, for one example of when outgoing email should be used.

  3. Email can only be reassigned to Provider Groups that you are assigned to. If you cannot work the case you must escalate the Interaction to the appropriate Provider Group. If you do not know where to route your case contact your lead or manager for guidance.


    TSO controls the incoming default email and is allowed to change the Provider Group without escalating the Interaction.

  4. The following guidelines govern the use of Email:

    • The email address is irs.e-helpmail@irs.gov. The email address does not display on the customers email. The email address is for internal use only and should not be shared with the general public.

    • Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) data such as TINs or EFINs must not be included. Exception: See IRM, 990-N e-Postcard Emails.

    • Email is not for account-related issues.

    • Attachments (e.g., GTX keys ) may be included in the email. The system will retain the attachments for 14 business days.

    • Incoming emails are automatically retrieved by EHSS and generate an Interaction.

    • An email acknowledgment which includes the Interaction number is automatically sent to the submitter within 30 minutes. The customer should use this number for further communications on the issue.

    • Customers should use the "Reply" feature of email when replying or inquiring to the IRS on a particular Interaction/Incident. This will ensure that the complete history of the issue will be contained in one Interaction/Incident. The reply received from the customer will then attach to the original Interaction/Incident.


      The original email should not be sent with the reply on FATCA inquiries.

    • Email Interactions are routed to a specific group of individuals whose first priority is to work email.

    • Incoming emails are worked during the normal hours.

    • Customers do not need to follow-up the email with a phone call.

  5. Email inquiries are also received from information return payers and transmitters.  (08-24-2012)
990-N e-Postcard Emails

  1. The e-help Desk accepts phone calls and emails related to the filing of 990-N e-Postcards. Small tax exempt (non-profit) organizations submit 990-N e-Postcard to maintain their tax exempt status. The e-help Desk provides assistance to customers experiencing difficulty submitting their postcard.

  2. Because these customers are tax exempt, their tax information is not protected under IRC 6103 like most of our customers. The release of a tax exempt organization’s information is covered under IRC 6104, which allows for making exempt organization’s information a matter of public record. An excerpt from IRC 6104 is shown in the note that follows:


    IRC 6104(a) provides for public inspection of approved applications for recognition of exemption (Form 1023 and Form 1024 and supporting documents) and IRC 6104(b) provides for public inspection of exempt organization information returns (Form 990, Form 990-EZ, and Form 990-PF). These disclosure requirements apply only to organizations determined to be exempt from tax.

  3. Because the exempt organization’s tax information is a matter of public record, we can include EINs in emails and store the EINs as part of the documentation of an case in EHSS.


    Only Form 990-N e-Postcard related emails are authorized to contain EINs.

  4. See IRM, Authentication for 990-N E-Postcard.  (10-01-2013)
Email Workflow

  1. EHSS queries the IRS Microsoft Exchange email inbox every 5 minutes looking for new email. When an email is received, it is copied to EHSS and once read it is deleted from the IRS Microsoft Exchange inbox.

  2. If the email is new, there are four ways that an email can be routed to a Provider Group:

    1. By the email address of the entity sending the email (used for software developers).

    2. By key words in the body of the email which allow the system to route to a specific Provider Group.

    3. To a default Provider Group if no email address or key words are identified.

    4. By domain name of email address identified in the system.

  3. If the email is in reply to an email from an existing Interaction:

    1. EHSS will use the ticket number in the subject line to associate Interactions.

    2. Once associated, an email will be sent to the escalation contacts for the worklist.


      Assistors should monitor their worklist for new email at least twice daily. When an email is reassigned to another Provider Group, the Interaction with the email attached will be forwarded.

  4. When the Interaction/Incident is closed, all corresponding emails will also be closed.

  5. If an email is received on a product not supported by the e-help Desk, respond to the customer that we do not support the product or service and then refer them to the proper IRS office or other Agency, when possible.

  6. The e-help Desk has an internal goal of responding to our customers’ emails within 2 hours of receipt.  (10-01-2014)
Responding to email

  1. The following are some of the email templates that are available in EHSS:

    • SD Acceptance is the acceptance email to be used to inform the software developer that their software has passed testing. Use this template when there is an incoming email.

    • e-help response is the standard email template used to send an email to a customer when there is an incoming email.

    • Software template is the email message to be used for software testing. It also gives the software developers the names of their test team members, tours of duty, and extensions. Use this template when there is an incoming email.

    • FATCA Template is the email template used when responding to FATCA Registration Portal questions.

    • 990-N Template is the email template used to respond to 990-N e-Postcard emails.


      The software template can be used by all assistor test teams to inform the software developers of their test team information. Simply remove the reference to the questionnaire.

  2. TSO uses some of the following templates:

    • Get TCC Number is the standard email template used to send an email to a customer for information on how to apply for a Transmitter Control Code (TCC) and to file information returns electronically.

    • 1099 Corrections is the standard email template used to send an email to a customer on how to correct information returns by paper.

    • TSO File Bad is the standard email template used to respond to a customer that a requested file has been made bad on the FIRE System.

    • Individual Referral is the standard email template used to send an email to a customer that they must contact the IRS Individual tax help line for further assistance.

  3. The e-help response template is shown below.

    Figure 3.42.7-9

    Sample e-help Response email Template
    From: irs.e-helpmail@irs.gov
    To: Customer email address
    Subject: Status Report for Case ID: 12345
    Dear e-help Partner:
    Thank you for contacting e-help about the problem you reported on 2006-06-09. We regret any inconvenience this has caused you.
    The following information has been provided for your records. Please refer to the case number # 12345 in any future correspondence.
    Product Description: 1040 e-file
    Case Status: Closed - Resolved
    (Enter your message here.)
    Kindest regards,
    Assistor's Name
    Do not submit confidential information, such as Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), EFIN, or ETIN in your email correspondence.
    NOTE: We are providing a written response to your question using the information you provided us in your original message. Our written response is NOT to be considered either a Revenue Ruling or determination letter, which are prepared by the Department of Treasury, Chief Counsel.
  4. To initiate an outgoing email when no incoming email is present, follow these steps:

    1. Complete email address.

    2. Apply template if appropriate. If not, fill in the appropriate subject message.

    3. Use spell check.  (10-01-2013)
Email Notifications

  1. When a customer contacts the e-help Desk through email, they receive an email receipt confirmation, along with an Interaction number. The following message is included:

    Figure 3.42.7-10

    email Receipt Confirmation
    From: irs.e-helpmail@irs.gov
    To: Customer email address
    Subject: email Receipt Confirmation, Created Case: 123456
    Your email has been received by the IRS e-help Desk. A case has been opened in response to your question or issue.
    Your case ID is: 001234
    If additional contact is necessary, please reference this case ID.
    You will receive a reply within two business days.
    Thank you for contacting the IRS e-help Desk.
    Do not submit confidential information, such as Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN), Electronic Filer Identification Numbers (EFIN) or Electronic Transmitter Identification Numbers (ETIN) in your email correspondence.
    NOTE: We are providing a written response to your question using the information you provided us in your original message. Our written response is NOT to be considered either a Revenue Ruling or determination letter, which are prepared by the Department of Treasury, Chief Counsel.
    The System Generated ID for this email is "[THREAD_ID:]" {{IRS_THREAD_ID}}
  2. EHSS has a feature that creates and notifies the manager when an Interaction/Incident is created by email and placed in the worklist.

    Figure 3.42.7-11

    email Notification
    From: emailNotify@irs.gov
    To: Manager
    Subject: email has arrived for you in the e-help Support System
    Please sign into the e-help Support System and review the worklist for an email Interaction that requires attention.
  3. When an email has not been assigned within 2 hours, an escalation email is sent to the manager of the Provider Group. The manager will continue to receive an escalation email every two hours until the email is assigned.

    Figure 3.42.7-12

    Sample Escalation email
    From: e-Help_Case_Support@irs.gov[mailto:e-Help_Case_Support@irs.gov]
    Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2006 2:39:37 PM
    To: Manager; Project Manager; Lead
    Subject: Case 12345 has been Escalated!
    The Case 12345 has been Escalated. Please see the below Case Details.
    Case Status: Open - New
    Case Priority: 1 - High
    Date/Time Created: 03/09/2006 1:38 PM
    Assigned To:
    Customer: Consumer
    Provider Group ID: OSC1  (10-01-2014)
Email Etiquette

  1. The following reminders will help you make the best use of this valuable business tool:

    1. Adopt a conversational businesslike tone.

    2. Structure your email so that it includes a greeting, a purpose, and expectations.


      "I'm responding to your request for a solution to your problem. I suggest you print out the solution below and follow each step to correct the problem. If this solution is not successful, please call us again at (866) 255-0654."

    3. Check your spelling.

    4. Review and revise your file before sending it to the customer.

    5. Ensure your name is in the correct format. EHSS will format the users name with last name first, you should reverse the name to first and last name. Your first name or first initial and last name must be included in the email in the following format, (e.g., John Doe or J Doe).

  2. Occasionally, you may receive an email from a disgruntled customer. Use this approach when responding:

    1. Stay calm.

    2. Acknowledge the customer's concerns.

    3. Advise the customer of a solution.


      "I'm sorry for the difficulties you have encountered being locked out of the system and being unable to transmit. We have referred your case to another department. You will receive a call within 2 business hours. Should you experience additional problems, please call us again at (866) 255-0654."  (10-01-2014)
FATCA Emails

  1. FATCA generally requires FFIs to report directly to the IRS certain information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers. It also requires certain NFFEs to disclose U.S. taxpayers who hold a substantial ownership interest in the NFFE. To assist with the FATCA reporting, a secure online web portal, the FATCA Online Registration System, has been developed.

  2. The e-help Desk accepts phone calls and emails for system support related questions regarding the FATCA Online Registration System..

  3. The FATCA Online Registration System support will generate calls/emails to the e-help desk. The most common calls/emails received for system support will be:

    • Forgotten FATCA ID

    • Access Code

    • General Inquiries

    • Technical Difficulties


    The temporary Access Code will not be issued via email under any circumstances.

  4. Due to the potential of Personal Identifiable Information (PII) being disclosed, assistors will not use the Reply button using the original email sent.

  5. To send an email response to a FATCA customer you must use the Send Email function. Do not reply to the customer via the Activities section.

  6. Use the FATCA email Template to respond to the customer. Complete the body of the email by copying the prepared response in the Solution, Use the "fill-in" as needed or type in a specific response to the problem. Always use "spell check."

  7. Your name or first initial and last name must be included in the email (e.g., John Doe or J Doe).

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