5.1.1  Miscellaneous Collection Procedures

Manual Transmittal

December 20, 2012

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 5.1.1, Field Collection Procedures, Miscellaneous Collection Procedures, formerly Guidelines for Working Collection Cases.

Material Changes

(1) Renamed IRM 5.1.1, Guidelines for Working Collection Cases, as Miscellaneous Collection Procedures to more accurately reflect the scope of its contents..

(2) IRM 5.1.1.1 revised, renamed and reorganized. Material addressing general Collection procedures covered elsewhere removed. This section now focuses on guidance related to paper case files and records maintenance.

(3) IRM 5.1.1.2 revised, renamed and reorganized. Material addressing general Collection procedures covered elsewhere removed. This section now focuses on guidance related to common Collection clerical procedures, including printing, copying and mailing.

(4) IRM 5.1.1.3 revised, renamed and reorganized. This section now addresses Case Closing Letters and includes new information and procedures regarding the systemic case closing letter process.

(5) IRM 5.1.1.3 (1) adds an exception to sending case closing letters when a suit recommendation is the final Collection action and the case has been placed into Currently Not Collectible status.

(6) Editorial corrections and updates made throughout.

Effect on Other Documents

This IRM supersedes IRM 5.1.1 dated October 12, 2010.

Audience

The target audience is revenue officers in SB/SE Field Collection.

Effective Date

(12-20-2012)


Scott Reisher
Director
Collection Policy

5.1.1.1  (12-20-2012)
Overview

  1. This IRM provides information and guidance for a variety of Collection procedures not otherwise addressed in other more technical IRMs.

  2. It is specifically intended for revenue officers, although other employees in SB/SE and employees in other functions may also refer to these procedures.

5.1.1.2  (12-20-2012)
Paper Case Files and Records Maintenance

  1. Maintaining organized paper case files is essential to effective workload and caseload management. It also helps protect taxpayer and third-party privacy by minimizing the risk of inappropriate disclosure.

  2. Revenue officers should periodically review their files to determine what documents are necessary for case resolution.

  3. Retain only case history paper documents that add value to the case and support conclusions reached.

  4. On an ongoing basis, remove and discard extraneous paper records, which may include the following:

    • Duplicate documents

    • ICS histories

    • Dated IDRS prints

    • Any documents not pertinent to the assigned case

  5. When the case is closed, remove and discard records maintained or archived electronically which are typically retrievable, such as IDRS and ICS prints. If the closed case will be retained longer than two years (e.g., seizure, suit, TFRP), a hard copy of the ICS history should be included.

    Caution:

    Retain in the closed file any legal documents, such as Notices of Federal Tax Liens (NFTLs), statutory letters, waivers, copies of summonses, and any other documents which, in your judgment, may have a bearing on subsequent case developments.

    Caution:

    Always dispose of unnecessary paper documents containing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in secure disposal receptacles or shred bins.

5.1.1.3  (12-20-2012)
Clerical Procedures

  1. The following guidance addresses various Collection clerical procedures related to printing and mailing documents.

5.1.1.3.1  (12-20-2012)
Printing and Photocopying

  1. To the greatest extent practicable, limit printing and photocopying. Improvements in automated document processing and storage have greatly reduced the need to produce hard copies. IRMs and most Internal Management Documents (IMDs) are now available on line. Before printing documents or making photocopies, consider whether there is a true need for a paper document.

  2. Make photocopies for the case file of original documents that must be returned to the taxpayer or third parties.

  3. If you need to print or make photocopies in the field, claim any photocopy or printing fees on your travel voucher.

  4. Provide a receipt for documents if requested to do so by a taxpayer or representative using the following procedures:

    1. Make a photocopy of the document.

    2. Use the "official received date stamp" to stamp the photocopy of the document.

    3. Provide the stamped copy of the document as a receipt for the document to the taxpayer.

    Caution:

    These procedures do not apply to payments.

  5. See IRM 5.1.2, Remittances, Form 809, and Designated Payments, if a taxpayer requests a receipt for a payment.

5.1.1.3.2  (12-20-2012)
Mailing and Faxing Guidelines

  1. In deciding whether to mail or fax documents to taxpayers, third parties or other Service employees, revenue officers need to assess the costs of each method, including the volume of documents and time required, the urgency involved, taxpayers' preferences, security issues, and, most important, any relevant statutory requirements. For example, some documents may only be delivered in person or by certified mail.

  2. Faxing documents with several pages is generally not advisable since fax transmission rates and quality vary considerably with the fax machines on both sides of the communication. Also, faxing several documents ties up office fax machines.

  3. Refer to specific IRM mailing guidelines to determine the most appropriate and efficient methods. See IRM 5.1.1.3.2.1 and IRM 5.1.1.3.2.2 below for guidelines on the most appropriate IRS envelopes to use.

5.1.1.3.2.1  (12-20-2012)
Business Reply Mail Envelope

  1. A Business Reply (BR) envelope, Envelope 25-BR, provides "POSTAGE WILL BE PAID BY IRS" and is appropriate for use for the convenience of the government.

  2. The BR envelope may be provided for the convenience of third parties from whom we have solicited information or payment.

    Example:

    A BR envelope may be included with a notice of levy to facilitate the return of the levy.

5.1.1.3.2.2  (12-20-2012)
Courtesy Reply Mail Envelope

  1. A Courtesy Reply (CR) envelope, Envelope 25-CR, does not state that postage and fees will be paid by the IRS. Use this envelope for circumstances other than for the convenience of the government.

  2. Use a CR envelope, with a pre-printed return delivery address (if available), for routine taxpayer correspondence, e.g.:

    • 1058, Final Notice Reply Within 30 Days .

    • 3172,. Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing and your Rights to a Hearing Under IRC 6320.

    • 3174, New Warning of Enforcement.

  3. Do not use a BR envelope for routine taxpayer correspondence.

5.1.1.4  (12-20-2012)
Case Closing Letters

  1. Issue a case closing letter on all cases closed by the following methods:

    1. CNC - Hardship closure

    2. Status 12 closure (i.e., full pay, adjustment, credit transfer, etc.)

    Exception:

    A case closing letter should not be sent when a suit recommendation is the final Collection action, and the case has been placed into Currently Not Collectible status as suggested in IRM 25.3.2.6(4).

  2. Case closing letters are generated systemically by ICS on most cases. The letter will not generate systemically if the closed modules display more than one name line.

    Example:

    One module is married filing joint and another is married filing separate. In this situation, ICS will generate an Action Required Notification to the requester stating "Generate Case Closing Letter using ICS Template." Access Templates to create the letter.

  3. No closing letter will be generated if the case includes an open DEL RET or a DEL RET closed as follows:

    • TC 590 CC 52 (No Return Secured)

    • TC 595 CC 57 (Exam Referral)

    • TC 596 CC 57 (CI Referral)

    • TC 597 CC 57 (Surveyed )

    • TC 598 CC 57 (Shelved)

  4. Send a letter to the address(es) of record for each taxpayer and Power of Attorney (POA).

  5. When closing a case, send one of the following case closing letters as appropriate:

    1. Letter 4222, Notice of Case Resolution, for a Status 12 closure.

      Note:

      There is no requirement to hold a case until the closing action posts to IDRS and the account goes to Status 12. However, use judgment in determining whether the posting of a closing action needs to be verified prior to sending the closing letter and closing the case.

    2. Letter 4223, Case Closed - Currently Not Collectible, for a CNC-Hardship closure.

5.1.1.4.1  (12-20-2012)
Systemic Case Closing Letter Procedures

  1. When all ICS modules are closed as a CNC-Hardship or by transactions resulting in Status 12, ICS will automatically generate a case closing letter upon closure.

  2. Print and mail the case closing letter(s) in accordance with local procedures.

    Caution:

    If you email the letter to the group secretary for mailing, be sure to send as a secure message.

    Note:

    Letter 937, Transmittal Letter For Power of Attorney, and another copy of the letter(s) will be generated for mailing to the POA.

5.1.1.4.2  (12-20-2012)
Manual Case Closing Letter Procedures

  1. If the case has already closed on ICS, then generate a case closing letter by selecting the appropriate letter from the ICS Template menu:

    1. Manually enter appropriate entity and address information.

    2. Manually enter the module information in the template grid.

    3. Manually update the ICS history to indicate that a case closing letter has been generated and mailed.

  2. Generate a copy of the letter for the Power of Attorney (POA), as applicable.

    1. Answer "Yes" to the question: "Do you want to generate a POA letter?"

    2. Enter the appropriate POA information in the ICS Template grid.

      Note:

      Letter 937, Transmittal Letter For Power of Attorney, and another copy of the letter(s) will be generated for mailing to the POA.

  3. Print and mail the case closing letter(s) in accordance with local procedures.

    Caution:

    If you email the letter to the group secretary for mailing, be sure to send as a secure message.

5.1.1.5  (12-20-2012)
Coordination between the Business Operating Divisions

  1. Coordination is often required between Collection and other Business Operating Divisions (BODs) or business units. When a taxpayer's case is assigned to Collection, and the same taxpayer's case is open in another BOD or another business unit, effective coordination with open communication will help reduce taxpayer burden, provide excellent taxpayer service, and facilitate the appropriate resolution of the Collection case and the case in the other business unit.

5.1.1.5.1  (12-20-2012)
Benefits of Coordination

  1. Taxpayer dealings with the IRS should be organized and well managed. Coordination will provide a perception of "one IRS" to the taxpayer, which will also be a benefit to the Service when:

    1. The revenue officer (RO) works closely with the examiner (revenue agent (RA) or other employee), and/or

    2. The examiner works closely with the RO.

  2. When the RO works closely with the examiner (RA or other employee), the examiner should be fully informed of the RO's case actions and be able to do the following:

    1. Appropriately respond to any inquiry(ies) from the taxpayer.

    2. Respond promptly to the RO's request for any necessary records and documentation.

    3. Resolve the examination issues and close the case efficiently.

  3. When the examiner (RA or other employee) works closely with the RO, the RO will be fully informed about the taxpayer and will be able to do the following:

    1. Respond promptly to the examiner's request for any necessary records and documentation.

    2. Secure a prompt response to any request for necessary records and documentation from the examiner.

    3. Appropriately respond to any inquiry(ies) from the taxpayer.

    4. Resolve the collection issues and close the case efficiently.

5.1.1.5.2  (10-12-2010)
Coordination Procedures

  1. The AIMS Assignee Code (AAC) is a 12-digit code that is used for the management structure so that returns and time applied to returns can be applied to the correct location for management information reports. The AAC is displayed on page 2 of AMDISA. The AAC is broken down into the following three fields:

    • PBC (Primary Business Code)

    • SBC (Secondary Business Code)

    • EGC (Employee Group Code)

  2. Review your cases for other BOD or business unit involvement, including Appeals.

  3. Research IDRS Command Code (CC) AMDISA to determine if an examination is open on your IMF, BMF, or EPMF taxpayer.

    1. Look for TC 420 (Examination Indicator).

    2. Look for an open "—L" freeze (AIMS Indicator — Account selected for audit freeze is set by posting TC 420/424 -- module frozen).

  4. Look up the assigned group on AMDISA when your case has a related examination open. The AAC is for use by all Business Operating Divisions (BODs).

    1. See IRM 4.9.1.5.1.1, AIMS Assignee Code, for additional information.

    2. Use the EGC to determine the assignment.

    3. Obtain more specific information, such as group manager, address, and phone number of a group represented by an EGC, as needed, at: http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/exam/mis/contacts/empgroupcode/default.aspx.

  5. Follow any locally established procedures, if applicable, to coordinate with the assigned examiner, as needed.

5.1.1.5.3  (12-20-2012)
Additional Procedures for Coordination with LB&I

  1. Research CC AMDISA to determine if the return is assigned to LB&I. A return assigned to LB&I will be assigned a Primary Business Code (PBC) 30X.

  2. Determine if the LB&I case is a Coordinated Industry Case (CIC) or an Industry Case (IC). See IRM 4.46 , LB&I Guide for Quality Examinations, for procedures for all LB&I cases, including both Coordinated Industry Cases (CIC) and Industry Cases (IC).

    1. The case is a Coordinated Industry Cases (CIC) taxpayer if a "CIC " indicator is reflected on the AMDISA.

    2. The case is an Industry Case (IC) taxpayer if an "IC " indicator is reflected on the AMDISA.

  3. Coordinate with the RA assigned to the related return according to the procedures displayed in the following table when you determine that a case assigned to you also has a return open for examination in LB&I.

    COORDINATION with LB&I
    IF THEN
    The taxpayer is a CIC taxpayer…
    • Contact the RA assigned to the case by secure email or by phone before contacting the taxpayer.

    • Do not contact the taxpayer prior to coordinating with the RA.

    • Request your group manager (GM) to contact the GM of the RA assigned to the case to facilitate contact with the RA if you are unable to contact the RA.

    • Coordinate with the RA, as needed, to facilitate appropriate response(s) to any inquiry(ies) from the taxpayer and to resolve any issue(s).

    The taxpayer is an IC taxpayer…
    • Attempt to contact the RA assigned to the case bysecure email or by phone before contacting the taxpayer, whenever possible.

    • Coordinate with the RA, as needed, to facilitate appropriate response(s) to any inquiry(ies) from the taxpayer and to resolve any issue(s).

    Reminder:

    Always coordinate with the RA on a CIC case. Coordinate with the RA, if possible, on an IC case.

5.1.1.5.4  (10-12-2010)
Additional Procedures for Coordination with SB/SE

  1. Research CC AMDISA to determine if the return is assigned to SB/SE. A return assigned to SB/SE will show Primary Business Code (PBC) 2XX.

  2. Coordinate with the examiner assigned to the related return, as needed, when you determine that a case assigned to you is also open in SB/SE for examination, to facilitate appropriate response(s) to any inquiry(ies) from the taxpayer and to resolve any issue(s).

  3. For cases involving High Assault Risk Areas (HARA), refer to IRM 5.1.12.8.1, Coordinating with Examination on HARA Cases.

5.1.1.5.5  (10-12-2010)
Additional Procedures for Coordination with TEGE

  1. Research CC AMDISA to determine if the return is assigned to TEGE. A return assigned to TEGE will show Primary Business Code (PBC) 4XX.

  2. Coordinate with the examiner assigned to the related return, as needed, when you determine that a case assigned to you is also open in TEGE for examination, to facilitate appropriate response(s) to any inquiry(ies) from the taxpayer and to resolve any issue(s).

  3. On cases involving Indian tribal governments, refer to IRM 5.1.12.24, Indian Tribal Governments.

5.1.1.5.6  (10-12-2010)
Additional Procedures for Coordination with Appeals

  1. Collection refers tens of thousands of cases to Appeals each year through appeal programs and processes such as Collection Due Process (CDP), Offer in Compromise (OIC), Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (TFRP), Penalty Appeals, and Collection Appeal Program (CAP).

  2. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) prohibits or restricts levy in many instances while certain appeals are pending.

    1. IRC 6330(e), Suspension of collections and statute of limitations, generally prohibits levy on a tax period for which certain CDP matters are pending. See IRM 5.1.9.3.5 , Levy Action during the Period of the CDP or Equivalent Hearing, for additional information.

    2. IRC 6331(k), No levy while certain offers pending or installment agreement pending or in effect, generally prohibits levy while certain OIC or installment agreement (IA) proposals are in effect or pending. See IRM 5.8.3.18,Withholding Collection, for additional information on general levy restrictions while an OIC is pending, and IRM 5.14.1.5 , Levy Restrictions and Installment Agreements, for additional information on general levy restrictions concerning IAs.

  3. A taxpayer may owe liabilities for multiple periods. However, not all these liabilities may be under the jurisdiction of Appeals. This is especially true with CDP cases. IRC 6330 requires Appeals to consider alternatives to a proposed levy action, such as an IA, OIC, or a request to have the account placed in Currently Not Collectible (CNC) status. These alternative collection actions generally apply to all outstanding tax debts, regardless of whether they are the subject of the CDP hearing.

    Example:

    A revenue officer (RO) has Form 941 balance due accounts on XYZ Corporation for periods ending 200712 and 200806. The taxpayer did not respond to Letter 1058, Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing, issued several months ago which listed the 200712 liability, but there is a CDP levy case under IRC 6330 pending in Appeals for the 200806 liability. Even though only the 200806 period is in Appeals, the IA proposal encompasses all outstanding tax debts, so the TC 971 AC 043 applies to both the 200712 and 200806 periods.
    The RO must follow the instructions in IRM 5.1.9.3.5, Levy Action during the Period of the CDP or Equivalent Hearing, and IRM 5.14.1.5, Levy Restrictions and Installment Agreements.

  4. The following table provides information about potential indicators of Appeals involvement in a case and the possible need for coordination with Appeals before proceeding with collection activities:

    Indicators of Pending Appeals and Reference to Corresponding IRM Guidance
    Transaction Code Matter Pending in Appeals IRM for Additional Information
    TC 480 Offer in Compromise (may be pending in Appeals or SBSE)
    • IRM 5.8.1.3.5

    TC 520 cc 76TC 971 AC 275 Collection Due Process — Lien
    • IRM 5.1.9.3.5

    • IRM 5.11.1.3.11

    • IRM 5.12.1.2.20

    TC 520 cc 77TC 971 AC 275 Collection Due Process — Levy
    • IRM 5.1.9.3.5

    TC 971 AC 278 Collection Due Process Equivalent Hearing — Lien or Levy
    • IRM 5.1.9.3.5

    TC 971 AC 043 Pending Installment Agreement (may be pending in Appeals if there is also an open CDP or equivalent hearing case)
    • IRM 5.14.1.3

    • IRM 5.1.9.3.5

  5. Contact with Appeals is limited by the ex parte provisions under Rev. Proc. 2000-43, so careful review of the IRM is required.

  6. Review the following IRM sections carefully before contacting Appeals to discuss a case in order to avoid potentially prohibited ex parte communication.

    • See IRM 5.1.9.3.5, Levy Action during the Period of the CDP or Equivalent Hearing

    • See IRM 5.8.1.9, Withholding Collection

    • See IRM 5.1.9.5, Communications with Appeals

    Note:

    Consult with your GM if you have any questions about Appeals involvement with your case.

5.1.1.6  (12-20-2012)
Balance Due Account Interest Computations

  1. The Master File is capable of systemically generating most normal interest calculations and some restricted interest calculations. For purposes of addressing Master File capabilities, the term "restricted interest" refers to those calculations that the Master File cannot systemically perform.

  2. It is important to always compute interest accurately, including complex or manually computed interest and restricted interest. When simple interest is present in a module, IDRS Command Codes (CC) such as COMPA and INTST accurately provide an accrued interest computation. When restricted interest is present in a module, these command codes will not perform the calculation, so you will need to secure a computation using the Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) software program called InterestNet.

    Note:

    The InterestNet software program is housed in Centralized Case Processing (CCP) in the Field Office Resource Team (FORT). FORT personnel will provide any necessary restricted interest computation.

  3. Calculate accrued interest for all payoff computations.

  4. Advise taxpayers or third parties, i.e., title companies, who contact you regarding the distribution of funds in an escrow account or who otherwise need a lien released, on a case that is not assigned to you, to contact the Centralized Lien Unit (CLU). The external number for the CLU is 1-800-913-6050. This number is staffed Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM across each time zone.

  5. Take the following actions on a case that is assigned to you when the taxpayer’s module(s) contains restricted interest:

    1. Prepare an email message to the FORT to request the restricted interest calculation.

    2. Type "Request for Restricted Interest Calculation" in the subject line of the message.

    3. Include the following necessary information in the body of the email message:

      Information Required by the FORT
      1. Taxpayer Name
      2. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
      3. Tax Period
      4. Date of Payoff
      5. A copy of a current transcript (TXMOD) to provide additional information such as the "2% date" for Large Corporate Underpayments.

    4. Send the message to the FORT by secure email at: *SBSE CCS RESTINT

  6. Refer to the following IRM sections if you require additional information:

    • See IRM 5.4.12, Field Office Resource Team, regarding information about the work and procedures of the FORT.

    • See IRM 5.4.12.2.1.2, General Case Processing Referrals, regarding contacting the FORT to compute accrued interest when the taxpayer’s module contains restricted interest.

    • See IRM 20.2.6, Methods of Computing Interest, regarding methods of computing interest by the use of IDRS or Automated Computation Tools (ACTs).

    • See IRM 20.2.6.4, Interest Computation Tools, regarding InterestNet.

    • See IRM 20.2.8.6, Reasons for Restriction, regarding additional reasons for restricting interest on a tax module.

5.1.1.6.1  (10-12-2010)
Common Restricted Interest Freeze Codes

  1. The Master File is capable of systemically generating most normal interest calculations and some restricted interest calculations.

  2. There are four specific Master File freeze codes that are directly related to module conditions restricting the computation of interest. The following is a list of the four freeze codes.

    Common Restricted Interest Freeze Codes
    –I Computer generation of underpayment interest is restricted. Underpayment interest must be manually updated and input.
    I– Computer generation of overpayment interest is restricted.
    –C Underpayment interest is restricted due to taxpayer being a participant in a Combat Zone.
    –O Underpayment interest is restricted due to taxpayer living in a Disaster Area.

    Note:

    This list is not all-inclusive. See Document 6209 for additional freeze codes.

  3. Locate the code on the account transcript (TXMOD) following the acronym "FRZ>."

5.1.1.7  (10-12-2010)
Customer Service

  1. The Service is dedicated to providing quality service to all taxpayers and their representatives. Providing quality service to taxpayers requires the following:

    1. advise taxpayers of their rights in each matter, and

    2. be sensitive to those situations where the taxpayer should be referred to the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
      See IRM 13.1.7, Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Case Criteria.

  2. Try to assist taxpayers even if they have questions or concerns beyond your area of expertise or beyond your responsibility by researching the appropriate publication, the IRWeb, or IRS.gov.

  3. Seek advice from your coworkers or your group manager (GM) if a taxpayer has questions or concerns beyond your area of expertise or beyond your responsibility.

5.1.1.7.1  (10-12-2010)
Detail to the Field Assistance Walk-in Counter

  1. This IRM section provides guidance regarding Field Collection (FC) employees detailed to the walk-in counter. From time to time, a Collection employee who works in a Post of Duty (POD) where a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) is located may be called upon by Field Assistance (FA) to help staff the walk-in counter. Generally, the TACs attempt to provide counter coverage for each other, especially because Collection employees are restricted from being in the work area controlled by the TAC, so details to the TAC should not happen often.

    1. Use of the Interactive Tax Law Assistant (ITLA) is mandatory for all Field Assistance Employees and detailees when answering tax law questions. If an ITLA Tax Law Category (TLC) is not available to answer tax law questions, Document 12164, Publication Method Guide (PMG), should be used.

    2. Other reference materials provide information about and instructions for numerous situations.

  2. The other reference materials necessary to help staff the walk-in counter include the current versions of the following:

    1. IRM 21.3.4, Field Assistance, links to the other relevant sections of the IRMs that Field Assistance (FA) uses to resolve customer inquiries.

    2. Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax.

    3. Document 6209, IRS Processing Codes and Information.

  3. To prevent scheduling conflicts, TAC must provide as much advance notice as possible when FC assistance is required, particularly in smaller PODs.

  4. Group managers must follow these procedures when assigning a Revenue Officer a detail to staff the counter: The manager must ensure that the detailed employee:

    1. Is a well-trained revenue officer (RO) who has completed basic and on-the-job training.

      Note:

      Do not detail an RO trainee to staff the TAC counter.

    2. Receives all appropriate reference materials

    3. Does not have a scheduling conflict during the time assigned, either a scheduled appointment with a taxpayer or a personal appointment.

      Note:

      Do not require an RO with a scheduled appointment with a taxpayer to cancel or reschedule that appointment in order to be able to staff the counter.

5.1.1.7.1.1  (12-20-2012)
Considerations Before Reporting to TAC

  1. Become familiar with ITLA before you report to TAC for your detail at the counter.

    1. See ELMS Course 26869, and the ITLA Instructions. The Instructions are available from the Heading bar at the top of the ITLA Homepage on SERP at http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/irm-sup.dr/current/itla/itla-home.htm.

    2. ITLA Training Scenarios are also available from the Training link under the Navigation column on the ITLA Homepage. The Scenarios are designed to be a practice guide for in-scope tax law topics.

  2. If needed, request training on how to use ITLA effectively.

  3. Discuss why you should not be assigned to the counter with your GM under the following circumstances:

    1. You are still a revenue officer trainee

    2. You do not believe you could perform effectively because you have not been afforded the training you requested pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection.

    3. You have a scheduling conflict. (For example, you already have a scheduled appointment with a taxpayer for the corresponding time frame.)

      Note:

      You are not required to cancel or reschedule a scheduled appointment with a taxpayer in order to be able to staff the counter.

5.1.1.7.1.2  (12-20-2012)
Counter Procedures

  1. Assist the customer to the fullest extent of your capabilities when working the walk-in counter.

    1. Refer to the appropriate ITLA TLC reference to research the proper procedures to follow to assist the customer, as needed.

    2. Check with the lead employee at the counter or with the TAC manager if you do not know how to handle a customer's concern.

    3. Ensure that you timely refer a customer's concern to the area which can offer the required assistance if a customer has questions or concerns beyond your responsibility.

      Note:

      TAC managers should ensure that offices have procedures in place to address these situations.

  2. Use all available resources to answer taxpayer questions; however, in some cases, the only appropriate course of action is for the taxpayer to call the toll-free number (e.g., tax-exempt question) or write to the campus ( e.g., request for penalty abatement). Allow the taxpayer to do the following if advising the taxpayer to call the toll-free number (and/or write to the campus):

    1. Make any necessary, tax-related calls from an IRS office phone.

      Note:

      Some offices have a telephone or a bank of telephones which provide direct access to the toll-free number. In those offices, it is permitted to direct the taxpayer to the toll-free number.

    2. Make photocopies.

    3. Forward any necessary information through the IRS mail system.

  3. Ensure you have answered the taxpayer's question. Do not send the taxpayer away with his/her question unanswered. It is never acceptable to only give publications to taxpayers who have a tax law question if the taxpayer still has a question. n

    1. Provide every taxpayer with a tax law question either an answer or a referral.

    2. Handle all out-of-scope tax law questions by using the current referral procedures.

    3. Provide high quality service - know when and where to refer issues that are outside your scope. See IRM 21.3.4.3.7, Referral Procedures, for guidance on referrals.

  4. You can take the following actions, as appropriate, depending upon the equipment available at your location and the command codes available in your IDRS profile:

    • Access account information

    • Download transcripts

    • Review account information

    • Place various indicators on the taxpayer's account through Account Management Services (AMS) or IDRS

  5. Refer to the "Post of Duty" list on the Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) at: http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/who-where.dr/podlist.dr/podlist.toc.html for phone numbers and/or fax numbers for forwarding any needed information.

5.1.1.8  (12-20-2012)
Integrated Data Retrieval System

  1. The Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) is a large scale, mission critical, steady-state computer system that consists of databases and operating programs that support IRS employees working active tax cases within each business function servicewide. IDRS:

    1. Maintains national data base files with random access capability from remote locations. The system employs storage devices and visual display terminals located in the campus and selected field offices to provide a two-way rapid communications pipeline between the field and the data base files.

    2. Contains taxpayer data information provided by taxpayers with the information they provided in their tax returns. IDRS also contains information collected from employees who are authorized to log on, work, and process taxpayer cases including audits, payments, and collection activities.

    3. Provides for systemic review of case status and notice issuance based on case criteria, thereby alleviating staffing needs and providing consistency in case control. Working in harmony with the Individual, Business, and Non-Master Files (IMF, BMF, NMF), IDRS presents a ready source of current information on taxpayers.

  2. IDRS data is retrieved and displayed using command codes on standard IDRS screens. The data is retrievable by personal identifiers such as:

    • Taxpayer name

    • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)

    • Taxpayer Information File (TIF) record type

    • Master File Transaction (MFT) Code

    • Document Locator Number (DLN)

    Note:

    IDRS input information is tracked by audit trails under an employee's IDRS number. Each employee authorized to use IDRS is assigned an IDRS number (that is, the number used by IDRS to assign tax cases to a particular employee).

  3. IDRS manages data that has been retrieved from the tax Master File allowing IRS employees to do the following:

    1. Take specific actions on taxpayer account issues

    2. Track case status

    3. Post transaction updates back to the Master File

  4. IDRS provides instantaneous visual access to certain taxpayer accounts, and includes the following capabilities:

    1. Researching account information and requesting returns

    2. Entering transactions such as adjustments, entity changes, and establishment of taxpayer accounts, etc.

    3. Entering collection information for storage and processing in the system

    4. Automatically generating notices, collection documents and other inputs

  5. The heart of IDRS, from the Collection activity standpoint, is the active file of potential cases established at the Enterprise Computing Center (ECC) for BMF, IMF, and NMF output, including the following:

    • Accounts receivable

    • Delinquent filers

    • Credit balance accounts

  6. IDRS does not directly share any data with State or Local Governments. However, data that is processed by IDRS, and then sent to the Master File, is shared with State and Local Governments as part of the IRS Fed-State Program. The following link provides access to information about Fed/State Information Sharing: http://discl.web.irs.gov/GLD/GL/pp/21015.asp

  7. Refer to Document 6209, IRS Processing Codes and Information, for additional information. Document 6209 is a reference guide containing sensitive Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and IDRS data relative to various components of the IRS. Section 14 discusses IDRS.

5.1.1.8.1  (12-20-2012)
Operation of IDRS

  1. IDRS will generate or suppress, as required, the various notices to be issued to taxpayers upon establishment of an account receivable or a delinquency filing condition.

    1. Balance due (BAL DUE) accounts (that is, receivables) are established at the time assessments are made and BAL DUE modules are updated with subsequent activity.

    2. Delinquent return (DEL RET) accounts are established when a delinquency condition is determined.

    IDRS will generate balance due accounts and return delinquency investigations to the Automated Collection System (ACS). IDRS will also generate Integrated Collection System (ICS) BAL DUEs, DEL RETs, follow-up notifications, and related information to the applicable FC offices, reflecting current actions not known by the responsible unit on assigned cases.

    The IDRS database is kept current in four ways:

    1. It is updated weekly with data extracted from the Enterprise Computing Center (ECC) Master File and NMF to reflect the latest posted taxpayer account information. (For IMF accounts identified as "Daily,” the IDRS database is updated on a daily basis.) The daily indicator is located under CC IMFOL definer "E" on line 14. A "0" indicates weekly and a "1" indicates daily.

    2. It is updated immediately when terminal input data is posted.

    3. IDRS memorandum information is gathered daily from the campus and field office transaction files while the data are still in the pipeline to the NCC for posting to the Master File.

      Note:

      This memorandum information is carried in the data base as pending transactions until processed information is available from the next weekly updating of the Master Files.

    4. IDRS is updated daily with uploads of certain transactions input to ICS.

5.1.1.8.1.1  (12-20-2012)
IDRS Case Controls

  1. Generally, a case controlled on IDRS remains in the system for a limited period after its status is changed to closed. A case is closed only after final actions are completed and posted. The following are examples of final case closing actions:

    • Collected in full

    • Abated in full

    • Reported currently not collectible

  2. Actions temporarily suspending collection are not valid closing actions and do not remove accounts from the system. The following are examples of temporary suspending actions:

    • Military deferments

    • Offers in compromise

    • Bankruptcies

    • Payment tracer and adjustment requests

    • Pending installment agreements (IAs)

    • Pending court actions

  3. Case controls will not close off IDRS automatically. Periodically the campuses will generate an Overage Case Control Report so the initiating function can assess the validity of outstanding controls. When these reports are forwarded to the area, the function which established the control is responsible for processing the report and closing unnecessary control bases.

  4. Use command code (CC) ACTON to establish and modify case controls. See IRM 2.3.12, Command Code ACTON.

5.1.1.8.1.2  (12-20-2012)
Revenue Officer IDRS Profiles

  1. Employee access to IDRS is determined by each employee's specific need to access taxpayer data to perform his/her assigned duties.

    Note:

    The group manager (GM) will determine which employees have access to IDRS and for what purposes.

    1. Only a revenue officer (RO) who needs access to the data in IDRS as a part of his/her official duties will be authorized to have IDRS access.

    2. Online Form 5081 (OL 5081) documents at what levels an RO may view and use the data. OL 5081 is signed by the employee and the employee’s manager. By signing this document, both the user and manager are accountable for misuse of the system.

    3. Each RO who registers to use IDRS will have an IDRS security profile that determines his/her level of access to IDRS data.

    Caution:

    An RO should only have research command codes in his/her IDRS profile.

  2. GMs must ensure the following:

    1. Each RO in his/her group has research capability only

    2. No RO is profiled with command codes that can change the status of any account

    3. Separation of duties is observed by confirming that each RO who is assigned a receipt book (Form 809, Receipt for Payment of Taxes) never has an IDRS profile that includes command codes that would allow him/her to do adjustments.

      Note:

      This applies to all ROs, including ROs in Advisory groups, ROs on the Headquarters staff, ROs on staff at a campus, as well as the ROs in Collection groups.

  3. Refer to the following IRMs for additional guidance:

    • See IRM 5.1.3.8.1 , Separation of Duties.

    • See IRM 5.1.2.7.3, Separation of Duties — Form 809.

5.1.1.8.1.3  (12-20-2012)
IDRS Procedures

  1. Use the Online 5081 process to request to become a registered IDRS user.

  2. Review your IDRS profile to ensure separation of duties. See IRM 5.1.3.8.1, Separation of Duties.

  3. Ensure that you:

    1. Have only research command codes, and

    2. Are not profiled with command codes that can change the status of any account.

  4. Alert your GM to modify your IDRS profile if you have been profiled for any adjustment command codes.

    Note:

    GMs should delete any command codes from an RO's IDRS profile that would allow the RO to do adjustments.

  5. Use IDRS appropriately to access relevant information on your assigned cases.

5.1.1.8.1.3.1  (12-20-2012)
Prohibited IDRS Actions

  1. The Taxpayer Browsing Protection Act prohibits the willful unauthorized access or inspection of tax returns and return information.

  2. Access only those accounts for data required to accomplish your official duties. See IRM 5.1.3.7.5, Taxpayer Browsing Protection Act.

    Caution:

    Any unauthorized access or browsing of tax accounts to satisfy personal curiosity or for fraudulent reasons is prohibited by IRS and is subject to disciplinary actions.

  3. Do not initiate any access on your own records.

  4. Do not initiate any access on the records of the following:

    • Your spouse or any ex-spouse

    • Your parents

    • Anyone living in your household

    • Your close relatives

    • Your friends or neighbors with whom you have close relationships

    • Celebrities when the information is not needed to carry out tax-related duties

    • An individual or organization for which you or your spouse is an officer, trustee, general partner, agent, attorney, Consultant, contractor, employee, or member

    • Any individual or organization with which you may have a possible financial conflict of interest or a personal or outside business relationship that could raise questions about your impartiality in handling the tax matter

5.1.1.9  (10-12-2010)
Taxpayer Identification Number Issues

  1. A Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is an identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the administration of tax laws. A TIN is issued either by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or by the IRS.

    1. The Social Security Administration issues a Social Security Number (SSN).

    2. IRS issues all other TINs, including Employer Identification Numbers (EINs).

  2. There are five types of TINs:

    1. Social Security Number — "SSN"

    2. Employer Identification Number — "EIN"

    3. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number — "ITIN"

    4. Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number — "ATIN"

    5. Preparer Taxpayer Identification Number — "PTIN"

      Note:

      The "Temporary Identification Numbers" which IRS previously assigned are no longer valid.

  3. Sometimes, Collection cases have TIN issues. This IRM subsection discusses some of those issues which may be present in your inventory, and when necessary, provides guidance on how to resolve them.

5.1.1.9.1  (10-12-2010)
Unpostable Transaction Codes

  1. When transactions are sent to the Master File, certain checks are automatically performed to prevent incorrect information from posting. The following table describes actions related to unpostable name control issues:

    CORRECTIVE ACTIONS: UNPOSTABLE CONDITIONS
    IF THEN
    A transaction is input, and the name control does not match the name control on the Master File for the TIN used in the input ... The transaction goes unpostable. The campus is notified of these unpostable transactions and tries to correct them.
    If the campus is not able to correct the unpostable transaction using just the available information ... A Tax Examiner (TE), the campus employee who is working on the unpostable transaction, will determine if the input was requested by a revenue officer (RO).
    If the input was requested by an RO ... The TE will do the following:
    1. Try to identify the RO who asked for the input, and

    2. Contact the RO by email, phone, or by Form 1725 , Routing Slip, to request additional information to correct the transaction.

    The TE does not have an email address... The TE will try to contact the RO by phone.
    If the TE does not have an email address or a phone number... The TE will contact the RO by Form 1725 .

  2. Sometimes, you may contact the campus employee who is working on the unpostable transaction before he/she contacts you. Regardless of whether a TE contacts you or you contact a TE, when you encounter an unpostable transaction, you must communicate with the TE and to resolve the unpostable transaction. Sometimes, you may not be able to resolve the unpostable transaction. In that case, you must elevate the situation through your manager.

5.1.1.9.1.1  (12-20-2012)
Unpostable Procedures

  1. Respond as quickly as possible to the TE when you receive one of these requests. Respond by one of the three appropriate contact methods displayed in the table below to ensure the transaction(s) necessary to close the BAL DUE(s) and/or DEL RET(s) can be posted quickly.

    TAX EXAMINER CONTACT METHODS
    IF THEN
    The TE contacts you by email… Provide the requested information to the TE by a secure email message as soon as possible (no later than three business days after the TE contacts you).
    The TE contacts you by phone… Provide the requested information to the TE, as soon as possible (no later than three business days after the TE contacts you), in the one of the following manners, appropriate to whether or not the TE makes contact during the call:
     
     
    The TE reaches you directly…
    1. Provide the requested information directly to the TE during the call.

    2. Make an alternate arrangement to provide the information to the TE.

      Note:

      This option applies only if you do not have the information immediately available.

     
    The TE leaves you a voice message…
    • Call the TE as soon as possible (no later than three days after the TE contacts you) and take one of the following actions, as appropriate:

     
    1. Provide the requested information directly to the TE during the call.

    2. Make an alternate arrangement to provide the information to the TE.

      Note:

      This option applies only if you do not have the information immediately available.

    3. Leave a voice mail message if you do not reach the TE when you call and provide the requested information and include your contact information (name and telephone number). Provide the days and times available for TE to contact you.

     
    The TE contacts you by Form 1725, Routing Slip
    • Provide the requested information to the TE, as soon as possible (no later than three business days after the TE contacts you), in the following manner:

     
    1. Use the Discovery Directory to locate the TE’s manager if the TE did not provide his/her manager’s contact information on the routing slip.

    2. Send a secure email message containing the requested information to the TE's manager.

      Note:

      The TE’s manager will print out the email message and provide it to the TE.

     

  2. Do not leave an unpostable transaction unresolved. Always attempt to work the unpostable transaction with the TE.

  3. If an unpostable transaction is going to cause a delay in the release of a lien, and you and the TE are unable to resolve the unpostable transaction, the RO should manually request a release through the Lien Unit..

5.1.1.9.1.1.1  (12-20-2012)
Unresolved Unpostable Transaction

  1. Sometimes, as discussed above, you and the TE may not be able to resolve the unpostable transaction. In that case, you must elevate the situation to your group manager (GM) because, in some cases, the problem may be a programming issue.

  2. Elevate any unresolved unpostable transaction to your GM by secure email.

  3. Prepare an email message:

    1. Entitle the message "Unresolved Unpostable Transaction. "

    2. Detail the facts and circumstances of the unresolved unpostable transaction in the body of the message.

    3. Send the message by secure email to your GM.

    Note:

    Your GM must direct the unresolved unpostable transaction message to the appropriate Area contact for possible referral to Headquarters.

5.1.1.9.2  (12-20-2012)
Invalid Social Security Number

  1. Name control and Social Security Number (SSN) are checked for validity against records furnished to the Enterprise Computing Center (ECC) by the Social Security Administration (SSA). An asterrisk (*) appearing to the immediate right of the SSN on BAL DUEs, DEL RETs, or OIs, indicates the SSN is invalid. The following table addresses certain SSN/name control mismatches:

    SSN/NAME CONTROL MISMATCHES
    IF THEN
    NCC identifies a SSN / name control combination as invalid... NCC will attempt to resolve the inconsistency.
    The inconsistency goes unresolved... A CP 54 (inquiry letter) will be sent to the taxpayer by the campus.
    The taxpayer does not reply... The account number remains invalid, unless it is corrected by subsequent filing or taxpayer action and an asterisk (*) will be placed to the immediate right of the SSN to indicate an invalid number.
    Campus personnel contact a taxpayer whose SSN or last name does not agree with IRS records (an invalid SSN issue has still not been resolved)... campus personnel will prepare Form 4149, Information to Correct Invalid Social Security Number, and send it to the taxpayer to complete and return. The taxpayer must complete the form, provide any necessary verification, and return the form to IRS. The campus will make the necessary corrections and issue any refund due or credit the taxpayer's account within 6 to 8 weeks.

5.1.1.9.3  (10-12-2010)
Cross–Reference of Proprietor's SSNs and EINs

  1. When a proprietor has records on both IMF and BMF:

    • The IMF records are under the proprietor’s SSN, and

    • The BMF records are under the proprietor’s EIN.

  2. Even though the BMF records are stored and retrieved using the EIN, there is a secondary identification number field for the proprietor’s SSN.

    Note:

    On ICS, the "Case Summary Screen" will show, "Yes," next to, "X Ref" when a SSN is available for a proprietor.

5.1.1.9.3.1  (10-12-2010)
Proprietor’s SSN Procedures

  1. View the SSN, when it is available, by going to the "Entity Detail Menu" in ICS and select "Cross Reference." If the SSN is not available:

    1. Use Command Codes BMFOL and BRTVU to locate the SSN on BMF. See IRM 2.3.59, Command Code BMFOL.

    2. Use Command Code ENMOD to locate the SSN on IDRS. See IRM 2.3.15, Command Code ENMOD.

5.1.1.9.3.1.1  (12-20-2012)
Using the Proprietor’s SSN

  1. If the SSN is known, it is useful for researching files.

    Example:

    If the proprietor is out of business, the SSN may help locate the person through the IMF, information returns, state employment records, and motor vehicle records.

  2. Use the SSN for inputting information on the IMF to make BMF CNCs reactivate. See IRM 5.16.1, Currently Not Collectible.

  3. Use the SSN to freeze IMF refunds and to offset them to pay BMF taxes. See IRM 5.1.12.21, Refund Offset .

5.1.1.9.3.1.1.1  (12-20-2012)
Inputting the SSN on the BMF

  1. When a proprietor completes Form SS-4 to apply for an EIN, the Form SS-4 asks for the person’s SSN. When the EIN is assigned, the new business entity is established on BMF and the SSN is entered as a secondary TIN.

  2. Be alert when you locate a SSN for a proprietor who is already on the BMF. This can include a person who:

    • Left the SSN off Form SS-4 ,

    • Applied for an EIN before the IRS started to enter SSNs on the BMF (started in 1992), or

    • Had an incorrect SSN on the BMF.

  3. Enter this secondary TIN on the Master File using Form 2363, Master File Entity Change.

  4. Forward Form 2363, by secure email to CCP to request input of command code BNCHG to enter the TIN on the Master File.

    Reminder:

    It is possible to add SSN cross-reference information to the ICS data base. However, this does not upload to IDRS to update BMF. You must use CC: BNCHG to update BMF.

5.1.1.9.3.1.1.2  (12-20-2012)
Inputting the SSN on the BMF — Joint Return

  1. Follow these procedures when the SSNs from joint returns are followed by "J " (valid SSN) or "#" (invalid SSN), or "*" (invalid SSN).

  2. Research the SSN using IMFOL in these cases to determine if the correct spouse’s SSN was entered on the BMF.

    Note:

    Even a valid SSN (SSN followed by "J" ) could be the wrong spouse’s SSN.

  3. Take the appropriate corrective action as displayed in the table below.

    CORRECTIVE ACTION
    IF THEN
    The IMFOL research shows the wrong spouse’s SSN is recorded as the proprietor’s secondary TIN. Forward Form 2363 by secure email to Centralized Case Processing (CCP) to request input of the correct spouse’s SSN.
    The IMFOL research shows the correct spouse’s SSN is recorded as the proprietor’s secondary TIN. Forward Form 2363 by secure email to CCP to request input of the spouse’s SSN, even though it is the same SSN.

    Note:

    Anyone finding the SSN on the BMF in the future will not have to repeat the research, because the SSN will no longer be followed by "J. "

    The SSN is followed by "# " or "*" (invalid SSN). Forward Form 2363 by secure email to CCP to request input of the correct spouse’s SSN as the secondary TIN when the correct SSN is found.


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