5.1.18  Locating Taxpayers and their Assets (Cont. 1)

5.1.18.12 
United States Postal Service

5.1.18.12.4  (08-15-2013)
Action when Form 4759 is Received from USPS

  1. Do not update the Master File address with information received from Form 4759 unless the taxpayer provides clear and explicit written or oral notification as provided by Rev. Proc. 2010-16.

  2. Updating a taxpayer's address with a new address received from a third party, even when verified by a postal tracer, is not permitted without that notification. See IRM 5.11.1.2.1.1, Last Known Address.

5.1.18.13  (03-27-2012)
United States Passport Office

  1. The Service may obtain passport information from the United States Passport Office in connection with an official investigation. Request a passport check when the taxpayer travels overseas frequently (or there is reason to believe the taxpayer travels overseas frequently). Requests for information from the US Passport Office are called “passport checks.” Passport checks provide information contained on the most recent passport application filed by a U.S. citizen. The information may include the following :

    • the last known mailing and/or permanent address of the applicant

    • applicant's occupation

    • applicant's employer

    • applicant's phone number

    • emergency contact's name, address and phone number

    • spouse’s name and birthplace.

    Caution:

    A passport check will not provide you with any travel information. If you are searching for historical travel information, see IRM 5.1.18.14.7, TECS Historical Travel Information.

    Caution:

    Follow the appropriate Third Party Contact procedures when making Third Party Contacts. See IRM 5.1.17, Third Party Contacts.

    Note:

    This information includes the taxpayer's current address, if available. It also includes next of kin information as a third party source to contact because he/she may know the current address of the taxpayer.

  2. Request a passport check when you are certain that your taxpayer is a U.S. citizen or when you have the following types of cases:

    1. IMF entity cases with an assessed balance that meets the dollar criteria for international and domestic cases in paragraph (4) below

    2. Combination BAL DUE and DEL RET entity cases where the existing balance due and the potential liability from unfiled returns meets the criteria displayed in paragraph ( 4) below

    3. Currently not Collectible cases closed as Unable to Locate (03), Unable to Contact (12), or international closing code (06), where the aggregate unpaid balance of assessment meets the dollar criteria in paragraph (4) below.

  3. The SB/SE International Coordinator will handle all passport checks. The information on the passport application can be requested with managerial approval through the SB/SE International Coordinator by completing Letter 4263, Passport Letter Request.

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5.1.18.13.1  (09-17-2010)
Requesting a Passport Check

  1. To request a copy of the passport file:

    1. Prepare Letter 4263 to request a passport check. See IRM 5.1.18.13.1.1.

    2. Obtain managerial approval/signature via secure e-mail.

      Note:

      To signify approval, your manager will digitally sign the PDF file of Letter 4263, include your e-mail address on the "Cc" line, and send the e-mail message, including the digitally signed Letter 4263 as an attachment, to the International Passport Coordinator at "*SBSE International Passport Coordinator " via secure e-mail.

    3. Send an e-mail message to "*SBSE International Passport Coordinator" if you need to contact the coordinator.

      Reminder:

      Be sure to send any e-mail message via secure e-mail when you include Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU) taxpayer data in the message.

5.1.18.13.1.1  (09-17-2010)
Preparing Letter 4263

  1. Enter the following in Letter 4263:

    1. taxpayer's name and/or alias

    2. taxpayer's place of birth

    3. taxpayer's date of birth

    4. taxpayer's SSN

    5. type of information requested

  2. Use IDRS command code MFTRA-U to obtain the taxpayer's place of birth and/or date of birth.

  3. Use MFTRA-U to obtain citizenship and status information. The following citizenship and status information codes are listed in Document 6209 :

    • A — US Citizen

    • B — Legal Alien, Authorized to work in the US

    • C — Legal Alien, Not authorized to work in the US

    • D — Other

    • E — Alien Student (restricted work)

    • F — Conditional Legal Alien

  4. Save the completed Letter 4263 as a PDF file.

  5. Attach the PDF file of Letter 4263 to an e-mail message to your manager.

5.1.18.13.2  (03-27-2012)
Form 14223

  1. The International Coordinator will send the information obtained from the passport application on Form 14223, Taxpayer Locator Information Request.

5.1.18.13.3  (05-20-2008)
Using Passport Information

  1. Use any new address or new asset information received from the passport office as discussed above.

  2. See IRM 5.1.12.25, Outgoing Mutual Collection Assistance Requests, if you determine that the taxpayer:

    1. resides in a treaty country, or

    2. has assets in a treaty country.

5.1.18.14  (03-27-2012)
Treasury Enforcement Communications System

  1. The Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS) is a database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and it is used extensively by the law enforcement community. It contains information about individuals and businesses suspected of, or involved in, violations of federal law.

  2. For IRS field Collection, TECS provides two sources to help make contact with taxpayers or locate assets :

    1. Revenue officers can request that delinquent balance due taxpayers be entered into TECS, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will then advise IRS when those taxpayers travel into the United States for business, employment, or personal reasons. The taxpayers entered into TECS for this purpose are on a DHS lookout indicators list. IRS employees must help maintain the TECS database by requesting that appropriate taxpayers be entered into TECS or be deleted from TECS. (See IRM 5.1.18.14.6.1 for criteria for including taxpayers in TECS data base.)

    2. Revenue officers can also request information housed in TECS on past travel that a taxpayer has made to and from the United States.

5.1.18.14.1  (03-27-2012)
TECS: DHS Lookout Indicators

  1. Many of the taxpayers entered into TECS for a DHS lookout indicator are International ones because the cases usually concern persons who reside abroad. However, domestic taxpayers may also be entered into TECS if we have been unable to locate them and if they are believed to travel outside the US . Taxpayers placed on TECS are often not subject to ordinary administrative and judicial collection procedures because they frequently reside outside the jurisdiction of the US Courts. Information derived from placing a taxpayer on TECS can facilitate contact with these taxpayers or provide asset information which, in turn, may facilitate collection of their delinquent liabilities.

    Note:

    IRM 9.4.2.4.2.5.3, Other IRS Functions, also discusses TECS and prescribes the use of Form 5523, TECS Query Request, to request information from TECS. However, SB/SE Collection Field (FC) employees should not use Form 5523.

  2. Consider the following example as an illustration of how using TECS to place a taxpayer on the DHS lookout indicator list could help in your casework.

    Example: A FC RO has a balance due taxpayer in his/her inventory and he determines the taxpayer resides in Norway. The RO transfers the case to International. The International RO determines the taxpayer is "Unable to Contact" and closes the case from open inventory. The RO requests that the taxpayer be placed on TECS. One year later, the taxpayer travels to the US and initially arrives at an airport in New York. Upon the taxpayer's arrival, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) informs the TECS Coordinator where the taxpayer is ultimately traveling to, how long the taxpayer plans to stay, and on which flight(s) the taxpayer will be departing. The taxpayer will be staying in Denver for one week. The ROs who had previously worked the case had not been aware of any connection the taxpayer had to Denver. The TECS Coordinator notifies the group manager (GM) in International who is responsible for cases in Norway (the country in which the taxpayer resides). The International GM issues an OI to the Collection group working the location in Denver where the taxpayer is staying. The GM in Denver assigns the case to an RO, and the RO meets with the taxpayer and secures a financial statement. When this happens, the IRS learns about the taxpayer's assets for the first time as other research methods and attempted contacts were unsuccessful. The RO provides the information to International and closes the OI. After the OI is closed, the International RO does further research once he/she is aware of the Denver nexus. He/she discovers the taxpayer has real property held in the name of a trust and files a nominee lien.

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5.1.18.14.3  (03-27-2012)
TECS Web Page

  1. Access the TECS web page at http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/Collection/international/tecs/default.aspx. You can also access the web page by going to the International Collection tab on the SB/SE Collecting Taxes web page and clicking on Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS).

5.1.18.14.4  (08-15-2013)
The Role of the TECS Coordinator

  1. The TECS Coordinator is a Collection Automation Coordinator (CAC) on the Headquarters staff.

  2. The TECS Coordinator:

    • will coordinate the investigation of TECS cases,

    • is responsible for informing SB/SE Collection group managers upon receipt of notifications of imminent taxpayer arrival into the US from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE notifications are discussed below.

    Note:

    Once the TECS Coordinator notifies a group manager of a taxpayer coming into the country, the GM may need to send an Other Investigation (Ol) using Form 2209, Courtesy Investigation, so the ICE notification can be addressed in a timely manner. See IRM 5.1.8, Courtesy Investigations, for procedures on assigning and working these Courtesy Investigations.

    • will review all cases referred from revenue officers requesting that a taxpayer be entered on TECS to ensure that they meet the TECS lookout indicator criteria, and

    • will handle the referred cases as displayed in the following table:

    TECS Coordinator Action
    If Then
    The case is accepted The TECS Coordinator will:
    • forward the taxpayer information to Treasury for input into TECS,

    • and document the ICS history.

    The case does not meet TECS criteria The TECS Coordinator will:
    • document the ICS history with the reason

    • return the referral to the originator.

    ,

  3. Contact the TECS coordinator via e-mail at: *SBSE International TECS Coordinator

5.1.18.14.5  (03-27-2012)
Notification by Customs and Border Protection of Taxpayer Arrival

  1. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will notify the TECS Coordinator when ICE becomes aware that a balance due taxpayer on TECS is arriving in the US.

  2. (2) CBP will provide the TECS Coordinator with some or all of the following information:

    • the taxpayer's address while in the United States

    • nature of visit

    • transportation of any currency over $10,000.00

    • any other available travel and/or asset information.

5.1.18.14.6  (03-27-2012)
Providing Taxpayer Information For Placing A Taxpayer On The TECS Lookout Indicator List

  1. Be alert for case situations where you can provide information to TECS to facilitate the collection of delinquent liabilities from taxpayers.

    Reminder:

    The reason it is important to enter a taxpayer on TECS is it allows CBP to notify the IRS in the future (via the TECS coordinator) about when and where a taxpayer will be traveling.

  2. Follow the procedures below to request that a taxpayer be entered on or removed from TECS.

5.1.18.14.6.1  (03-27-2012)
Criteria For Entering A Taxpayer On TECS For A Lookout Indicator

  1. Taxpayers will be entered on TECS for a lookout indicator only when the case meets all of the following conditions:

    • The taxpayer is living outside the United States and the United States commonwealths and territories or is about to depart to reside in a foreign country.

      Note:

      Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands are commonwealths or territories of the United States.

      Exception:

      Exception: Enter a balance due taxpayer on TECS if, despite an official IRS domestic address of record, you believe the taxpayer resides in a foreign country or travels outside the United States and the United States commonwealths and territories on a frequent basis and we have not been able to contact the taxpayer.

    • The taxpayer has not voluntarily resolved his/her case by full payment or other voluntary action, including an installment agreement (IA).

    • A Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL) has been filed for all balance due modules. See Treasury Regulation § 301.6323(f)-1.

    • The total unpaid balance of assessment equals or exceeds the dollar criteria for requesting a taxpayer be entered on TECS.

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      Exception:

      TECS input can also be requested for a lesser amount when your group manager concurs there are significant compliance issues and approves your request.

    • The taxpayer is not in bankruptcy.

    • The IRS has not accepted an Offer in Compromise (OIC) to settle the taxpayer's liabilities.

    • The taxpayer's case is in Status 26 or the taxpayer's case is being reported currently not collectible (CNC) with closing code 06, 03 or 12.

  2. Do not request placement of taxpayers onto TECS for lookout indicator purposes if there are only DEL RETs.

    Note:

    The TECS lookout indicator process is only for taxpayers with BAL DUEs and a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL) must have been filed for all liabilities.

5.1.18.14.6.2  (03-27-2012)
Procedures for Requesting Entry of a Taxpayer on TECS — Form 6668

  1. Coordinate all requests for entering a taxpayer on TECS with the TECS Coordinator.

  2. Ensure a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL) has been properly filed for all liabilities.

  3. Use Form 6668 ,TECS Entry Request, to request that a taxpayer be entered on TECS.

  4. Complete Form 6668 in its entirety.

  5. Save Form 6668 as a PDF file.

  6. Attach the PDF file to an e-mail message to your group manager (GM) to request his/her approval of Form 6668.

  7. Use secure e-mail to encrypt the message since it contains taxpayer data.

  8. Send the secure message to your GM to obtain his/her approval of Form 6668.

    Note:

    The GM will indicate his/her approval by digitally signing the PDF file of Form 6668. Additionally your GM will provide you with a courtesy copy when he/she sends the approved Form 6668 to the TECS Coordinator as provided below (i.e., your GM will include you on the "Cc " line of the message).

  9. Prepare Letter 4106 after your manager approves Form 6668

    Caution:

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    .

  10. Mail Letter 4106 to the taxpayer.

    Note:

    Verify that the taxpayer is on TECS before sending Letter 4106.

  11. Document case history noting reasons for placing taxpayer on TECS and manager's approval.

  12. Retain copies of Letter 4106 and the approved Form 6668 in the case file.

    Note:

    The GM will send the digitally approved PDF file of Form 6668 in an e-mail message to the TECS Coordinator to request that the taxpayer be entered on TECS. The GM will use secure e-mail to encrypt the message since it contains taxpayer data.

    Note:

    The GM will send the secure e-mail message (with the attachment) to the TECS coordinator at: *SBSE International TECS Coordinator to request that the taxpayer be entered on TECS.

    Note:

    The TECS Coordinator will send the taxpayer information to CI; the actual input of the taxpayer data into TECS will be done by CI.

5.1.18.14.6.3  (03-27-2012)
Expedited TECS Entry Procedures

  1. Notify your group manager (GM) to request expedited TECS entry when a taxpayer's arrival in the United States is imminent and the taxpayer is not already on TECS.

    Note:

    Note: A GM, Tax Attache, or Deputy Tax Attache may request expedited TECS entry by making a telephone call to the TECS Coordinator, as long as all the conditions listed above for entering a taxpayer on TECS are met.

5.1.18.14.6.4  (03-27-2012)
Criteria For Removing A Taxpayer From The TECS Lookout Indicator List

  1. Remove a taxpayer from TECS promptly when the case meets one or more of the following conditions:

    • The tax liability is satisfied.

    • The taxpayer enters into IRS approved arrangements to satisfy the tax liability, including an installment agreement (IA).

    • The taxpayer is deceased and his/her death is verified.

    • The taxpayer's Offer in Compromise (OIC) has been accepted.

      Caution:

      Do not delete a taxpayer from TECS if an Offer in Compromise (OIC) is still under investigation; only an accepted OIC qualifies the taxpayer for removal from TECS.

    • The taxpayer is in bankruptcy.

    • Any other situation renders the continuation of the TECS entry unnecessary.

5.1.18.14.6.5  (03-27-2012)
Procedures for Requesting Removal of a Taxpayer from the TECS Lookout Indicator List

  1. Coordinate all requests for removal from TECS with the TECS Coordinator.

  2. Contact the TECS Coordinator immediately by e-mail at: *SBSE International TECS Coordinator if a taxpayer already on TECS should be removed for any of the above case conditions.

  3. Entitle any e-mail message to the TECS Coordinator concerning this topic as "Request To Delete Taxpayer from TECS."

  4. Include the following information in the memorandum:

    1. taxpayer name

    2. taxpayer identification number

    3. taxpayer date of birth

    4. the reason deletion is being requested.

  5. Send the e-mail message to the TECS Coordinator using secure e-mail to encrypt the message since it contains taxpayer data.

  6. Retain a copy of the e-mail in the case file.

    Note:

    The TECS Coordinator will send the taxpayer information to CI; the actual removal of the taxpayer data from TECS will be done by CI.

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5.1.18.14.7  (03-27-2012)
TECS Historical Travel Information

  1. TECS also is a database that tracks historical travel information about taxpayers. This IRM section provides guidance for using the historical travel information available in TECS. This information may also help you attempt taxpayer contact and/or locate asset information as it can contain extensive records of commercial airline flight arrivals and departures. TECS also contains other records of air and sea travel, records of border crossings, and the specific dates that individuals have traveled to and from the United States.

  2. The travel information in TECS can facilitate collection of delinquent liabilities from taxpayers who are not subject to ordinary administrative and judicial collection procedures because they often reside outside the jurisdiction of the US Courts.

  3. TECS provides information that may not otherwise be available to the Service, such as where a taxpayer has traveled. This travel information may lead to the discovery of where the taxpayer has assets or conducts business activity. Additionally, TECS travel information can help determine the taxpayer's correct country of current residency.

  4. TECS provides information in the following ways:

    • Employees can query TECS for historical travel information as discussed below.

    • The Service may also receive "current" travel information from the TECS Coordinator when taxpayers with a TECS lookout indicator are traveling into the United States, as was discussed above (IRM 5.1.18.14.1.

  5. Use TECS historical travel information to do the following:

    1. Learn possible address information to attempt taxpayer contact or identify assets

    2. Determine a taxpayer's status regarding his/her contention regarding his/her US residency or non-residency

    3. Confirm the validity of information on the taxpayer's returns or collection information statement .

      Caution:

      Never confirm or deny the existence of a TECS record of historical travel information if a taxpayer asks how you learned about his/her past travel. Taxpayers must submit a written request to obtain information about the source of the travel information. Follow the procedures below if a taxpayer wants to request source information.

      Note:

      TECS historical travel information will provide both US entrance and exit information for non-resident aliens. It will only provide US entrance information for US citizens and Green Card holders.

  6. Be alert for case situations where you can use the historical travel information in TECS to assist you in collecting delinquent liabilities to close your assigned cases.

  7. Follow these procedures to request and use historical travel information from TECS.

  8. You can request TECS historical travel information on any taxpayer case. You do not have to have a BAL DUE case with a Notice of Federal Tax Lien on file. You can request TECS historical travel if you only have a DEL RET case and where requesting the information would be helpful in your investigation. Be alert for case situations where you can use the historical travel information in TECS to assist you.

5.1.18.14.8  (03-27-2012)
Keep TECS Travel Information Secure

  1. Use secure e-mail (encrypted messages) to transmit any request for historical TECS travel information.

  2. Use secure files and folders to store any TECS travel information.

  3. Stamp all historical travel information retrieved from TECS " OFFICIAL USE ONLY" if you receive a hardcopy not already stamped as such or if you create a hardcopy .

    Note:

    If you do not have an "OFFICIAL USE ONLY" stamp, you may write " OUO" in red ink on any hard copy document (or on the top sheet of any multi-page document which is stapled together.

  4. Maintain the security of TECS travel information at all times.

5.1.18.14.9  (03-27-2012)
Taxpayer Request for Source Information

  1. Advise the taxpayer to do the following if a taxpayer asks how you learned about his/her past travel:

    1. write a letter requesting source information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

    2. send the letter to the address provided at The U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site:http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/admin/fl/foia/

5.1.18.14.10  (03-27-2012)
Using TECS Historical Travel Information

  1. TECS contains information about specific dates of past international travel and locations of travel for individuals over a period of several years. It has extensive information concerning airline travel and also contains some information on other modes of travel into the US. A request for this information will provide the revenue officer (RO) with all travel information that is available; there is no need to specify particular time periods of travel.

    Caution:

    Never confirm or deny the existence of a TECS record of historical travel information if a taxpayer asks how you learned about his/her past travel. Taxpayers must submit a written request to obtain information about the source of the travel information. See IRM 5.1.18.14.9, Taxpayer Request for Source Information.

    Reminder:

    Stamp all TECS historical travel information documents (i.e., all documents you print) "Official Use Only" and handle them according to IRM 5.1.18.14.8. Keep TECS Travel Information Secure.

  2. Note the following examples of how TECS historical travel information may be helpful to you:

    Example:

    A revenue officer (RO) requests TECS historical travel information to learn how a taxpayer living in India paid for airline tickets. Up to this point, the RO has not been able to identify any levy sources for this uncooperative taxpayer. The RO discovers that the payment was made from a bank account in the US. The US bank account is in the name of a family trust. By performing further case investigation, the RO verifies that the family trust is not authentic. The RO coordinates with Advisory and Area Counsel to prepare a transferee assessment, nominee lien, and nominee levy which results in collection of part of the balance due. Then the taxpayer contacts the RO to discuss resolution of the remaining balance.

    Example:

    A revenue officer (RO) requests TECS historical travel information because he/she is unsure where the taxpayer resides. The case currently has an address of record in Florida, but the RO has not been able to contact the taxpayer. The RO believes the taxpayer may often be out of the United States. Historical information in the case file shows the taxpayer once resided in Great Britain. The TECS historical travel information reveals that the taxpayer visited Canada three times in the last 18 months. Through subsequent investigation, the RO learns that the taxpayer is now residing permanently in Canada but continues to use the Florida address as a mail drop. This information leads the RO to refer the case for an outgoing Mutual Collection Assistance Request (MCAR) to request assistance from Canada, our treaty partner. The MCAR results in the collection of the outstanding liabilities via levy.

  3. Use any new address or new asset information received from TECS research as discussed above in IRM 5.1.18.14.10.

    Caution:

    Never confirm or deny the existence of a TECS record of historical travel information if a taxpayer asks how you learned about his/her past travel. Taxpayers must submit a written request to obtain information about the source of the travel information. See IRM 5.1.18.14.9, Taxpayer Request for Source Information.

  4. See IRM 5.1.12.25, Outgoing Mutual Collection Assistance Requests, if you determine that the taxpayer:

    1. resides in a treaty country, which are Canada, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, and Sweden.

    2. or has assets in a treaty country.

5.1.18.14.11  (03-27-2012)
Procedures for Requesting Historical Travel Information from TECS

  1. Prepare Form 13931, TECS Historical Travel Request, for submission to the TECS Coordinator and include the following information:

    • Taxpayer Name (Last, First, Initial)

    • Known Alias(s)

    • SSN

    • Place of Birth (City & State or Country)

    • Passport Number

    • Citizenship (if not U.S.)

  2. Entitle an e-mail message "Request For TECS Historical Travel Information".

  3. Include all applicable, available information about the traveler on Form 13931

  4. Attach the PDF file of the completed form to the e-mail message.

  5. Send the message (with the attachment) via secure e-mail to the TECS Coordinator at "*SBSE International TECS Coordinator ".

  6. Do not use Form 5523, TECS Query Request, to request travel information from TECS.

    Note:

    IRM 9.4.2.4.2.5.3, Other IRS Functions, discusses TECS, but the intended audience is Criminal Investigation (CI). IRM 9.4.2.4.2.5.3 prescribes the use of Form 5523 to request information from TECS, but SB/SE Field Collection (CF) employees should not use Form 5523.

5.1.18.15  (08-15-2013)
Suspicious Activity Report (SAR)

  1. Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) are useful tools in tax compliance cases where the taxpayer’s location or banking information is unknown, or when potential fraud indicators point to hidden income or assets. SARs can also reveal indicators that a taxpayer is operating on a cash-basis to avoid reporting income or to evade collection. Examining SARs can open new case avenues to pursue. Compliance employees have successfully used SAR information to do the following:

    • Locate bank accounts opened in the names of deceased relatives

    • Levy newly-revealed bank accounts, income sources and assets

    • Contact the taxpayer at a newly-revealed location

    • Support a nominee lien in an erroneous lien filing suit.

  2. Because of the sensitivity and need for careful oversight for access to and use of SARs, access will be limited to revenue officers with the type of inventory where a SAR would be most likely to occur and be helpful.

  3. For information about SARS and how to access them, see IRM 5.20.12.9, Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR).

5.1.18.16  (08-15-2013)
Foreign Bank and Financial Account Report

  1. A taxpayer is required to file a Foreign Bank and Financial Account Report (FBAR), Form TD F 90-22.1, if he/she has financial interest in, or signature authority over, one or more foreign financial accounts that have an aggregate value greater than $10,000 at any time during a calendar year.

  2. When a taxpayer files an FBAR form, IDRS command code IRPTR will reflect that Form TD F 90-22.1 was filed by or for the taxpayer. However, command code IRPTR does not provide any of the specific information entered on the form such as the name of the bank, account number, account balance, etc.

  3. See IRM 5.9.4.19, Foreign Bank and Financial Account Reports (FBAR).

  4. FBAR forms are loaded onto the Currency Banking Retrieval System (CBRS) so all the information on the FBAR form will be available from CBRS. IRPTR includes the filing of an FBAR (Foreign Bank and Financial Account Report) form by a taxpayer. Although IRPTR will not reflect all information present on the FBAR form, additional information may be obtained by researching the CBRS which lists all FBAR filings. CBRS will reflect any foreign bank account or other information that was listed on the FBAR form.

  5. Conduct CBRS research when IRPTR reflects that a taxpayer has filed an FBAR form to obtain the name of the bank where the account is located, the amount in the account, co-owners, and other useful information. Complete an OL5081 to become a system user and obtain a User ID and password.

    Reminder:

    The information is not always complete as it will only reflect the information the taxpayer entered on the form.

5.1.18.17  (03-27-2012)
Centralized Asset Research System — Systemic Levy

  1. The Centralized Asset Research System (CARS) gathers levy source information from both internal and external sources, prioritizes it, and uploads it to IDRS.

  2. View the information on:

    • IDRS— command code LEVYS

    • the ACS levy source screen

    • the ICS levy source screen

  3. Refer to IRM 5.11, Notice of Levy.

  4. Use any new address or new asset information obtained from CARS research as discussed above.

5.1.18.17.1  (03-27-2012)
Internal Sources for CARS

  1. The internal sources for CARS are as follows:

    • Information Returns Master File (IRMF) for W-2 and 1099 information (IRP)

    • FTD Levy Program (FTD) for BMF deposit information

    • Remittance Processing System (RPS) for information on payments made through service centers

    • Federal Contractor File (FCF)

    • Electronic Filing System (ELF)

    • Federal Payment Levy Program (FPLP)

5.1.18.17.2  (03-27-2012)
External Sources for CARS

  1. The external sources for CARS are as follows:

    • State employment commissions (EC)

    • Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for federal employees

    • United States Postal Service (USPS) for postal employees

    • Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) for retired federal employees (military or civil service)

5.1.18.17.3  (03-27-2012)
Levy Sources Prioritization

  1. The Taxpayer Information File (TIF) can hold a maximum of fifteen levy sources. The type of source is identified by a literal. This literal appears on the far right of the levy source screen.

  2. The TIF levy sources are re-prioritized when a new levy source is added to the TIF.

  3. The TIF levy sources have the following literals and priority:

    1. FCF — Federal Contractor File

    2. FPLP — Federal Payment Levy Program

    3. RT — Real time non-wages sources manually loaded to IDRS

    4. EC, FTD, RPS, DMDC, OPM, and USPS

    5. RT — Real time Wage Sources

    6. ELF — Electronic Filing System

    7. IRP — with additional priorities as follows:

    1. INT — interest

    2. W-2 — wage document

    3. 1099-R — document

    4. CTR — Currency Transaction Report

    5. all other documents

5.1.18.17.4  (03-27-2012)
Centralized Address for Notice of Levy

  1. Some businesses have multiple locations but want all levies sent to one centralized address. You may be contacted by a levy recipient or other business contact to provide a centralized address.

  2. Handle any request for centralized address as follows:

    1. load the centralized address information into the centralized address subroutine of CARS when you initially create and upload the levy source address to IDRS, or

    2. update the levy address on ICS to the centralized address for the specific case.

      Note:

      When you update ICS for the specific case, that update will not upload the centralized address information to IDRS.

5.1.18.17.4.1  (03-27-2012)
Updating a Centralized Levy Address to CARS

  1. Attempt to change the levy address on IDRS to reflect the centralized address requested by the levy recipient whenever possible.

  2. Follow these procedures to update a centralized address to IDRS:

  3. Inform any levy recipients who want their centralized addresses updated on IDRS to submit their requests on company letterhead and include the following information:

    1. Address for levy mailings

    2. Employer Identification Number (EIN)

    Note:

    Banks and other financial institutions must include the American Bankers Association (ABA) routing and transit numbers for each branch.

  4. Submit the update to the CARS Systemic Levy Analyst upon receipt of a written request using one of the following methods to submit the update:

    Preferred Method Alternate Method
    • Scan the written request.

    • Send a copy of the scanned document via secure email to:

      *SBSE CARS Systemic Levy Analyst

    • Mail the written request to:

      Internal Revenue Service
      Attn: Systemic Levy Analyst
      SE:S:C:CP:CPA, C9-358
      5000 Ellin Road
      Lanham, MD 20706

5.1.18.18  (03-27-2012)
Consumer Credit Reports

  1. This section discusses the nature of consumer credit reports and their value in Collection investigations, limitations on their use and procedures for ordering them.

  2. When properly interpreted and analyzed, consumer credit reports can be a useful source of locator and asset information. In addition to loan, employment, financial, and payment information, consumer credit reports also include the identity of other subscribers who have made credit inquiries. These subscribers can be an important source for Service personnel to contact for taxpayer information, such as current address and financial data.

  3. At the time of publication of this IRM, there are three principal consumer credit bureaus:

    • Equifax

    • Experian (formerly TRW)

    • TransUnion

  4. Each credit bureau company maintains consumer records that may be queried by SSN or taxpayer name and address using a personal computer and the appropriate credit bureau accessing software. Businesses subscribing to the credit bureaus, including the IRS, create a line item on the credit bureau database every time they access it. The credit bureaus provide credit information (consumer credit reports) to their subscribers.

    Note:

    At the time of the publication of this IRM revision, Headquarters has arranged a national contract with Experian.

    Note:

    For the Collection Groups in Puerto Rico only, a separate contract with CBCInnovis is also in effect.

5.1.18.18.1  (03-27-2012)
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

  1. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), an amendment to the Consumer Credit Protection Act in effect since April 24, 1971, defines those individuals and organizations who are entitled to receive consumer credit information. The FCRA further defines the nature and extent of the information which can be given out by these consumer reporting agencies.

  2. The FCRA was intended to apply only to reports relating to a consumer's eligibility for personal credit or commercial benefits as a consumer and not to the consumer's business transactions. Accordingly, the FCRA does not restrict the availability of consumer credit reports of corporations, partnerships or trusts.

  3. See IRM 5.17.6.10, Fair Credit Reporting Act, for further information.

  4. Do not violate the FCRA. Unauthorized access to credit bureau data is a violation of the FCRA. The Act provides both civil and criminal penalties for obtaining information under false pretenses and for unauthorized disclosure by officers and employees of the consumer reporting agencies.

  5. An unauthorized access occurs when you obtain a consumer credit report that does NOT involve efforts to collect assessment liens as provided under IRC 6321.

  6. Report any and all violations of the FCRA to TIGTA.

5.1.18.18.2  (08-15-2013)
Limitations on Ordering Consumer Credit Reports

  1. Order a consumer credit report to receive information about a particular taxpayer only to collect a BAL DUE assessment as provided in IRC § 6321. You may request and obtain a consumer credit report if such an assessment exists and you are attempting to collect it on behalf of the IRS, whether or not the case is currently assigned to you on ICS.

    Note:

    Occasionally open BAL DUE cases close on ICS while the investigations continue. For the purposes of this section, such cases involve efforts to collect assessment liens under IRC § 6321 for which consumer credit reports can be obtained.

  2. Do not access credit reports on yourself, friends, relatives, other employees, or any person for which there is no open BAL DUE or combination BAL DUE/DEL RET. (SeeIRM 5.1.18.2.1 above. Also, see IRM 6.735.1.7 in general regarding conflicts of interest.

  3. Do not attempt to secure consumer credit reports on DEL RETs or Other Investigations (OIs) that do not include BAL DUEs unless you serve a summons.

  4. Do not attempt to secure consumer credit reports on a NON-BAL DUE SPOUSE, even if the taxpayers reside in a community property state.

  5. You cannot secure a consumer credit report using a foreign address. See IRM 5.1.18.18.2.1 below for further information on obtaining credit reports on taxpayers with foreign addresses.

  6. In combination (combo) cases (i.e., cases with both a BAL DUE and DEL RET for the same taxpayer), the consumer credit report can only be used to assist in collecting on the BAL DUE portion of the assignment.

  7. Do not order or use a consumer credit report to establish the basis for an assessment under IRC § 6020(b) or the Substitute for Return Program (SFR). (See IRM 5.1.18.18.2.6 below.)

  8. Do not order or use a consumer credit report as the basis for a referral to Examination or Criminal Investigation. (See IRM 5.1.18.18.2.6 below.)

  9. If a consumer credit report is needed as the basis for a referral to the Examination or Criminal Investigation or as the basis for an SFR assessment, you must issue a summons per IRC § 7609 to obtain one. (See IRM 5.1.18.18.2.6 below.)

  10. Become familiar with consumer credit reports.

    1. Learn to use consumer credit reports appropriately and effectively.

    2. Interpret the data correctly.

    3. Use the consumer credit report data, including the subscriber information, to locate taxpayers and/or their assets.

  11. Credit reports are limited to one request per taxpayer every 30 days. Use discretion and consider on a case by case basis the need to request multiple credit reports on the same taxpayer.

5.1.18.18.2.1  (03-27-2012)
Credit Bureau Requests for Foreign Taxpayers

  1. Do not attempt to secure a credit report using a foreign address. The credit bureau vendor does not store any foreign addresses in its database.

  2. Revenue officers assigned taxpayers with last known addresses in foreign countries may use the last known United States address for a taxpayer if the case requires requesting a United States credit report.

    • It does not matter how old the last known address is.

    • The taxpayer address used for a credit bureau request should be the same as that on the Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) except when the address on IDRS is foreign. Use the last known United States address in that instance.

  3. Command Codes (CCs) NAMES, NAMEE, NAMEI, NAMEB, FINDS, FINDE, and TPIIP found in IRM 2.3.60 provide information about CCs FINDS and FINDE. These CCs will provide all addresses and names that a taxpayer has ever used when filing a tax return with IRS.

    • FINDE is input for an EIN

    • FINDS is input for an SSN

    • Definer "D" will provide all domestic addresses

    • Definer "I" will provide all international addresses

  4. If the taxpayer has never had a known address in the United States, a credit report cannot be requested.

5.1.18.18.2.2  (03-27-2012)
Types of Entities and Liabilities

  1. The Service may obtain consumer credit reports from credit bureaus without a summons, court order, or written permission of the taxpayer on the following types of cases:

    1. IMF (Individual Master File) Balance Due Accounts (BAL DUEs)

    2. BMF (Business Master File) BAL DUEs on sole proprietors

    3. Individual partners for partnership BMF BAL DUEs where the partner is liable for the tax under state law

    4. An individual member for single member limited liability company (LLC) BAL DUEs where the individual is liable for the tax under Treas. Reg. 301.7701-2.

      Note:

      See IRM 5.1.21, Collecting from Limited Liability Companies, to identify the taxpayer liable for the tax.

    5. A fiduciary for BAL DUEs of a trust, where the Service has an assessment lien under IRC § 6321 against the individual fiduciary

  2. The following table includes a summary of the kinds of cases for which consumer credit reports may be obtained without a summons based on liability and Entity types and the TINS that should be used for requests:

    SUMMARY
    Credit Bureau Reports — Obtained without a Summons
    Type of Liability BAL DUE Assessed Obtain consumer credit report for
    1. Single Individual
    • Form 1040 — MFT 30

    SSN of Individual SSN of Individual
    2. Married Couple (Joint Filers)
    • Form 1040 — MFT 30

    SSN of Primary Spouse SSNs of Both Individuals
    3. Married Couple (Separate Filers)
    • Form 1040 — MFT 30

    SSN of Individual(s) Who Owes SSN of Individual(s) Who Owes *
    4. Sole Proprietor
    • Form 941 — MFT 01

    • Form 940 — MFT 10)

    • Form 94X — various MFTs

    EIN of Business SSN of Proprietor *
    5. Partnership
    • Form 1065 — MFT 06

    • Form 941 — MFT 01

    • Form 940 — MFT 10

    • Form 94X — various MFTs

    EIN of Partnership SSN of Partner(s) liable under state law *
    6. Trust
    • Form 1041 — MFT 05

    EIN of Trust N/A

    Note:

    Do not request a consumer credit report on the individual who is the fiduciary.

    7. Corporation
    • Form 1120 — MFT 02

    • Form 941 — MFT 01

    • Form 940 — MFT 10

    • Form 94X — various MFTs

    EIN of Corporation N/A

    Note:

    Do not obtain a consumer credit report under the SSN of an Individual who is a Corporate Officer to collect a corporate assessment.

    8. LLC where the individual owner is the liable party
    • Form 941 — MFT 01

    • Form 940 — MFT 10

    • Form 94X — various MFTs

    EIN of the LLC
    or
    EIN of the owner of the LLC
    SSN of Individual Owner *

    Note:

    Do not pull the consumer credit report of the individual owner for employment tax liabilities on wages paid on or after January 1, 2009.

    9. LLC where the LLC is the liable party
    • Form 1120 — MFT 02

    • Form 1065 — MFT 06

    • Form 941 — MFT 01

    • Form 940 — MFT 10

    • Form 94X — various MFTs

    EIN of the LLC N/A

    Note:

    Do not obtain a consumer credit report under the SSN of an Individual who is a member of an LLC if the LLC is the liable party.

    10. Individual responsible for Trust Fund Recovery Penalty
    • Form 2749 — MFT 55

    SSN of Individual SSN of Individual *

    Note:

    Obtain a consumer credit report under the SSN of an Individual who is a responsible party only after you assess the TFRP under the SSN of that Individual.

    11. Individual responsible for Excise Tax Related to Plan /Trust
    • Form 5330 — MFT 76

    SSN of Individual SSN of Individual
    12. Individual Personal Liability of the Fiduciary Under 31 USC § 3713(b)
    • Suit under IRC § 7402(a)
      or

    • Notice of Fiduciary Liability under IRC § 6901(a)(1)(B)

    SSN of Individual SSN of Individual
    13. Liability assessed against one spouse in a community property state
    • Form 1040 — MFT 30)

    • Form 941 — MFT 01

    • Form 940 — MFT 10

    • Form 94X — various MFTs

    EIN of Business
    or
    SSN of Liable Spouse
    SSN of Liable Spouse Only

    Note:

    Do not obtain a consumer credit report under the SSN of the unnamed spouse, even in a community debt state.

    14. LLC that is wholly owned by both husband and wife as community property, where the owner is the liable party:
    • Form 941 — MFT 01

    • Form 940 — MFT 10

    • Form 94X — various MFTs

    EIN of LLC SSN of the spouse who carries on the business.

    Note:

    Do not obtain a consumer credit report on both spouses. If necessary consult with Area Counsel to determine which spouse carries on the business.

    Note:

    Do not obtain a consumer credit report on an individual owner for employment tax liabilities on wages paid on or after January 1, 2009.

    * Do not pull the consumer credit report of the spouse of a liable taxpayer in community property states.

5.1.18.18.2.3  (03-27-2012)
Optional Credit Reports

  1. Request a consumer credit report whenever you determine that information contained in the report is needed to resolve a BAL DUE case. There is no dollar criteria for ordering a consumer credit report when you determine that it is necessary to resolve a case with a BAL DUE assessment.

5.1.18.18.2.4  (03-27-2012)
Required Credit Reports

  1. A consumer credit report is required by various IRMs based on the current balance due/aggregate unpaid balance of assessments, as follows:

    1. ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡

    2. To verify assets/income/encumbrances in order to close a case as follows:

    1. ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡

    2. ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡

    3. ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡

5.1.18.18.2.5  (08-15-2013)
Procedures for Ordering Consumer Credit Reports

  1. Requests for credit reports must be submitted using the Credit Bureau Research Request Template on ICS. This template permits submission to the employee's manager for review and approval prior to forwarding to the person designated to access the Credit Bureau Web Browser. (See IRM 5.1.18.18.3 below for information about those authorized to request and generate consumer credit reports. ) This ICS EXCEL macro helps ensure the accuracy of the information and reduces unauthorized requests.

  2. Follow these steps to request a consumer credit report:

    1. Document the case history regarding the need for a consumer credit report.

    2. Generate copies of the following IDRS transcripts: CC INOLE or ENMOD and CC SUMRY or IMFOLI.

    3. Complete the Credit Bureau Research Request Template on ICS.

    4. Send the request for approval to group manager via ICS, and provide the manager the above-listed IDRS prints.

5.1.18.18.2.6  (03-27-2012)
Summons for Credit Information

  1. As discussed above, consumer credit reports may be secured on a BAL DUE taxpayer without serving a summons.

  2. Consumer credit reports may not be secured on DEL RETs or DEL RET Courtesy Investigations unless a summons is served to the credit bureau and notice of the summons is provided to the taxpayer per IRC § 7609(a).

5.1.18.18.2.6.1  (03-27-2012)
Consumer Credit Report Summons Procedures

  1. Serve a summons on the credit bureau when you require consumer credit report information to determine the amount of the taxpayer’s liability for any period on:

    • any IMF and/or BMF DEL RET taxpayer assigned to you.

    • any taxpayer assigned to you as a Form 2209, Courtesy Investigation that does not involve a BAL DUE. (A courtesy investigation is also known as an other investigation (OI).)

    • a taxpayer assigned to you when the Service does not have an assessment lien under IRC 6321.

  2. Refer to IRM 25.5, Summons Handbook, for further information on IRC § 7609 summons.

  3. See IRM 25.5.5.3, Taxpayer Records In Possession of Others.

    Reminder:

    This IRM guidance also applies in cases involving individual nominees or alter egos.

  4. Provide notice of the summons to the taxpayer.

  5. Do not input TC 360 to attempt to recover the fees for a consumer credit report from the taxpayer as summoned information is an administrative expense with no charge to the taxpayer.

  6. Retain a copy of the summons and the consumer credit report with the Collection case file if the summons inquired into the amount of the taxpayer's liability so management can verify the appropriateness of using the summoned information.

5.1.18.18.2.7  (09-17-2010)
Consumer Credit Report Disclosure Procedures

  1. Do not disclose consumer credit report information obtained without a summons, court order, or written permission of the taxpayer, to Criminal Investigation, Examination, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), or any other government agency. See IRM 5.1.18.2.1.1, Disclosure .

    Note:

    You may provide the consumer credit report or information from a consumer credit report to the taxpayer who is the subject of the report unless you make a determination that its disclosure would seriously impair Federal tax administration under IRC § 6103(e)(7), or in the context of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, that its disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with ongoing law enforcement proceedings.

  2. Notify the credit bureau immediately via the Area Collection Automation Coordinator (CAC) in instances where you erroneously obtained a consumer credit report on a non-BAL DUE case or on the wrong taxpayer using the following procedure:

    1. Contact the Area Collection Automation Coordinator (CAC) and provide information regarding the erroneous credit report.

      Note:

      You are required to make immediate notification so the credit bureau may delete the inquiry from the taxpayer's credit history. The CAC will send a memorandum to the credit bureau to advise of the inappropriate access.

    2. Remove all of the consumer credit report information from the case file.

    3. Destroy all of the consumer credit report information.

  3. Do not access consumer credit reports on any person for which there is no BAL DUE assessment as provided in IRC § 6321. .

  4. Do not violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act by making an unauthorized disclosure as noted above. See IRM 5.1.18.17.1, Fair Credit Reporting Act.

  5. Take reasonable measures to protect against unauthorized access to or use of credit information while you are working on a case.

  6. Take reasonable measures to avoid inadvertent or duplicate inquiries as they may negatively affect a consumer's credit rating. Notify the Area CAC of any inadvertent or duplicate inquiries.

5.1.18.18.2.8  (03-27-2012)
Disposal of Credit Information

  1. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 requires that persons who dispose of credit information take reasonable measures to protect against unauthorized access to or use of credit information in connection with its disposal.

  2. Follow these procedures for proper disposal of the credit information:

    1. Determine whether or not you need to retain the consumer credit report for review by your group manager (GM).

    2. Provide the consumer credit report to your GM for review, if necessary.

    3. Remove the consumer credit report from the closed case file after your GM has completed his/her review or if he/she does not need to review it.

    4. Shred the consumer credit report.

  3. Leave the consumer credit report in the case file if the taxpayer has exercised his/her right to a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing. Appeals may need to review the consumer credit report to determine what collection alternatives are available to the taxpayer during the CDP hearing. Appeals will destroy the consumer credit report when it closes the case.

5.1.18.18.3  (03-27-2012)
Credit Bureau Web Browser

  1. Access to the national contract credit bureau is controlled by the credit bureau web browser.

  2. To ensure compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Service policy limits access to consumer credit report data to employees who:

    • are authorized to access the credit bureau web browser

    • are gathering information to assist in collecting an assessed BAL DUE.

    Note:

    At the time of the publication of this IRM, Smart.Alx is the credit bureau web browser that is required to access credit bureau information and the national contract credit bureau is Experian. It is up to local area management to designate the authorized users for their areas. In some areas, access to the web browser is centralized to limit unauthorized and/or inadvertent accesses to sensitive credit bureau data.


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