5.1.18  Locating Taxpayers and their Assets

Manual Transmittal

August 15, 2013

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 5.1.18, Locating Taxpayers and their Assets.

Material Changes

(1) IRM 5.1.18.15, Suspicious Activity Report (SAR), added and subsequent sections renumbered.

(2) IRM 5.1.18.18.2.5 (2) specifies the IDRS printouts required when requesting a consumer credit report.

(3) Editorial updates made throughout, including updated IRM references and hyperlinks.

Effect on Other Documents

This IRM supersedes IRM 5.1.18 dated March 27, 2012..

Audience

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

Effective Date

(08-15-2013)

Related Resources

ReferenceNet http://rnet.web.irs.gov/ is a research portal that provides employees access to core IRS policies, procedures, legal and tax research services, and other instructions to staff.

Scott Reisher
Director, Collection Policy

5.1.18.1  (08-15-2013)
Overview — Locating Taxpayers and their Assets

  1. This IRM section describes tools and sources Field Collection (FC) employees can use to locate taxpayers and/or their assets. It also provides procedures to help protect taxpayer privacy when using these sources.

  2. The procedures in this IRM are specifically intended for use by revenue officers, although other employees in SB/SE and employees in other functions may find them useful.

  3. These procedures explain how to research public records in person or online to locate taxpayers and/or their assets. In general, this IRM does not provide specific case dollar criteria for using the locator sources. Some of the locator sources do include Official Use Only (OUO) specific criteria, which are embedded within applicable IRM content.

  4. The value and applicability of these taxpayer and asset locator procedures, services and sources depend upon the nature, complexity and the stage of each Collection investigation. See IRM 5.1.30, Resolution-directed Approach to Casework, for strategies on how to efficiently employ these locator resources. .

5.1.18.2  (03-27-2012)
Locator Services Program

  1. Locator services assist employees in locating taxpayers and/or their assets. These services include (but are not limited to) the following:

    • the national asset locator tool (Accurint at the time of publication of this IRM)

    • the credit bureau web browser (Smart.Alx at the time of publication of this IRM)

    • the tax research portal (LexisNexis® at the time of publication of this IRM)

    • Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) data bases

    • real property title reports

    • Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings

    • corporate information — Secretary of State

  2. Headquarters is responsible for providing leadership, support, assistance, technical expertise, funding, and oversight for all FC locator service activity nationwide, which includes allocation of resources to the area offices for maintaining current local locator services.

  3. Elevate any concerns about the administration of the Locator Services Program to Headquarters via your local management.

5.1.18.2.1  (03-27-2012)
Locator Services Security Considerations

  1. Security guidelines providing for the maintenance, protection, and confidentiality of information are set forth in IRM 1.2.1, Policies of the Internal Revenue Service. IRS locator services may only be used in connection with conducting official IRS business.

  2. You must comply with existing security and legal regulations regarding access to taxpayer data/information when you access taxpayer data, including locator services information. Relevant disclosure ( IRM 5.1.18.2.1.1), privacy (IRM 5.1.18.2.1.2, and third-party contact procedures (IRM 5.1.18.2.1.3) apply when using these locator sources.

5.1.18.2.1.1  (09-17-2010)
Disclosure

  1. All information obtained by the IRS in order to collect a tax liability is protected by IRC § 6103, Confidentiality and Disclosure of Returns and Return Information. Any disclosure made to obtain information must meet IRC § 6103 standards.

  2. Analyze each such potential disclosure in advance to ensure the disclosure is necessary to obtain the information contained in the desired report (e.g., a report from the national asset locator tool or a consumer credit report).

  3. Before making a disclosure to obtain information, ensure that the information in the desired report is not otherwise reasonably available from internal sources and that the return information disclosed

    1. is the minimum necessary to obtain the report

    2. originated from our BAL DUE or lien files.

  4. Follow the disclosure procedures contained in the following IRMs when you use various locator sources:

    1. IRM 5.1.22, Disclosure.

    2. IRM 11.3.21, Investigative Disclosure, including IRM 11.3.21.8, Internet Research, for guidance on conducting research on the internet.

5.1.18.2.1.2  (08-15-2013)
Privacy

  1. The Privacy and Information Protection (PIP) Office is responsible for ensuring the privacy and protection of taxpayer and employee information. PIP manages the Service's process for responding to the loss of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and the potential for identity theft. There are three offices under PIP:

    1. Office of Privacy

    2. Identity Protection

    3. Incident Management

  2. Follow the applicable privacy procedures when you use the IRWeb Intranet search engine and the various locator services and sources .

  3. Also see IRM Part 10, Security, Privacy and Assurance, including:

    1. IRM 10.2.13, Information Protection, for guidance on protecting tax information.

    2. IRM 10.8.1, Information Technology (IT) Security, Policy and Guidance, for a discussion of Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) Information in IRM 10.8.1.3.2.1.1 , Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) Information, and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in IRM 10.8.1.3.2.1.3, Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

5.1.18.2.1.3  (03-27-2012)
Third-Party Contacts

  1. Follow the procedures in IRM 5.1.17, Third-Party Contacts, as they pertain to respecting taxpayer rights in accordance with IRC § 7602(c), Notice of contact of third parties, when you use the various locator sources.

5.1.18.2.2  (03-27-2012)
Asset Locator Research

  1. The national asset locator tool is an important resource for locating taxpayers or their assets. This tool provides the capability of searching several asset/locator services, credit bureau services, and tax law research services, including the following public records:

    • real property

    • real estate transactions

    • corporate officers

    • vehicles and aircraft

    • information on people and businesses

    .

  2. Servicewide Policy, Directives and Electronic Research (SPDER) (http://spder.web.irs.gov) manages the national asset locator tool and contracts with various subscription search services.

    Note:

    At the time of publication of this IRM revision, the current contract vendor is LexisNexis®, and the national asset locator tool is Accurint.

5.1.18.2.2.1  (08-15-2013)
Using the Online National Asset Locator Tool

  1. To gain access to Accurint, initiate an OL5081 “add user” request to the following application: Accurint - SBSE Collection.

  2. Once access is approved, you will be assigned an Accurint user name and password.

  3. You can access Accurint directly through https://secure.accurint.com/app/bps/main or through the Accurint web site at http://rnet.web.irs.gov/Accurint/.

  4. The information on the Internet can also assist you in locating taxpayers and/or their assets and should be considered as a supplement to the national asset locator tool. See IRM 5.1.18.3.

5.1.18.2.2.2  (03-27-2012)
Use of Asset Locator Research Results

  1. IRM 5.1.18.12 provides information on verifying a taxpayer address, the appropriate use of postal tracers, and an example about sending an appropriate contact letter.

    Caution:

    Information from the national asset locator tool is not considered adequate to verify a taxpayer's ownership interest when the IRM requires a complete public records search. See paragraph (4) of IRM 5.10.1.3.3, Equity Determination . A search of the actual courthouse records or other official governmental records (official, legal recordation sites such as Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), etc.) is required to verify the accuracy of the information obtained from the national asset locator tool prior to taking seizure action.

5.1.18.2.2.3  (03-27-2012)
Training on the Use of Locator Services

  1. Managers are responsible for ensuring that employees have access to the tools needed to perform the job effectively and receive the training required to use the tools effectively.

    Note:

    Collection management will work with Learning & Education (L&E) personnel to ensure that appropriate locator services related topics are adequately covered in Collection CPE sessions.

  2. Members of the Functional Automation Support (FAS) groups in Collection Information Technology and Security (CITS) provide training to Field Collection (FC) employees on how to use software programs that facilitate effective use of the various locator services..

5.1.18.2.2.4  (08-15-2013)
Locator Services Support

  1. FAS also provides technical support and system issues troubleshooting related to automated locator service programs and processes.

  2. The primary programs supported by FAS include:

    • Case Diagnostic Tools

    • Locator Services

  3. Collection Automation Coordinators (CACs) are professional employees who are subject matter experts (SMEs) for the case diagnostic tools and locator services. The CACs responsibilities include the following:

    • ensure automation programs and management applications are compatible with all technical, legal, and administrative provisions

    • complete analytical reviews

    • develop reports, memoranda, and decision packages

    • coordinate and conduct training

    • act as liaison with other functions at Headquarters, the Areas, and IT.

  4. Functional Automation Coordinators (FACs) are technical employees who provide administrative support to the Area CACs. The FACs responsibilities include the following:

    • overseeing OL 5081 applications

    • supporting commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software

  5. Contact the appropriate Collection Automation Coordinator (CAC) or Functional Automation Coordinator (FAC) in FAS if you require assistance, support, or training.

  6. You can locate the appropriate contact using the Functional Automation Support (CACs. FASS, & FACs) link http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/who-where.dr/iqa.dr/iqa_contact_cff.htm.

5.1.18.2.2.5  (08-15-2013)
Procurement of Locator Services

  1. Functional Automation Support (FAS) provides procurement support for locator services. Generally, the FAC or the CAC is responsible for requisitioning specific locator services and related equipment. The responsible procurement office will provide any necessary procurement assistance. "Local" contracts may still be required for data that is unavailable from the national contract vehicles.

  2. FAS supports local locator service contracts such as contracts with the state for employment and DMV information as well as title report contracts. FAS inputs the annual contract renewals and completes the monthly, quarterly, or annual "Receipt and Acceptance." Some contracts require automation support to connect the IRS network to the vendor network. In these cases, FAS facilitates communication between IT, Mission Assurance, and the end users to ensure the setup, installation, and testing of software when necessary. In some cases, based on requests from the Area, FAS will locate new vendors, secure contracts for services, etc. FAS supports end users on their use of national locator services contracts as well as use of the local contracts.

  3. Refer to IRM 1.4.5, Corporate Tax Administration Tools, when considering any procurements. It provides helpful information regarding the background on the corporate delivery of electronic research services, an overview of each corporate tax administration tool, how to access them, and the related training products that are available.

  4. Your FAS contact can provide information about available locator services and access procedures. You can locate the appropriate contact using the Functional Automation Support (CACs. FASS, & FACs) link http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/who-where.dr/iqa.dr/iqa_contact_cff.htm.

5.1.18.2.2.5.1  (03-27-2012)
Enforcement Purchase Card

  1. As a revenue officer directly involved with enforcement activity, you are authorized to receive a Purchase Card (Enforcement Purchase Card) that is restricted to enforcement related purchases.

  2. See IRM 1.32.6, Purchase Card Program Handbook.

  3. See IRM 1.32.6.6.2, Enforcement Purchase Card (SBSE Revenue Officers) .

5.1.18.3  (08-15-2013)
Performing Research on the Internet / Intranet

  1. The decision to use the Internet to locate taxpayers and/or their assets must be based on the particular aspects of the case. In reaching this decision, apply a strategic approach to casework and consider the different aspects of each case, such as the size of the liability, complexity of the case, compliance history, and the cooperation level of the taxpayer to determine the applicable extent of locator research.

  2. The Internet is a powerful tool for gathering information about individuals and businesses. It can access a vast amount of information, usually free of charge, although many web sites charge a usage fee or provide information on a subscription basis.

  3. The Service has current corporate contracts for locator services, credit bureau services, and tax law research services. Whenever possible, IRS employees who work tax-related matters should use the contracted subscription search services to obtain information about a tax case or taxpayer. At the time of publication of this IRM, these services include the following:

    • the national asset locator tool — Accurint

    • the credit bureau web browser — Smart.Alx (at the time of publication of this IRM)

    • the tax research portal — LexisNexis® (at the time of publication of this IRM)

  4. Additional information on these services can be found on the Reference Net home page at http://rnet.web.irs.gov and on the SPDER at http://spder.web.irs.gov.

  5. Access the IRS Intranet Home Page at this link: http://irweb.irs.gov/

  6. You can use the Internet / Intranet to help you do the following:

    1. locate taxpayers or their assets

    2. understand various types of businesses

    3. understand various types of property ownership

    4. confirm/validate the information taxpayers have provided to you

  7. Consider the following factors when deciding to use the Internet:

    1. Cooperation level of taxpayer

    2. Type of liability and entity

    3. Size of liability

    4. Case Complexity

    5. Results of financial analysis

    Note:

    This list is not all-inclusive.

    Caution:

    With the exception of approved IRS communicators handling official IRS media initiatives, IRS employees are not authorized to use social media in an official capacity. Social media encompasses Internet forums, blogs, wikis, podcasts and picture- and video-sharing. Examples of social applications include Google Groups, Wikipedia, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Second Life, Flickr and Twitter.

  8. Follow the steps below if the information you seek is not reasonably available through the contracted subscription search services.

    1. Use discretion and consider on a case-by-case basis what return information or PII needs to be entered when using public Internet search engines (for example, name, address, telephone number, or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)).

    2. A search on a TIN is allowable if necessary, but you must secure managerial approval before conducting an Internet search on a TIN.

      Note:

      You can perform a search using a TIN, but a search on an EIN or an SSN rarely results in any useful information. A telephone number search will probably provide more useful information than a TIN search. IRM 11.3.21.8, Internet Research, provides that the disclosure of a TIN is sensitive and should be carefully considered.

  9. Refer to the following IRMs for further guidance:

    1. IRM 10.8.1, Information Technology (IT) Security, Policy and Guidance, which provides security policies to be followed by all IRS organizations and discusses Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) Information and Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

    2. IRM 11.3.21.8, Internet Research, which allows the disclosure of return information with respect to Internet searches when you reasonably believe, based on the facts and circumstances at the time of the disclosure, such disclosure is necessary to obtain information to properly perform your official duties.

5.1.18.3.1  (03-27-2012)
Collecting Taxes Web Page

  1. The Collecting Taxes web page http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/Collection/default.aspx includes several intranet and internet links that can help you locate taxpayers and/or their assets.

  2. The Collecting Taxes web page is divided into a number of separate sections, including the following, which include many links to helpful information:

    • Newsletters

    • Identity Theft

    • Collection Systems

    • Tools and Processes

    • Insolvency/Bankruptcy

    • International Collection

    • Technology, Services & Equipment

    • Projects and Initiatives

    • Training and Resources

    • Ask Collection Policy

    • A-Z Research Index

  3. Consider adding the Collecting Taxes web page to your list of "Favorites."

5.1.18.3.1.1  (09-17-2010)
Interim Guidance Directives

  1. Sometimes Headquarters will issue an Interim Guidance (IG) Memorandum (memo) to provide the most up-to-date guidance about a particular subject.

  2. Access the Small Business/Self Employed Cross-Functional Program Management Interim Guidance Directives at: http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/RefLibrary/imd/intrmguid/cp/default.aspx.

  3. Determine if an IG Memo provides more up-to-date guidance about a particular subject when you search the IRM.

  4. Consider adding the Interim Guidance Directives page to your list of "Favorites."

5.1.18.3.2  (03-27-2012)
Collection E-Business Corner Web Page

  1. The Collection E-Business Corner web page at http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/Collection/toolsprocesses/EBusiness/default.aspx contains helpful information such as a training link to e-commerce related courses and information on how to discover the owner of web sites and domain names. Electronic business (E-Business) encompasses a wide range of emerging and evolving concepts and technologies. Generally, e-business consists of business transactions conducted over open computer networks such as the internet..

  2. The blue menu box on the left side of the page provides options for accessing information regarding the following:

    • E-Business Summons

    • E-Business Levies

    • Internet Activities

    • PayPal & eBay

    • E-Business Research Tools

    • E-Business Trends

  3. Consider adding the Collection E-Business Corner to your list of "Favorites."

5.1.18.3.3  (03-27-2012)
Corporate Tax Law Research Tools

  1. The Service has current corporate contracts for tax and legal research services. These services are managed by SPDER and provide the following:

    1. an up-to-date, searchable web-based version of the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM)

    2. primary and secondary Federal tax resources, news, business, and legal sources.

  2. These electronic research services are fully linked to cited references which allow access to all tax law research material from one place.

    Reminder:


    Although you could perform tax and legal research using a search engine (such as Google, MSN, Yahoo, or AOL), you should use the commercial electronic research services provided by the Service. The trustworthy sources provided by the Service (such as CCH, LexisNexis®, or Westlaw at the time of publication of this IRM) yield more credible results upon which you can base your tax administration decision. The vendors stake their livelihood on accuracy and timeliness of their material and their editors, researchers, and attorneys ensure the authenticity of the content so you can be confident you can rely upon the information they provide.

  3. Follow the steps below if the information you seek is not reasonably available through the contracted subscription search services.

    1. Use discretion and consider on a case-by-case basis what return information or PII (i.e., name, address or Employer Identification Number) needs to be entered when using public Internet search engines.

    2. See IRM 11.3.21.8, Internet Research.

5.1.18.4  (08-15-2013)
Real Property Records

  1. Real property records are a critical source for locating taxpayers and their major assets. Real property records are currently available for all the states and the District of Columbia through the national asset locator tool. However, the national asset locator tool does not provide an index of transactions or copies of the actual documents.

    Exception:

    Due to contractual restrictions, real property records are not currently available for Maine through the national asset locator tool.

  2. In some states, and especially in large metropolitan areas, the real property records are available electronically from the courthouse without going through a third-party vendor

  3. Although many real property records are available online, real property records are not completely automated. Furthermore, electronic real property research may only provide limited coverage and is subject to the following limitations:

    1. The locator vendor may not provide electronic coverage for every county in that state.

    2. The electronic grantee/grantor indexes may not be sufficient to determine how ownership in a piece of property occurred or was conveyed.

    3. The public records data in third-party vendor electronic systems may contain errors due to erroneous data entry or incorrect processing. The data may also be out-dated or be otherwise defective.

  4. Some Collection areas have direct data base access where courthouse records are automated and the index as well as copies of the actual documents are available. Check with your local FAS to see if your area has this capability. SeeIRM 5.1.18.2.2.5.

  5. Search real property records as provided in your area, either in-person or online, according to the following procedures.

5.1.18.4.1  (03-27-2012)
Courthouse Records Check

  1. Local courthouse records often contain the most recent and accurate information regarding real and personal property, as well as other types of documents and information that merit or require official recordation.

  2. Courthouse records checks can be conducted online if you have access to the index of transactions and copies of the actual documents. If the IRM requires a courthouse records check and you do not have the ability to research both the index and the actual documents online, make a field visit to perform a courthouse records check..

  3. Make a field visit to perform a courthouse records check in-person prior to a seizure. See IRM 5.10.1.3.3, Equity Determination.

  4. Treat all data secured from locator services as sensitive but unclassified (SBU) data.

5.1.18.4.1.1  (09-17-2010)
Electronic Access to Actual Courthouse Records

  1. Complete a real property records search electronically if you have the ability to research both the index and the actual documents online.

    Note:

    Researching actual property tax records online is not considered a courthouse real property records search, so an online property tax records search would not be sufficient prior to a seizure of real property. The property tax appraisal office maintains the tax records, not the office of the county clerk. The property tax records only show who owned the property when the property tax statements were sent out.

  2. Make a field visit and perform a courthouse records check in-person prior to a seizure of real property.

5.1.18.4.1.2  (09-17-2010)
Electronic Access to Third-Party Vendor Records

  1. Complete a real property records search electronically if you have access to the records via a third-party vendor.

    Note:

    Researching third-party vendor property tax records online is not considered a courthouse real property records search so an online property search of third-party tax records would not be sufficient prior to a seizure of real property.

  2. Do not rely upon third-party vendor electronic sources as definitively accurate; be wary of their limitations.

  3. Make a field visit and perform a courthouse records check in-person prior to a seizure of real property.

5.1.18.4.2  (03-27-2012)
Title Reports

  1. Title reports provide the following information:

    • Liens and Judgments — Listing of recorded property liens, tax certificates, and claims against the property.

    • Legal — Full real estate legal description.

    • Current Owner — Identification of the actual owner of the subject property and ownership structure (i.e., joint, individual, trust, etc.).

    • Purchase Price / Date — Reveals what the current owners paid, seller information, and deed document details.

    • Mortgage Amount — Mortgage details for open loans against the property with lender name, amounts, and dates. Copy of current deed showing conveyance with abstract of all current liens, mortgages, and recorded documents.

  2. Secure a title report as provided in your area.

    Note:

    The Area office establishes procedures for obtaining title reports. Functional Automation Support (FAS) provides administrative support for title report service contracts; however, FAS does not provide interpretation of title reports.

5.1.18.5  (03-27-2012)
Department of Motor Vehicles

  1. All states and the District of Columbia have a department or office of motor vehicles (DMV). DMVs require state residents who own a motor vehicle to register their motor vehicle and require state residents who drive a motor vehicle to hold a valid driver license.

  2. In addition to driver licenses, motor vehicle departments issue identification (ID) cards to persons who require an ID card. The ID card looks like a driver license, but is used for identification purposes only.

  3. Information maintained by the various DMVs varies from state to state. Most states provide driver information, lien holders, and vehicle information on cars, trucks, etc. ID card information is also provided.

  4. Information from 25 DMVs is currently available through the national asset locator tool at the time of publication of this IRM. Due to contractual and regulatory restrictions, some states are not available, and it is illegal to make this information public in some other states.

  5. Some Collection areas have been able to arrange for direct data base access to DMV records. Check your local procedures.

5.1.18.6  (09-17-2010)
Uniform Commercial Code

  1. National Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filing records contain information from commercial lien filings. These records can help you find assets used by businesses to secure commercial loans or to learn about financial relationships between businesses and individuals. The results include:

    • debtor name and address

    • date and state of filing

    • document number

    • legal type

    • secured parties name and address

    • number of secured parties

    • number of debtor parties

    • number of filings

    • list of collateral

  2. Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) information is currently available for all the states and the District of Columbia through the national asset locator tool.

    Note:

    The national locator tool may not have the latest information; at times, the information is weeks or months old. For purposes of conducting an adequate UCC search prior to a seizure of personal property, a search of the national asset locator tool is not considered an adequate UCC search.

  3. Use the "UCC Filings" tab in the national asset locator tool to conduct your search.

  4. Use any of the search criteria provided in the "UCC Filings" template.

  5. Conduct a search of the UCC records held by the official governmental record keeper prior to a seizure of personal property.

    1. Go to the governmental recording office and search the official UCC records.

    2. Contact the governmental recording office by mail (or by phone, if permitted by the governmental recording office) to obtain the official UCC records.

5.1.18.7  (09-17-2010)
Corporate Information — Secretary of State

  1. Corporate information refers to each individual state's Secretary of State, State Corporation Commission, or equivalent. These organizations provide information regarding the date of incorporation and the officers of the corporation.

  2. All states and the District of Columbia require that corporations register at the time of their incorporation, and the registration information is usually maintained in each state's capital. Secretary of State information is one of the most effective sources available for corporate accounts. It provides third party information, corporate officers, and registered agents, and it is also fairly effective for verifying the existence of assets. However, the effectiveness of Secretary of State information varies from one state to another based on the method used to access the information.

  3. Secretary of State information is currently available for all the states and the District of Columbia through the national asset locator tool at the time of publication of this IRM with the exception of Delaware.

    Exception:

    Due to contractual restrictions, Secretary of State information is not currently available for Delaware through the national asset locator tool. Revenue officers in the Dover, Delaware, commuting area can make a field visit to the state office where visitors are permitted free access to the on-site computers provided and are allowed to write the information down free of charge. Revenue officers outside of the Dover, Delaware commuting area can access the Secretary of State of Delaware at: http://www.corp.delaware.gov/ to secure corporate information online for a fee charged to the employee's Enforcement Purchase Card. At the time of publication of this IRM, the fee is $10.00 per entity for status or $20.00 per entity for more detailed information including current franchise tax assessment, current filing history, and more. See IRM 1.32.6, Purchase Card Program Handbook.

  4. Use the corporate information received from the Secretary of State to investigate individuals who may be responsible for the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (TFRP), if applicable. See IRM 5.7.4.1, Determination to Pursue and Recommend Assessment of the TFRP.

5.1.18.7.1  (05-20-2008)
Limited Liability Company Information — Secretary of State

  1. Limited Liability Company (LLC) Information is maintained by each individual state's Secretary of State, or equivalent, often in the same database as corporation records. These organizations provide information regarding the date of organization and the members and/or managers of the LLC.

  2. Information available from state records may assist you in identifying if a taxpayer is liable for certain employment taxes. See IRM 5.1.21, Collecting from Limited Liability Companies, for additional information.

5.1.18.8  (05-20-2008)
State and Local Locator Contracts

  1. Access to additional information found in state and local databases, including employment data, varies greatly. Any questions regarding state or local locator contracts should be directed to your local Functional Automation Support Group.

  2. Additional information may also be secured from your local Government Liaison.

5.1.18.9  (05-20-2008)
State Employment Commission Program — Tape Exchange Agreements

  1. The State Employment Commission Program involves tape exchange agreements between the IRS and the states. Every two weeks, a tape containing a file of all IMF taxpayers in fourth notice status is mailed to participating states by the responsible service center campuses. The controlling location code of the taxpayer determines to which state the taxpayer's record is sent.

  2. This tape contains records for both primary and secondary Social Security Numbers (SSN). The state matches the SSN on the tape with those on its employment commission (EC) data base. For each SSN on the tape, the state will return at least one record, but, in many instances, multiple records may be returned, depending on how many quarters of information the state's database contains.

    IF THEN NOTES
    a. No records exist for the SSN, a "no-match" record will be returned. No levy source record is created on IDRS for a no-match record.
    b. A record exists for the SSN, a matched record will be returned including the names and addresses of the taxpayer's employers. For each matched record returned, a levy source record is created on IDRS.
    c. IDRS shows that this levy source, as identified by the Employer's Identification Number (EIN) or state identification number, duplicates one previously sent, it will be dropped. The levy source record will identify whether the levy source belongs to the primary or secondary SSN.

  3. When a balance due account (BAL DUE) is passed to ACS, all levy source records on IDRS are forwarded automatically. If for any reason the return tape is processed after the case goes to ACS, the EC levy source will be forwarded to ACS at the next update.

  4. Use CC LEVYS to obtain EC information already received from participating states. See IRM 5.11, Notice of Levy.

  5. Use any new address or new asset information received from researching CC LEVYS as discussed above.

5.1.18.10  (05-20-2008)
Utility Companies

  1. Utility company information can help to locate a taxpayer.

  2. Often, taxpayers attempting to hide from the IRS and other creditors do not notify the post office of a new address. However, taxpayers generally will transfer their utility service from an old address to their new one, so when a taxpayer moves within an area served by the same utility company, the taxpayer will provide an updated address to the utility company. See IRM 5.1.18.12.2, Postal Tracer — Form 4759, for information on the use of postal tracers to verify these addresses.

  3. Utility information can help determine who occupies a certain building when there is an indication that the taxpayer resides at an address, but the post office and other locator sources do not provide confirmation. The utility company can provide the name of a person billed for the utility services.

    Note:

    If you provide a name and address to the utility company in person, by mail, or by phone, the utility company will probably be able to confirm the name of the person billed for the utility services in response to your request for confirmation without a summons.

    Caution:

    Contacts with utility companies should be treated as third party contacts, unless you access the utility company data base directly without personal assistance. (See IRM 5.1.17.2(3).)

  4. If necessary, summons the utility company to obtain the taxpayer's new address. Provide the taxpayer's name and last address in the summons.

  5. Use any new address or new asset information from the utility company as discussed above.

5.1.18.11  (09-17-2010)
Social Security Administration

  1. Sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, and other entities use Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, to apply for an employer identification number (EIN).

  2. In the past, the IRS sent Forms SS-4 to the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA maintained the records, and IRS employees could request a copy of a specific form. However, with the advent of weekly electronic transmissions of Form SS-4 data to SSA, the IRS no longer sends the forms to SSA.

  3. Contact SSA to obtain a copy Form SS-4 for years 1998 and prior, as needed. See IRM 21.7.13.3.2.12, Form SS-4 Retention (Past and Present) and Requests for Copies of Form SS-4.

  4. Do not contact SSA regarding any Form SS-4 processed after 1998.

  5. Use any new address or new asset information from SSA research as discussed above.

5.1.18.12  (09-17-2010)
United States Postal Service

  1. The United States Postal Service (USPS) provides an address update product — the National Change of Address Linkage (NCOALink).

  2. The IRS is a licensee of NCOALink, and receives a consolidated data file with change-of-address information from the USPS on a regular basis to help deliver tax related mail in a timely fashion and reduce undeliverable mail. The Service benefits from the NCOALink address update process by using the new addresses to attempt contact and/or maintain contact with taxpayers.

  3. When the USPS receives a change of address form from a taxpayer with a new address, the IRS will receive that new address. The process works as follows:

    1. NCOALink obtains change of address information when a taxpayer submits a change of address to the USPS.

    2. The IRS receives a weekly NCOALink file from USPS. The file contains all of the reported changes of address in the United States for the week.

    3. NCOALink will attempt to match the NCOALink file to the Master File address for any change of address form filed in the past 48 months.

    4. The "name" and "from" address must match what is on IDRS for the "to" address to be updated as the new address for a taxpayer.

    5. The Master File is updated for all matched addresses.

    Note:

    The only time the address of a taxpayer updates through NCOA Link is when the taxpayer submits a change of address form to USPS. Then, and only then, will NCOALink update the taxpayer’s address from one location to another.

  4. NCOALink substantially reduces the need for using a postal tracer — Form 4759, Address Information Request - Postal Tracer, to obtain new addresses for most taxpayers.

    Note:

    NCOALink does not eliminate the need for using Form 4759.

5.1.18.12.1  (09-17-2010)
How to Identify an NCOA Address Change

  1. An address change resulting from the NCOALink update generates a unique Transaction Code (TC) 014 (Address Change) and document locator number (DLN):

    All DLNs created by NCOALink have a common DLN format:

    • IMF — XX 2 63 995 999 99 Y

    • BMF — XX 9 63 995 777 66 Y

    • EPMF — XX 0 63 995 777 66 Y

      Note:

      "XX" represents the File Location Code (Internal Revenue Service Campus (IRSC) Code). "Y " represents the year of the NCOALink update.

5.1.18.12.2  (08-15-2013)
Postal Tracer — Form 4759

  1. The only appropriate use of Form 4759 is to request information from USPS. Form 4759 may be used to:

    • Obtain the physical address of a Post Office (PO) Box holder

      Caution:

      Form 4759 applies only to a PO Box rented from USPS; it does not apply to a mailbox rented from any of the various other places that rent private mailboxes.

    • Verify possible non-Master File addresses

    • Request directions to an address

    • Confirm the Master File address of record when a field call verifies that the taxpayer is UTL or UTC at that address.

  2. NCOALink substantially reduces the need for using Form 4759 but does not eliminate the need for using Form 4759. You may obtain valuable information in response to Form 4759, which may not be included on returned mail:

    1. Change of address date

    2. Forwarding order expiration date

    3. Expired forwarding address(es).

  3. Form 4759 is helpful as USPS will:

    • Provide the forwarding address on returned mail for 12 months

    • Confirm whether mail is delivered to the taxpayer at that address

    • Provide the new address if the address was changed within the past 48 months.

  4. USPS mail carriers may provide additional useful information. The carrier may annotate the returned correspondence with an extra note, such as "moved two years ago," "gone for over five years," or other information that will assist you in establishing the "timeline" of various addresses. USPS will:

    • Provide the forwarding address on returned mail for 12 months.

    • Provide the forwarding address for 48 months in response to Form 4759.

  5. USPS will take one of the following actions when you send correspondence to one or several alternate addresses:

    1. Forward the correspondence to the taxpayer but not send you notification of a new address.

      Note:

      Form 4759 may be helpful since it may provide new address information (if mail was forwarded) or confirm whether mail is delivered to the taxpayer at that address.

    2. Return the correspondence to you with the annotation "Forwarding order expired," if it has been more than 12 months since the forwarding order was filed.

      Note:

      Form 4759 may be helpful because it may provide the new address if the address was changed within the past 48 months.

    3. Return the correspondence to you with the annotation "Moved, left no forwarding."

  6. Do not use Form 4759 to verify a taxpayer's Master File address. This will add more processing time and postal costs to our cases without providing value. The taxpayer's Master File address will be updated by NCOALink if the taxpayer has submitted a change of address form to USPS within the previous 48 months.

  7. Confirm the Master File address in accordance with paragraph (3) of IRM 5.16.1.2.1, Unable to Locate and Unable to Contact, before you close the case with TC 530 when you have made a field call and verified the taxpayer is UTL or UTC at the Master File address of record.

  8. Follow the procedures below when it is necessary to send Form 4759 to the USPS.

  9. Use Form 4759 to obtain the physical address of a Post Office (PO) Box holder from USPS.

  10. Refer to the following IRM sections to appropriately use Form 4759 in other situations:

    1. IRM 5.1.18.12.2.3

    2. IRM 5.1.18.12.2.4.

5.1.18.12.2.1  (09-17-2010)
Properly Preparing Form 4759

  1. When it is necessary to send Form 4759 to the USPS, always:

    • Use the most recent version of Form 4759

    • Include the appropriate return address.

  2. The most common error with Form 4759 is neglecting to include the complete return IRS address. Be sure to use your STOP number and/or organization symbol in your return address. Other common errors include:

    • Using an outdated form

    • Including an envelope for return.

  3. Do not include any envelope. It is unnecessary and a waste of our postage resources to include an IRS Business Reply Mail envelope since the USPS has agreed to return Form 4759 to the IRS in a USPS envelope. The authority for this is in a USPS document; it is in Exhibit 5-2 under Section 5, Requests for Special Categories of Records , of the USPS Handbook AS353.

5.1.18.12.2.2  (03-27-2012)
Undeliverable Mail

  1. Mail may be rejected as undeliverable because of various reasons, including the following:

    • An inappropriate rural route address, or

    • An error in processing a two-line address.

5.1.18.12.2.2.1  (09-17-2010)
Rural Route Addresses

  1. Print rural route addresses on a piece of mail as follows:

    • "RR N BOX NN"

  2. Do not use the words "RURAL," "NUMBER," "NO.," or the pound sign (#).

5.1.18.12.2.2.2  (09-17-2010)
Two-Line Addresses

  1. Form 4759 is pre-printed with the words "To: Postmaster" in the upper left-hand corner and provides space for insertion of the city, state, and ZIP Code of a particular post office, resulting in a two-line address (like those used by our service centers).

  2. Two-line addresses are completely acceptable, but sometimes, we encounter a problem with Form 4759 being returned as "not deliverable as addressed" or "undeliverable." This problem is encountered because USPS has automated high speed equipment (optical character readers) which start reading a piece of mail from the bottom. The intent of the automated processing is to process a piece of mail to its "final sort" (practically to the carrier's mail bag) without it ever being touched by human hands. The processing equipment also looks for a "match" in the address database. This match depends on a street address or PO Box to continue on its way. Since we only insert the city, state, and ZIP Code of a particular post office on Form 4759, the Form 4759 is ejected from the automated system and reviewed manually.

  3. Sometimes, instead of recognizing that Form 4759 with a two-line address should be delivered to the "Postmaster" at the post office identified by the ZIP Code, a postal worker who sees that Form 4759 does not have a street address or PO Box number may stamp Form 4759 "not deliverable as addressed" or "undeliverable" and return it.

  4. Contact the Delivery Services Operations Manager at the specific post office that returned Form 4759 if you encounter this problem.

5.1.18.12.2.3  (09-17-2010)
Verify Possible Non-Master File Addresses

  1. The national asset locator tool or other locator research may provide possible new addresses for a taxpayer from diverse sources such as credit applications, mortgage companies, etc.

  2. Follow these procedures to verify possible new address(es) when you have been unable to contact / locate a taxpayer during the initial field contact attempt. See IRM 5.1.10, Taxpayer Contacts, for the initial contact requirements.

  3. Check IDRS command code NAMES to eliminate new addresses received from asset locator research for individuals with similar names but different SSNs.

    Note:

    The training for the national asset locator tool emphasizes beginning your research with the taxpayer's Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to better target locator information on that person. Using the TIN will usually eliminate the need to sort stray information by using IDRS Command Code (CC) NAMES.

  4. Use any new address received from asset locator research to attempt taxpayer contact, if you have not yet made taxpayer contact:

    1. Make a field call or mail an appropriate contact letter to the taxpayer's possible new address(es) within your local area. An appropriate contact letter is a brief note requesting the recipient to contact the revenue officer (RO).

    2. Send an appropriate contact letter to the taxpayer's possible new address(es) outside of your local area.

    Caution:

    Be careful not to disclose any more confidential information (SBU or PII) than is necessary to verify the identity of the taxpayer.

    Example:

    RO Jane Jones is trying to contact Sandra Baker to collect the BAL DUEs on Sandra Baker's sole proprietorship, Sandy's Bakery.
    RO Jones found a possible new address for Sandra Baker from using the national asset locator tool.
    RO Jones needs to send an appropriate contact letter.
    RO Jones is aware that she needs to take care not to disclose confidential information.
    RO Jones writes a brief note addressed to Sandra Baker at the new possible address.
    The contact letter says, in part:
    Dear Ms. Baker, I have been trying to get in touch with you to discuss a federal tax matter regarding your bakery that went out of business. Please contact me at your earliest convenience.

  5. Do not routinely verify a non-Master File possible address(es) with Form 4759. Even if the taxpayer has not submitted a change of address form to the United States Postal Service (USPS), mail from the Service will be delivered to an address where other mail is being delivered to the taxpayer. Sending correspondence addressed to the taxpayer at the possible address(es) is more efficient, since it may result in immediate contact.

5.1.18.12.2.4  (05-20-2008)
Verify Possible New Addresses Received from Asset Locator Research

  1. Check IDRS command code NAMES to eliminate new addresses received from asset locator research for individuals with similar names but different SSNs.

    Note:

    The training for the national asset locator tool emphasizes beginning your research with the taxpayer's Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to better target locator information on that person. Using the TIN will usually eliminate the need to sort stray information by using IDRS Command Code (CC) NAMES.

  2. Use any new address received from asset locator research to attempt taxpayer contact, if you have not yet made taxpayer contact.

  3. Take one of the following actions to attempt to contact the taxpayer at the new address. These procedures are generally followed when you have been unable to locate a taxpayer during the initial field contact attempt. See IRM 5.1.10, Taxpayer Contacts , for initial contact requirements.

    1. Make a field call or send a letter to the taxpayer's address regarding addresses within your local area.

    2. Send a letter to the taxpayer's address regarding addresses outside of your local area.

5.1.18.12.3  (05-20-2008)
Locating a Taxpayer's Address

  1. This IRM subsection provides strategies and information for locating a taxpayer.

    1. Requesting assistance to locate a taxpayer's address

    2. Private mailbox companies

    3. Tracking online mail

5.1.18.12.3.1  (09-17-2010)
Requesting Assistance from USPS Personnel to Locate a Taxpayer's Address

  1. In the case of a Rural Route address or when a location has new streets not yet reflected on local maps, you may need to request directions to locate the taxpayer's address. Take one of the following actions when you need assistance locating the taxpayer's address.

    1. Ask the postal carrier for directions to a taxpayer's address.

      Note:

      It is always acceptable to request directions from the postal carrier.

    2. You can also write a note on Form 4759 requesting written directions to the taxpayer's address.

5.1.18.12.3.2  (09-17-2010)
Private Mailbox Companies

  1. Some private companies offer private mailbox (PMB) rental services to taxpayers (individuals or businesses). Any contact with any of these PMB sources would be considered a third-party contact. IRM 5.1.18.2.1.3.

  2. PMB companies include:

    • USPS contract stations (stations or branches operated under contract with USPS by persons who are not postal employees).

    • Other mailing service locations.

5.1.18.12.3.2.1  (09-17-2010)
Private Mailbox Addresses

  1. Private mailbox companies may require a box number as part of the address for the "final sort" . Instead of using the terms "Post Office Box" or "PO Box" in their addresses, some of these PMB companies use "Suite NNN" or "PMB NNN" or just "#NNN" to identify the "final sort" delivery point.

    Note:

    The words "Post Office Box" or "PO Box" cannot be used on the delivery address line of a PMB address. According to the USPS web site at: http://www.usps.com/, only USPS is entitled to provide delivery to a PO Box, so only USPS can use the terms "Post Office Box" or "PO Box" in the delivery address.

  2. Postal regulations require that these companies do the following:

    • secure a completed PS Form 1583, Application for Delivery of Mail Through Agent, (a USPS form) from the taxpayer, in duplicate,

    • provide the original to USPS, and

    • maintain a copy at their business location.

  3. PS Form 1583 provides contact information for the person who rented the box, including address, phone, corporate officers, and/or names of other individuals whose mail is to be delivered.

  4. Request a copy of PS Form 1583 from the PMB company, in person or by mail.

    Note:

    Some PMB companies may immediately provide a copy of PS Form 1583 completed by the taxpayer upon written or verbal request. Others may require a summons before providing that information.

  5. Follow the procedures for a third-party summons, if necessary. See IRM 25.5.6, Summonses on Third-Party Witnesses.

5.1.18.12.3.3  (09-17-2010)
Online Mail Tracking

  1. Various IRM sections require "return receipt requested" when sending certified mail. The United States Postal Service (USPS) provides an online feature called "Track & Confirm" providing timely assurance of receipt instead of waiting for the return receipt post card to be returned.

    • With certified mail, the unique article number allows verification of delivery at no additional cost.

    • Delivery confirmation includes information about the date and time of delivery or attempted delivery.

    • When the IRM requires "return receipt requested" , an additional fee will apply.

    Note:

    This does not replace the IRM requirement for "return receipt requested," even though an additional fee will apply.

  2. Find additional information about "Track and Confirm" , certified mail, delivery confirmation, and return receipt at: http://www.usps.com.


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