8.1.6  Disclosure, Security and Outside Contacts

Manual Transmittal

January 02, 2015

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 8.1.6, Appeals Function, Disclosure, Security and Outside Contacts.

Material Changes

(1) Editorial changes (including grammar, spelling, and minor clarification) were made throughout the IRM.

(2) Renamed title in IRM 8.1.6.1.4 to "Disposition of Powers of Attorney and Tax Information Authorization."

(3) Updated IRM 8.1.6.2-Third Party Contacts to reference IRM 25.27.1, Third Party Contacts-Third Party Contact Program for information on third party contacts.

(4) Renamed IRM 8.1.6.2.1- What are third party contacts? to Third party contacts specific to Appeals.

(5) Deleted IRM 8.1.6.2.2 thru 8.1.6.2.12 as this information can be found in IRM 25.27.1, Third Party Contacts-Third Party Contact Program.

Effect on Other Documents

This IRM supersedes IRM 8.1.6 dated .September 25, 2013.

Audience

Appeals

Effective Date

(01-02-2015)


John V. Cardone
Director, Policy, Quality and Case Support

8.1.6.1  (09-25-2013)
Practice Before Appeals

  1. Appeals Technical Employees (ATEs) will verify the conference and practice requirements are met before disclosing confidential taxpayer information or allowing practice before Appeals. Disclosure rules and conference/practice requirements are identified in the following publications, regulation sections, IRM sections, and IRC section (not all inclusive):

    1. IRC 6103, Confidentiality and Disclosure of Returns and Return Information;

    2. IRM 11.3, Disclosure of Official Information;

    3. Treasury Regulation Sections 601.501 through 601.509, Conference and Practice Requirements (26 C.F.R. 601.501 through 26 C.F.R 601.509 and Publication 216);

    4. Treasury Department 230, Regulations Governing the Practice for Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Enrolled Actuaries, and Appraisers before the Internal Revenue Service (31 C.F.R Subtitle A, Part 10);

    5. Witnesses at Conferences (Rev. Proc. 68-29, 1968-2 C.B., 913);

    6. IRC 21.3.7, Processing Third Party Authorizations to the Centralized Authorization File (CAF); and

    7. Publication 947, Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney.

  2. IRM 11.3.3.3, Distinctions Between Disclosure to Designees and the Conference and Practice Requirements, compares the effect of a Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, with a Form 2848, Power of Attorney. These two forms are sometimes confused.

8.1.6.1.1  (10-23-2007)
Disclosure of Information - Department of Justice

  1. Tax returns and related data are open to inspection by a United States Attorney or an attorney of the Department of Justice only if they file a proper written application. See IRM 11.3, Disclosure of Official Information. This procedure also applies to other Justice Department employees such as Federal Bureau of Investigation agents. An application is unnecessary in an income tax case being litigated by the Department of Justice, but adequate receipts must be obtained for the material furnished. An application signed by the Chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section does not meet the requirements.

8.1.6.1.2  (09-25-2013)
Disclosure of Information of a Confidential Nature

  1. Generally, confidential taxpayer information can only be disclosed upon a taxpayer's written authorization. Frequently encountered exceptions include:

    1. Representatives without a power of attorney or tax information authorization at a conference with the taxpayer;

    2. Estates, trusts, and receiverships may be represented by their trustees, receiver, guardians, executors, or regular full-time employees;

      Note:

      For disabled individuals, minors, and their durable power of attorneys, see IRM 11.3.3.3(6), Distinction Between Disclosure to Designees and the Conference and Practice Requirements

      .

    3. Committees of Congress, Treasury personnel outside the Service, other Federal agencies and States;

    4. Witnesses at Conferences. See Rev. Proc. 68-29, 1968-2 C.B., 913;

    5. Counsel of Record before the United States Tax Court; and

    6. Others as defined in Section 10.7 of Circular 230.

8.1.6.1.2.1  (10-23-2007)
Disclosure of Information - Informants

  1. The identity of informants shall not be disclosed to any Service official or employee except on a "need-to-know" basis in the performance of official duties.

  2. If you can avoid it, do not give any clues as to the existence or identity of an informant in an Appeals Case Memo. If necessary, write essential information in a separate supplemental memorandum subject to security requirements. Do not place a copy in the administrative file or mail it to the Appeals Area Director or the Chief, Appeals, unless specifically requested.

8.1.6.1.2.2  (09-25-2013)
Authorizations to Disclose Information of a Confidential Nature - Forms 2848 and 8821

  1. Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, or other documents meeting the requirements of IRC 6103 may authorize a third party to receive or inspect confidential taxpayer information.

8.1.6.1.3  (10-23-2007)
Representatives Qualified to Practice Before Appeals

  1. Qualifications to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service are defined in Circular No. 230, Regulations Governing the Practice of Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Enrolled Actuaries, and Appraisers before the Internal Revenue Service, and 26 CFR 601.501–509 inclusive.

  2. Sections 10.5(c) and 10.7, Circular 230, permit defined individuals to practice without enrollment.

  3. Section 10.7(d) of Circular 230 permits the Director, Office of Professional Responsibility, to authorize individuals otherwise ineligible to practice to represent another person in a particular matter. Individuals authorized to practice under this provision are subject to the conditions set forth by the Director in his letter authorizing practice.

    1. Students working in a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) or Student Tax Clinic Program (STCP) may represent taxpayers under a special order by the Director, Office of Professional Responsibility. The instructions to Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, require that such students attach a copy of the letter from the Office of Professional Responsibility authorizing practice before the Internal Revenue Service. Students who have been authorized to practice by special order may, subject to any limitations set forth in the letter from the Office of Professional Responsibility, represent taxpayers before any IRS office and should be viewed the same as any other taxpayer’s representative for which a Form 2848 has been submitted.

8.1.6.1.3.1  (10-23-2007)
Prohibitions of Federal and State Officials or Employees in Representing Taxpayers Before the Service

  1. If a Federal or State official or employee appears to be representing a taxpayer under circumstances indicating a possible violation of Circular 230's provisions, Service employees should advise such individual concerning the existence and content of Circular 230. See sections 10.3(f) and (g) of Circular 230.

8.1.6.1.3.2  (09-25-2013)
Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Enrollees, Limited Practice and Special Orders

  1. Practice before the IRS includes all matters connected with a presentation to the IRS relating to a client's rights, privileges, or liabilities under laws or regulations administered by the IRS. Such presentations include preparing and filing necessary documents, corresponding and communicating with the IRS, and representing a client at conferences, hearings, and meetings. An individual who practices is a representative. In order for the IRS to recognize an individual as a representative, he or she must present evidence of representational authority.

  2. The following publications and forms are useful sources of information concerning practice before the IRS and powers of attorney.

    1. Treasury Department Circular No. 230, Regulations Governing the Practice of Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Enrolled Actuaries, and Appraisers Before the Internal Revenue Service. Circular 230 is a pamphlet publication of 31 C.F.R. Part 10.

    2. Publication 216, Conference and Practice Requirements. This publication sets out the rules applicable to recognition as a representative, including the requirements for powers of attorney. Publication 216 is a pamphlet publication of 26 C.F.R. 601.501 through 601.509.

    3. Rev. Proc. 81-38 explains the rules applicable to limited practice by unenrolled return preparers.

    4. Rev. Proc. 68-29 explains the function of witnesses.

    5. Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. The separately published Form 2848 instructions provide useful information concerning the validity of Form 2848.

    6. Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization.

    7. Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship.

  3. In the event an authorized representative is not evident from the case file, the ATE should make an effort to identify the authorized representative either by contacting the taxpayer, researching IDRS for a Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number via command code CFINK, or by any other means deemed appropriate. Special care should be taken to ensure that the rules of disclosure, as discussed in IRM 11.3, Disclosure of Official Information, are not violated when identifying an authorized representative.

8.1.6.1.3.3  (06-27-2012)
Powers, Authorizations, Declarations - Form 2848

  1. While other statements can be used, Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, is convenient.

    1. The form has declarations as to current qualifications.

    2. The form authorizes disclosures of information of a confidential nature.

    3. The form provides optional authorizations to perform various other acts for the taxpayer.

8.1.6.1.4  (01-02-2015)
Disposition of Powers of Attorney and Tax Information Authorization

  1. When you receive a new Form 8821 or Form 2848 during the consideration of a case by Appeals, you should make a copy and forward it directly to the appropriate service center function for processing.

    Note:

    Refer to Form 2848 and Form 8821 to determine "where to file" the forms, and the attached instructions on each form for what specific information is needed. Each service center will process the Power of Attorney for inclusion in their Power of Attorney files. For more information, see IRM 21.3.7.1.3, Processing Sites (CAF Function).

8.1.6.2  (01-02-2015)
Third Party Contacts

  1. For information on third party contacts, see IRM 25.27.1, Third Party Contacts-Third Party Contact Program as this IRM is intended to serve as a general reference for the Third-Party Contact (TPC) program.

8.1.6.2.1  (01-02-2015)
Third party contacts specific to Appeals

  1. When a third party contact is made, complete Form 12175, Third Party Contact Report Form and fax it to Philadelphia APS. Follow the instructions for completing the Form 12175. The form is available on ACDS and the Multimedia Publishing Web page.

    1. For Trust Fund Recovery Penalty investigations, a separate Form 12175 must be completed for the business and each potentially responsible person. Use MFT 55 for the potentially responsible person and the business tax periods that would be included in the assessment.

    2. Multiple contacts with the same third party, on different dates, require a separate Form 12175 for each contact.

    3. Multiple contacts with the same third party, on the same day by the same employee, requires only one Form 12175.

  2. Philadelphia APS maintains the third party database for Appeals. See IRM IRM 8.20.6.43, Maintaining the Third Party Database.

  3. IRC 7602(c)(2), Notice of specific contacts, requires the Service to provide a list of third party contacts when requested by the taxpayer. The ATE will be responsible for providing a list of third party contacts to the taxpayer. This differs from IRM 25.27.1.6, Area/Campus TPC Coordinators and Input Personnel in that the TPC and/or Input Personnel are responsible for the Form 12175 and Letter 3173, Third Party Contacts.

    1. The ATE who receives the request must immediately fax a request to Philadelphia APS, which includes the taxpayer's name, address, and Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). The fax number is (215) 861-1380.

    2. Philadelphia APS will use IDRS Command code TPCOL to generate the list and return it to the ATE by fax or email.

    3. The ATE will prepare Letter 3173 (address per the taxpayer or Master File) to transmit the third party contacts to the taxpayer within two business days of the request. Letter 3173 must include a list of third party contacts made after January 18, 1999, or made since the taxpayer received the latest periodic report of contacts.

      Note:

      ATE should not accept a blanket request for future third party contacts. Taxpayers must submit a separate request for each list of their third party contacts

      .

8.1.6.3  (10-01-2012)
Multilingual Services

  1. Executive Order 13166, Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency, requires all federal agencies to:

    1. Examine the services they provide,

    2. Identify needs for services to those with limited English proficiency (LEP), and

    3. Develop and implement a system that ensures meaningful access to necessary services for LEP persons

  2. Guidelines and procedures for implementing the requirements of Executive Order 13166 are in IRM 22.31.1, The Multilingual Initiative.

  3. Other useful information is available on the Appeals Multi-Language Strategy web page.

8.1.6.3.1  (09-25-2013)
Over-the-Phone Interpreters (OPI)

  1. The over-the-phone interpreter (OPI) service offers a quick, easy and efficient way to communicate with taxpayers through translators who speak any of more than 170 different languages. The OPI service is free to taxpayers and available 24 hours per day to all Appeals employees who have contact with taxpayers.

  2. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 52.224-2, Privacy Act, requires the OPI vendor/contractor, Language Line Services, to "Comply with the Privacy Act of 1974 (the Act) and the agency rules and regulations issued under the Act." . All employees of Language Line Services are bound under the performance of the contract with IRS to comply with and assume responsibilities under the Disclosure of Information safeguards.

  3. A short training module entitled How to Communicate Efficiently and Effectively Through an Interpreter (click ‘Cancel’ if prompted for a password) is available for first-time users on the Multilingual and Agency Services (MAS) Branch web site. The PowerPoint presentation offers important tips, such as:

    • Speak in “first person” (as though you’re talking directly to the taxpayer)

    • Use short sentences

    • Ask only one question at a time

    • "Word for word" interpretation is often limited

    • Avoid using acronyms

  4. Language Line Services also has a toll-free demonstration line set up that allows you to select up to 10 different examples on how the OPI service works. Before using the OPI service for the first time, consider calling 1-800-996-8808 to listen to some examples.

  5. The following table contains the steps for using the OPI service:

    Step Action
    1 Dial 1-866-517-3852
    2 At the prompt, enter the six-digit Client ID Code for Appeals: 511324
    3 At the prompt, enter:
    • ‘1’ for Spanish

    • ‘2’ for any other language

    Note:

    Speak the name of the language, if known, at the prompt. If the language is not known, stay on the line and an OPI representative will help you.

    4 Enter your office’s six-digit Appeals Office Access Code followed by the ‘#’ sign
    • The Appeals Office Access Codes are available on the Appeals Multi-Language Strategy web page

    • Use the code for the office where your Appeals Team Manager is located

    5 An OPI services representative will come on the line and ask for your Standard Employer Identifier (SEID) (remember to speak your SEID slowly and clearly)
    6
    1. Brief the interpreter on the general purpose of the call.

      Example:

      "This will be my first discussion with the taxpayer, so I want to make sure she understands the Appeals process and the general elements of innocent spouse relief."

    2. Summarize what you wish to accomplish.

      Example:

      "I want to make sure I understand the taxpayer's concerns and I will also explain the verification items I need from her."

    3. Give the interpreter any special instructions.

      Example:

      "I am going to be talking about payment options and specifically a Direct Debit Installment Agreement, through which the taxpayer's monthly payments are drawn directly from his bank account."

    7 You no longer need to send an email to your Field Operations representative to validate the cost incurred by Appeals.
  6. Use Form 14162, OPI Service Feedback, to provide feedback or report any problems encountered while using the OPI service. The form has a self-emailing feature that submits it directly to *W&I M&P OPI.


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