8.7.14  Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Administrative Appeal Cases

Manual Transmittal

August 01, 2014

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 8.7.14, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Administrative Appeal Cases.

Material Changes

(1) Made reference and moved IRM 8.7.14.6.1, FOIA Carding Procedures to IRM 8.20.5.27.1, FOIA Case Carding, due to the APS IRM restructure.

(2) Revised IRM 8.7.14.14.2, ATE Closing Procedures, for the Appeals Technical Employees (ATE) to use the updated customized Form 5402 FOIA in APGolf.

(3) Revised IRM 8.7.14.14.2.4, Closing Letter, for updated contact information on the Office of Governmental Information Services (OGIS).

(4) Revised IRM 8.7.14.14.3, ATM Closing Procedure, for the Appeals Team Manager (ATM) to ensure that the ATEs use the updated customized Form 5402 FOIA in APGolf.

(5) Removed IRM 8.7.14.15.2.1, FOIA Analysis and Feedback Record, as it is no longer required.

Effect on Other Documents

None

Audience

Appeals

Effective Date

(08-01-2014)


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

8.7.14.1  (10-25-2011)
FOIA Administrative Appeal Cases Background

  1. This section covers Appeals' procedures for administrative appeals of denied FOIA requests.

  2. See IRM 11.3.13.1 for background information on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

8.7.14.2  (10-25-2011)
Authority for FOIA Administrative Appeal Cases

  1. In accordance with Treasury Regulations 26 CFR 601.702 (c)(10)(i), a requester may file an administrative appeal request on an initial determination made under the FOIA when a letter is mailed notifying the requester of any of the following:

    • The request has been denied in full or in part

    • Of an adverse determination of the requester’s fee category

    • Of an adverse determination of the requester’s fee waiver or reduction

    • No responsive records exist

8.7.14.3  (10-25-2011)
Sources of Cases

  1. Appeals FOIA cases come from two sources:

    1. IRS Disclosure; and

    2. Office of Professional Responsibility.

8.7.14.4  (10-25-2011)
Types of FOIA Administrative Appeal Cases

  1. Campus or Field Appeals has jurisdiction to review the following types of denied FOIA cases:

    • Expedite processing

    • Fee waiver

    • Favorable fee category

    • Proper Search and release of responsive records

8.7.14.4.1  (10-25-2011)
Expedite Processing

  1. Expedite processing – Appeals has jurisdiction to determine whether a compelling need exists for expedite processing of the initial FOIA request. Compelling needs are:

    1. Imminent threat to life or physical safety

    2. Urgency to inform the public

8.7.14.4.2  (10-25-2011)
Fee Waiver

  1. Fee waiver – Appeals has jurisdiction to determine whether the fees associated with the initial FOIA request should be waived or reduced because the disclosure:

    1. Would be in the public interest and,

    2. Would likely contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of the operations or activities of the IRS and

    3. Would not be primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

    See IRM 11.3.5.6.2.

8.7.14.4.3  (10-25-2011)
Favorable Fee Category

  1. Favorable fee category – Appeals has jurisdiction to determine whether the requester has been classified in the correct category. Those categories are:

    • Commercial use requester

    • News media requester

    • Educational institution requester

    • Noncommercial scientific institution requester

    • Other requester

8.7.14.4.4  (10-25-2011)
Proper Search and Release of Responsive Records

  1. Proper Search and release of responsive records – Appeals has jurisdiction to determine whether IRS Disclosure (Disclosure Specialist) or other applicable government disclosure agency (FOIA Case worker) did an adequate search for documents. See IRM 11.3.13.6.3

8.7.14.5  (10-25-2011)
FOIA Administrative Appeal Request Requirements

  1. The administrative appeal request must be addressed and mailed to the IRS Commissioner at:
    IRS Appeals
    Attn: FOIA Appeals
    M/S 55202
    5045 E. Butler Avenue
    Fresno, CA 93727-5136

  2. All administrative appeal requests, per Treasury Regulations 601.702(c)(10)(ii), must:

    • Be made in writing

    • Reasonably describe the records requested

    • Include an address at which the requester desires to be notified of the determination of appeal

    • Specify the date of the initial FOIA request, the office to which the request was submitted, and where possible, include a copy of the initial FOIA request, and a copy of the letter of notification denying the request.

    • Ask the IRS Commissioner to grant expedited processing, waive the fee, allow a favorable fee category, provide verification that a proper search was done, and produce responsive records or assert an appropriate exemption.

8.7.14.6  (08-01-2014)
Receipt and Control of FOIA Administrative Appeal Request

  1. Upon receipt, Appeals is required per Treasury Regulations Section 601.702 (c)(10)(iii), to promptly date stamp the administrative appeal request. When the request is received, it is date stamped by Fresno Campus Account and Processing Support (APS) which will start the required time frame for Appeals to consider the request per Treasury Regulations 601.702(c)(9). The Appeals Technical Employee (ATE) will ensure the following actions:

    1. Except for appeals of denials of expedited processing, the determination to affirm the initial denial (in whole or in part) or to grant the request for records shall be made and notification of the determination shall be mailed within 20 days (exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) after the date of receipt of the appeal unless extended per Treasury Regulations Section 601.702(c)(11)(i).

    2. Appeals of initial determinations to deny expedited processing must be made within 10 calendar days of the determination to deny the expedited processing.

    3. If the appeal from the initial denial is denied (in whole or part), the requester shall be notified in writing of the denial, the reasons therefor, the name and title or position of the official responsible for the denial on appeal, and the provisions of 5 U.S.C.552(a)(4) for judicial review of that determination. See also IRM 8.7.14.10.1

  2. The ATE will receive a case file from the Fresno Campus Account and Processing Support (APS) who creates the case file and establishes the case on ACDS.

8.7.14.6.1  (08-01-2014)
FOIA Carding Procedures

  1. For APS FOIA Carding Procedures see IRM 8.20.5.27.1FOIA Case Carding.

8.7.14.6.2  (11-27-2013)
Appeals Team Manager Responsibilities

  1. Upon receipt of the FOIA administrative appeal case file from APS, the Appeals Team Manager (ATM) will:

    1. Determine the appropriate grade of the case and assign it to an ATE

    2. Insure ACDS is updated for the CSC which includes the assigned ATE and grade of the case.

    3. Access AFOIA and assign the case through AFOIA.

    4. Include the AFOIA documents in the case file and give to the assigned ATE.

    5. The ATM may also verify the timeliness of the Appeals Request per Treasury Regulations 601.702(c)(10)(i).

8.7.14.6.3  (11-27-2013)
Appeals Technical Employees Responsibilities

  1. Upon receipt, the ATE will:

    Step Action
    1 Make a preliminary review as soon as possible (5 business days) to determine whether the administrative appeal request is timely. If untimely, the ATE will send a closing letter to the requester and a copy to the Disclosure Manager of the Disclosure Specialist who worked the case previously. See IRM 8.7.14.9.

    Note:

    The ATM may have determined the request to be untimely; however, it is the ATE's ultimate responsibility to determine if the request is timely.

    For Premature Referrals, See IRM 8.7.14.14.2.3.
    2 Determine whether the request meets the requirements as outlined in Section 8.7.14.5 above.
    3 Either issue a FOIA Appeals acknowledgement letter or combo acknowledgement/closing letter at closing. See IRM 1.4.28.3.1(5) on Exceptions to the UAL Acknowledgement Letters.
    4 Access AFOIA to retrieve: a copy of the original request and a copy of all withheld and the original and redacted documents. Save and close the case in AFOIA.
    5 Review the request, documentation for the basis of the request and Disclosure's determination. For proper ACM preparation, see IRM 8.6.2.1 Introduction to Appeals Case Memorandums
  2. Prior to closing the case:

    If the ATE.... Then the ATE will...
    Fully sustains Disclosure's determination Issue a combo acknowledgement/closing letter to the requester and copies to:
    • the Disclosure Manager of the Disclosure Specialist who previously worked the case

    • the designated Management and Program Analyst from HQ Disclosure Office.

    Does not sustain or partially sustains Disclosure's determination Contact the Disclosure Specialist and discuss the reasons to release redactions.

8.7.14.6.4  (11-27-2013)
Acknowledgement Letter

  1. The standard Appeals Uniform Acknowledgement Letter procedures do not apply to FOIA cases. However, after receipt, per Treasury Regulations 601.702(c)(10)(iii), Appeals is required to send an acknowledgment letter to the requester including the date of receipt and the requirement to complete the consideration of the appeal within 20 business days after the date Appeals receives the request. The ATE should annotate in the Case Activity record that the required FOIA acknowledgement letter was sent. Due to the strict 20 business day time line to work a FOIA case, a combo acknowledgement/closing letter is often issued explaining when the FOIA request was received and Appeals' determination.

8.7.14.7  (11-27-2013)
Automated Freedom of Information Act System (AFOIA) or Electronic Disclosure Information Management System (E-DIMS)

  1. As of October, 2012, Appeals has transitioned from using E-DIMS to the new management Automated Freedom of Information Act System (AFOIA) to secure all responsive documents from Disclosure. For more information about AFOIA, see IRM 8.7.14.16.

8.7.14.8  (10-25-2011)
Timely Filed FOIA Administrative Appeal Request

  1. The FOIA administrative appeal request must be made by letter postmarked within 35 days after the date of the applicable FOIA letter of notification (aka Denial Letter or Adverse Determination Letter). Otherwise, the appeal is considered late. An administrative appeal for denial of a request for expedited processing may also be submitted. Such an appeal must be postmarked within 10 days of the date of the notification letter.

8.7.14.9  (10-25-2011)
Late Filed FOIA Administrative Appeal Request

  1. Appeals does not have jurisdiction to review late filed FOIA administrative appeal requests. A letter is sent informing the requester that the appeal was late and copy to the Disclosure Manager of the Disclosure Specialist who originally worked the request. The letter should include the following information:

    1. The date the appeal was received; and

    2. The date of the letter of notification.

8.7.14.10  (11-27-2013)
Prescribed Time frame To Work FOIA Administrative Appeal Request

  1. Per Treasury Regulations 601.702(c)(12), Appeals has to make a determination on the requester’s appeal within

    • 10 days for expedited processing requests [Treasury Regulations §601.702(c)(10)(i)]

    • 20 days for regular cases [Treasury Regulations §601.702(c)(13)]

    • 30 days for unusual circumstances [Treasury Regulations §601.702(c)(11)(i)

    Note:

    This time excludes Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.

  2. The regular time frame for making a determination on a FOIA case can be extended by 10 days and applies if one or more of the following unusual circumstances apply:

    1. The need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request;

    2. The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request;

    3. The need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more constituent units of the Department of the Treasury having substantial subject matter interest therein; and

    4. The need for consultation with business submitters to determine the nature and extent of proprietary information.

    Note:

    A business submitter is one who submits business information to the IRS. Business information is any trade secret or other confidential financial or commercial (including research) information.

  3. A written notice to the requester is required for a 10 day deadline extension. This notice will include both:

    • The reason for the extension

    • The date a determination is expected to be sent

8.7.14.10.1  (10-25-2011)
Appeals Failure To Comply Within Prescribed Time frame

  1. Per Treasury Regulations §601.702(c)(12), if the IRS Appeals fails to comply within the time frame prescribed, the requester has deemed to have exhausted all administrative remedies and may file suit in court.

  2. If a requester files suit after the prescribed time frame for Appeals to work the case, Appeals sends a letter to the requester stating that the case is being closed because the requester has filed suit in court. Appeals will close the case sustaining Disclosure's determination and use the closing code 14.

8.7.14.10.2  (10-25-2011)
Judicial Review

  1. If Appeals fails to comply within the prescribed time frame, the requester may commence an action in the United States District Court in the jurisdiction in which the requester resides, in which the requester’s principal place of business is located, in which the records are situated, or in the District of Columbia in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (28 USC App) applicable to actions against an agency of the United States.

8.7.14.11  (11-27-2013)
Imperfect FOIA Administrative Appeal Request

  1. If a timely appeal is made and the request does not meet the requirements as outlined in IRM 8.7.14.8 , the requester must submit a perfected administrative appeal request within 35 days from the date of communication from the Disclosure Office.

  2. If the perfected appeal is not submitted within the prescribed time period, the assigned ATE will send a letter to the requester stating that the request was not timely and the case will not be considered by Appeals and a copy to the Disclosure Manager of the Specialist who worked the original request. Appeals will close the case sustaining Disclosure's determination and use the closing code 14. See IRM 11.3.13.5.4.

8.7.14.12  (10-25-2011)
Statutory Exemptions

  1. The FOIA requires agencies to make the maximum possible information available to the public. The decision to edit or withhold records is generally made based upon the application of nine specific exemptions. These specific exemptions are listed in 5 USC 552(b) and form the legal basis for the IRS to withhold records or portions of records from the public. Careful consideration of the exemptions is required when reviewing responsive records.

    5 USC 552(b)
    (b) This section does not apply to matters that are -

    (1)(A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and (B) are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order;

    (2) related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency;

    (3) specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than section 552b of this title), if that statute -
    (A)(i) requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue; or
    (ii) establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld; and
    (B) if enacted after the date of enactment of the OPEN FOIA Act of 2009, specifically cites to this paragraph.

    (4) trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential;

    (5) inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency;

    (6) personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

    (7) records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law, or (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual;

    (8) contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions; or

    (9) geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells. Any reasonably segregate portion of a record shall be provided to any person requesting such record after deletion of the portions which are exempt under this subsection. The amount of information deleted, and the exemption under which the deletion is made, shall be indicated on the released portion of the record, unless including that indication would harm an interest protected by the exemption in this subsection under which the deletion is made. If technically feasible, the amount of the information deleted, and the exemption under which the deletion is made, shall be indicated at the place in the record where such deletion is made.
  2. For more information on each exemption, please refer to the IRM sections listed below:

    Exemption See IRM
    Exemption (b)(1) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.1
    Exemption (b)(2) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.2
    Exemption (b)(3) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.3
    Exemption (b)(4) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.4
    Exemption (b)(5) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.5
    Exemption (b)(6) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.6
    Exemption (b)(7) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.7
    Exemption (b)(7)(A) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.7.1
    Exemption (b)(7)(B) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.7.2
    Exemption (b)(7)(C) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.7.3
    Exemption (b)(7)(D) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.7.4
    Exemption (b)(7)(E) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.7.5
    Exemption (b)(7)(F) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.7.6
    Exemption (b)(8) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.8
    Exemption (b)(9) IRM 11.3.13.7.2.9

8.7.14.13  (10-25-2011)
Record Exclusions

  1. The Freedom of Information Reform Act includes three special exclusions for protecting certain law enforcement records under subsection (c) of the FOIA. For more information, please see IRM 11.3.13.7.3

  2. For more information on each record exclusion, please refer to the IRM sections listed below:

    Exemption See IRM
    Exemption (c)(1) IRM 11.3.13.7.3.1
    Exemption (c)(2) IRM 11.3.13.7.3.2
    Exemption (c)(3) IRM 11.3.13.7.3.3

8.7.14.14  (11-27-2013)
FOIA Closing Procedures

  1. After the ATE makes a determination on the administrative appeal and submits the case to the Appeals Team Manager for review and approval, the closing letter is signed by the Appeals Team Manager. A copy of the closing letter is sent to the requestor, to the Disclosure Manager of the Specialist that worked the original case, and to the designated Management and Program Analyst from HQ Disclosure Office. The Appeals Team Manager also sends a copy of the Form 5402, Appeals Case Memorandum (ACM), and the closing letter to the designated Management and Program Analyst from HQ Disclosure Office. The case is then forwarded to APS for closing.

8.7.14.14.1  (10-25-2011)
FOIA Closing Codes

  1. Only the following closing codes are used for FOIA cases:

    Closing Code FOIA Closing Code Definition
    14 Fully Sustained - Appeals denied the request in full (i.e., the finding in the adverse determination letter was fully sustained)
    15 Not Sustained - Appeals granted the request in full (i.e. the finding in the adverse determination letter was reversed in full)
    16 Part Sustained -
    • Appeals granted the request in part or

    • FOIA request withdrawn by the requester

    20 Premature Referral

8.7.14.14.2  (08-01-2014)
ATE Closing Procedures

  1. The ATE prepares the Customized Form 5402 and ACM. The ATE is responsible for using the APGolf customized Form 5402 FOIA through ACDS and correctly entering Disposal Information by using the drop down arrows to make the appropriate selections.

    • Multiple exemptions and/or other reasons for denial can be selected on the Form 5402. If the "Other Reasons for Denial" box is selected, an explanation must be made in the field below the box for "Other Reasons for Denial" in order for the form to print.

  2. Closing letter to the requester

    • Copy for the file

  3. Closing letter to the Disclosure Manager of the Specialist who originally worked the case

    • Copy for the file

  4. Closing letter, Form 5402 and ACM to the designated Management and Program Analyst from HQ Disclosure Office

    • Copies for the file

8.7.14.14.2.1  (11-27-2013)
Appeals Determination

  1. Appeals’ responsibility is to determine whether the Disclosure Specialist did an adequate search and whether information was properly withheld. If Appeals determines that information should have been released, the ATE and Disclosure Specialist would discuss the release of the information in question.

  2. Appeals should discuss the requester’s contact with IRS Disclosure Specialist who worked the case or other applicable case worker to determine if all required attempts were made to obtain all responsive documents available.

8.7.14.14.2.2  (10-25-2011)
Inadequate Search

  1. After Appeals reviews all documents and ensures an adequate search for documents was done, a determination is made. If Appeals determines that an adequate search was not done, Appeals will discuss with Disclosure that an additional search is required. If Disclosure does not agree with the additional search, Appeals will issue a letter signed by the Appeals Team Manager to IRS Disclosure Manager of the Disclosure Specialist or other applicable government agency along with the requester indicating that an additional search is required.

8.7.14.14.2.3  (11-27-2013)
Premature Referral

  1. If Appeals receives a FOIA administrative appeal request while the Disclosure Office is working the request and an initial determination has not been made, Appeals will close the request as a premature referral. Appeals will respond to the requester advising him/her that there are no administrative appeal rights and if the requester is not willing to wait for an initial determination, the only recourse is to seek judicial review in court.

    1. The assigned ATE will send a copy of the closing letter to the Disclosure Manager of the Disclosure Specialist who originally worked the request.

    2. The ATE will use the closing code 20.

8.7.14.14.2.4  (08-01-2014)
Closing Letter

  1. The ATE prepares a closing letter to the requester to notify them of the Appeals determination. The closing letter includes the following in the letterhead:

    Item Number Description
    1 Appeals office address
    2 Person to contact information - ATE’s:
    • Name

    • Employee identification number

    • Telephone number

    • Fax number

    3 In regards information:
    • Freedom of Information Act

    • Who or what the request involves

    4 Disclosure case number (taken from AFOIA)
  2. The closing letter includes the following in the body:

    Item Number Description
    1 Dates of correspondence:
    • Date of letter of original request

    • Date of denial letter or adverse determination letter

    • Date of administrative appeal request

    2 Summary of original records requested
    3 Summary of determination in denial letter or adverse determination letter
    4 What is requested in appeal
    5 Appeals determination in case
    • Reason for determination

    • Volume of documents, if applicable

    6 If the case result is "not full grant" insert the following statement regarding the availability of mediation through the Office of Government Information Services:
    As part of the 2007 FOIA amendments, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) was created to offer mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and the Office of Disclosure as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. The Office of Appeals is not a part of this mediation process. Using OGIS services does not affect your right to pursue litigation. If you are requesting access to your own records (which is considered a Privacy Act request), you should know that OGIS does not have the authority to handle requests made under the Privacy Act of 1974. If you disagree with the Appeals determination and wish to pursue mediation, you may contact OGIS in any of the following ways:

    Office of Government Information Services
    National Archives and Records Administration
    8601 Adelphi Road - OGIS
    College Park, MD 20740
    E-mail: ogis@nara.gov
    Web: https://ogis.archives.gov
    Telephone: 202-741-5770
    Facsimile: 202-741-5769
    Toll-free: 1-877-684-6448
    7 Statement of judicial remedies
  3. The person delegated to sign the Appeals determination letter is the Appeals Team Manager or designate.

  4. If it is determined that the request should be partially or fully granted, the ATE and the Disclosure Specialist will discuss the documents to be released.

    • If an agreement is reached, the Disclosure Specialist will provide the documents to the requester.

    • If an agreement is not reached, then the ATE will provide the documents to the requester. This is in very rare instances.

    • ATE will send closing letters to the requester and cc the Disclosure Manager of the Disclosure Specialist.

8.7.14.14.2.5  (08-01-2014)
Close Case File Assembly

  1. The FOIA Administrative Appeals case file is assembled as follows:

    Case File Location Description of Item
    Attached outside front folder:
    • Case routing sheet

    • Case Summary Card

    • Case Activity Record

    Attached inside right folder: Case file documents which may include
    • Administrative appeal request

    • Initial FOIA request

    • Denial letter or adverse determination letter

    • AFOIA record

    • Copies of withheld/redacted documents (if not voluminous), if voluminous, then documents are boxed with a cover sheet identifying the FOIA work unit number and where the documents will be stored (APS) and the case file will need a copy of the cover sheet to be placed in front of the Form 5402;

    • Other

    Unattached inside folder: Appeals Closing Letter
    • Copy for requester

    • Copy for the Disclosure Manager of the Specialist who worked the original request and designated Management and Program Analyst from HQ Disclosure Office

    • Copy for IRS management

    • Copy for case file

    Cover letter for the Disclosure Manager of the Specialist who worked the original request and a copy for the designated Management and Program Analyst from HQ Disclosure Office
    Customized FOIA Form 5402 – Appeals Transmittal and Case Memo
    • Copy for IRS management and designated Management and Program Analyst from HQ Disclosure Office

    • Copy for case file

    Appeals Case Memorandum
    • Copy for IRS management and designated Management and Program Analyst from HQ Disclosure Office

    • Copy for case file

8.7.14.14.3  (08-01-2014)
ATM Closing Procedures

  1. Upon receipt from the ATE of the closed case for approval, the ATM will:

    1. Review the closing letter, Form 5402, and ACM to insure that the content and language is appropriate and the determination is correct.

    2. Ensure that the APGolf customized Form 5402 was completed correctly through ACDS. The ATE is responsible for using the APGolf customized Form 5402 FOIA through ACDS and correctly entering Disposal Information by using the drop down arrows to make the appropriate selections. Multiple exemptions and/or other reasons for denial can be selected on the Form 5402. See also IRM 8.7.14.14.2.

    3. The ATM signs and date stamps the closing letter, ACAPs the case, and forwards the case to APS for closing.

8.7.14.14.4  (10-25-2011)
APS Closing Procedures

  1. APS follows normal closing procedures. Please see IRM 8.20.7

8.7.14.14.4.1  (11-27-2013)
Case file Retention

  1. The FOIA case file and associated records are required to be maintained for a period of at least 6 years after the date of Appeals reply to the requester. See Record Control Schedule IRM 1.15.8-1, Item Number 54. All closed FOIA case files are maintained at the Fresno IRS Campus for the current year and the previous two years and then they are sent to the National Archives Records Administration (NARA) for the remainder of the retention period. NARA destroys the files after the retention period expires.

8.7.14.15  (10-25-2011)
Feedback

  1. Appeals provides feedback on case dispositions to:

    • Headquarters Disclosure office

    • Disclosure Manager of the originating Disclosure specialist

  2. Appeals also must provide data to the Headquarters Disclosure office to include in the Annual FOIA Report to Congress.

8.7.14.15.1  (10-25-2011)
Feedback To Disclosure

  1. Appeals will provide a copy of the Form 5402, Appeals Case Memorandum, and closing letter to the Disclosure Headquarter's Representative

  2. Appeals will provide a copy of the closing letter and a copy of the letter sent to the requester on late filed administrative appeal request to the Disclosure Manager of the Specialist who worked the appealed FOIA request.

8.7.14.15.2  (10-25-2011)
Annual FOIA Report to Congress

  1. Each agency is required by 5 USC Section 552(e) to make an annual report to Congress. Appeals makes an annual report to Congress on results of FOIA appeals case determinations. Therefore, case records and closing information are required to be tracked. Currently, the FOIA Appeals Team Managers track case results by insuring that the necessary data from the FOIA Analysis and Feedback form has been entered on the Access program located on the Appeals shared drive and then applied to an excel spreadsheet and that necessary Form 5402 data is input through ACDS properly.

8.7.14.16  (11-27-2013)
Automated Freedom of Information Act System (AFOIA)

  1. The AFOIA Project is one initiative in the Modernized Business Products and Processes Strategy to update and modernize Disclosure operations. AFOIA is the document management system used by the Office of Disclosure. AFOIA focuses on using technology and developing national standards to improve the quality and efficiency of Disclosure casework and program processing. AFOIA will enhance employee work life, eliminate burden, and fully use employees’ disclosure technical knowledge and expertise.

  2. AFOIA improves the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of responses to customer requests for information through ready access to shared corporate data.

  3. AFOIA is a powerful image-based document management system. The name comes from its original design to automate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case processing. However, AFOIA was changed to capture scanned images and data for all Disclosure casework as well as provide administrative controls for other Governmental Liaison and Disclosure (GLD) programs including Governmental Liaison activities, daily time tracking and generation of reports for workplan monitoring. In addition, AFOIA is used by Safeguards and Appeals.

  4. ATMs and ATEs use and access AFOIA to retrieve responsive documents, correspondence from Disclosure, and to record and save Appeals' determination on administratively appealed cases onto the AFOIA system.

    Note:

    The ATMs and ATEs still work and close AFOIA cases through Appeals Centralized Database System (ACDS).


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