- 1.2.19 Policy Statements for Communications, Liaison and Disclosure Activities
- 188.8.131.52 Introduction to Communications, Liaison and Disclosure related Policy Statements
- 184.108.40.206.1 Policy Statement 11-13 (Formerly P-1-192)
- 220.127.116.11.2 Policy Statement 11-87 (Formerly P-1-24)
- 18.104.22.168.3 Policy Statement 11-88 (Formerly P-1-25)
- 22.214.171.124.4 Policy Statement 11-89 (Formerly P-1-26)
- 126.96.36.199.5 Policy Statement 11-90 (Formerly P-1-35)
- 188.8.131.52.6 Policy Statement 11-91 (Formerly P-1-179)
- 184.108.40.206.7 Policy Statement 11-92 (Formerly P-1-180)
- 220.127.116.11.8 Policy Statement 11-93 (Formerly P-1-181)
- 18.104.22.168.9 Policy Statement 11-94 (Formerly P-1-183)
- 22.214.171.124.10 Policy Statement 11-95 (Formerly P-1-186)
- 126.96.36.199.11 Policy Statement 11-96 (Formerly P-1-187)
- 188.8.131.52.12 Policy Statement 11-97 (Formerly P-1-194)
- 184.108.40.206.13 Policy Statement 11-98 (Formerly P-6-14)
- Exhibit 1.2.19-1 Active Policy Statements for Communications and Liaison
Part 1. Organization, Finance, and Management
Chapter 2. Servicewide Policies and Authorities
Section 19. Policy Statements for Communications, Liaison and Disclosure Activities
October 25, 2012
(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.2.19, Servicewide Policies and Authorities, Policy Statements for Communications, Liaison and Disclosure Activities.
(1) This Policy Statement is renumbered and revised as of July 27, 2012: IRM 220.127.116.11.11. P-11-96 (Formerly P-1-187), Forwarding letters for private individuals, organizations or corporations and Federal, state and local government agencies without disclosure of address.
(2) These policy statements are renumbered according to applicable IRS business processes:
IRM 18.104.22.168.2. P-11-87 (Formerly P-1-24), Comments on legislation.
IRM 22.214.171.124.3. P-11-88 (Formerly P-1-25), Legislative documents are of a confidential nature.
IRM 126.96.36.199.4. P-11-89 (Formerly P-1-26), Legislative assistance to other agencies must be authorized.
IRM 188.8.131.52.5. P-11-90 (Formerly P-1-35), Agreements to exchange tax information with states entered into when in interests of good tax administration.
IRM 184.108.40.206.6. P-11-91 (Formerly P-1-179), Mass information program necessary to Service's objective.
IRM 220.127.116.11.7. P-11-92 (Formerly P-1-180), Cooperation with mass media encouraged.
IRM 18.104.22.168.8. P-11-93 (Formerly P-1-181), Speaking, writing engagements and contact with outside groups are encouraged subject to limitations.
IRM 22.214.171.124.9. P-11-94 (Formerly P-1-183), News coverage to advance deterrent value of enforcement activities encouraged.
IRM 126.96.36.199.10. P-11-95 (Formerly P-1-186), Publicity in connection with seizures to enforce collection of tax.
IRM 188.8.131.52.12. P-11-97 (Formerly P-1-194), Service officials may participate in practitioner liaison meetings; meetings open to public, normally on Government premises; other groups may be invited.
IRM 184.108.40.206.13. P-11-98 (Formerly P-6-14), FedState Relations.
(3) Exhibit 1.2.19-1. A new, complete inventory of the policy statements for Communications and Liaison.
Kathryn A. Greene
Director, Servicewide Policy, Directives
and Electronic Research
This IRM contains Policy Statements which relate to Communications, Liaison and Disclosure activities. Each Policy Statement is now categorized by the process to which it belongs. Distribution of the IRM should be to all persons having a need for any of the Policy Statements. The fact that Policy Statements apply to all Service personnel involved in the type of program, activity, function, or work process covered by them remains unchanged.
An initiative is underway to completely overhaul the Commissioner's Policies. Some of them exceed 40 years old and due to changes in IRS climate and technological advancements, no longer serve their original intended purpose. The Office of the Chief Counsel and the Office of Servicewide Policy, Directives, and Electronic Research (SPDER) are working with the division and functional owners of the policy statements to determine which ones are still current, which ones should be cancelled, and which ones need revision.
Any Policy Statement approved after this revision of IRM 1.2.19 is posted to IRS.gov and can be accessed through the FOIA Reading Room web site (http://www.irs.gov/uac/Electronic-Reading-Room), under the heading Recent Delegation Orders and Policy Statements. They remain on the web until the next revision is made to this IRM. .
If any Policy Statements have been inadvertently omitted from this Section they are still considered official and in full force and effect. Please send any discrepancies found to email@example.com.
Freedom of Information Act Requests
The Internal Revenue Service is committed to full compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552. The FOIA provides that agency records are to be made available to the public unless required or permitted to be withheld. The FOIA accommodates the countervailing interests in disclosure and nondisclosure. The IRS is committed to administering the FOIA with respect to agency records in a manner consistent with preserving the fundamental values held by our society, including public accountability, safeguarding national security, enhancing the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies and the decision-making processes, protecting sensitive business information, and protecting personal privacy.
If information is not prohibited from disclosure, IRS personnel shall consider whether, as an exercise of administrative discretion, the information should be released or withheld. Any discretionary decision to release information protected under the FOIA should be made only after full and deliberate consideration of the institutional (i.e., public accountability, safeguarding national security, law enforcement effectiveness, and candid and complete deliberations), commercial, and personal privacy interests that could be implicated by disclosure of the information
The administrative cost and impact on operations involved in furnishing information in response to a FOIA request is not to be a material factor in deciding to deny a request unless the cost or impact would be so substantial as to seriously impair IRS operations.
This policy creates no substantive or procedural rights enforceable at law.
Comments on legislation
Although the chief responsibility for tax policy matters, including proposed tax legislation, is with the Office of the Secretary, the Commissioner, and other appropriate Service officials when authorized by the Commissioner, can comment on tax policy matters, including proposed tax legislation, in certain circumstances. These circumstances include situations in which the Commissioner, or other authorized Service official, is commenting on provisions that are administrative in nature, or assessing or commenting on the effect on the Service or on tax administration of certain existing or proposed provisions.
Legislative documents are of a confidential nature
Legislative reports, records and studies made by the Service are in most cases predecisional documents which may be protectible under the Freedom of Information Act. Such documents may not be disclosed to the public unless such disclosure is made or authorized by the Office of the Secretary or the Commissioner.
Legislative assistance to other agencies must be authorized
When authorized by the Commissioner or the Office of the Secretary, the Service will furnish technical assistance in preparing drafts of tax legislation and related documents to Congressional Committees, Committee staffs, the House and Senate Legislative Counsels' Offices and other Government agencies concerned. The Service will not furnish assistance in drafting legislation to individuals outside of the Department, including individual members of Congress, except that in certain circumstances and with the Commissioner's authorization, Service personnel can give technical comments and assistance to individual members of Congress concerning proposed legislation that affects the Service or tax administration.
Agreements to exchange tax information with states entered into when in interests of good tax administration
Formal agreements for the exchange of tax information with State tax authorities will be entered into by the Commissioner when such agreements are in the interests of good tax administration. In order to maximize the effectiveness of these formal agreements they will be supplemented with implementing agreements.
Release of tax information restricted to what states need and will use
Tax information provided by the Service to State tax authorities will be restricted to the authorities' justified needs and uses of such information.
Mass information program necessary to Service's objective
Since taxpayers must compute their taxes under a body of laws and regulations, some of the provisions of which are complex, the Service has the responsibility of providing taxpayers with all possible information to assist them in the performance of their obligations. Mass communication which adequately informs taxpayers of their obligations represents a potential for reducing more costly efforts of providing direct assistance, correction of errors and follow up on delinquencies.
The Service, therefore, will conduct a continuous and vigorous information program through the mass media in order to help achieve its objective of enhancing voluntary compliance with the tax laws and regulations.
Cooperation with mass media encouraged
The Service recognizes the people's right to know about their tax laws and the manner in which they are being administered. The rights of members of the press and other information agencies pursuing their objectives of obtaining and distributing news are likewise recognized. In view of the important contributions made by press, radio, television, magazine and other mass media toward disseminating tax information to the public, and otherwise facilitating administration of the tax laws, the Service will cooperate with such media in every reasonable way permitted by law.
Speaking, writing engagements and contact with outside groups are encouraged subject to limitations
The Service encourages its officials and employees to accept invitations to deliver speeches, participate in tax forums, conferences, seminars and meetings, write articles for publications and have similar contact with outside groups. Such activities are an effective way to inform and educate the public about the Service's mission and operations and to help taxpayers understand their rights and obligations. Generally, invitations to speak, write for publication or otherwise participate in contacts with outside groups should be accepted where the invitation offers an opportunity to meet the goals of informing and educating the public. Each request should be considered on its own merit. However, such activities must not interfere with the primary duties of the officials and employees involved. Service personnel should not participate in meetings, seminars, tax forums, etc.; which appear to be sponsored principally for profitmaking purposes, regardless of whether the sponsor is a taxable business or a tax exempt organization. However, exceptions can be made when it is determined that participating is appropriate because it is the most effective and efficient way to promote the Service's mission and to further public education. An invitation to speak to any group should not be accepted where the evident purpose or probable result of the meeting may be to indicate that the sponsor has a preferential relationship with the Internal Revenue Service; where it might appear that information not available to others is being provided to a preferred group; or where it appears that the speaker's official position with the Service is being used primarily to foster a private purpose rather than to promote the objective of informing and educating the public. Requests for participation in conferences or seminars sponsored by other government agencies or members of Congress will be afforded the same consideration as other requests.
Local invitations to be filled locally. National Office personnel usually participate only in national meetings
In order to maximize the effectiveness of the limited National Office staff and to maintain proper relationships between field offices and the taxpayers they serve, field offices generally will provide such speeches, participation in tax forums, conferences and meetings, or articles for publication, etc., as may be appropriate in their geographical areas. National Office employees usually will fill engagements only where the participation in the meeting or tax forum extends beyond regional boundaries, such as engagements to participate in meetings of national organizations.
Prescribed clearance procedures must be followed for speeches, articles and other materials prepared or compiled for outside groups by Service employees in order to minimize the possibility of error or misunderstanding of the official position of the Service on any matter under discussion. Since only the general subject matter to be discussed at a tax forum is known in advance, and clearance of a specific text is not practicable, an employee must be particularly careful to furnish only such information as is clearly in accord with established policies or procedures of the Service.
No compensation or honorarium—expenses paid by Service or employee unless proper approval obtained
No employee shall receive an honorarium or compensation for speaking, writing for publication, participating in a tax forum, seminar, conference or meeting, or otherwise providing support to outside groups on Internal Revenue Service matters. Travel, lodging and subsistence incident to the above stated activities shall normally be paid by the Service. Exceptions for travel, lodging and subsistence can be made upon approval by an authorized official if it is determined that participation is necessary to promote the Service's mission and further public education. In these exception situations, payment for such expenses may be accepted but only from State, County and Municipal governments and from organizations which are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3), Title 26 of the USC. Any restrictions implied in the above do not prohibit the acceptance of nominal courtesies normally extended in the spirit of hospitality such as local transportation and lunches.
News coverage to advance deterrent value of enforcement activities encouraged
The Service will endeavor to obtain news coverage of its enforcement activities in order to: (a) help deter violations of the internal revenue laws, and (b) increase the confidence of conscientious taxpayers that the Service prosecutes violators. In achieving these goals, the Service will act with due regard for an individual's right to a fair trial as set forth in the Attorney General's guidelines, 28 CFR 50.2, as well as the public's right to know. Accordingly, the Service will promote news coverage of its enforcement activities in the following manner:
General information concerning the work of a particular division or divisions involved may be furnished.
Information which is a matter of public record (such as pleadings filed with the United States Tax Court or an indictment which has been made public) may be supplied upon request.
In cases pending with a U.S. Attorney, the Service will cooperate with him/her to obtain news coverage.
In strike force cases, the Service will cooperate with the on-site strike force attorney to obtain news coverage.
All news releases concerning criminal actions will be submitted to the U.S. Attorney for approval before distribution to the news media. News releases may be prepared for attribution either to the U.S. Attorney, or for joint attribution to both the Service and the U.S. Attorney. Jointly attributable news releases may be issued on IRS masthead after clearance through the Disclosure Officer and the U.S. Attorney, and may be distributed by Service officials. News releases which are attributed only to the U.S. Attorney may be distributed by Service officials upon request of the U.S. Attorney. Because of statutory prohibition on the disclosure of tax information, it is imperative that material contained in news releases be limited to facts that are a matter of public record.
Designated Service officials may participate in press conferences relating to enforcement actions at the invitation of U.S. Attorneys.
Publicity in connection with seizures to enforce collection of tax
In the event inquiry is received as to whether property has been seized from a specifically named person, the question will be answered provided notice of tax lien has been filed and a seizure warning notice or notice of sale has been posted. However, such information will not be volunteered.
Requests for lists of persons from whom property has been seized
The Service also will comply with requests for lists of persons from whom property has been seized, provided a notice of tax lien has been filed and a seizure warning notice or notice of sale has been posted, and provided the office can comply with the request without doing an unreasonable amount of extra recordkeeping. Small offices of the Service should not have very much difficulty in compiling lists of their own seizures. Although it is recognized that large offices cannot be expected to institute special procedures solely for the purpose of answering inquiries by local newspapers, the official receiving the inquiry should inform the newspaper of the seizures of which he or she has personal knowledge on which a notice of tax lien has been filed and a seizure warning notice or notice of sale has been posted.
Lien filing information to be disclosed
Questions as to whether a notice of tax lien has been filed against a particular taxpayer will be answered. If a notice of lien has been filed pursuant to section 6323(f) of the Code, the amount of the outstanding obligation secured by said lien may be disclosed to any person who furnishes satisfactory written evidence that he or she has a right in the property subject to such lien or intends to obtain a right in such property. (See section 6103(k)(2) of the Code.)
Forwarding letters for private individuals, organizations or corporations and Federal, state and local government agencies without disclosure of address
A taxpayer's address is confidential tax information and can be disclosed only as authorized by the Internal Revenue Code. To be of assistance to private persons and Federal, state, and local government agencies in locating an individual, the Service may agree to forward a letter to such individual at the latest address available in Service records, if his/her social security number is furnished by the requester, without disclosing the address to the requester. Letters will be forwarded under the following conditions provided such service will not have an adverse effect on Service operations or conflict with prior Service commitments.
Requests from private individuals, organizations and corporations
In circumstances where a humane purpose may be served or in extreme emergency situations, the Service may agree to forward a letter. Following are some humane or emergency situations in which the Service may provide assistance:
A person is seeking to find a missing person to convey a message of an urgent or compelling nature, e.g., the individual would be notified of the serious illness, imminent death, or death of a close relative.
The health or well-being of a number of persons is involved, such as where persons are being sought for medical study to detect and treat medical defects or diseases.
The Service will not forward letters in situations where a family member is simply attempting to trace his/her family tree. Nor will the Service forward letters seeking reparation for obligations due the requester.
Under the authority provided by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular No. A-25, the Service may impose a user charge for letter forwarding services in humane situations. Reimbursement will be provided for under a written agreement between the Service and the requester.
Letter forwarding assistance will not be furnished if it would disrupt the Service's tax administration operations or conflict with prior Service commitments.
Service personnel will screen communications submitted for forwarding to ensure that the contents are consistent with the above authorized purposes.
Requests from Federal agencies
31 U.S.C. Sec. 1535 authorizes a Federal agency to perform services within its capabilities for another Federal agency on a reimbursable basis. Consistent with the statute, the Service may agree to forward letters for another Federal agency under a written agreement providing for reimbursement. This service will not be provided if it would disrupt our tax administration functions or conflict with prior Service commitments.
Requests from state and local governments
The Service is authorized to provide reimbursable services to state and local government units under the authority of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1968, and OMB Circular No. A–97. Upon approval by the Office of Management and Budget, the Service will forward letters for a state or local government unit unless such service would disrupt The Service's tax administration operations or conflict with prior Service commitments. Reimbursement from state and local agencies may be waived under conditions specified in OMB Circular No. A-25.
Use of electronic media
Private individuals, organizations or corporations and Federal, state and local government agencies which have contracted with the Service for letter forwarding may be required to submit the names and identification numbers of the recipients in electronic format in accordance with Service specifications.
Notification to addressee that address has not been released to the requester
Any person to whom a letter is forwarded will be advised that his/her address has not been disclosed, and that the Service has no interest in the matter other than forwarding the letter on behalf of the requester.
Disposition of letters received for forwarding will not be disclosed
To divulge the disposition of a letter submitted for forwarding would indicate whether the taxpayer may have filed a return. This information, i.e., fact of filing, constitutes return information subject to the disclosure restrictions of the Code; therefore, the Service will not disclose whether or not a letter to a specific individual has been forwarded, or forwarded but returned as undeliverable.
Any communications that are not forwarded, or are forwarded but returned by the postal service as undeliverable, will be destroyed. The requester will not be notified of their disposition.
Service officials may participate in practitioner liaison meetings; meetings open to public, normally on Government premises; other groups may be invited
Service officials invited to participate in a practitioner liaison meeting may do so for the purpose of explaining and elaborating on the Service's policies and procedures. All such meetings will be open to the general public and will be held on Government premises unless compelling reasons to the contrary exist. When such a meeting is requested other practitioner groups may be invited.
No set schedule of meetings; determination by Service officials that meeting will benefit tax administration; agendas to be reviewed by Regional Commissioner, District or Service Center Directors; sponsors to be encouraged to solicit agenda items from other groups
These meetings will not be held specifically to any set schedule but, instead, will be scheduled on request when practitioner problems or concerns of sufficient importance justify them. Prior to agreeing to a meeting, the Regional Commissioner, District or Service Center Director will determine that an exchange of views with the practitioner organization(s) at the location proposed will contribute to the overall administration of the Service's tax program in their particular area. Service officials will not prepare the agenda for the meeting. The agenda will be prepared by the practitioner group, however Service officials will review the proposed agenda items to delete topics that are not appropriate for discussion. Whenever possible, the sponsoring organization is encouraged to solicit agenda items from other appropriate groups.
The Service is committed to pursuing cooperative tax administration with state tax agencies while ensuring that taxpayers' rights to privacy and confidentiality are protected. The Service will promote opportunities for joint tax administration that will better meet the needs of taxpayers to understand and be able to comply with multiple filing and reporting requirements. These joint efforts will permit us to ensure fairness in the tax system and increase opportunities to reduce taxpayer burden. Efforts should allow both the IRS and state agencies to increase efficiencies and effectiveness in operations through sharing of resources. Working together improves the chances for increasing both voluntary and enforced compliance. Specifically, the Service in partnership with the states will:
Continually identify patterns, trends and causes for noncompliance.
Ensure that taxpayers can meet their filing and tax obligations with minimum contact and burden.
Provide tax administration at the least cost and burden to both Federal and state governments, without unduly imposing on taxpayers' rights to privacy.
|New Number||Old Number||Title|
|11-13||1-192||Freedom of Information Act Requests|
|11-87||1-24||Comments on legislation|
|11-88||1-25||Legislative documents are of a confidential nature|
|11-89||1-26||Legislative assistance to other agencies must be authorized|
|11-90||1-35||Agreements to exchange tax information with states entered into when in interests of good tax administration|
|11-91||1-179||Mass information program necessary to Service's objective|
|11-92||1-180||Cooperation with mass media encouraged|
|11-93||1-181||Speaking, writing engagements and contact with outside groups are encouraged subject to limitations|
|11-94||1-183||News coverage to advance deterrent value of enforcement activities encouraged|
|11-95||1-186||Publicity in connection with seizures to enforce collection of tax|
|11-96||1-187||Forwarding letters for private individuals, organizations or corporations and Federal, state and local government agencies without disclosure of address|
|11-97||1-194||Service officials may participate in practitioner liaison meetings; meetings open to public, normally on Government premises; other groups may be invited|