Part 1. Organization, Finance, and Management
Chapter 7. Research and Analysis for Tax Administration
Section 2. Servicewide Research Data Standards
It is important for the research community to conduct research in a manner consistent with IRS policy and best practices. Using tested, validated and documented data is a critical step in ensuring that research is proper, reliable, and accomplished in accordance with stakeholder and customer expectations. Research staffs must also ensure that safeguards are in place and followed that limit and control access to taxpayer data and protect taxpayer privacy.
The Servicewide Research Council (SRC) Data Subgroup with representatives from the Operating Divisions and Criminal Investigation, and in consultation with data management, privacy, and security experts, developed the standards contained in this document. To ensure that the standards remain relevant, current, and fit-for-use, the SRC Data Subgroup pledges to periodically review the standards for compliance with IRS procedures and best practices.
The following standards will be followed for all IRS research projects:
The use of taxpayer data is restricted to authorized personnel for approved research projects;
Taxpayer privacy must be safeguarded;
The data used in a research project must be validated;
Any known or potential limitations in the data used in a research project must be properly disclosed;
Any data used in a research project must be obtained, utilized, stored, disseminated, and transported in accordance with the Internal Revenue Manual;
Related documentation (data dictionary, record layout, sampling plan, data validation documentation, syntax and other computer code) must be made available to any research site requesting data;
All data used in a research project and under the control of Research, whether stored on computer or archived on magnetic media, must be destroyed in a timely manner in accordance with the Internal Revenue Manual.
This document covers all data from internal or external sources used in any research activity. Foundational research data systems [such as the Compliance Research Information System (CRIS), the Compliance Data Warehouse (CDW) and the Enforcement Revenue Information System (ERIS)] should be certified on a regular basis and at a minimum annually.
Research Managers are responsible for ensuring compliance with the research data standards contained in this document.
Additional references, tools, and checklists can be found on the research Quality Assurance Council web site at http://qac.web.irs.gov/.