- 1.11.6 Using and Researching the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM)
- 18.104.22.168 Program Scope and Objectives
- 22.214.171.124.1 Background
- 126.96.36.199.2 Authority
- 188.8.131.52.3 Roles and Responsibilities
- 184.108.40.206.4 Definition of Terms and Acronyms
- 220.127.116.11.5 Related Resources
- 18.104.22.168 How the IRM is Used
- 22.214.171.124 Using the IRM
- 126.96.36.199 How to Access the IRM
- 188.8.131.52.1 Commercial Research Services
- 184.108.40.206.2 Electronic Publishing Website
- 220.127.116.11.3 Historical IRM
- 18.104.22.168.4 Internal Revenue Manual DVD
- 22.214.171.124.5 IRM on IRS.gov
- 126.96.36.199.6 IRM Online
- 188.8.131.52.7 Paper IRM
- 184.108.40.206.8 Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) IRM
- 220.127.116.11 Structure of the IRM
- 18.104.22.168.1 Elements of an IRM Section
- 22.214.171.124.1.1 Manual Transmittal
- 126.96.36.199.1.1.1 IRM Dates
- 188.8.131.52.1.2 Table of Contents
- 184.108.40.206.1.3 Subsections
- 220.127.116.11.1.4 Exhibits
- 18.104.22.168.1.5 Topical Index
- 22.214.171.124.2 Official Use Only (OUO) Content
- 126.96.36.199 Providing Feedback About an IRM Section - Outside of Clearance
- 188.8.131.52.1 How to Obtain an IRM Author's Name
- 184.108.40.206 Other Documents Related to the IRM
- 220.127.116.11.1 Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and United States Code (USC)
- 18.104.22.168.2 Interim Guidance
- 22.214.171.124.3 Chief Counsel Directives Manual (CCDM)
- 126.96.36.199.4 Document 10988, Internal Revenue Manual Index
Part 1. Organization, Finance, and Management
Chapter 11. Internal Management Documents System
Section 6. Using and Researching the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM)
July 28, 2017
(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.11.6, Internal Management Documents System, Using and Researching the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM).
(1) IRM 188.8.131.52, Program Scope and Objectives. This IRM section adds program management and relevant internal control information.
(2) IRM 184.108.40.206, How the IRM is Used. Added Department of Justice attorneys to the table, as a reader of the IRM.
(3) IRM 220.127.116.11, Using the IRM. Moved definitional and background information about the IRM and placed it in under the relevant topics under Program Scope and Objectives.
(4) IRM 18.104.22.168.1, Commercial Services. Removed information in (former) paragraph (2) as IRS eliminated contracts for the commercial DVD.
(5) IRM 22.214.171.124.4, Internal Revenue Manual DVD. Clarified the note to inform employees that this product is a helpful tool but doesn’t house the current, complete IRM.
(6) IRM 126.96.36.199.6, IRM Online. Updated the list of tools and features to include search capability by part and chapter and expanded the description of each feature and tool by displaying in a table.
(7) IRM 188.8.131.52.1.5, Topical Index. Changed the title and removed paragraph (2) which provided an example of an IRM section that contains a topical index, viewable only from a paper version.
(8) IRM 184.108.40.206, Providing Feedback About an IRM Section. Updated the title in paragraph (2) to reflect the title in IRM 220.127.116.11.1.4, Respond to Requested Changes.
(9) IRM 18.104.22.168.4, Document 10988, Internal Revenue Manual Index. Updated information on the frequency of publishing Document 10988, which is quarterly.
(10) Reviewed the links in the IRM, revised content for clarity and made minor editorial changes throughout.
James R. Bolling
Director, Servicewide Policy, Directives and Electronic Resources
Strategy and Business Solutions
Research, Applied Analytics and Statistics
Purpose: This IRM section describes the function of the IRM and provides information on the various ways to find information in the IRM.
Goal: This information is a resource for IRS employees on how to use the IRM and locate information efficiently and effectively in the performance of their duties.
Audience: The readers of this IRM include:
All IRS employees
Employees of federal agencies including Treasury, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), Government Accountability Office (GAO), Department of Justice
Members of the public, including attorneys, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents and taxpayers.
Policy Owner: The Office of Servicewide Policy, Directives and Electronic Resources (SPDER), under the Director, Strategy and Business Solutions, Research, Applied Analytics and Statistics (RAAS).
Program Owner: Director, SPDER.
Contact Information: To recommend changes or make any other suggestions to this IRM section, contact the SPDER office by:
In 2000, IRS formed the Office of Servicewide Policy, Directives and Electronic Research (now Servicewide Policy, Directives and Electronic Resources), following the enactment of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. One of the primary goals of IRS modernization was to restore and maintain the IRM as the official compilation of IRS policies, procedures and guidelines.
SPDER produces tools to assist employees in using the IRM in the performance of their duties. The core mission is to design, implement and monitor the process by which IRS creates policy and procedure.
By law, federal agencies are expected to document, publish and maintain records of policies, authorities, procedures and organizational operations. The IRM is the source for the IRS. See IRM 22.214.171.124 for IMD authorities and legal obligations.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), at 5 USC 552(a)(2)(c), requires each agency to maintain and make available for public inspection and copying a current index providing identifying information for the public. The redacted IRM and the Document 10988, IRM Index, posted on IRS.gov, fulfill this requirement.
Director, Research, Applied Analytics and Statistics (RAAS) is the senior executive.
Director, Strategy and Business Solutions is the first-line executive responsible for the IMD program.
Director, Servicewide Policy, Directives and Electronic Resources is the senior manager responsible for the IMD program.
Internal Management Documents (IMDs) - The official communications that designate authorities and deliver instructions to IRS officials and employees.
Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) - The primary, official source of instructions to employees relating to the organization, administration and operation of the IRS. The IRM contains directions for employees to carry out their responsibilities in administering IRS obligations.
The table below outlines how the IRM is used by various groups inside and outside the IRS.
Who Might Use the IRM Reasons Examples Senior Executives
Structure, mission and responsibilities of each IRS Division and Function and the responsibilities of subordinate offices
Responsibilities of the Senior Leadership for maintaining, documenting, and distributing IRM content for their program area
IRM 1.1, Organization and Staffing
IRM 1.11.1, Internal Management Documents (IMDs)
Administrative requirements and guidelines on managing employees
Performance and quality measures
IRM 1.4, Resource Guide for Managers
Daily operations of tax administration
Content ranging from informational material to step-by-step procedures on a specific action
Compliance issues are addressed primarily in:
Part 4, Examining Process
Part 5, Collecting Process
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)
Government Accountability Office (GAO)
Evidence that IRS:
Operates effectively and efficiently as a Federal agency,
Complies with applicable laws and regulations, and
Provides quality service to the public
All IRM sections
Taxpayer Advocate Service
Ability to review the IRM to identify potential taxpayer concerns or problems which may result in an unnecessary increase in taxpayer burden or present taxpayer rights violations
Ability to propose changes to IRS practices to mitigate or eliminate these types of taxpayer concerns (IRC 7803(c)(2)(A))
All IRM sections
Chief Counsel and Department of Justice Attorneys
Ability to review the IRM to support issues raised in a court case or for other research needs
All IRM sections
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) information
All IRM sections (redacted)
The IRM enables employees to access current, consistent procedures.
You can find information in the IRM ranging from IRS authorities to step by step operating instructions on a specific activity. At the broadest level, the IRM:
Documents the current mission and structure of the IRS. See IRM 1.1.1, IRS Mission and Basic Organization.
Provides servicewide delegations of authority from the Commissioner to the responsible official(s) and/or subordinate position(s). See IRM 1.2, Servicewide Policies and Authorities.
Provides policies of the IRS issued by the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioners. See IRM 1.2, Servicewide Policies and Authorities.
Provides the state of the IRS organization through functional statement IRMs for every IRS Division and Function. See IRM 1.1, Organization and Staffing.
Provides step by step instructions to carry out laws enacted by Congress per the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), Treasury Regulations, and Revenue Rulings.
You can access the IRM through several different products. View the following subsections to obtain hyperlinks to and information about each IRM product. See IRM 126.96.36.199, IMDs Numbered by Business Process, for a description of IRS business processes by IRM part number.
The table below outlines the IRM products available in the IRS and their intended audiences.
Product Redacted Intended Audience For more information Commercial Research Services Yes IRS Employees IRM 188.8.131.52.1 Electronic Publishing Website No IRS Employees IRM 184.108.40.206.2 Historical IRM No IRS Employees IRM 220.127.116.11.3 Internal Revenue Manual DVD Yes IRS Employees away from an IRS network connection IRM 18.104.22.168.4 IRM on IRS.gov Yes Public IRM 22.214.171.124.5 IRM Online No IRS Employees IRM 126.96.36.199.6 Paper IRM No IRS Employees IRM 188.8.131.52.7 Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) No IRS Employees IRM 184.108.40.206.8
IRM content may be superseded by interim guidance. See IRM 220.127.116.11.2, Interim Guidance, for instructions to locate interim guidance updates to the IRM.
The IRS contracts with several commercial research services. Many of these research services provide a redacted version of the IRM on their sites. The commercial versions of the IRM hyperlink to referenced sources. See ReferenceNet for information on accessing these tools.
The IRM published by the commercial research services is limited to publicly available portions of the IRM (official use only content is redacted).
Go to the Electronic Publishing website Product Catalog Information page to view all current and previous IRM sections published in Portable Document File (PDF) format.
The IRM Product Catalog Information page provides the following information about each IRM section:
Electronic Availability (PDF files dating back to 1997)
Points of contact (publishing analyst, distribution analyst and originator)
The Electronic Publishing website provides various ways to search for the IRM and other product types:
Search by Catalog number
Search by Product Number
Search by Product Title
Browse the Numerical Index of all active IRM sections
Employees can also sign up to receive an email notification when a revised IRM section is updated. See IRM 18.104.22.168.2.1, Email Notification Subscription and Management for IRS Published Products.
You may request email notification when any form, notice, document, IRM, etc., maintained on the Publishing website, is revised and published.
To set up your email notification subscription:
Go to the Product Catalog Information Page
Locate the desired product by completing either View by Catalog Number or View by Product Number fields
Locate, click and complete fields on Sign up under the Electronic Availability tab
To manage your email notification subscription:
Go to the Publishing website at Product Catalog Information Page
Locate and click on Manage My Subscriptions
Subscribe to or unsubscribe from desired publications
To access or research prior versions of the IRM, check the IRS Historical Research Library. The library houses prior revisions of the IRM dating back to 1952.
The IRS Historical Research Library also houses a series of collections relating to IRS policy and organizational history including:
Policy Memoranda prior to the official IRM
Treasury Orders from 1960 - 1980
Document Clearance Records for the IRM, Delegations of Authority, and Policy Statements from 1952
Organizational history files from 1912
Copies of these documents may be delivered in PDF, hardcopy, or fax. The delivery method depends on the requested product.
Visit the Library's website, or contact by email at IRMLibrary@irs.gov.
Quarterly, Media and Publications publishes Document 9768, Internal Revenue Manual DVD. The DVD does not contain any official use only (OUO) information.
You can order copies of the DVD through the Internal Management Documents Distribution System (IMDDS). Each DVD comes with operational instructions and tips for searching content.
IRS posts the IRM on IRS.gov to comply with FOIA legal requirements under 5 USC 552.
Go to the IRM on IRS.gov to view the publicly available version of the IRM. This version of the IRM is redacted and does not contain any "official use only" content.
Large IRM sections are split into multiple pages. Click "Next" at the bottom of each page to continue on to the next page.
IRS.gov has an Advanced Search feature that allows you to limit your search to the Internal Revenue Manual.
Redacted IRM source files can be downloaded from IRS.gov. Scroll down to the bottom of the Index page to access the IRM source files.
Research the currently effective IRM at IRM Online.
IRM Online has several user-friendly features and tools.
Tools and Features Description Embedded IRM links Within each IRM section are links to other IRMs, IRS published products, and vendor supplied legal research and reference materials. Favorites feature Save an IRM section to your Favorites. Help feature Obtain Help on conducting searches. Hyperlink tool Enter an IRM Number to receive a properly formed link that you can use in a web page, email, or other electronic product. Indexes Sort the IRM by Number, Audience, Effective Date, Title, Owner, Revision date. Interim guidance access From each IRM section, select interim guidance or SERP IPUs to locate current interim guidance. Other IRM versions From each IRM section, select PDF, Library (historical IRM), SERP, or IRS.gov version to access other versions of the same IRM section. Search features Search by IRM number or keyword, and limit searches by IRM part and/or chapter.
For training on using IRM Online, visit the IRM Online Training page.
Paper copies of the IRM (produced in PDF format) are available to employees but may be subject to certain limitations, such as page size (more than 100 pages) or employee access to electronic sources. Go to Media and Publications' Paper IRM Content page for information on obtaining paper copies of the IRM.
Access the SERP IRM site to view IRM sections relating to Customer Service, Submission Processing, some Compliance programs, and other miscellaneous sections.
The IRM on SERP is updated with interim guidance that is issued by the IRM author through IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs). The SERP IRM is revised online based on the IPU. The revised content is highlighted in yellow and the subsection date is updated to reflect the IPU revision. IPUs that meet the FOIA criteria are redacted and posted on the Electronic Reading Room on IRS.gov. All IRM sections posted on SERP that contain IPUs must be updated and published annually.
The SERP IRM has advanced search features allowing the user to search by IRM number or keyword.
The IRM is organized as follows:
Part - High level IRS business processes
Chapter - Major topic within a Part
Section - Subtopics within a Chapter
Subsection - Detailed topics within a Section
The IRM is maintained and used at the section level. Each section is a separate product.
Each IRM section contains the following elements:
Table of Contents
Each IRM section begins with a Manual Transmittal.
The Manual Transmittal is a "cover sheet" for the IRM section that:
Describes substantial changes from the prior revision
Identifies new procedures
Identifies the effect on other documents such as interim guidance or another associated IRM
Provides the revision and effective dates
Identifies the audience of the IRM
Identifies the authorizing official
The Manual Transmittal is often used for historical purposes for research in tax court, audits and employee reviews.
IRM content remains in effect until superseded or obsoleted by a subsequent IRM or other IMD.
The various dates in the IRM are defined as follows:
Manual Transmittal date is the revision date of the IRM.
Effective Date is the date the IRM section is effective.
Subsection date is the date the content in the subsection is effective.
The Table of Contents follows the Manual Transmittal in each IRM section.
View the Table of Contents to find the number and title for each IRM subsection and exhibit.
A subsection contains content. The content, procedural or informational, is displayed in a numbered paragraph. Depending on the complexity of the topic, additional subsections (subtopics) can be added up to five-levels.
Each subsection number is separated by a period. See the Table of Contents of any IRM section for an example of the subsection structure. Each subsection is accompanied by a title. Subsections are nested, similar to an outline.
A subsection consists of the following:
Title - A description of the content in the subsection
Number - Represents the Part, Chapter, Section and Subsection
Date - The date the subsection content is effective
Text - Paragraphs, lists, tables and/or notes
Subsections may also contain Figures. Figures are illustrations in a graphic or table placed within a subsection.
Sensitive content meeting the conditions under the FOIA exemptions is designated as official use only (OUO). Content is designated OUO when disclosure of the content could adversely affect the conduct of IRS programs or operations essential to administering the tax laws or the privacy of an individual. See IRM 10.2.13 for information about handling and protecting OUO content.
When OUO content is included in the IRM it is clearly marked with pound signs.
It is important not to release information designated OUO to the public. To protect against accidental release when communicating with the public, use the version of the IRM on IRS.gov at http://www.irs.gov/irm/index.html.
You may suggest additions or corrections to the published IRM for the author or program owner's consideration in any of the following ways:
Email the originating office outlining the issue including the IRM reference(s) and the recommended change(s).
Click the IRM Online"Contact Us" link under Help to submit your feedback to the SPDER staff via email. SPDER will direct your email to the appropriate IRM office.
Contact the organization's Internal Management Document (IMD) coordinator. See http://spder.web.irs.gov/imd/Resources/IMDContacts.asp and select your Organization and under Role, select IMD "Coordinator" .
Click the SERP Feedback button at the top of the page on a SERP hosted IRM to submit your feedback to the SERP staff. The SERP staff will forward your feedback to the appropriate IRM office for consideration and response.
Contact the IRM author. For instructions, see IRM 22.214.171.124.1, How to Obtain an IRM Author's Name.
Feedback will be acknowledged and considered by authors regardless of how the request is submitted. When a recommended change is not adopted which could adversely affect your program, process or activity, you may elevate your change request through your management chain. For guidance on this process, see IRM 126.96.36.199.1.4, Respond to Requested IRM Changes.
Use the Product Catalog Information or IRM Numerical Index to locate the IRM author.
To locate the author from the Product Catalog Information page:
Go to the Electronic Publishing Product Catalog Information
Select the drop down arrow under View by Product Number and change Form to IRM
Enter the IRM number in the Enter product suffix (sch d): box
Find the Originator (IRM author) name and contact telephone number under Contacts
To locate the author using the IRM Numerical Index:
Go to the Electronic Publishing IRM Numerical Index
Expand the IRM Part
Click on the Cat. No
Scroll down to Contacts
Find the Originator (IRM author) name and contact telephone number
Certain documents influence or are influenced by the IRM. Descriptions of some of these documents follow.
The US Government publishes the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) as Title 26 of the United States Code (USC).
You can research the IRC / USC through various research services contracted by the IRS.
Interim guidance may temporarily supplement or update IRM content.
To locate interim guidance supplementing an IRM, go to the applicable IRM section on IRM Online and navigate to interim guidance to obtain currently active interim guidance memoranda and SERP IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs). You can also search Interim Guidance on IRM Online for active interim guidance memoranda.
Interim guidance meeting the conditions under FOIA, 552(a)(2)(C) is located on the IRS.gov Electronic Reading Room under Recent Interim Guidance to Staff webpage by related IRM number.
The CCDM contains instructions and guidelines that address the processes and activities of the Office of the Chief Counsel. The CCDM is available in PDF from the Electronic Publishing catalog page and an online version is accessible at http://irm.web.irs.gov/ccdm/.
The structure and numbering of the CCDM, in Parts 30 through 39, is similar to the IRM.
Document 10988, Internal Revenue Manual Index, is a compilation of the IRM sections published by Media and Publications. The index is produced quarterly.
The index provides the following information about each new, revised and obsolete IRM section:
Identifies IRM sections containing OUO information with an asterisk
Provides historical information (prior IRM number)