1.11.8 Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP)

Manual Transmittal

November 24, 2020

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.11.8, Internal Management Documents System, Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP).

Material Changes

(1) IRM 1.11.8.3(1) - Added cross reference for interim guidance approval procedures. IPU 20U0537 issued 04-23-2020

(2) IRM 1.11.8.1.4 - Renumbered subsection "Contacting SERP" to IRM 1.11.8.1.8 for consistency.

(3) IRM 1.11.8.1.4 - Added "Program Management and Review" per Internal Control standards.

(4) IRM 1.11.8.4.1(1) - Updated SERP Feedback name for OL5081 application. IPU 20U0537 issued 04-23-2020

(5) IRM 1.11.8.5(5) - Corrected steps to check .pdf documents for 508 compliance.

(6) IRM 1.11.8.6.1(1) - Updated SERP Feedback name for OL5081 application. IPU 20U0537 issued 04-23-2020

(7) IRM 1.11.8.7.4 - Added subsection to formalize existing process for removing content from SERP. IPU 20U0537 issued 04-23-2020

(8) IRM 1.11.8.7.4 - Deleted subsection and moved information to new subsection IRM 1.11.8.8.1.

(9) IRM 1.11.8.8 - Added new subsection, Removing Content from the SERP Website, to mirror parallel structure of other subsections.

(10) IRM 1.11.8.8.1 - Added new subsection, Removing IRMs, and moved content from IRM 1.11.8.7.4.

(11) IRM 1.11.8.8.2 - Added new subsection, Removing Alerts.

(12) IRM 1.11.8.8.3 - Added new subsection, Removing All Other Content.

(13) IRM 1.11.8.9 - Combined information from IRM 1.11.8.8 and IRM 1.11.8.9 under new subsection title, SERP Posting Information.

(14) Exhibit 1.11.8-9 - Added exhibit, Updating the Effect on Other Documents, and moved examples from IRM 1.11.8.4.1.3(1) f into a table format.

(15) IRM 1.11.8 - Editorial, Plain Language and format revisions made throughout.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 1.11.8 dated November 20, 2019 (effective January 2, 2020), is superseded. The following IRM Procedural Update (IPU), issued on 04-23-2020, has been incorporated into this IRM: 20U0537.

Audience

Servicewide Tax/Policy/Program Analysts who host content on SERP.

Effective Date

(01-04-2021)

Joseph Dianto
Director, Accounts Management
Wage and Investment Division

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. Overview: The Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) is an electronic research source designed to provide employees with access to Internal Revenue Manuals (IRMs), updated with interim procedural guidance, as well as other reference materials. SERP provides employees with notification of IRM changes and current procedures.

  2. Purpose: This IRM provides Business Units, their employees and management with information about SERP as an electronic research source and customers of SERP with requirements for hosting and maintaining content on the SERP website.

    • To access SERP go to: http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/homepage.html in a Web browser;

    • Or click on SERP under Technical Tools on the IRS Source at https://irssource.web.irs.gov/Pages/Home.aspx.

  3. Audience: Servicewide Tax/Policy/Program Analysts who host content on SERP.

    Note:

    SERP hosts IRMs by request based on end-user need. Not all IRMs are on SERP. Visit http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/irm.dr/irms.html to identify the IRMs currently available on SERP. IRMs not available on SERP can be found at: http://irm.web.irs.gov.

  4. Policy Owner: Director of Accounts Management

  5. Program Owner: SERP Communication Program (SCP), Web & Automation (W&A), Accounts Management (AM), Wage & Investment (W&I).

  6. Primary Stakeholders: SERP works closely with authors of technical information (such as IRMs), Media & Publications, Alternative Media Center, Local Site Coordinators, and other areas throughout the Service to ensure the most current information is available. SERP primarily works with Program Managers, Officials and IMD Coordinators across W&I and SBSE.

  7. Program Goals: SERP provides many operating/functional divisions a research service for a variety of topics including:

    • IRMs and IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs)

    • Correspondex Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) letters

    • Forms

    • Publications

    • Information Alerts

    • Job Aids

    • Supplemental information documents developed by authorized submitters

    • Who/Where Information

    • Links to organizational specific portals

Background

  1. SERP is designed to provide employees from all IRS functions intranet access to IRMs and other reference materials, and to retrieve frequently-referenced documents required to perform their jobs. SERP reports to the Program Manager, Web & Automation.

  2. The SERP staff creates webpages using content provided by the customer. The benefits of hosting content on the SERP website include:

    • SERP analysts make real-time updates to information; procedural updates are usually made by the next business day.

    • SERP ensures content is accessible for all users in compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 USC § 794d.

    • SERP receives nearly a million hits daily with approximately 80,000 visitors each month (based on unique IP addresses observed monthly) allowing content to receive maximum exposure.

    • SERP’s Web servers are among the most reliable and receive 600-800 searches per minute.

Authority

  1. Authorities relevant to the SERP website content include the following:

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. This subsection provides information regarding who is responsible for the activities described in the IRM.

Requirements for Hosting Content on the SERP Website
  1. To host content on the SERP website the content owner (see IRM 1.11.8.2, Content Owner) must:

    1. Ensure the accuracy of the information.

    2. Use SERP IPUs to issue interim updates to IRMs.

    3. Incorporate SERP IPUs into the published IRM within the effective period of the IPU. See IRM 1.11.8.7.1(2), Updating IRMs through an IRM Procedural Update (IPU).

    4. Annually certify the content is current and accurate through the Content Certification Process. See IRM 1.11.8.11, Content Certification Process.

    5. Ensure content is kept current through Media and Publications revisions and through the IRM Procedural Update (IPU) process. See IRM 1.11.8.7, Updating Content on the SERP Website.

      Note:

      An IPU revises or corrects existing IRM information on SERP only. All other IRM formats, including the published version available to the public, are not updated. However, if the interim guidance (i.e., SERP IPU) meets E-FOIA criteria, the IPU is forwarded for posting in the FOIA Library on www.irs.gov..

    6. Respond to feedback using the SERP Feedback system.

  2. Authorized submitters or IRM authors are the only individuals authorized to submit content to SERP.

  3. Initiators must obtain approval from the authorized submitter. See IRM 1.11.8.3, Authorized Submitter.

Responsibilities of SERP
  1. The objectives of SERP are to:

    1. Maintain a liaison with operating/functional divisions to ensure they are familiar with SERP procedures.

    2. Work with the program owners and authors who host their content on SERP to timely issue procedural updates (IPUs), alerts and job aids.

    3. Communicate with end-users through a feedback process to ensure their needs are met.

    4. Act as liaison between authors of technical documents and end-users to ensure the information available is accurate.

    5. Provide employees with prompt access to the information required to perform their jobs.

Program Management and Review

  1. SERP Communication Program (SCP), under the guidance of Web & Automation (W&A), has responsibility for ensuring content hosted on the SERP site is current and accurate. All content is reviewed annually and certified by the program owner of the content. See IRM 1.11.8.11, Content Certification Process.

Program Controls

  1. All IRM authors and content owners must submit an Online 5081 (OL5081) to gain access to the SERP Feedback system, see IRM 1.11.8.10, SERP Feedback Application - Author/Content Owner Responsibilities.

  2. IRM authors and content owners submitting SERP Alerts or IPUs (via SERP submission forms) must contact SERP via email and provide their profile information, see IRM 1.11.8.3(4), Authorized Submitter. Their manager will also need to send an email stating they are approved to submit content for the area they have indicated in their request.

  3. Authorized submitters who are not the primary content owner (such as a back-up or other designated submitter) must contact SERP via email and have their manager send an email stating they are approved to submit content for the area they have indicated in their request. See IRM 1.11.8.3, Authorized Submitter.

Terms/Definitions/Acronyms

  1. Common terms and acronyms used throughout this section:

    Table of Defined Terms

    Term or Acronym Definition
    Alert, or SERP Alert Alerts notify users of system problems and "need to know" information that does not change procedures or guidelines in the IRM. New alerts are posted on the SERP homepage under "Today’s News" .
    Alternative Text (Alt Text) Line-by-line text descriptions which make graphics and other content accessible for all users.
    Arbortext Editor XML editing software required for maintaining and updating IRM files. The current version is Arbortext 7.1
    Authorized Submitter Person authorized to submit or update information on the SERP website.
    Content Certification Process Annual process where content owners review and certify the information on SERP is current and accurate.
    Content Owner Person who is responsible for specific topic information located on the SERP website; IRMs, Alerts, Job Aids, etc.
    E-FOIA - Electronic Freedom of Information Act E-FOIA, which amended FOIA in 1996, essentially requires government agencies to make certain internal information available through FOIA, available in electronic form. SERP has a process in place to ensure IPU content that meets FOIA criteria is forwarded for posting in the FOIA Library on www.irs.gov
    FOIA - Freedom of Information Act The Freedom of Information Act gives any person the right to access federal agency records or information. The FOIA is based on the presumption that the government and it’s information belong to the people.
    HTML - Hyper Text Markup Language The standard markup language used for documents on the World Wide Web. SERP staff converts content provided in various file formats (.xml, .pdf, .docx) to HTML pages read by browsers and viewed by users of the SERP website
    IMD - Internal Management Document The official communications that designate authorities and disseminate policy, procedures and Instructions to Staff to internal and external stakeholders (e.g., the Internal Revenue Manual).
    IMD Coordinator Designated person for an organization or function that oversees the publication of documents (IRMs etc.) for the organization.
    IPU - IRM Procedural Update IRM update (interim guidance which revises or corrects the existing IRM) submitted for posting on SERP. New IPUs are posted on the SERP homepage under "Today’s News" .
    Job Aid Technical research information not contained in an IPU or Alert.
    MT - Manual Transmittal The MT is the beginning section of the IRM and communicates information about the revisions made to the IRM. The MT provides a historical record and description of substantive changes to procedures, processes and programs.
    MTIPU - IPU Manual Transmittal The MTIPU communicates information about the material changes made with the IPU. It provides a consolidated list of all the IPU changes made since the last publication of the IRM.
    Portal Various technical content pages grouped together by topics relevant to specific organizations or programs.
    Section 508 Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 USC 794d) ensures SERP content is accessible for all users.
    SERP - Servicewide Electronic Research Program An electronic research source designed to provide access to current procedural guidance and reference materials.
    SPDER - Servicewide Policy, Directives and Electronic Research Provides electronic tax law research; oversees internal management document process; communicates directives and policies.
    XML - Extensible Markup Language Language used to write and update IRMs; the file type is .xml.

Resources

  1. The following lists the primary sources of guidance for SERP program activities.

    • IRM 1.11.2, Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) Process

    • IRM 1.11.5, Publishing the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM)

    • IRM 1.11.7, Accounts Management Tax/Policy/Program Analyst Guide

    • IRM 1.11.9, Clearing and Approving Internal Management Documents (IMDs)

    • IRM 1.11.10, Interim Guidance Process

    • SERP Feedback Guide for Content Owners

    • SERP Submission Form User Guide

    • SERP E-FOIA Decision Tool

Contacting SERP

  1. There are various ways to contact the SERP staff depending on your role. Please use the following table as a guide:

    Methods of Contacting SERP

    Method User Role Purpose
    SERP Feedback SERP Users
    • Use the SERP Feedback System to input feedback about information on SERP including the Internal Revenue Manuals (IRMs).

    • Use SERP Feedback to identify corrections or request changes to the IRM and other hosted content on SERP.

    • Do not use the Feedback system to ask questions that should be answered by chain of command or to rebut an employee review.

    Contact SERP SERP Users, Content Owners, and Authorized Submitters
    • Use to contact the SERP staff with questions or problems about site content or usability.

    • Do not use for technical/policy-related questions or concerns about IRM content or other issues that should be addressed by SERP Feedback.

    SERP Mailbox Content Owners, and Authorized Submitters Use to communicate with the SERP staff about IPU/Alert submissions or to request editorial changes to IRMs and other content (e.g., typographical errors, fix broken links, etc.).
     

Content Owner

  1. Content owners:

    1. Have technical material placed on SERP (IRM, job aid, contact listing).

    2. "Own" the actual content.

    3. Are responsible for ensuring content is accurate and current by issuing interim guidance and annual updates.

    4. Provide responses to SERP Feedback.

  2. Hosting material on SERP is optional for various business units, however, the content owner must adhere to SERP requirements if placing material on SERP. See IRM 1.11.8.1.3.1, Requirements for Hosting Content on the SERP Website.

  3. The IRM program manager must approve the posting of IRMs not currently on SERP. The IMD Coordinator will be copied on any email solicitations to add IRMs.

  4. Only Authorized Submitters can submit requests for changes to content on SERP. See IRM 1.11.8.3, Authorized Submitter, for more information about becoming an Authorized Submitter.

  5. Any changes (temporary or permanent) to the actual ownership of the content must be reported to SERP via the *CTR ODN SERP SECT mailbox.

  6. A resource for information is the SERP Author Resources page. The Author Resources page contains:

    • Current news about SERP

    • SERP Submission Form and User Guide

    • Extensible Markup Language (XML) References

    • SERP References such as SERP contact info and email address

    • SERP Feedback References such as the Feedback Guide for Content Owners

    • IRMs pertinent to the SERP process and regulations

    • Links to other useful websites

Authorized Submitter

  1. An authorized submitter is a person who is authorized to submit content changes or additions to SERP. IRM authors as well as their direct managers and senior analysts are automatically considered authorized submitters. See IRM 1.11.8.7, Updating Content on the SERP Website. An authorized submitter is not the same as the approving official. These individuals are not automatically the official authorized to approve content changes. Contact your organization to determine who is authorized to approve IPUs (see IRM 1.11.10.3.1, Clearance and Approval of Interim Guidance) or other content changes posted on SERP.

    Note:

    Organizations have the option to designate additional authorized submitters as needed.

  2. Only authorized submitters can request to post new information or to change existing information on SERP.

  3. New IRM authors or program owners needing to issue Alerts or IPUs must contact SERP staff to provide their user profile information shown below, before they can use the Submission Form.

  4. An email should be sent to *CTR ODN SERP SECT containing the following information:

    • Your name as it should appear on the Alert or IPU

    • Your SEID

    • Your Org Symbols

    • Your BOD (W&I, SBSE, etc.)

    • Your business telephone number


    IRM Authors must include:
    • The IRM(s) you are responsible for

    • The name of your IMD coordinator


    Alternate Authors or Program Owners must include:
    • IRM(s) or Program(s) you are responsible for

    • Manager Name

    • Manager Title

    • Your manager must forward an email to the SERP staff approving you to submit Alerts or IPUs for the IRM or program you have listed

  5. Once added, any changes/updates (temporary or permanent) to an authorized submitter's information can be made by the employee, and must be reported to SERP via an email sent to *CTR ODN SERP SECT. The email should contain the information shown above.

SERP IRM Author Roles and Responsibilities

  1. SERP IRM authors must adhere to the following policies:

    For See
    IRM Authoring IRM 1.11.2, Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) Process
    IRM Clearance IRM 1.11.9, Clearing and Approving Internal Management Documents (IMDs)
    IRM Publishing IRM 1.11.5, Publishing the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM)
    IPU Clearance and Approval IRM 1.11.10, Interim Guidance Process

  2. In addition, SERP IRM authors must take the following actions when issuing IPUs:

    Action: Reference:
    a) Use the current Arbortext IRM Authoring Software to write and edit IRM procedures.

    Reminder:

    Authors can obtain the latest published IRM from the Electronic Publishing website through the IRM Numerical Index at http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/irm/numind.html. Use this file to update the first IPU revision after the IRM published date.

    IRM 1.11.8.7.1.3, IRM Authoring Tool - Updating Your IRM XML File for IPU Submission

    Note:

    Contact your Internal Management Document (IMD) Coordinator for Arbortext software training. Visit the Knowledge Services Help Desk at xmlhelpdesk.web.irs.gov for answers to Frequently Asked Questions or email wi.mpm.xmlsgmlhelp@irs.gov with questions/problems.

    b)
    • Ensure all procedures/instructions included in the IRM reflect the current operating environment and business practices.

    • Verify IRM procedures are correct and do not contradict existing procedures, processes or laws.

    IRM 1.11.2, Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) Process
    IRM 1.11.10.6, SERP IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs)
    c)
    • Share changes with authors whose IRM sections may be affected by the new guidance.

    • Update references/cross-references.

    • Ensure content does not include live taxpayer data.

    IRM 1.11.2.5.1, Prepare to Write or Revise the IRM
    d) Make certain procedures meet plain language standards and do not duplicate other IRM procedures. Plain Language website
    e) Tag all Official-Use-Only (OUO) information properly. If the change(s) include OUO content, obtain approval from the Program Director. IRM 1.2.2.11.1, Delegation Order 11-1, Administrative Control of Documents and Material
    IRM 1.11.10.4.1.1, Disclosure Exemptions for Instructions to Staff
    f) Evaluate and identify content that meets E-FOIA criteria.

    Note:

    The SERP E-FOIA Decision Tool is available to assist IRM authors in determining whether E-FOIA applies to any of their changes.

    IRM 1.11.10.4, Evaluation of Interim Guidance for E-FOIA
    Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 5 USC § 552(a)(2)(C)
    g) Make sure local procedures are not used unless authorized by Headquarters, (e.g., memos, desk guides).

    Note:

    Local procedures that affect the public must be posted in the FOIA Library athttps://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/recent-interim-guidance-to-staff.

    IRM 1.11.2.2.3, Local Procedures
    h) Use correct reference citations for citing law (e.g., United States Code, Code of Federal Regulations, Revenue Procedures, Revenue Rulings, etc.). IRM 1.11.2.5.8.2, Cite Legal Sources
    Exhibit 1.11.8-7, SERP Citation Standards
    i) Confirm graphics adhere to Section 508. IRM 1.11.8.5, Writing Section 508 Compliant Content
    j) Ensure IPUs are cleared and approved following either the Emergency or Standard clearance process. IRM 1.11.10.6.1, Clearance and Approval of IPUs:
    • Emergency Clearance Process for IPUs, see IRM 1.11.10.6.1.1

    • Standard Clearance Process for IPUs, see IRM 1.11.10.6.1.2

    k) Follow the publishing and clearance process to incorporate interim guidance.

    Caution:

    SERP is not a substitute for published IRM revisions. IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs) on SERP are not intended for IRMs that have not been republished in the last 12 months. Do not submit entire IRM updates to SERP.

    IRM 1.11.10.7, Rules for Incorporating Interim Guidance into the IRM

    Reminder:

    If an IPU is issued during the time when the IRM is sent to Publishing and when it is effective and posted on SERP, ensure the information from the IPU is incorporated into the SERP IRM after the published version is effective. See Exhibit 1.11.8-8, Scenarios for Start-Up IPUs, for more information.

  3. A resource for information is the SERP Author Resources page. The Author Resources page contains:

    • Current news about SERP

    • SERP Submission Form, User Guide, and Training

    • XML References such as XML Instructions, FAQs, and the Quick Reference Guide

    • SERP References such as SERP contact info, the SERP email address, and the Authorized Submitter Form

    • SERP Feedback References such as the Author/Content Owner Instructions and a Quick Reference Guide for Feedback Responses

    • IRMs pertinent to the SERP process and regulations

    • Links to other useful websites

New IRM Authors

  1. New IRM authors must:

    1. Complete an Online 5081 (OL5081) to provide responses to SERP Feedback regarding your IRM.

      Note:

      Select TEST USER SERP PMO FEEDBACK (SERP) through the Online 5081 application.

      See IRM 1.11.8.10, SERP Feedback Application - Author/Content Owner Responsibilities.

    2. Read the SERP Submission Form User Guide before using the SERP Submission Form application to submit updates regarding their IRM. See IRM 1.11.8.7.1, Updating IRMs through an IRM Procedural Update (IPU).

    3. Participate in the annual IRM certification to ensure current and accurate information is being hosted on SERP. See IRM 1.11.8.11, Content Certification Process.

    4. Follow IRM 1.11.8.4, SERP IRM Author Roles and Responsibilities.

Writing Section 508 Compliant Content

  1. All content hosted on SERP must be compliant with Section 508 (e.g., IRMs, Alerts, job aids, etc.). This ensures all information on the SERP website is accessible for users of assistive software.

  2. To ensure Section 508 compliance and optimal usability, SERP will determine the final format of submitted content. If it is determined the content would be better suited for an alternative format (i.e., html page), the responsibility of programming the content will be on SERP and not the submitter. SERP will make every effort to ensure the content is presented in its most usable form for the SERP platform.

  3. Tables must contain a header row with no embedded (sub-) headers, columns or rows. Tables must not contain merged or split cells.

  4. Graphics (including images and/or screen captures) must include alternative text descriptions. To be compliant with Section 508, all IRM graphics must include an alternative text (line-by-line text). Line-by-line text may be used in lieu of graphics. See Exhibit 1.11.8-1 through Exhibit 1.11.8-6 for examples of compliant alternative text.

    Reminder:

    Publishing will only accept graphics in .pdf format. See IRM 1.11.2.5.7, Graphics.

  5. All .pdf files must meet Section 508 compliance before forwarding to SERP. To verify 508 compliance of a .pdf file use the Accessibility Checker in Adobe:

    1. Click Tools

    2. Click Accessibility/Open

    3. Click Full Check

    4. Click Start Checking

    5. Click on the issue(s) and resolve through the Accessibility Checker

  6. Refer to the Information Resources Accessibility Program (IRAP) website or the Alternative Media Center (AMC) for more information on Section 508.

Adding Content to the SERP Website

  1. Submitters must follow the instructions listed in the following subsections for the type of content adding to the SERP website.

Adding IRMs

  1. To post an IRM currently not on SERP, the IRM author must:

    1. Obtain approval from your program manager.

    2. Inform your organization’s IMD Coordinator.

    3. Contact the SERP staff and request the IRM be added to the SERP website via email to *CTR ODN SERP SECT.

    4. Follow the instructions in IRM 1.11.8.3, Authorized Submitter, to notify SERP if someone other than the IRM author will be submitting alerts or updating the IRM.

    5. Complete an Online 5081 to gain access to the SERP Feedback system to provide responses to SERP Feedback regarding your IRM.

      Note:

      Select TEST USER SERP PMO FEEDBACK (SERP) through the OL5081 application.

      See IRM 1.11.8.10, SERP Feedback Application - Author/Content Owner Responsibilities.

  2. After a SERP approved IRM is published, the SERP staff downloads the IRM files directly from the Electronic Publishing website and converts the files to HTML for posting to SERP. This is transparent to IRM Authors.

  3. Upon completion of the above, the SERP staff notifies the author the IRM is posted on SERP.

Adding Alerts

  1. An alert presents information that does not change current procedures or guidelines in the IRM.

  2. An alert must not contain procedures or instructions to staff that affect the public, which are not already posted on www.irs.gov.

  3. Use alerts to notify users of system problems, changes, and information (e.g., disaster assistance information) that does not require an IRM procedure/instruction change.

  4. Secure necessary approvals for information provided in the alert, if required. Input the "Approving Official" name and "Title" as applicable. Contact your organization to determine who is authorized to approve alerts or other content changes posted on SERP.

    Note:

    Alerts submitted for expedite posting must have managerial approval.

  5. You must first be added to the SERP database before you can submit an alert request. Instructions on how to gain access can be found in the SERP Submission Form User Guide as well as in IRM 1.11.8.3, Authorized Submitter.

  6. Complete and submit an alert request by accessing the SERP Submission Form, and selecting the 'New Alert' link on the navigational bar.

  7. Detailed instructions can be found on the tab titled 'New Alert' in the SERP Submission Form User Guide.

  8. Once the form is completed, click "Save" to activate the "Submit" button and the "Add File" button. The record is assigned a temporary tracking number, and the record is added to your list of ACTIVE records on the MY INPUTS page.

  9. If you need to attach a file follow the guidelines in the Files/Attachments link under the "New Alert" tab of the Submission Form User Guide.

    • Name your file following the naming conventions outlined in the Submission Form User Guide.

    • Click the "Add File" button and browse to select the file.

    • If more than one file needs to be submitted, repeat the "Add File" steps.

  10. Click "E-mail" and an email will open. You can send this email to an approver/reviewer or other co-worker needing to look at this alert before submitting it to be posted.

    Note:

    Alerts submitted for expedite posting must have managerial approval.

  11. Address the email to the appropriate individuals.

  12. The subject line is auto populated with the alert’s temporary tracking number. You may add to the subject if necessary.

  13. The body of the email will include a link to the alert record. If your organization requires review of the alert submission prior to sending it to SERP, your recipients can view the record and the attachments; however, they cannot make changes to this record or the attachments. If they need to make changes to the alert or the attachments one of the following actions will need to be taken:

    • You attach a Word document with the alert content to the email and/or the uploaded documents to the email for the recipient to edit.

    • The recipient copies and pastes the items needing to be changed from the record view into the email.

    • The recipient opens the uploaded files from the links in the record view and saves them to their desktop for editing. Once edited, the recipient will need to attach the changed items to the email and return it to you to make the changes before submitting the alert for posting.

  14. When you are ready to submit your alert to SERP, you will click the 'Submit' button. The 'Submit' button will perform a validation on your input and produce an error message indicating if any items have been missed. On most messages you must click ‘OK’ to close the message, and then go back to the missing item and input the information before the form can be submitted. The following are possible validation messages you could receive:

    • "Please enter a Subject"

    • "Please select the Audience"

    • "You did not answer the question - Was this Alert the result of SERP feedback?"

    • "Enter Feedback Control Number"

    • "No portals have been checked. Select OK to continue Submit or Cancel"

    • "Please select the Master File"

    • "You are responsible for obtaining all approvals needed for this Alert"

    Note:

    Incomplete forms could delay the posting of the alert. See IRM 1.11.8.9.2, Time Frames for Posting to SERP.

  15. When all inputs have been validated a warning box will display stating; "Submission will be posted within 48 hours; Are you sure you want to submit the form?" If you click 'OK':

    • The temporary tracking number is removed and the record is assigned the posting number.

    • The record is moved to your list of SUBMITTED records on the MY INPUTS page.

    • The record and any attachments are submitted to the database for SERP to process and post to the website.

  16. If you click 'Cancel' a message will display, "The form will remain under My Inputs as Active" , click ‘OK’ and you are returned to your ‘Saved’ form.

  17. If a prior alert needs to be updated with new information, or “rescinded”, see IRM 1.11.8.7.2, Updating Alerts.

SERP Alerts with Disaster Criteria
  1. All SERP Alerts with disaster criteria must be coordinated with the Disaster Program Office to prevent duplication and assure consistency. Employees issuing SERP Alerts with disaster criteria must contact the Disaster Program Office senior analyst listed on the Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program website. Disaster criteria may include one or more of the following words:

    • Disaster

    • Emergency

    • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

    • Fire

    • Flooding

    • Hurricanes

    • -O Freeze

    • -S Freeze

    • Severe Storms

    • Tornadoes

    • Tragedy

  2. When you complete the SERP Alert Submission Form, complete the "Notes/Special Instructions for the SERP Staff" and indicate:

    • the Disaster Program Office was contacted, and

    • the type of disaster to place the alert on the Disaster Information Page (IRM Supplements tab):

    1. Hurricanes

    2. Severe Storms

    3. Other Disaster/Emergency Relief

Adding Homepage Items

  1. The primary purpose of the SERP homepage is to post daily IRM Updates, Alerts, Priority News and miscellaneous SERP topic updates.

  2. The SERP homepage can also be used to provide users with brief information, which does not require an Update or Alert.

    Example:

    The Technical Communication Team has redesigned its website. Check out the new features.

  3. To submit items for the Homepage, an authorized submitter can send a written request via email to *CTR ODN SERP SECT.

  4. SERP homepage items are posted for one day. Upon request, a SERP homepage item may be moved to the Priority News where it can remain for 14 calendar days. If there is a need for a Priority News item to remain for more than 14 calendar days, include a justification with your request.

Adding Content to SERP

  1. To submit a request to add content (other than an Alert or IPU), an authorized submitter can send the request via email to *CTR ODN SERP SECT. A member of the SERP staff will contact you to discuss the details. For information on submitting Job Aids, see IRM 1.11.8.6.5, Adding Job Aids.

  2. If approved, the SERP staff provides the content owner with SERP requirements and, upon concurrence, places the content on SERP.

  3. Items can only be added by the program owner or designated authorized submitter.

    Note:

    It is the content owner’s responsibility to ensure the content has been properly cleared following all organizational and IRM requirements.

  4. The SERP staff notifies the content owner once the content has posted to SERP.

Adding Job Aids

  1. Job aids are documents or content posted on SERP that are not in the IRM, but rather assist in following the IRM by combining multiple instructions or providing additional details about the procedures.

    Note:

    All procedural/instructional information, or "instructions to staff" , must exist in the published IRM or in official interim guidance (IPU).

  2. Do not include local procedures in a job aid. See IRM 1.11.8.4(2)d), SERP IRM Author Roles and Responsibilities.

  3. All job aids (e.g., exhibits, charts, graphs) must meet Section 508 compliance before forwarding to SERP. See IRM 1.11.8.5, Writing Section 508 Compliant Content, for more information.

    Note:

    Due to server size limitations and usability concerns, SERP may take efforts to reduce the file size of submitted content. This may include converting Power Point and other large format documents to user friendly HTML pages. If it is determined the content would be better suited for an alternative format (i.e., html page), the responsibility of programming the content will be on SERP and not the submitter. SERP will make every effort to ensure the content is presented in its most usable form for the SERP platform, including 508 compliancy.

  4. Graphics must be submitted with alternative text.

  5. Job aids can only be added by the content owner.

    Note:

    It is the content owner’s responsibility to ensure the content has been cleared following all organizational and IRM requirements.

  6. Job aids containing IRM references must be reviewed and updated with current IRM references each time procedures change in the IRM.

  7. Locally prepared job aids must be submitted to the appropriate Business Operating Division (BOD) analysts for approval.

  8. Submit job aids via email to *CTR ODN SERP SECT. A member of the SERP staff will contact you to discuss the details.

  9. If approved, the SERP staff provides the content owners with the SERP requirements and, upon concurrence, places the content on SERP.

Updating Content on the SERP Website

  1. This section provides instructions to IRM authors and authorized submitters for updating IRMs posted on SERP, Alerts, and other content.

  2. Updating content on SERP ensures the most current information is provided to users and that the information has been cleared following all organizational and IRM requirements.

  3. Content on SERP must be annually certified as current and accurate.

  4. IRM Authors must use IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs) to issue interim guidance. If the program owner uses interim guidance memoranda, they must issue a corresponding IPU to ensure the revised procedures are accessible to SERP users.

Updating IRMs through an IRM Procedural Update (IPU)

  1. An IPU revises or corrects existing IRM information on the SERP IRM only. All other IRM formats, including the published version available to the public, will not be updated automatically.

    Note:

    If the author identifies an IPU as meeting E-FOIA through the IPU Submission Form, it will be forwarded for posting in the FOIA Library on www.irs.gov. The SERP staff prepares a Content Publishing Request and a Word version of the IPUs changes, then, this information is sent to the appropriate IG/IMD coordinator for processing and forwarding to SPDER for posting to the FOIA Library. More information on E-FOIA can be found at Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 USC § 552(a)(2)(C)) and in IRM 1.11.10.4, Evaluation of Interim Guidance for E-FOIA.

  2. IRM authors who issue interim guidance through the IPU process are required to incorporate the guidance into the published copy of the IRM (through Media and Publications) within the effective period of the IPU. An IPU is effective for up to two years from the issue date, but not to exceed the normal publishing frequency of the IRM. IRMs published annually must continue to incorporate interim guidance and publish each year.

    Note:

    Refer to the policy and procedures set by the Office of Servicewide Policy, Directives and Electronic Research (SPDER) in IRM 1.11.2, Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) Process and IRM 1.11.10.2, Interim Guidance Standards.

  3. If an IPU is not incorporated into the published version of an IRM within the effective period, the IRM may be removed from SERP. See IRM 1.11.8.7.1.2, Reissuing IPUs (Interim Guidance).

  4. IRMs are posted to SERP based on the IRM's Effective Date and not the IRM's published date. Authors can issue an IPU for an IRM as soon as the new revision of the IRM has posted on SERP.

    Example:

    IRM 21.1.1 is effective on 10/01/2019. The author can submit an IPU to SERP any time after the new revision (effective date 10/01/2019) for IRM 21.1.1 has posted on SERP.

  5. When issuing an IPU after the IRM has been sent to Publishing and before the new revision has posted, you may need to keep two versions of the xml file. The first xml file is what was sent to Publishing and the second xml is what is currently on SERP - sometimes called a "working copy." If updates are needed during this time, issue an IPU with edits made to the xml file currently on SERP.

  6. SERP will post the newly published IRM version on the effective date or shortly thereafter.

    • If you have made updates prior to the new revision posting on SERP, and/or need to make more updates after the IRM is published, you will need to submit an IPU and in the Notes section of the Submission Form, indicate the IPU should post after the new IRM revision has posted.

    • If you have updates that were issued in an IPU during publishing and you do not need to make any other updates, you may email your xml file to SERP stating it is intended as an "overlay" only and should be processed after the new IRM revision has posted.

    • See Exhibit 1.11.8-8, Scenarios for Start-Up IPUs, for more guidance on how to submit updates before and after the IRM is published.

  7. SERP’s IRM retention system allows you to access all versions of the IRM with the corresponding dates for each IPU and any IRM revisions published by Media & Publications. Users can view IPUs by the calendar year the IPU was issued.

    Note:

    More information on researching IPUs through the retention system can be found on the Researching IRMs and IPUs tutorial located on the Learning Tab on the SERP website.

  8. When issuing an IPU the author needs to obtain concurrence by reviewers, approval by management or responsible designated official, use the IRM Authoring software (Arbortext Editor) to revise the IRM file, and finally complete the SERP IRM Update Submission Form to submit the IRM update to SERP. See IRM 1.11.8.7.1.1, Issuing an IPU (Interim Guidance).

Issuing an IPU (Interim Guidance)
  1. SERP IPUs are a form of interim guidance. IPUs must follow the interim guidance procedures as stated in IRM 1.11.10.6, SERP IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs).

  2. To update the IRM on SERP through an IPU:

    1. Revise your IRM in the IRM Authoring software (Arbortext Editor). See IRM 1.11.8.7.1.3, IRM Authoring Tool - Updating Your IRM XML File for IPU Submission.

    2. Obtain approval for the change you are making following your organization or program office guidance.

    3. Forward the changed procedural content for review and concurrence. Follow procedures in IRM 1.11.10.6.1, Clearance and Approval of IPUs.

    4. Determine if any of the changes within the updated file meet E-FOIA criteria using the SERP E-FOIA Decision Tool located within the SERP Submission Form, New Update.

      Note:

      The E-FOIA decision tool is a resource to aid in making a proper FOIA determination. Instructions to employees that affect a member of the public must be electronically available to the public according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 5 USC § 552(a)(2)(C). IRM 11.3.7, Freedom of Information Act Reading Room Operations, provides more information on the law.

    5. Complete and submit an IPU request by accessing the SERP Submission Form and selecting the 'New Update' link on the navigational bar. See IRM 1.11.8.7.1.4, SERP IRM Procedural Update (IPU) Submission Form, for specific information about completing the form.

  3. IPUs cannot be "rescinded" ; if you are removing temporary guidance, please submit a new IPU even if the intent is to revert to prior instructions.

  4. IPUs cannot be "revised" ; if you are revising or changing information included in a prior IPU, please submit a new IPU. If you need to reissue an IPU that is over two years old, see IRM 1.11.8.7.1.2, Reissuing IPUs (Interim Guidance).

  5. An IPU is not required for editorial corrections (e.g., grammatical, spelling, punctuation and broken links). Contact the SERP Office to make corrections via email at *CTR ODN SERP SECT. See IRM 1.11.2.8, Editorial Update Process, for a list of other changes that may be considered editorial in nature.

    Exception:

    If you are updating a telephone number, changing a web page/reference or modifying anything that affects the way employees interact with taxpayers, this should not be considered an editorial change and should be included in an IPU so your audience is aware of the change.

    Note:

    Editorial changes are made to the "current" IRM version in the SERP database. There are no corrections made to the "archive" or historical version which will continue to reflect content as it was issued in prior lPU(s) or published versions.

  6. Documentation of the IRM changes including the approval of the changes and any significant comments received from reviewers must be retained for historical record keeping purposes. The author should save a .pdf file of the track changes and/or emails documenting the approvals.

Reissuing IPUs (Interim Guidance)
  1. IPUs (interim guidance) must be incorporated into a published copy of the IRM (through Media and Publications) within the effective period of the IPU. An IPU is effective for up to two years from the issue date, but not to exceed the normal publishing frequency of the IRM. IRMs published annually must continue to incorporate interim guidance and publish each year.

    Reminder:

    IRMs not published within two years of the date of the IPU may be removed from SERP.

  2. In rare instances and for continuity of operations, IPUs may be reissued. The re-issuance of an IPU requires management approval and the approval of the Director of SPDER.

  3. Examples warranting re-issuance include:

    1. Pending legislation, NTEU negotiations, rulings or guidance from Counsel impacting the IRM

    2. Filing season IRM publishing delays

    3. Delays in resolving issues that surfaced during the IRM clearance process

  4. The author or IMD coordinator must obtain approvals by management and the Director of SPDER:

    1. Email a request for approval to reissue the IPU(s) to the author’s manager (or higher level manager as designated within the author's business unit).

    2. After management approval, forward the email containing managerial approval to the Director of SPDER at *SPDER with a copy to *CTR ODN SERP SECT requesting approval to reissue the IPU(s). Copy the IMD Coordinator on the email to SPDER.

    3. Include the following information in both emails:

      1. The subject, IPU number, and the affected IRM number/title from the IPU(s) you wish to reissue

      2. Attach a copy of, or link to, the existing IPU(s)

      3. Explain the reason(s) for the reissuance

      4. Specify the estimated date the IRM will be published

  5. If the request is approved by both management and the Director of SPDER, the issuing organization will:

    1. Forward the approval to the SERP mailbox, *CTR ODN SERP SECT.

    2. Review the changes listed in the original IPU to determine if they are all still valid. If any have subsequently been updated, they will not be revalidated.

    3. Update ONLY the Material Changes in the XML file to reflect the reissued IPU(s). (See Figure 1.11.8-1) Do not update any dates in the XML file. The text of the Material Changes should list each of the changes from the original IPU which are being revalidated. Each entry should state "Revalidating changes issued with IPU X issued Y for IRM Z. These procedures will be incorporated into a published copy of the IRM by mm-dd-yyyy" followed by the change being revalidated. (X = original IPU number, Y = date of the original IPU, Z = the part, chapter and section affected by the original IPU, and mm-dd-yyyy = the date the IRM will be republished.) If you have multiple IPUs being reissued, list each one separately in the Material Changes.

      Figure 1.11.8-1

      This is an Image: 50463075.gif

      Please click here for the text description of the image.

    4. Prepare one new IPU with a new date to include all IPUs being reissued:

      1. The new IPU will be given a new control number

      2. The subject line of the new IPU should be "Revalidating IPUs"

      Note:

      Only one new IPU should be created to include all IPUs being reissued.

    5. If necessary, clear the IPU through affected offices per IRM 1.11.10.3.1.1, Affected Offices/Reviewers, and specialized reviewers per IRM 1.11.10.3.1.2, Specialized Reviewers.

    6. Submit the IPU using normal procedures, indicate in the "Notes/Special Instructions for the SERP Staff" section of the Submission Form this is a reissued IPU.

  6. Reissuing interim guidance is not encouraged. Management should make it a priority to incorporate the new guidance into the IRM within the effective period.

IRM Authoring Tool - Updating Your IRM XML File for IPU Submission
  1. To issue a SERP IPU, use the current IRM Authoring Tool to make your changes. Update the Manual Transmittal (MT) to document substantive procedural changes in your IRM. Take the following actions:

    Action: Additional Information:
    Use the "Change Tracking" feature in the IRM Authoring Tool to indicate your changes. Do not accept tracked changes before sending your file to SERP. Tracked changes will display as follows when the IPU is posted on SERP:
    • Revised text is highlighted yellow

    • Deleted text is deleted

    • Highlighting from previously updated text (such as from a prior IPU) is removed

    Verify linked content is correctly formatted:
    • Use "citation" tags to identify links to IRMs, Forms, Publications, Documents, Computer Paragraph (CP) Notices, Letters, etc.

      Exception:

      Links will point to the most recent year or revision available in the Product Catalog. To link to a prior year revision of a Form, Publication, Letter, etc. you must insert an "anchor" tag and provide the URL for the applicable revision/year.

    • Use "seealso" tags to cross-reference subsections within the same IRM.

    • Use "anchor " or "a" tags and the URL to create links to other content such as: share point sites, www.irs.gov, etc..

    SERP will link content by matching "word patterns" even without tags being present, however it will save time to edit your file with tags since they are required when republishing your IRM.
    See IRM 1.11.2.5.8.5, Create Hyperlinks, and follow the IRM Citation Standards in Exhibit 1.11.8-7.

    Note:

    When linking to legal references be mindful of your audience and only provide links to content that is accessible to all users. For example, an alternative source for legal references is Cornell University Law School - Legal Information Institute.

    Do not update the Manual Transmittal date. SERP will edit the Manual Transmittal date with the effective date of the IPU before uploading the IRM on SERP.
    Update the Purpose to "This transmits revised IRM X.X.X, Chapter title, Section title" or similar statement. See IRM 1.11.2.6.1.2, Manual Transmittal Purpose.
    Update the Material Changes paragraphs to list all of the significant changes made with this IPU. List either "IRM" or "Exhibit" with the entire IRM reference where the change occurs followed by a brief, but thorough description of the change. See IRM 1.11.2.6.1.3, Manual Transmittal Material Changes.

    Example:

    IRM 21.6.3.5(6) Clarified the use of Form 8862 to figure the credit or refund.

    Example:

    Exhibit 21.6.3-1 Added other credits to table.

    SERP will insert the IPU number and date at the beginning of each material change paragraph.

    Reminder:

    When revising your file for the first IPU after republishing, remove all the previous Material Changes from the published IRM version and list your significant changes for the current IPU only. When subsequent IPUs are issued, continue listing the changes for each subsequent IPU.

    Update the Effect on Other Documents to indicate the IPU supersedes the last published IRM. Each time an IPU is issued, the Effect on Other Documents should be updated to add the IPU control number(s) and the issuance date(s). See Exhibit 1.11.8-9 Updating the Effect on Other Documents. See IRM 1.11.2.6.1.4, Effect on Other Documents, and IRM 1.11.7.3.3.2(5), Updating the Manual Transmittal when Issuing an IPU, for additional considerations.
    Update the Signature (name and title) of the program director or authorizing official if your organization has changed leadership since the last publication of the IRM. Do not issue an IPU if the only change is to update the Signature. IPUs are intended to issue procedural updates.
    Do not change the Effective Date of the IRM. The Effective Date is only changed when your IRM is republished and reflects the date the entire IRM became effective.
    For each subsection with revised content edit the subsection date to the" wildcard date" (MM-DD-YYYY) format.
    • Using Change Tracking, delete the current date, including the parenthesis

    • Type (MM-DD-YYYY) immediately after the deleted date and include the parenthesis.

    • Do not add a space between the deleted date and (MM-DD-YYYY)

    See Figure 1.11.8-2 below.

    Caution:

    Be sure to include the parentheses around the (MM-DD-YYYY) date. Subsection dates must be inside parentheses or your file will have "completeness errors" .

    Note:

    New subsections will already have the (MM-DD-YYYY) date formatted with tracked changes.

    SERP will replace all subsection dates edited (MM-DD-YYYY) with the effective date of the IPU.

    Note:

    IRM subsections on SERP have two dates displayed:

    • The first date is the previous effective date of the subsection. This is usually the publishing date or the previous IPU date.

    • The second date reflects the most recent update received from the author.
      Once the IRM/IPU is uploaded to SERP the second date is the current IPU date and will be highlighted in yellow.

    • For subsections not affected by the current IPU, the second date will no longer be highlighted.

    Figure 1.11.8-2

    This is an Image: 50463073.gif

    Please click here for the text description of the image.

  2. After making the changes to your file, use Arbortext Tools to run "Validate Cross References" and run "Check Completeness" . Correct any context errors, missing elements, invalid references, etc. prior to submitting your XML file to SERP.

  3. Attach the revised IRM XML file to the SERP Submission Form using the "Add File" button. Activate the "Add File" button by clicking the "Save" button once all applicable fields have been completed, see IRM 1.11.8.7.1.4, SERP IRM Procedural Update (IPU) Submission Form.

  4. After processing, SERP will return the XML file back to the author via email with the changes tracked and edits as indicated in the (1) table above. It is the author’s responsibility to accept all of the tracked changes in the XML file once it has been returned.

    Note:

    Authors may need to maintain two separate IRM files during the period when the analyst is making changes to the current year IRM and updating for the annual IRM revision. See Exhibit 1.11.8-8, Scenarios for Start-up IPUs, for additional considerations

SERP IRM Procedural Update (IPU) Submission Form
  1. The SERP Submission Form is used to document information about an IPU and to assist authorized submitters in determining whether the Update meets E-FOIA criteria, under IRC 5 USC 552(a)(2)(C).

  2. You must first be added to the SERP database before you can submit an IPU. Instructions on how to be added can be found in the SERP Submission Form User Guide as well as in IRM 1.11.8.3, Authorized Submitter.

  3. For each IPU, the authorized submitter will:

    1. Access the SERP IPU Submission Form by going to the Author Resources page on the SERP website and clicking on the "SERP Submission Form Login" link. You will automatically be logged into the SERP Submission Form application, then click on the "New Update" link on the navigational bar.

    2. Determine if the changes affect taxpayers and if FOIA applies by answering the questions on the form. See 5 USC § 552(a)(2)(C). The SERP E-FOIA Decision Tool can also be used as a resource.

      Note:

      If the IRM author determines the IPU meets E-FOIA criteria, SERP will create a second IPU for E-FOIA purposes, which includes only the identified changes that meet E-FOIA. This E-FOIA IPU will be sent to the organization's IG Coordinator for posting to the FOIA Library on www.irs.gov.

    3. Complete all the fields in the Submission Form. Detailed instructions can be found on the tab titled "New Update" in the SERP Submission Form User Guide.

    4. Click "Save" to activate the "Add File" button, the "Submit" button and the "Email" button. Clicking the "Save" button will also assign the record a temporary tracking number, add the record to your list of ACTIVE records on the MY INPUTS page, and allow you to create an optional email to send to an approver/reviewer or co-worker prior to submission. The saved IPU is retained in the MY INPUTS page and will not be submitted to SERP until the submit button is clicked.

    5. Attach the IRM XML file and any related files such as graphics, change pages, etc., following the guidelines found in the Files/Attachments link under the New Update tab of the Submission Form User Guide. To attach your file(s):

    • Name your file following the naming conventions outlined in the Submission Form User Guide.

    • Click the "Add File" button and browse to select the file.

    • Add a description of the file content (optional)

    • If more than one file needs to be submitted, repeat the "Add File" steps.

  4. When submitting graphics with your XML file, you must include the graphic "file filename" in the "Description" box on the form and attach a clean copy of the graphic in .pdf format. Do not submit change pages as a graphic.

    Note:

    While SERP accepts graphic files in other formats, Publishing requires graphics to be .pdf format only. See IRM 1.11.2.5.7, Graphics, for more information.

    Reminder:

    Graphics must include alternative text to be 508 compliant. See IRM 1.11.8.5, Writing Section 508 Compliant Content.

  5. Before you submit your IPU to SERP, your changes must be reviewed and approved by the approving official following your organization’s guidelines. See IRM 1.11.10.6.1, Clearance and Approval of IPUs.

    Reminder:

    Documentation of the IRM changes including the clearance/approval of the changes and any significant comments received from reviewers must be retained for historical record keeping purposes. The author and/or the program manager or designee should save a .pdf file of the track changes and/or emails documenting the approvals.

  6. If your organization requires review of the IPU submission prior to sending it to SERP, use the Submission Form to email a link to the draft IPU and attached XML file, or word document, with the changes.

    1. Click "Email" and an Outlook email will open.

    2. Address the email to the appropriate parties.

    3. Add attachments or other content to the body of the email. You may add to the subject if you need anything other than the IPU temporary tracking number that is auto-populated.

    4. Click "Send" as normal.

    The body of the sent email will include a link to the IPU record. The link also allows recipients to track the progress of the Submission Form. Recipients can view the record and the attachments; however, they cannot make changes to this record or the attachments. If they need to make changes to the IPU or the attachments one of the following actions will need to be taken:
    • You attach a separate word document with the IPU content and/or the uploaded documents to the email for the recipient to review.

    • The recipient copies and pastes the items needing to be changed from the IPU record into the email.

    • The recipient opens the uploaded files from the links in the IPU record and saves them to their desktop for editing. Once edited they will need to attach the changed items to the email and return it to you to make the changes before submitting the IPU for posting.

  7. Be sure to attach your approved XML file including any final changes or edits to the Submission Form using "Add File" . Use the "Remove" button to delete any files that no longer need to be attached.

  8. When you are ready to submit your IPU to SERP, you will click the "Submit" button. The "Submit" button will perform a validation on your input and produce an error message for any items that have been missed. On most messages you must click "OK" to close the message, and then go back to the missing item and input the information before the form can be submitted. The following are possible validation messages you could receive:

    • "Please enter a Subject"

    • "Please select the Audience"

    • "You did not answer the question - Was this IPU the result of SERP feedback?"

    • "Enter Feedback Control Number (if applicable)"

    • "You did not answer the question - Does the information contain a toll-free telephone number?"

    • "You did not answer the question - Did you get approval from The Office of Taxpayer Correspondence?"

    • "Please select the Master File"

    • "You are responsible for obtaining all approvals needed for this IPU"

    Note:

    Incomplete forms or attachments could delay the posting of the IPU. See IRM 1.11.8.9.2, Time Frames for Posting to SERP. If an IPU needs to be expedited through the SERP process (posted more quickly than the normal processing time frame), contact SERP management directly to provide justification and authorization from the Program Manager.

  9. When all inputs have been validated, a warning box will display stating: "Submission will be posted within 48 hours; Are you sure you want to submit the form?" If you click "OK" :

    • The temporary tracking number is removed and the record is assigned the posting number.

    • The record is moved to your list of SUBMITTED records on the MY INPUTS page.

    • The record and any attachments are submitted to the database for SERP to process and post to the website.

  10. If you click "Cancel" a message will display, "The form will remain under My Inputs as Active" , click "OK" and you are returned to your "Saved" form.

Updating Alerts

  1. If a prior alert needs to be updated with new information, the alert must be revised to show the new information highlighted in yellow.

  2. SERP does not allow supplemental alerts with a reference to a prior alert. All information must be contained in one alert. If you need to communicate more information about the alert topic, or revise the contents of an alert, see (4) below to request the alert be revised.

  3. SERP Alerts expire one year from the date they are issued or when the topic is no longer needed, whichever is earlier. It is the content owner’s responsibility to monitor the status and notify SERP when an alert needs to be rescinded.

    Note:

    If the alert is over one year old, and the topic is still needed, the alert must be rescinded and then reissued as a new alert.

    Reminder:

    You cannot rescind any alert by simply issuing a new alert. The first alert must be marked "Rescinded" and posted on SERP so it is clear to the end user which alert has the most current information.

  4. To revise or rescind an alert:

    • Send an email request to: *CTR ODN SERP SECT.

    • Notate in the email, the alert number and if it is being revised or rescinded

    • If the alert is being revised, include the updated content with changes highlighted

Updating All Other Content

  1. If content needs to be updated with new information, the content owner must send a revised copy and show the new information highlighted in yellow.

  2. To update all other content, submit revisions to SERP via email to: *CTR ODN SERP SECT.

  3. The SERP staff notifies the content owner once the content posts to SERP.

Removing Content from the SERP Website

  1. This section provides instructions to IRM authors and authorized submitters for removing IRMs, Alerts, and other content posted on SERP.

Removing IRMs

  1. Send IRM removal requests to the SERP mailbox at *CTR ODN SERP SECT. SERP will not consider removal requests from persons or parties not affiliated with IRM or content ownership. Upon receiving a removal request, SERP provides the author/requestor with an impact statement, which includes "hit counts" and number of linked materials/pages. Authors/Requestors evaluate the impact statement to determine if removal is prudent.

  2. If the author/requestor decides to proceed with removal of an IRM, take the following actions:

    1. Obtain Executive approval from the operating division.

    2. Notify affected offices of the intent to remove.

    3. Allow a 90 day grace period prior to removal, to address comments or feedback, and to allow time to resolve other impacted content, i.e. IRMs which cross-reference the content being removed from SERP will need links updated.

    Note:

    Any comments or feedback SERP receives concerning the removal of a specific IRM will be directed to the author/requestor.

  3. After the 90 day period, if the IRM will still be removed, SERP posts a Priority News item similar to the following: Effective (date) - Per the IRM author's request, IRM X.X.X will be removed from the SERP website. You can view a listing of all removed IRMs on the IRMs Removed from SERPpage.

  4. SERP removes the IRM and emails the author/requestor confirming the IRM has been removed from the SERP website.

Removing Alerts

  1. SERP Alerts are not removed from the website as the content provides historical information. When the content is no longer valid (or has expired) the Alert is "rescinded" .

  2. To rescind an Alert, send an email to the SERP section mailbox at *CTR ODN SERP SECT and request the alert is rescinded.

  3. SERP will mark the Alert page as "Rescinded" and post a notification on the SERP homepage.

Removing All Other Content

  1. To remove any other content/pages from SERP send an email to the SERP section mailbox at *CTR ODN SERP SECT with your request.

  2. The SERP analyst responsible for the type of content or page/portal where the content is posted will work with the requestor to remove the content.

SERP Posting Information

  1. This subsection contains information about SERP numbering and timeframes.

SERP Numbering Scheme and Function Identification

  1. Upon submission, Alerts and IPUs are given a unique control number.

    • The first two digits represent the calendar year.

    • The third character, A or U, indicates whether it's an Alert (A) or an IPU (U).

    • The remaining numbers represent the SERP control number.

  2. To allow users to quickly identify whether an Alert or IPU is relevant, SERP uses the following codes to identify the affected function.

    Function Code
    Accounts Management AM
    Compliances Services C
    Customer Assistance Relationship and Education (CARE) CA
    Field Collection FC
    Submission Processing SP
    Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE) T
    Taxpayer Advocate Service TA
    Other O
    All ALL

Time Frames for Posting to SERP

  1. Allow the following time frames when submitting items for posting.

    Item Content Time Frame
    IRM Procedural Update (IPU) If received by 3:00 p.m. EST/EDT (Eastern Time Zone), the IPU should post on the next workday's Homepage and applicable portals.
    Alerts If received by 3:00 p.m. EST/EDT, the alert should post on the next workday's Homepage and applicable portals.
    Other content Generally posts within 24-48 hours depending on the type of information received.

SERP Feedback Application - Author/Content Owner Responsibilities

  1. The SERP Feedback Application allows users to submit feedback concerning IRMs and other technical content on the SERP website, including corrections and change requests that need to be addressed by the IRM author/content owner. The system provides the IRM author/content owner a tool to access the feedback application and post their response. For the IRM author/content owner to post a response, they must complete an Online 5081 (OL5081) requesting access to the SERP Feedback System. Refer to the Feedback Guide for Content Owners for detailed instructions.

    Note:

    The "Contact SERP" feature located on the SERP home page is for submitting questions or reporting issues about SERP website functionality. "Contact SERP" is not intended for technical/policy-related questions or concerns about IRM content or other issues that should be addressed through SERP Feedback.

  2. Upon completion of the OL5081, a temporary password is issued via OL5081.

    Note:

    When the temporary password is received via OL5081, the User login name states "None" ; however, the User login name is the user's SEID.

  3. The user must change the password using standard security guidelines.

  4. The SERP Feedback password expires every 120 days. If the password has expired or if you lock your access by entering the incorrect password three consecutive times, you will need to have your password reset. You may reset your password by submitting a "Reset Password" OL5081 or by setting up and using the "Password Management" feature.

  5. To set up your "Password Management" feature:

    1. Sign into the Feedback system

    2. Click the "Profile" tab

    3. Click "Password Question" button

    4. Answer the three questions (Remember your answers are case sensitive)

    5. Click "Save"

    6. Click "Submit (on the profile screen)"

  6. To reset your password using the "Password Management" feature:

    1. Click on the User Guide/Resources Tab on the Feedback Homepage

    2. Click the "Password Management" link

    3. Click "Continue" at the next screen

    4. Input your answers to the three questions (if input incorrectly, the system will lock and require you to submit a "Reset Password" OL5081)

    5. Reset your password

  7. When responding to SERP Feedback, an IRM author/content owner must:

    1. Provide an appropriate response within 45 calendar days.

      Exception:

      Per the policy of Submission Processing, authors for IRM 3 have five working days (seven day period) to respond to feedback. However, if the feedback is marked as a Work Stoppage, the author has only 24 hours within receipt of the feedback to respond.

    2. Provide a time frame when an IPU will occur because of a feedback issue.

    3. Request a reassignment of feedback when the content owner has changed and provide the name of the new content owner in the Comments field.

    4. Request an extension if unable to provide a response before the due date. You will need to go into your feedback and select "Request Extension" . A pop-up window will display and require you to input an extended due date and justification for the extension.

  8. If the content owner determines feedback is a training issue or invalid feedback, place a check in the box labeled "Training Issue" or "Invalid Feedback" . These boxes are not required but can be used for statistical purposes. Submitters cannot view check boxes or results in a report.

    Note:

    A complete Feedback Guide for Content Owners is available via the link located on the Feedback launch page.

  9. If adding an alternate author, send the request via email to *CTR ODN SERPFAQ inbox, with a cc to your manager, stating which IRM and the name of the alternate.

    Note:

    Both the Primary and Alternate author will receive email notifications regarding SERP feedback, unless other instructions are received.

  10. When requesting an extension to respond to feedback, the IRM author must enter an extension date and a justification. To avoid a past due notification, the request should be made at least 12 calendar days before the date the feedback response is due.

    Exception:

    For Submission Processing, there are no restrictions for the number of days for an extension. Submission Processing authors must request an extension prior to the due date (past due emails are generated the day after the due date).

Feedback Reports

  1. Generating reports from the SERP Feedback Application is performed through either the "Previously Submitted Feedback" option on the main feedback launch screen or through the "Response" screen using the "View Report Options" button.

  2. To generate a report from the "Previously Submitted Feedback" option:

    1. Click on the link from the SERP Feedback launch page.

    2. Enter report criteria by making selections from any of the fields shown on the report form.

    3. Click "Start Report" .

    Note:

    See SERP Guide for Submitting Feedback for more information.

  3. To generate a report from the "Response" screen:

    1. Click on the "View Report Options" button.

    2. Enter report criteria by making selections from any of the fields shown on the report form.

    3. Click "Start Report" .

    Note:

    Report results can be narrowed by inputting specific report data, e.g., a beginning and ending date, a specific campus, a specific IRM reference, etc. See SERP Feedback Guide for Content Owners for more information.

  4. Results are displayed in a report containing link(s) to each feedback issue. Click on the "Control #" to view the feedback, the status and the actions taken.

Content Certification Process

  1. A content certification process is used to keep the SERP website current.

  2. Each year, IRM authors/content owners with content hosted on SERP are notified via email of certification actions.

    1. IRM authors/content owners must certify the SERP content is accurate and current using the Certification utility on Share Point.

    2. Managers of IRM authors/content owners will receive a past due email if there is no response from the IRM authors/content owners within the 21 day time frame.

    Note:

    The recipient of the certification email must respond even if he/she is no longer the IRM author/content owner. The certification requests the name of the new IRM author/content owner (if known).

  3. If there is no response from the IRM author/content owner or his/her manager to the content certification request, the IRM/content is subject to removal from the SERP website.

    Note:

    IRM authors/content owners, management, and IMD coordinators will receive a notice of intent to remove content prior to removal of the IRM/content.

  4. If you issued an IPU(s) and it is within the effective period of the IPU(s), and your updated IRM content is accurate and current as issued, you may certify the IRM. See IRM 1.11.8.7.1 (2) and (3), Updating IRMs through an IRM Procedural Update (IPU), for the definition of "effective period" .

Example of a Flowchart with a Non-Compliant Alternative Text (Does Not Meet Section 508 Requirements)

The following is an example of a flowchart with a non-compliant Alternative Text. A flowchart is non-compliant if the Alternative Text is not present or a detailed description of each flowchart box and line being shown is not given.

This is an Image: 50463061.gif

Please click here for the text description of the image.

Example of a Flowchart with a Compliant Alternative Text (Meets Section 508 Requirements)

The following is an example of a flowchart with a compliant Alternative Text. A flowchart is compliant if the Alternative Text is present and provides a detailed description of each flowchart box and line being shown or a detailed description of the flowchart is provided in the text immediately preceding (before) or following (after) the flowchart.

This is an Image: 50463062.gif

Please click here for the text description of the image.

Start Here

This is the start of the flowchart.

Process 1

Will you owe $1,000 or more after subtracting income tax withholding and credits from your total tax? (Do not subtract any estimated tax payments.)

If yes, continue to process 2.

If no, continue to process 3.

Process 2

Will your income tax withholding and credits be at least 90 percent of the tax shown on your tax return?

If yes, continue to process 3.

If no, continue to process 4.

Process 3

You are not required to pay estimated tax. (END)

Process 4

Will your income tax withholding and credits be at least 100 percent of the tax shown on your tax return?

If yes, continue to process 3.

If no, continue to process 5.

Process 5

You must make estimated tax payments by the required due dates. (END)

End

This is the ending of the flowchart.

Example of a Section 508 Non-Compliant Table

The following is an example of a Section 508 non-compliant table. Graphics are non-compliant if an Alternative Text is not present or a detailed description of content being shown is not given. Tabular data should never be presented in graphic form. If you are presenting data from a form or worksheet, you must re-create it as a table in XML, or use citation tags to link directly to the form.

This is an Image: 50463063.gif

Please click here for the text description of the image.

Example of Section 508 Compliant Table

The following is an example of a table that is Section 508 compliant.

Note:

For Section 508 compliance, ensure appropriate row(s) have been designated as a Header Row and ensure summary attribute of Table tag is completed. Merged and split cells are not 508 compliant.

Line Description
12. Add line 11 to line 3. 10,872.35
13. Subtract line 12 from line 9. If negative, enter 0. 177.93
14. Compute interest on the amount on line 13 from the date on line 1 to the date on line 2. Remember to adjust the principal for debits and credits applied during this period. .92
15. Add line 14 to the ending principal amount from the last computation as of the date on line 2. 178.85
16. Add line 12 to line 15. 11,051.20
17. Compute interest on line 16 from the date on line 2 to the 23C date of your adjustment (or to the full paid date, if earlier). Remember to adjust the principal for debits and credits applied during this period. 54.48
18. Total interest computed
a. If no waiver period used, enter the amount from line 6, then skip to line 19.
b. If waiver period used, add lines 8, 14, and 17.
1,137.44
19. Net total of all TC 19X, TC 33X, and TC 34X posted to the module. 591.76
20. Subtract line 19 from the entry on line 18a or 18b. Use brackets { } if the result is less than zero. 545.68
21. If line 20 is negative { }, input TC 341. If positive, input TC 340 for the amount on line 20. 545.68

Note:

If you need to determine the actual amount of interest waived when there is a waiver period involved, use two separate worksheets. First compute interest as though there is no waiver period. Then, compute again using the waiver period. The difference between lines 18a and 18b is the actual amount of interest waived.

Example of a Computer Screen Display with a Non-Compliant Alternative Text (Does Not Meet Section 508 Requirements)

This is an example of a Section 508 non-compliant screen shot of IDRS. An IDRS screen shot is non-compliant if Alternative Text is not present or a detailed description of content being shown is not given.

This is an Image: 50463085.gif

Please click here for the text description of the image.

Example of a Computer Screen Display with a Compliant Alternative Text (Meets Section 508 Requirements)

This is an Image: 50463086.gif

Please click here for the text description of the image.

SERP Citation Standards

Citation Required Format
CP CP plus blank space plus CP number.

Example:

CP 503 or CP 575A

 

Note:

CP should appear in front of each CP listed in the content. For example: CP 503/504 should be listed as CP 503, CP 504.

Document Document plus one blank space plus document number.

Example:

Document 1492

Document 6209

Example:

Document 6209, Section XX, Title

Exhibit Exhibit plus one blank space plus Exhibit number.

Example:

Exhibit 1.11.8-7

 

Note:

If using citation tags, the tag type will be "IRM" . The word "IRM" will auto-populate inside the citation tag; edit the tag content to the exhibit format as shown above. If you are referencing an exhibit in an IRM Online do not use a citation tag. Use an "anchor" tag and provide the exhibit URL.

Figure Figure plus one blank space plus figure number.

Example:

Figure 1.11.8-2

Form Form plus one blank space plus form number.

Example:

Form 1120

 

Note:

"Form" should appear in front of each form listed. For example, Forms 1120/1120-F, should be Form 1120, Form 1120-F.

Internal Revenue Code (IRC) IRC plus one blank space plus IRC number.

Example:

IRC 6.2

IRM IRM plus one blank space plus IRM number.

Example:

IRM 1.11.8

Job Aid Job Aid plus one blank space plus title.

Example:

Job Aid Alternative Minimum Tax

Letter Letter plus one blank space plus letter number.

Example:

Letter 685C

Notice Notice plus one blank space plus notice number.

Example:

Notice 7517

Publication Pub. plus one blank space plus publication number.

Example:

Pub. 17

Revenue Procedure Rev. plus one blank space plus Proc. plus one blank space revenue procedure number.

Example:

Rev. Proc. 99-10

Revenue Ruling Rev. plus one blank space plus Rul. plus one blank space plus revenue ruling number.

Example:

Rev. Rul. 99-40

Schedules Schedule plus one blank space plus schedule letter.

Example:

Schedule C

 

Note:

"Schedule" should appear in front of each schedule listed.

Technical Communication Document (TCD) Technical Communication Document plus one blank space plus TCD number or TCD plus one blank space plus TCD number.

Example:

TCD 0103

 

Note:

TCD number should be in four digit format.

Scenarios for Start-Up IPUs

Describes actions needed when an IPU is issued during the time an IRM is being republished.

Scenario Action(s) Required by Author Action(s) Required by SERP
No updates (IPUs) after the .xml file was sent to Publishing. No action required. SERP downloads the .xml file from Publishing site and this file is used to update the SERP IRM and Archives.

Example:

20P0001

Update(s) were issued after the .xml file was sent to Publishing BUT before the new revision posted on SERP. Author takes the following actions:
  • Downloads .xml file from Publishing site.

  • Adds the update(s) to the published version.

  • Lists the update(s) in the Material Changes.

  • Revises the "Effect on other Documents" to include any IPU numbers previously issued. See IRM 1.11.8.7.1.3, IRM Authoring Tool - Updating Your IRM XML File for IPU Submission.

  • Edits the subsection date(s) to reflect the last IPU date for the updated content.

  • Accepts all tracked changes and saves file.

  • Emails the file to the SERP mailbox (*CTR ODN SERP SECT) with instructions to overlay the published version with the updated file.

SERP downloads the .xml file from Publishing site and adds it to the SERP Archives.

Example:

20P0001


AND
SERP creates a second file with the "overlay" which is used to update the SERP IRM and Archives.

Example:

20S0001

Update(s) were issued after the .xml file was sent to Publishing BUT before the new revision posted on SERP.
AND
New update(s) are being issued after the new revision has posted on SERP.
Author takes the following actions:
PART 1
  • Downloads .xml file from Publishing site.

  • Adds the update(s) to the published version.

  • Lists the update(s) in the Material Changes.

  • Revises the "Effect on other Documents" to include any IPU numbers previously issued. See IRM 1.11.8.7.1.3, IRM Authoring Tool - Updating Your IRM XML File for IPU Submission.

  • Edits the subsection date(s) to reflect the last IPU date for the updated content.

  • Accepts all tracked changes and saves file.


PART 2
  • Inserts new updates to the saved file with tracked changes turned on.

  • Lists the new updates in the Material Changes.

  • Ensures the changed subsection dates are edited with (MM-DD-YYYY), See IRM 1.11.8.7.1.3, IRM Authoring Tool - Updating Your IRM XML File for IPU Submission, for correct format.

  • Uses the SERP Submission Form to request an IPU update to the SERP IRM, following IRM 1.11.8.7.1.1, Issuing an IPU (Interim Guidance).

  • Attaches the updated file to the SERP Submission Form.

SERP downloads the .xml file from Publishing site and adds it to the SERP Archives.

Example:

20P0001


AND
Processes the IPU and attached .xml file to update the SERP IRM and Archives.

Example:

20U0001

 

Note:

If this occurs at the end of a calendar year, the IPU may be renumbered.

Example:

IPU 20U2345 is submitted on December 22, 2020 and is held for processing until after January 1, 2021 (or after the effective date of the published IRM). The IPU is renumbered to 21U0001.

Update(s) are being issued after the new revision has posted on SERP. Author takes the following actions:
  • Downloads .xml file from Publishing site.

  • Inserts updates to the saved file with tracked changes turned on.

  • Deletes the previous updates from the Material Changes, if applicable.

  • Lists the updates in the Material Changes that are being issued with the IPU.

  • Ensures the changed subsection dates are edited with (MM-DD-YYYY), See IRM 1.11.8.7.1.3, IRM Authoring Tool - Updating Your IRM XML File for IPU Submission, for correct format.

  • Uses the SERP Submission Form to request an IPU update to the SERP IRM, following IRM 1.11.8.7.1.1, Issuing an IPU (Interim Guidance).

  • Attaches the updated file to the SERP Submission Form.

SERP downloads the .xml file from Publishing site and adds it to the SERP Archives.

Example:

20P0001


AND
Processes the IPU and attached .xml file to update the SERP IRM and Archives.

Example:

20U0001

 

Note:

If this occurs at the end of a calendar year, the IPU may be renumbered.

Example:

IPU 20U2345 is submitted on December 22, 2020 and is held for processing until after January 1, 2021 (or after the effective date of the published IRM). The IPU is renumbered to 21U0001.

Updating the Effect on Other Documents

Editing the Effect on Other Documents Prior to Issuing an IPU

Action: Edit the text as follows: Example:
When the first IPU is issued IRM X.X.X dated [enter MT Date of last published IRM] (effective [enter Effective Date of last published IRM]) is superseded. IRM 5.1.30 dated August 10, 2020 (effective October 1, 2020) is superseded.
When the second IPU is issued IRM X.X.X dated [enter MT Date of last published IRM] (effective [enter Effective Date of last published IRM]) is superseded. The following IRM Procedural Update (IPU), issued on [enter date of first IPU], has been incorporated into this IRM: [enter IPU control number]. IRM 4.19.1 dated December 4, 2020 (effective January 1, 2021) is superseded. The following IRM Procedural Update (IPU), issued on March 22, 2021, has been incorporated into this IRM: 21U0108.
When any subsequent IPUs are issued IRM X.X.X dated [enter MT Date of last published IRM] (effective [enter Effective Date of last published IRM]) is superseded. The following IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs), issued from [enter date of first IPU] through [enter date of last IPU], have been incorporated into this IRM: [enter IPU control numbers]. IRM 21.1.5 dated September 21, 2020 (effective October 1, 2020) is superseded. The following IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs), issued from November 16, 2020 through May 17, 2021, have been incorporated into this IRM: 20U1116, 20U1187, 20U1277, 21U0094, 21U0178, 21U1518, and 21U1598.