1.15.4  Retiring and Requesting Records

Manual Transmittal

August 12, 2015


(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.15.4, Records and Information Management, Retiring and Requesting Records.


This IRM provides instructions on how to retire records to and request records from a Federal Records Center (FRC).

Material Changes

(1) This IRM was updated to reflect current organizational titles and references.

Effect on Other Documents

This IRM supersedes IRM 1.15.4, dated August 1, 2014.


All divisions and functions.

Effective Date


Celia Richardson
Director, Identity and Records Protection (IRP)
Privacy, Governmental Liaison and Disclosure (PGLD)  (08-01-2014)
Authority to Retire IRS Records

  1. Retire eligible records according to the instructions in the IRS Records Control Schedules (RCS). The schedules are published in Document 12990(formerly IRM 1.15.8 through IRM 1.15.37) and Document 12829 (formerly IRM 1.15.38 through IRM 1.15.64).  (08-01-2014)
Retiring Records to the Federal Records Center (FRC)

  1. Noncurrent records are those not needed in active office space and may be occupying valuable file space. They may, however, still be needed for some use in the future. IRS and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) have a reimbursable Interagency Agreement under which an FRC store and service these records.  (08-01-2014)
Criteria for Retiring Records

  1. Apply the following criteria when preparing to retire records:

    1. Retirement of record series is included in an existing records control schedule,

    2. Records are no longer needed for current operations, as judged by a low reference rate,

    3. Records occupy at least one cubic foot of space, and

    4. Records will remain at the FRC for at least a year.


    You may retire records earlier than the time stated in the records control schedules. If such action is necessary, contact your Area Records Manager (ARM), who will make the necessary arrangements with the IRS Records Officer to coordinate your request with NARA's staff.  (08-01-2014)
Archives and Records Centers Information System (ARCIS)

  1. ARCIS is a new, web-based system being deployed by NARA's FRCs. The system is the online portal through which IRS will retire and transfer its records to an FRC. ARCIS replaces a number of FRC legacy systems.

  2. Once ARCIS is fully implemented it will replace the paper operation in IRM and IRM

  3. Contact your ARM for information and access to ARCIS.  (08-01-2014)
Preparing the Standard Form(SF) 135, Records Transmittal and Receipt

  1. The Information Resource Coordinator (IRC) prepares the SF-135 for retiring records. The IRC is responsible for submitting a separate SF-135, along with a box listing/inventory for each shipment to the ARM for the FRC. The office retiring the records is responsible for preparing the box listing/inventory and providing a copy to the IRC for submission with the SF-135. The FRC assigns an accession number to the shipment, which is used to identify and control the records in its custody.

  2. The IRC should:

    1. Prepare an original and three copies of the SF-135,

    2. Obtain a copy of the box inventory from the office retiring the records,

    3. Review the SF-135 and box inventory for accuracy and completeness, and

    4. Obtain the signature of the ARM.


      After the ARM approves and signs:
      • Forward the original and two copies to the FRC for review and approval.
      • Retain the third copy in a suspense file.


      The ARM will also retain a copy of the SF-135 and box inventory after signing.

  3. The information cited below is required on each SF-135:
    (See Exhibit 1.15.4-1.)

    Item No. Required Information
    Addressing Information
    Item 1
    Address of the FRC that will receive the records shipment.
    Items 2 and 3 Item 2 the ARM must sign their name approving the transfer and date. Item 3 Name, telephone number, mail code/symbol.
    Item 4 LEAVE BLANK. Information to be entered by the FRC.
    Item 5 The ARM's address should be the top address. Below indicate post of duty address or location of the records.
    Accession Number
    Item 6(a)
    Record Group Number assigned to the bureau is "058." This number will always remain the same.
    Item 6(b) List the last two digits of the current fiscal year.
    Item 6(c) Use the four-digit number that the FRC assigns the shipment.
    Item 6(d)
    List the number of boxes for each accession number. A single number which represents the entire number of boxes, i.e. 125 boxes is 125, NOT 1-125.
    Item 6(e) List the sequential number of boxes.


    10 boxes = 1–10; 2–10; 3–10, etc.

    Item 6(f) Series Description --Provide the "exact" title of the series as identified in RCSs 8 through 64. Note any additional information or restrictions in this block that will help to describe or provide details about the records, e.g. "Service By Whole Box," "§6103 Restricted," "Grand Jury." DO NOT INCLUDE SENSITIVE OR PRIVACY ACT INFORMATION ON THIS FORM.
    Item 6(g) Restriction Code--This block indicates any restrictions that apply to the use of the records. A list of codes and their meanings are on the reverse side of the SF–135. IRS offices use "W" for most of their records. Some of the more common codes are R=§6103 Restricted, P=Privacy Act, W=Witnessed Disposal.


    When access is restricted to only certain agency officials, identify them in column 6f, Series Description.

    Item 6(h)
    Disposal Authority--List the appropriate RCS number and the item number as follows: RCS 13/3A(1)(b) or RCS 29/168B(2) or GRS) 38/23. [Where, for example, "GRS 38/23" represents General Records Schedule Number 38, Item 23.]
    Item 6(i)
    Disposal Date--List the month and year in which the FRC may destroy the records using the instructions in block 6 (h) above. List only the month and year, e.g. 01/2015, in which the FRC may destroy the records. Disposals are done on a quarterly basis; therefore, only four months are acceptable combinations with the year (January, April, July and October). Advance the disposal date to the beginning of the next quarter for the actual disposal date.


    Records close 12/1999--disposal date 01/2000.  (08-01-2014)
Processing the Returned SF–135

  1. If the SF-135 is correct, the FRC assigns an accession number and returns the original to the ARM who will:

    1. Pull the suspense copy and destroy it.

    2. Retain one copy of the approved SF-135 and box listing for reference and retrieval purposes. This copy of the SF-135 will be kept by the ARM until receipt of notification that the records are eligible for disposal. It will continue to be retained by the ARM as a record of the disposal action for at least five years after the FRC destroys the records.

    3. Return to the IRC the original SF-135. The IRC will mark the accession number on each box and place the original SF-135 and box inventory inside the first box.


    If the SF-135 has an error, the FRC will send a letter of explanation. The ARM will advise the IRC of the error so the SF-135 can be corrected and resubmitted to the FRC.  (08-01-2014)
Selecting, Assembling and Packing Cartons

  1. Selecting the Carton. Use the appropriate carton to ship records based on the following criteria:

    If the records include Then use
    Payment vouchers, TDAs and TDIs Quarter cubic-foot IRS carton measuring 4 1/1″ Long x 8″ Wide x 5″ Deep with a separate lid.
    Tax Returns "1040" Box measuring 131/1″ Long x 87/7″ Wide x 12 1/1
    Other Records Cubic foot FRC carton measuring 14 3/3″ Long x 12″ Wide x 9 1/1″ Deep


    Use of non-standard size boxes is restricted to ONLY records too large to fit into a standard FRC-IRS approved box. You must notify the ARM before using non-standard boxes so that space accommodations can be made at the FRC. Under no circumstances are non-standard boxes to be shipped to the FRC without prior approval. Non-standard records include:

    • Ledgers

    • Posting Binders

    • posters

    • Any other oversized records

  2. Refer to Exhibit 1.15.4-2 for illustrations of standard and approved cartons.

  3. Assembling the Cartons. Follow instructions on the box.

  4. Packing the Carton. The IRC is responsible for making sure that the records are packed in the cartons shipping as set forth below:

    1. Pack each carton with records vertically and in sequential order. They should be in the same order in which they are kept in the active files. File tabs should face the "FRONT" of the box and be visible for easy access and identification.

    2. Pack letter-size records in the standard FRC carton facing the numbered end where the accession number and box number are to be printed. (This is the end opposite the stapled end.)

    3. Pack legal size records in the carton the labels/tabs face the left as you face the numbered end.

    4. Each carton should be packed to avoid contents' shifting or moving. Allow about one inch of space in each box for working with the files (more space for interfiles, which will be added later - but no less than 3/3 full). Leave any file guides or tabs in place if they will help in servicing the records. These precautions prevent possible damage to the records or cartons during transit. (Use packing material as filler.)

    5. Do not overpack boxes. Do not add any material or filler to the bottom, side, or top of records in the box. All loose documents must be in labelled folders.

    6. Mark the accession number on each box and pack the original SF-135 and box inventory inside the first box.


      The stapled side of the box is always the back or rear of the box.  (08-01-2014)
Determining the Appropriate Shipment Method

  1. Records must be shipped to reach the FRC within 90 days of the date the accession number was assigned.

  2. Select one of the following methods of transportation:

    1. IRS-owned or leased vehicles.

    2. The United States Postal Service (USPS) Priority or Express Mail.

    3. Contract delivery or next-day service, i.e. United Parcel Service (UPS) or Federal Express.

    4. Commercial carrier. Prepare a Government Bill of Lading (GBL) for commercial carriers.


    If you are shipping tax returns or records containing taxpayer data protected under §6103, see the next section for specific instructions on how these records must be packed and the approved transportation method.

  3. Consider the size of the shipment to help you determine the best method. Consult with your ARM and transportation analyst for current information about transportation methods.

  4. Arrange for pickup so records can be received by the FRC before closing time.


    Accession size should not exceed 30 boxes. Check with your ARM on accessions over 30 before numbering boxes.  (08-01-2014)
Retiring Tax-Related Records Protected by Internal Revenue Code Section 6103 or Classified Records

  1. When retiring tax-related records to the FRC, prepare shipments in a manner that ensures protection from unauthorized disclosure of information.

  2. Consult the National Security Handbook, IRM 10.9.1, which includes the standards for shipping, handling, and storing official information that requires safeguarding.

  3. Mark and ship classified records according to the guidelines in the National Security Handbook.

  4. Prepare three copies of the box listing (or index) for each shipment. Forward one copy to the ARM. One copy should be attached to your office copy of the SF-135; place one copy in the first box behind the SF-135 in a sealed envelope.


    Contact your local Disclosure Officer or staff when you have questions concerning tax-related or classified records. Records protected under §6103 must be packed and sealed using the approved IRS blue and white tape. Contact your ARM for instructions on how to obtain and use this tape. See Exhibit 1.15.4-3.  (08-01-2014)
Retiring Non-Current Official Personnel Folders

  1. Official Personnel Folders (OPF) are the property of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). They are physically maintained and controlled by federal agencies while employees are on their active duty roster.

  2. Each personnel office will maintain, retire or transfer OPFs according to the General Records Schedules (GRS) and OPM guidelines.

  3. ARMs will retire OPFs and Employee Medical Folders (EMF) of former IRS employees to the National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri.

  4. Employees should pack non-current OPFs alphabetically. They should:

    1. Prepare two copies of a shipment list (box inventory) for each shipment, and

    2. Forward the original of the shipment list/inventory in the first box.


      (1) The originating Personnel Office will retain a copy of the shipment list/inventory for reference.
      (2) There are no special boxes or requirements for shipping OPFs to the National Personnel Records Center; therefore, FRC boxes are not required.  (08-01-2014)
Retiring Accountable Officers' Accounts Records

  1. Accountable Officers' Accounts are the property of the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Employees may retire, make available to others outside the IRS, or destroy them, according to the GAO Policy and Procedure Manual for Guidance of Federal Agencies ("GAO Manual" ).

  2. Accountable Officers' Accounts include the following records or their equivalent:

    • Statements of Transactions

    • Statements of Accountability

    • Collection Schedules

    • Disbursement Schedules

    • Disbursement Vouchers

    • Other schedules and vouchers

  3. Follow the guidelines in the IRM, Security Handbook, as well as the GAO Manual, for additional information on safeguarding and retiring these records.  (08-01-2014)
Retiring Criminal Investigative (CI) Case Files Related to Grand Juries

  1. Employees should take protective measures when retiring or shipping CI investigative case files or grand jury case files. This assists staff in complying with Physical Security and Emergency Preparedness (PSEP) and the Office of Safeguards requirements to protect personally identifiable information (PII) and sensitive but unclassified (SBU) information.

  2. The FRCs use a "sealed box" method for storing sensitive case files. Therefore, complete the following tasks when retiring these types of records to an FRC:

    1. Rubber stamp each box and each SF-135 with "SERVICE BY WHOLE BOX," and "NOT TO BE OPENED BY NARA."

    2. Secure every box with tape specifically designed by the Criminal Investigation function. This tape makes potential tampering difficult. The tape includes the caption, "To be Opened by IRS Only." If a box is requested from the FRC, IRS employees will replace this tape prior to returning the box. See Exhibit 1.15.4-3.

    3. The standard records storage box fits inside a sleeve box if you need to ship to another location. This eliminates double wrapping each box in opaque paper so that the tape or writing on the box is neither visible nor legible. Make sure that the address to/from is printed on each sleeve and inside box, so that if the sleeve is damaged in transit, the box can be identified and delivered. To order record sleeve boxes, orders may go directly to Columbia Container Corp. 1798 Union Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21211 Telephone number: 410-467-1400 Fax Number: 410-467-1793. RECORDS STORAGE BOX SLEEVE - bundles of 25, plus shipping costs. Use of a different vendor is acceptable, but note that sleeve boxes must be one quarter inch in diameter larger on all six sides of a standard FRC box.


      The IRS and NARA have agreed to this arrangement in order to ensure the shipment's anonymity.

    4. Advise the ARM of the approximate volume of boxes and whether high reference activity is anticipated.


      Retire grand jury records separately from criminal investigation case files. This will ensure that grand jury records receive this special handling that other record series do not require.  (08-01-2014)
Requesting Records from the FRC

  1. The majority of IRS records stored at and requested from the FRCs are tax returns and related documents. These documents are filed and requested by Document Locator Number (DLN), and are directly referenced by FRC staff without reference to the SF-135, Records Transmittal and Receipt, although an SF-135 is still created and provided to the ARM.

  2. Most requests for tax returns and related documents from the FRC are computer generated through the Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) or related systems such as the Audit Information Management System (AIMS). These requests are printed on Form 4251, Return Charge Out or Form 5546, Examination Return Charge Out, and serviced through the appropriate Service Center to and from the FRC.

  3. Requests for all tax returns and documents with DLNs are made through the Returns/Files function at the Service Center.

  4. Requests for all other tax records, or those that cannot be generated through IDRS may be requested using IRS Form 2275, Records Request, Charge and Recharge. See Exhibit 1.15.4-4.


    Generally, records managers' assistance is not required to request tax documents.  (08-01-2014)
Completing Form 2275

  1. The Form 2275, Records Request, Charge and Recharge is used to:

    1. Request a tax record from the FRC.

    2. Charge-out a record to an individual.

    3. Re-charge a record from one individual to another.

  2. On the Form 2275, the requestor must complete the following information:
     (See Exhibit 1.15.4-4, an illustration of a blank Form 2275)

    Part/Item No. Required Information
    Part A
    Document Identification
    Complete only when a specific document is requested.
    Part B
    Always complete. This information is required to charge-out the requested record.
    Part C
    Researcher Information
    Complete Items 16A, 16B and 16C. This information is extracted from the SF-135.


    The FRC will return incomplete or incorrect forms.

  3. When the requested records are no longer needed, they should be returned to the FRC with a copy of the Form 2275 attached and clearly annotated "Refile."  (08-01-2014)
NARA Optional Form 11

  1. All other offices use NARA Federal Records Center Optional Form 11, Reference Request Federal Records Centers, instead of Form 2275. The same information is required on the Optional Form (OF) -11 as Form 2275 except the ARM must sign the OF-11.  (08-01-2014)
Emergency Requests for Tax Returns and Related Documents

  1. Emergency telephone requests to FRCs will be limited to:

    1. Requests for tax information from foreign governments under treaty provisions.

    2. Requests from IRS or Department of Justice employees for immediate production for court proceedings or grand juries.

  2. Telephone requests will be made only by authorized employees directly to the designated IRS Campus. The head of office will designate four principals and four alternates from their site, and three principals and three alternatives from the area office pods. These names must be furnished to the FRC staff.

  3. The IRS Campus Document Retention Department will service requests for documents stored in-house and call or fax any remaining requests to the FRCs.

  4. The IRS Campus Directors will designate six principals and six alternates to make emergency calls to the FRCs. These names must be furnished to the FRC staff.


    Review and update these lists annually. The FRCs will not accept telephone or facsimile requests from any person whose name is not on the current IRS Campus list.  (08-01-2014)
Other Emergency Requests

  1. Other emergency requests are limited to:

    • Congressional inquiries

    • Statute of Limitation cases

    • Criminal Investigation cases

    • Problem Resolution Program requests

  2. The requestor will use IDRS to generate these requests. If this is not possible, the IRS Campus Returns Files staff will accept telephone emergency calls only from authorized employees, which will include ARMs and the IRS Records Officer.

  3. The Service Center staff will:

    1. Complete Form 2275 for each request.

    2. Batch the requests to be sent to the FRC separately from regular requests.

    3. Clearly mark the batch "EMERGENCY REQUEST."

    4. Place the batch at the beginning of the next shipment of requests to the FRC.

Exhibit 1.15.4-1 
Form SF–135, Records Transmittal and Receipt

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Exhibit 1.15.4-2 
Federal Records Cartons

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Exhibit 1.15.4-3 
IRS Approved Tape for §6103 and Grand Jury Records

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Exhibit 1.15.4-4 
Form 2275, Records Request, Charge and Recharge

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Preparation Guidelines for Requesters
These guidelines are for the preparers of Form 2275 when requesting (1) tax returns and other documents and (2) abstracts of information or copies of tax returns and other documents. Complete Form 2275, Part A (Document Identification) and Part B (Originator Information). Part C (Researcher Information) will be provided by the Files Function.
Item 1.— Enter Social Security (SS) or Employer Identification (EI) Number, if known, when requesting tax returns and related documents.
Item 2.— Complete when applicable. For example "1040" ,"941" , etc.
Item 3.— Show the period of time covered by the return or document being requested.
Item 3A.— Enter applicable office code.
Item 4.— Always show the latest Document Locator Number, if known, including the processing year (14th digit).
Item 5.— If SS or EI Number given in Item 1, show name of taxpayer only. If Item 1 is not filled in, show complete name and address of the taxpayer.
Item 6.— Not applicable to the originator.
Item 7.— Not applicable to the originator.
Item 8.— Show identification numbers assigned returns prior to ADP and other documents of a non-ADP nature.
Item 9.— Immediate or first line supervisor will enter his signature of approval if organizationally prescribed.
Item 10.— Enter the date the requisition is forwarded.
Item 11.— If available, show the IRS identification number (encoder number) on the back of the taxpayer's remittance, which will assist in locating full-paid returns that have not been processed.
Item 12.— When requesting Federal Tax Deposit documents, the (TUS) number must always be indicated.
Item 13A.— Enter originating office.
Item 13B.— If the originator is located in a service campus, place an "X" in the box which identifies his service campus. If the originator is located in other than a service campus, type or print originator is located in other than a service campus, type or print originating office, (Area 2 Office, National Office, etc.) after "Other (Specify)."
Item 13C.–
through H.—
Fill in these items to the extent applicable.
Item 13I. and J.— Give full name and telephone number.
Item 14A.— Place an "X" in this box if original document is desired.
Item 14B.— Place an "X" in this box to request a microfilm transcript.
Item 14C.— Place an "X" in this box to request miscellaneous data or documents and specify exactly what is desired immediately below if there is room or in Item 19 if more space is needed.
Item 14D.— Place an "X" in this block to signify preparation of a photocopy.
Item 14D1.— Place an "X" in this box to signify preparation of a photocopy based on receipt of a request from the public provided the request meets the provisions in IRM 11.3, Disclosure of Official Information Handbook.

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