- 1.17.8 Internal and Public Use Non-Tax Products
- 184.108.40.206 Introduction
- 220.127.116.11 Official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Published Products
- 18.104.22.168 Submitting Products to Publishing
- 22.214.171.124.1 Product Status
- 126.96.36.199.2 Obsolescence of Products
- 188.8.131.52.3 Graphic Design Standards
- 184.108.40.206.4 Products Requiring Security Handling
- 220.127.116.11 Product Numbering Suffixes
- 18.104.22.168.1 Serial Suffixes
- 22.214.171.124.2 Associated Product Suffixes
- 126.96.36.199.3 Alternate Use Product Suffixes
- 188.8.131.52.3.1 Alternate Use Suffixes and Long-Title Identifier
- 184.108.40.206 Types of Published Products
- 220.127.116.11.1 Forms
- 18.104.22.168.1.1 Forms Product Status
- 22.214.171.124.1.1.1 New or Revised - General Forms
- 126.96.36.199.1.1.2 New, Revised, or Reprinted - Tax-Related Forms
- 188.8.131.52.1.1.3 New or Revised - General Administrative and Internal-Use Forms
- 184.108.40.206.1.2 Regular Form Numbering Series
- 220.127.116.11.1.3 Form Types
- 18.104.22.168.1.3.1 Public-Use Forms
- 22.214.171.124.1.4 Internal Use Forms
- 126.96.36.199.1.5 Standard and Optional Forms
- 188.8.131.52.2 Letters
- 184.108.40.206.2.1 Types of Letters
- 220.127.116.11.2.2 Letters Numbering Series
- 18.104.22.168.2.3 Public-Use Form Letter Suffixes
- 22.214.171.124.2.4 Signature Title Requirements
- 126.96.36.199.2.5 Form Letter Format Requirements
- 188.8.131.52.2.6 Letter Language Translations
- 184.108.40.206.2.7 Production Schedule for Form Letters
- 220.127.116.11.2.8 Posting Letters to the Core Repository of Published Products (CROPP)
- 18.104.22.168.3 Notices
- 22.214.171.124.3.1 Notices Numbering Series
- 126.96.36.199.4 Instructions
- 188.8.131.52.5 Documents
- 184.108.40.206.6 Publications
- 220.127.116.11.6.1 Publication Types
- 18.104.22.168.7 Envelopes
- 22.214.171.124.7.1 Envelope Numbering
- 126.96.36.199.7.2 Envelope Types
- 188.8.131.52.7.3 Providing Taxpayers with Envelopes
- 184.108.40.206.7.4 Envelope Responsibilities and Funding
- 220.127.116.11.7.4.1 Publishing Responsibilities
- 18.104.22.168.7.4.2 Customer Responsibilities
- 22.214.171.124.7.4.3 Envelope Funding
- 126.96.36.199.7.5 Envelope Size Formats
- 188.8.131.52.7.5.1 4-1/8 inch by 9-1/2 inch Envelopes
- 184.108.40.206.7.5.2 6 inch by 9-1/2 inch Envelopes
- 220.127.116.11.7.5.3 9 inch by 12 inch Envelopes
- 18.104.22.168.7.6 Envelope Standards
- 22.214.171.124.7.7 Use of Window Envelopes
- 126.96.36.199.7.8 Envelope Printing
- 188.8.131.52.7.8.1 United States Postal Service (USPS) Requirements
- 184.108.40.206.7.8.2 Bulk Supplies
- 220.127.116.11.7.8.3 IRS Areas and Territories
- 18.104.22.168.7.8.4 General Envelope Specifications
- 22.214.171.124.7.8.5 Envelope Specification Sheet
- 126.96.36.199.7.8.6 Envelope Specifications Review
- 188.8.131.52.7.9 Envelope Contracts
- 184.108.40.206.7.10 Requisitioning New or Revised Envelopes
- 220.127.116.11.8 Internal Revenue Manual (IRM)
- 18.104.22.168.9 Letterhead
- 22.214.171.124.10 Training Products
- 126.96.36.199.10.1 Training Products Numbering
- 188.8.131.52.11 Other Government Agency Products
- 184.108.40.206.12 Miscellaneous Products
- 220.127.116.11.12.1 Promotional Items Guidelines
- 18.104.22.168 Copyright and Copyrighted Material
- 22.214.171.124.1 Requirements for Publishing Copyrighted Material
- 126.96.36.199.2 Term of Copyright
- 188.8.131.52.3 Notice of Copyright
- 184.108.40.206.4 Elements of a Notice of Copyright
- 220.127.116.11.5 Exceptions to Notice of Copyright Usage
- 18.104.22.168.6 "Fair Use" of Copyrighted Material
- 22.214.171.124.7 Factors for Determining "Fair Use"
- 126.96.36.199.8 Copyright Infringement
- 188.8.131.52.9 Credit Lines
- 184.108.40.206.9.1 Credit Lines Restrictions
- 220.127.116.11 Procurement Vehicles
- 18.104.22.168 Availability of Internal-Use Products to the Public
Part 1. Organization, Finance, and Management
Chapter 17. Publishing
Section 8. Internal and Public Use Non-Tax Products
August 19, 2016
(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.17.8, Publishing – Internal and Public Use Non-Tax Products.
(1) Editorial changes have been made throughout this IRM.
Steven R. Manno
Wage & Investment Division
This IRM section provides information and guidance related to the various types of non-tax published products produced by the IRS. Product originators must submit these internal and public use communication products to the Media & Publications (M&P) Publishing organization for approval before the published products can be used for official IRS business.
In addition to tax products, the IRS produces a variety of non-tax products. These products are used both internally by IRS employees and externally by other agencies, taxpayers, or other public groups and entities.
Product originators must submit new products to Publishing to obtain product and catalog numbers before the products can be used for official IRS business. Publishing posts final products in electronic format to the Core Repository of Published Products (CROPP), and makes electronic products available in various versions and formats through the Catalog Page at http://publish.no.irs.gov/catlg.html. Only Publishing can post official IRS published products to the Intranet and to IRS.gov. After your product is posted, it can be printed and distributed or used in its electronic format.
Product originators must submit IRS products to Publishing for them to become official IRS published products. An exception may be one-time use products with minimal distribution. Some examples of one-time, low-volume products include meeting agendas, retirement flyers, and interoffice communications.
Publishing designates products submitted for publication with a status of either new, revised, reprint or obsolete.
See the chart below to determine how to submit a new, revised, or reprinted published product to Publishing.
If Then The product may be used or referenced to support a legal position Submit the product, along with a Publishing Services Request (PSR), to Publishing to produce an official numbered IRS product. The product will be distributed to the public or otherwise outside the IRS at a quantity more than ten IRS employees are required to fill in information on the product and/or sign and return The product will be revised, reissued, or reprinted periodically (e.g., newsletters, statistical charts, etc.) The product needs to be accessible to others outside the originating office The product requires graphic design services only, with no paper or electronic publishing services, and does not meet any of the previous criteria Submit the product, along with a PSR, to Publishing to obtain graphic design services. The product is for one-time, low-volume use (e.g., meeting agenda, retirement flyer, etc.) You may produce and distribute the product without involving Publishing.
The originating office is responsible for placing a form or other published product in either an active or obsolete status. The originating office must submit a PSR or email notification to Publishing and provide an explanation for the product’s obsolescence. The originator must also indicate what has replaced the form (a new form, a new process, a website, etc.).
Publishing will conduct periodic reviews of active products to determine their continuing need and will request a current status of forms with no publishing action during a two-year period.
Publishing, with a Publishing manager’s approval, may obsolete dormant items for which the originator cannot be determined.
Some products have predetermined obsolescence dates specified in the original request. Publishing may routinely obsolete these products at the proper time.
Publishing’s Design Office provides graphic design services to help customers develop products that comply with IRS design standards. The Design Office can meet customers' graphic design needs using both skilled in-house designers and contract services. A visual information specialist from the Design Office should review products being revised or reprinted to ensure the product meets current IRS design standards. To learn more about design standards, see IRM 1.17.7, Publishing - Use of the Official IRS Seal, IRS Logo, Program Logos, and Internal Logos.
Products that require secure handling may contain Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU) material. SBU material includes data formerly designated as Official Use Only (OUO) or Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
Secure handling is required if the product originator requests it; and/or in the instances described in (3) and (4) below.
If the product has been marked on the cover or any subsequent pages with the terms:
Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU)
Official Use Only (OUO)
Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
If the item being printed, posted, or distributed allows or contains any of the following:
Allows access to a restricted, monitored, sealed, or closed off area
Allows access or navigation through a computer system(s) and/or databases
Confirms payment to or from the IRS (such as Form 809 receipts)
Is a sample that may contain real taxpayer data (such as tax packages, stimulus samples, or mail-to or distribution lists)
Is any official form of identification (such as Smart ID Badges, pocket commission cards, etc.)
Records private or sensitive data; or is used as an official control log
Contains data that, if released on or before a certain date, may allow for an advantage (monetarily, knowledge, or names)
May cause harm to self, personal injury or injury to others, or death
Is an IRM (Internal Revenue Manual) marked as “OUO” or containing pound signs (#) in either the left or right portion of the margin (Content online that is restricted information is denoted with the not equal sign (≠))
Is a Law Enforcement Manual (LEM)
Keep all related items identified for secure handling, including manuscripts, copy, proofs, compact discs (CDs), samples, etc., locked in a file drawer or cabinet except when actually working the job. If you leave your work area, lock up all materials pertaining to the job. Never (except in emergency evacuations) leave secure materials unattended. Lock them away during non-work hours such as evenings, holidays, and weekends.
All products requiring secure handling must be marked with a “Y” under the security handling field in Electronic Status Notice (ESN) on the main product information page.
Store history folders for products requiring secure handling, such as pocket commissions and parking decals, in a designated locked file cabinet. This applies also to IRM and LEM materials.
All security products that are housed in the National Distribution Center (NDC) must be stored in a secure environment. The NDC uses a fully enclosed steel cage. If you have a product that is a security item and will be stored at the NDC, consult with the distribution analyst to ensure the item will be properly secured.
All official IRS published products, depending on the product type, have a product number. Product number formats/series are defined within the description of each product type in IRM 22.214.171.124, Types of Published Products. A suffix can follow some product numbers to denote a particular use for a product. Suffixes may be used alone or in conjunction with other suffix types. When multiple suffix types are required, they are generally added in the following order: serial, associated, alternate use. We describe these suffixes separately below.
If more than one alternate use suffix is required on the same product, they will be separated by a hyphen, such as (C-SP) for a Correspondex Spanish letter or a continuous Spanish version or (EN-SP) for a single product containing both English and Spanish languages. For additional published product identification standards related to base numbers and product suffixes, consult with your publishing specialist. A list of publishing specialists is posted on the Publishing website at http://publish.no.irs.gov/publish/psal.html.
A serial suffix identifies a series or group of related products generally beginning with the letter A and continuing through Z. Serial suffixes are joined to the base number with a hyphen when referenced in writing and on the published product itself. The serial suffix is always listed first when more than one suffix is used on a single product.
Associated use suffixes are those that generally identify a descriptive peer or parent-child relationship among products. There is a 20-character limitation on suffixes. Examples of associated suffixes include:
Vol – Volume
Supp - Supplement
MISC - Miscellaneous
OID – Original Issue Discount
INT – Interest
Alternate use suffixes identify predetermined alternative media, languages or end-user characteristics and are surrounded by left and right parentheses. These suffixes are always listed last when more than one suffix is used.
When an alternative use suffix is used, the publishing specialist must add an identifier for this suffix to the end of the long title in the ESN record. If the product is not a version of an existing product, but stands alone, then the word “Version” may be omitted from the identifier in the long title.
The following chart shows alternate use suffixes and their long-title identifiers. The long title must be spelled out for data entered into ESN. Suffixes marked with an asterisk are for use only by the Alternative Media Center.
Alternate Use Suffix for Product Long Title for ESN (IN) (International Use Version) (PR) (Puerto Rico Version) (LP) (Large Print Version) (HTM) (HTML Version) (DTB) (Digital Talking Book Version) (C) (Continuous Version) or (Continuous Form) (CD) (Compact Disc Version) or (Compact Disc) (DVD) (Digital Video Disc) Language Suffixes (EN-SP) (English & Spanish Version) (EN-FR) (English & French Version) (EN-CN) (English & Mandarin Chinese Version) (EN-KR) (English & Korean Version) (EN-RU) (English & Russian Version) (EN-VN) (English & Vietnamese Version) (EN-DE) (English & German Version) (SP) (Spanish Version) (FR) (French Version) (CN) (Mandarin Chinese Version) (KR) (Korean Version) (RU) (Russian Version) (VN) (Vietnamese Version) (DE) (German Version) (BR) (Braille Version) Combination/Multiple Alternative Use Suffixes (C-SP) (Correspondex Letter & Spanish Version) (IN-PR) (International & Puerto Rico Version)
If the suffix you are looking for is not on the preceding chart, then contact the ESN Administrator for assistance.
This section discusses the following types of published products:
Internal Revenue Manuals (IRMs)
Other Government Agency Products
Additional information on IRS published products and publishing services is available through M&P’s Electronic Publishing website at http://publish.no.irs.gov/ephome.html.
A form is a data collection instrument printed or electronically reproduced with space for filling in information, descriptive material, or addresses. All forms should include instructions for use. Forms are the principal contact between the IRS and taxpayers and are the published products most frequently used by IRS employees.
Certain printed products without fill-in space, such as labels and instruction sheets (which constitute a continuation of a form), are considered forms because it’s advantageous to identify and control them as forms for purposes of reference, printing, stocking, distributing, and use with other forms. Published notices and letters also fall into the forms category for forms management purposes.
Publishing will designate submitted forms requests with a status of either new, revised, or reprint. We process obsolete forms as described in IRM 126.96.36.199.2, Obsolescence of Products.
Organizations requiring new forms or revisions to existing forms (other than tax forms) must:
Develop complete procedures and instructions governing the use of the form.
Secure necessary internal and external clearances.
Prepare a draft of the proposed new form or revised copy of an existing form.
Attach an electronic file of the draft form to the PSR when submitting to Publishing.
To create a new tax-related form, or revise or reprint an existing one, form originators must submit drafts of new or revised tax-related forms and requests for reprints of existing forms to Publishing by initiating a PSR. Include prescribing procedures or instructions that relate to the use of the form.
Follow these steps when publishing a new or revised internal-use form:
Clear internal-use forms within originating office prior to submitting to Publishing.
Submit draft of new or revised form to Publishing by initiating a PSR. Include any procedures or instructions relating to the use of the form.
Publishing, after receiving the PSR, will:
Design the forms to meet IRS design standards following Document 12616, General Design Guidelines for IRS Forms within Publishing
Develop functionality required to make the form user-friendly in an electronic workflow.
Make the forms meet Section 508 accessibility requirements
Work with the originator office to have all work done on the form approved
Apply document rights to allow users of Adobe Reader to be able to save and sign the forms
This numbering series includes forms used by the IRS or by the public. As a result, IRS personnel or the public may fill in the forms partially or in full. Partial fill-in may consist of only a signature.
When a marginally punched continuous version of an existing form numbered in this series is needed, Publishing will use the form number on the existing form for the continuous version, and will add a suffix of (C), capital letter C enclosed by parentheses, as a suffix to the form number.
The Publishing organization produces three types of forms:
Standard and Optional Forms
A public-use form is any form prescribed by the IRS to enable the general public and other government agencies to comply with internal revenue laws and regulations or to otherwise communicate with the public. The three categories of public-use forms prescribed by the IRS are:
General administrative forms
A tax form is any form prescribed by the IRS to enable the general public to comply with the requirements of IRS laws and regulations.
A tax-related form is any form prescribed by the IRS (except tax forms) to communicate with the general public about tax matters relating to taxpayers, tax practitioners, or general tax information.
An internal-use form is any form prescribed for use solely within the IRS. These forms are completed by and used to collect information from IRS employees. Some examples of existing internal-use forms include employment, personnel, employee performance, training, and property security.
A standard form is one prescribed by an executive agency for the use of two or more agencies under the approval of the National Archives and Records Services, General Services Administration (GSA). A standard form is mandatory for use by all federal agencies. Exceptions to standard forms involving departure from text or format require written approval by GSA prior to printing. Forward requests for exceptions to GSA through Publishing.
Optional forms are for use at the discretion of each agency; they are not mandatory.
Standard accounting forms are established, approved or revised by the agency having the government-wide responsibility for the function accomplished by the form. Refer to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Policies and Procedures Manual to determine the responsible agency for each standard accounting form. Exceptions to standard accounting forms involving departure from text or format require GAO written approval. Forward requests for exception to the originating agency through Publishing.
The Standard and Optional Forms Facsimile Handbook, published by GSA’s Federal Supply Service, gives detailed data concerning the use of each standard and optional form. GSA stocks most standard and optional forms.
Letters are public-use products sent directly to taxpayers. All letters, except Non-Traditional format letters, must carry a signature and advise taxpayers where to direct inquiries (unless a contact stuffer is enclosed).
M&P publishes Form Letters, Survey Letters, Correspondex Letters, and Non-Traditional Letters. Form letters follow M&P design standards. Survey letters relate to specific surveys, in most cases, and are generated by a vendor. These letters do not go to the Office of Taxpayer Correspondence (OTC) for content review, but are approved by OMB along with the corresponding survey. Correspondex letters are computer-generated from the Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS). These letters are identified by the suffix C and are viewable from the Numerical Index at http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/forms-ltrs-pubs.dr/crxltrs.dr/num.htm on the Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) website, but not available on the Electronic Publishing website as PDF fillable letters. A direct link to an IDRS letter in the Numeric Index appears in the Functional Description of the letter from the Publishing Catalog page. The Office of Taxpayer Correspondence (OTC) designs Non-Traditional Letters in an "OTC CP Notice format" and posts them to the CROPP. Various systems, such as a vendor, FMS, or an IRS stand-alone system, can generate Non-Traditional letters, and they are coordinated through the OTC and the Business Operating Divisions (BOD).
Publishing uses the letter series for numbering all public-use form letters prescribed by each Headquarters office for use in IRS correspondence. The identification of this correspondence consists of the word “Letter” followed by a one- to four-digit number. Letters, when they are intended for distribution to 10 or more persons, must carry this number series.
Each number issued under this series will be unique to a single purpose or subject, but more than one version of that item may be available. No change is required in the text, format, physical characteristics, date of issue, or revision date of letters in this series without prior approval from the originating office.
The suffix “C”, a capital letter C only, with no punctuation, identifies public-use form letters generated from the Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS). For these letters, the campus or area determines the choice of manual signature and title. The suffix (C-SP), capital letter C and capital letters SP separated by a hyphen and enclosed in parentheses, identifies Spanish-language public-use letters generated from the IDRS.
The letter originator will determine signature title requirements for these letters. When a specific signature title appears on the letter, you must use that signature, unless an authorized official re-delegates the signature authority. The letter originator will determine whether a facsimile signature can be preprinted on the letter or if a hand-stamped or actual signature is required.
The publishing specialist must provide signature instructions for each letter in the corresponding Electronic Status Notice (ESN) record.
The M&P organization is responsible for format and design of all public-use form letters. Format and design includes typeface, margins and page and text layout. Letter format templates are available on Publishing’s Intranet site at http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/letterp/LPformat.html.
No changes to the Office of Taxpayer Correspondence (OTC) approved letter content will be made except to ensure references to published products are correct and include the full title with the first reference.
The originator determines if Spanish or other language versions will be necessary.
Submit requests to translate letters to the Linguistic Policy, Tools and Services (LPTS) Office by PSR, depending on whether the letter is considered "vital" or "non-vital" . See IRM 22.31.1, IRS Language Services for specific instructions.
To submit a translation request, the originator must attach a completed Form 14078, Request for Translation and/or Quality Review of Non-Vital Documents, along with the OTC-approved English version of the final source document, to the PSR.
Publishing composes and processes letters in the order approved copy is received from the OTC.
Note requests for expedited composition, print and/or posting services on the PSR when submitting the request. The letter originator should also contact the letter program publishing specialist directly to request expedited services. The publishing specialist will work to meet the scheduling needs of the originating office.
All numbered published products are posted to Publishing’s Core Repository of Published Products (CROPP). IRS published products become “official” products only after being posted to the CROPP. A product’s “official” status can become relevant during court proceedings and legal challenges.
Publishing posts numbered letters, except for Correspondex (CRX) letters, to the CROPP. CRX letters are generated and used on the Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) and posted to the Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) site.
The IRS sends a notice if it believes a taxpayer owes additional tax or is due a larger refund, or if there is a question about a tax return or a need for additional information.
This series consists of numbered, preprinted messages to the public described as notice or stuffer-type messages that are usually inserted or stuffed into envelopes with other printed matter. All information must be printed on notices; no information may be added or filled in manually or electronically after reproduction except for addressing or labeling operations. If it is necessary to print a language version of the same notice, one of the standard language suffixes will be used.
Instructions commonly appear on forms at the bottom or back of the page. Lengthy instruction booklets provide more in-depth information for completing the form it accompanies. Also:
Instructions do not contain fill-in fields.
Instruction booklets may contain worksheets, charts, etc.
Instruction booklets are prefixed with the word "Instructions" and identified by the form number they accompany.
Documents are intended for use by IRS employees and are identified numerically starting with Document number 5001. The content is generally for informational or administrative purposes. Documents are not generally distributed to the public. Types of information published as documents are:
Employee development guides
Safety and health handbooks
Rules of conduct
A publication is an information product created for and distributed to a particular segment of the public in either electronic or printed format. Publications also include products for both IRS employees and public use. Submit all public-use products to Publishing to be cataloged and posted to the Core Repository of Published Products (CROPP). Some examples of publications in the CROPP are:
Reports to Congress
Promotional items approved for various IRS initiatives
The Publishing organization produces three types of publications:
Tax Publications are publications that are:
Related to federal taxation; and
Aimed specifically at informing or educating all or certain groups of taxpayers.
General-Use Publications are:
Non-tax publications; and
Issued to the public for various informational and promotional purposes.
Joint Publications are publications that are:
Issued in conjunction with another government agency;
Printed at either one or both agencies;
Issued to the public through either one or both agencies’ distribution channels; and
Printed with the publication identification numbers assigned by both agencies.
Envelopes are vehicles used to mail printed products to IRS employees and the general public. To learn more about Publishing’s envelope program, go to http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/envelope/envprog.html.
A number is assigned to each IRS envelope for identification and inventory purposes. The envelope number is preceded by the letter “E” and followed by the envelope’s issue or revision date. An example of an envelope number would be “E-130 (Rev. 10-1994).” :The number prints in the lower right corner on the back of the envelope.
Some envelopes are available with the window on the right to accommodate address areas that are on the right; other envelopes have windows on the left. We identify envelopes that can be ordered with either a right or left window with either an “L” for left window or “R” for right window. This designation follows the envelope number, for example “E-125L (Rev.10-1994).” Ordering offices should ensure that the envelopes ordered have the matching window position for the items being mailed.
Publishing produces two types of envelopes:
General-purpose envelopes are used to mail many types of miscellaneous letters and pamphlets, for which no particular envelope is prescribed as a mailing vehicle. When using a general-purpose envelope, carefully select the appropriate size.
Special-purpose envelopes are developed when a general purpose envelope cannot be used because of unusual size, unusual address location, special construction requirements, special printing requirements, or other such reasons. Special instructions for using this type of envelope are located in the status notice information for that envelope.
If a form, letter, or notice cannot be designed to fit a general-purpose window envelope, and it is not feasible to use a non-window general-purpose envelope, then a special-purpose window envelope may be developed. Publishing will determine the necessity for a new window envelope by weighing the cost of addressing non-window envelopes against the additional cost of procuring the special purpose window envelope and the administrative cost associated with adding another special purpose envelope to the system.
There are conditions where the IRS may benefit from providing taxpayers with envelopes for use in transacting official business. A courtesy reply envelope (E-25CR, Courtesy Reply Envelope) is available to serve this purpose.
The IRS may furnish postage and fees paid business reply mail (BRM) envelopes in tax liability investigations only when the IRS requires information that the taxpayer does not legally have to provide. When information is solicited from a third party (not representing the taxpayer), or in administrative investigations requiring information from an employee reference, etc., the IRS may furnish a BRM envelope.
Persons responding to correspondence relating to their tax liability, when they are legally bound to provide the required information, should not receive business reply mail envelopes.
See Policy Statement 1-113, Postage-Paid Envelopes Furnished with Third Party Inquires in IRM 188.8.131.52.20, Policy Statement 1–113, for additional information.
This section provides instructions and other information related to the IRS envelope program. Information is provided on envelope standards, ordering and procurement procedures and specifications review. For additional information related to the IRS envelope program, go to http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/envelope/envprog.html.
Publishing is responsible for planning and administering the envelope program for the IRS. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, administering fixed-price printing contracts through the Government Publishing Office (GPO). Publishing will develop envelope specifications for these contracts. The contracts will serve as the procurement vehicle for the majority of IRS envelope needs.
Customers must review their envelope needs carefully prior to placing an order. The customer must confirm that funding is available before placing an envelope order. Customers must order envelopes from one of the following sources:
IRS Office Envelope Contract;
IRS Mail Processing Center Envelope Contract; or
PSR – Publishing Services Request submitted to Publishing for new, revised or specialty envelopes
Publishing, as shown in the table below, will fund the envelope requirements for M&P Distribution (Correspondence Production Services (CPS) sites), Submission Processing and Accounts Management Campuses, Computing Centers, and other high-volume mailing sites. These offices will assign a suitable person and backup person to serve as the envelope coordinator for that office. Publishing will process a PSR for each office at the beginning of the fiscal year, authorizing the person designated to request envelope purchases on behalf of that office. Publishing will set the funding aside in stewardship accounts from initial printing allocations.
For low-volume envelope users, such as area and territory offices, the ordering office will fund, via the use of a government purchase card, requirements of envelopes listed below.
Envelopes Funded and Procured by Publishing for High-Volume Users Envelopes Funded and Procured by Ordering Office for Low-Volume Users E-19, E-20, E-25BR E-19, E-20 E-25CR, E-44, E-44B E-25BR, E-25CR E-47, E-73 E-44, E-44B E-119, E-125L, E-125R E-47, E-125L E-130, E-142, E-163 E-125R, E-130 E-178, E-182W, E-199 E-142B, E-178 E-200A, E-205, E-207 E-200A, E-207 E-208, E-209, E-211 E-212, E-213
The three most common sizes for envelopes are:
4-1/8 inches by 9-1/2 inches (letter size or tri-fold)
6 inches by 9-1/2 inches (bi-fold)
9 inches by 12 inches (flat)
There can be other envelope sizes for specific purposes. Offices in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and in field locations can reference the IRS Office Envelope Contract price link at http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/envelope/efprce.html for additional information about selecting the appropriate envelope for a particular mailing situation. Additional mail and envelope reference information is also posted on the Postal & Transport Policy program site at http://publish.no.irs.gov/mailtran/MThome.html.
As envelope size increases, so does the cost to purchase. Therefore, customers must always use the smallest envelope that satisfies the intended purpose.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) specifies the use of a 4-1/8" x 9-1/2" envelope for mailing one or more folded single sheets of letter size (8-1/2" x 11") paper. General-purpose envelopes, such as the E-125L and E-130, may be used for this type of mailing.
When a return envelope must be included in letter-size mailings, you must use a 4-1/8" x 9-1/2" envelope as the mailer with an unfolded 3 7/8" x 8 7/8" or similar size envelope enclosed as the return envelope. General-purpose envelope E-130 may be used as a mailer in these instances, and E-25BR or E-25CR may be used as a return envelope as appropriate.
The use of 6" x 9-1/2" envelopes is warranted when multiple (usually more than eight) 8-1/2" x 11" sheets tri-folded are too thick to fit in a 4-1/8" x 9-1/2" envelope. The 6" x 9-1/2" envelope allows the sheets to be folded only in half to fit in the envelope (therefore referred to as bi-fold envelopes).
The use of 9" x 12" envelopes is warranted when multiple (usually more than 15) 8-1/2" x 11" sheets bi-folded are too thick to fit in a 6" x 9-1/2" envelope. The 9" x12" envelope allows the sheets to be inserted flat into the envelope (hence they are referred to as flats).
The IRS, like other entities, must pay a postage surcharge on large, flats-sized envelopes. You should not use envelopes larger than 6-1/8” by 11-1/2” to mail anything that can be folded and mailed in a letter-sized envelope like the E-130, or a bi-fold envelope such as the E-200A.
IRS envelopes are developed and manufactured to conform to provisions of the USPS postal regulations.
Maximum standardization is a primary objective of the IRS’ envelope program. The requestor must carefully consider the use of existing envelopes before a new or revised envelope is created.
New forms, letters, and notices that will be mailed must be designed to be compatible with existing general-purpose envelopes. The address area should correspond to the window position of general-purpose window envelopes, such as E-125L or E-178. Use Document 7468, Print Alignment Template, to assist with the proper alignment of the various elements on correspondence.
Publishing encourages the use of window envelopes, as it eliminates hand-writing, or printing and placing an address label on the face of the envelope. Mailing addresses printed from IRS systems, such as IDRS, are more accurate and not prone to transcription errors.
Some IRS envelopes, such as the E-178, are designed with "double" or oversize windows. These larger windows allow for display of not only the mailing address on the correspondence, but also the return address printed above it as well.
Single-window envelopes or non-window envelopes require that the return address be printed on the face of the envelope. If the return address changes, then these envelopes must be disposed of, which is a costly waste of printing funds.
While we encourage using these window envelopes to display the return address, you must take great care to ensure that the return address is compliant with IRS addressing standards and USPS postal regulations for the proper format and content of the address. For more information, visit the Postal & Transport Policy program site at http://publish.no.irs.gov/mailtran/MThome.html.
IRS envelopes have specific typographical and printing requirements. These requirements affect envelope quality, security, price, and usability.
The USPS requires that address lines and other text on government envelopes be printed in dark colored ink. All IRS envelopes will be printed in black ink (except as required by the USPS for specialty envelopes).
High-volume envelope users have identified contact persons to place envelope orders. These contacts have specification sheets for all envelopes. These sheets are the official envelope format and show printing locations along with address change line and routing information. The ordering offices must use the specification sheet as manuscript for placing print orders.
The IRS Office Envelope Contract requires the contractor to set one or more address lines in Helvetica or Helvetica Bold typefaces as designated on the order. To ensure accurate printing, ordering offices must provide a properly completed Form 9880, FY 2015 Envelope Order. If Helvetica is not available, then Arial is an acceptable substitute.
All IRS envelopes are printed with a security tint on the inside. This tint is designed to prevent disclosure of information on the contents of the envelope. The requestor must refer any envelope stock without a security tint to the envelope program specialist for disposition instructions.
Specification sheets for existing envelopes are cataloged and available in the Core Repository of Published Products (CROPP). These specification sheets include the technical specifications and printing requirements for each IRS envelope. The envelope print contractor uses this information to custom-print IRS envelopes.
Printing specifications for individual envelopes appear on its respective specification sheet. Go to Publishing’s product catalog information page at http://publish.no.irs.gov/cat3.cgi?itemtyp=&query=envelope+specification and enter the words "envelope" and "specification" in the title search to obtain a listing of current envelope specification sheets.
Publishing will review specifications on an ongoing basis to obtain the most economical and efficient use of IRS envelopes by eliminating unnecessary envelopes and identifying envelopes not suited for their current use.
The envelope program specialist will review envelope specifications with the objective of standardizing size, use, construction, and paper stock.
Using information obtained from the specifications review, Publishing will prepare new or revised specifications for inclusion in IRS envelope contracts. Publishing will cancel obsolete envelopes, and will notify stakeholders affected by any changes.
The IRS works in conjunction with the Government Publishing Office (GPO) to award term contracts to commercial envelope printing companies. These contracts provide exclusive use by all IRS ordering offices. Washington, DC metropolitan area and field offices use the low-volume contract. High-volume mailers, such as the Correspondence Production Services (CPS) sites and campuses, use the high-volume contract.
When a new low-volume contract is awarded, Publishing posts the availability and contractor information on the envelope program website at http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/envelope/envprog.html. Publishing will make available revisions of Form 9880, FY 2015 Envelope Order, and Document 9589, FY 2015 Envelope Ordering Information, via download from the envelope contract website at http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/envelope/envfield.html.
Form 9880 must be completed electronically, it cannot be handwritten. Document 9589 provides line-by-line instructions for completing the Form 9880. In lieu of using Form 9880 to order envelopes, there is a Web-based ordering system. Customers submit requests for order processing approvals via email. For additional information on the online envelope ordering system, go to http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/envelope/enveordr.html.
Publishing provides information concerning use of the high-volume contract to envelope coordinators at each IRS campus, CPS site, and computing center office for their use. See the current list of IRS Center envelope coordinators at http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/envelope/ENVCOORD.html.
Delinquent envelope deliveries cause serious problems, result in costly delays, and often require rescheduling of complex operations. Enforcing the contract delivery terms is one of the most important phases of envelope program administration. Take the following actions to ensure that the IRS receives all envelope orders on-time and in compliance with contract schedules.
Establish an order follow-up method to provide notice of a delinquent envelope order. Accomplish this by noting the scheduled delivery date for each envelope order on a calendar and checking daily to determine which orders are delinquent.
If the ordering person is not the recipient of the order, make sure the receiver gets a copy of the order so they know what they should be receiving. The receiver should sign and date the Form 9880, and return a copy of the form to the ordering person. Annotate any discrepancies between what was ordered and what was received on the Form 9880. If the online ordering system is used in lieu of the Form 9880, then convey the same information by email.
The ordering person must immediately notify the envelope program specialist of any delinquent envelope order. After appropriate information is obtained, the program specialist will determine the best course of action to resolve the discrepancy in the best interest of the IRS, while adhering to federal procurement regulations.
Monitoring the quality of envelopes received to ensure that the IRS is getting a quality product, manufactured according to the terms and specifications of the contract, is another important aspect of contract enforcement. The employee responsible for receiving the delivery should check each shipment for the following items:
Position of bar codes and sharpness of printing
Accuracy of printed addresses
Fonts, sizes, and spacing according to the envelope specification sheet
Ink color and consistency of coverage
Color and quality of paper stock
General construction of envelope
Durability and labeling of shipping containers
Customers should handle poor quality envelopes or envelopes not meeting specifications as follows:
Notify the envelope program specialist immediately for problem resolution. Designated envelope coordinators must also complete a Form 6282, Envelope Trouble Report, and forward it to the envelope program specialist.
After appropriate information is obtained, the envelope program specialist will determine the best course of action to resolve the discrepancy, while adhering to federal procurement regulations. This may include negotiation by the GPO for a reduced price, if the envelopes are usable by the IRS.
If it is determined that an order should be rejected, the envelope program specialist will work with the GPO contracting officer to request correction of the defect(s) or replacement of the envelopes. Publishing must afford a reasonable amount of time to the contractor to complete the corrective action.
When creating new or revised envelopes, you must consider several factors, including lead time, ordering cycles, quality control, and other factors. The requisitioning procedures are in the sections that follow.
Headquarters offices requesting a new envelope, or desiring to revise an existing envelope, must submit a completed PSR, http://caps-as.enterprise.irs.gov/psr/app. The following must accompany the PSR:
Proposed envelope specifications
Estimated annual requirements
Recommended distribution patterns
Description or samples of material to be mailed
A copy of the processing procedure
Information regarding automatic envelope handling equipment to be used
Field offices, such as areas or territories, requiring a new or revised envelope should submit a request by memorandum to their Headquarters counterpart.
If the Headquarters counterpart concurs with this request, then they will requisition the new or revised envelope. Publishing will determine the services required to produce the envelope.
Factors such as quantity ordered, procurement source, type of construction, manufacturer’s workload, requirements survey, cost, and the type of equipment used to manufacture the envelopes makes ordering lead time for envelopes critical.
Lead time must be computed from the day Publishing receives the envelope requisition. Lead times listed below are accurate for most planning purposes.
Allow 30 workdays production time for the printing of envelopes on the contract for high-volume users.
Allow 15 workdays production time for printing of envelopes on the contract for low-volume users.
Allow 45 workdays for quantities of envelopes not covered on the GPO term contracts.
Procurement of envelopes for high volume users (Submission Processing campuses, CPS sites, computing centers, etc.) will occur on quarterly cycles. This will allow the print contractor to group orders of like envelopes to increase print runs and reduce the cost of envelopes. It will also reduce the warehouse space needed to maintain adequate supplies of envelopes on hand.
An explanation of this cycled ordering procedure is posted on the envelope program website at http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/envelope/epqtrs.html. Contractors are expecting to receive orders for these items at the times specified. Minimize off-cycle ordering as much as possible.
Low-volume users may procure envelopes at any time using the IRS Office Envelope Contract. Customers must follow local business unit office procedures for the use of a government purchase card. Further information is provided at http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/envelope/envfield.html.
IRM 3.13.62, Media Transport and Control, provides a complete cross-referenced listing of envelopes used with various stuffers (forms, notices, and publications). This IRM may serve as a quick reference source for envelopes and forms mailing information. Customers should double-check information with the appropriate envelope and form product catalog information for complete accuracy.
The IRM is the official source of IRS policies and procedures (instructions to staff). The IRM contains directions employees need to carry out their job duties in administering tax laws or other agency obligations.
IRM numbers, catalog numbers, and part, chapter and section titles identify the IRM. You can access Portable Document Format (PDF) and Extensible Markup Language (XML) files for IRMs from within the IRM Numerical Index.
The Index contains links to product information, PDF files, and XML files for all active IRM sections. The IRM Numerical Index is updated automatically as IRM sections are published. To access the index, go to http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/irm/numind.html.
Preprinted letterhead is usable for official IRS correspondence, both internal and external. Standardized stationery provides a consistent image to the public, thus assuring taxpayers that IRS correspondence is official, legitimate, and professionally prepared.
The standards for letterhead stationery, as well as notepads, are in accordance with IRM 1.10.1, IRS Correspondence Manual and the Government Printing and Binding Regulations issued by the Joint Committee on Printing (JCP). The Director, Executive Secretariat, and Office of the Commissioner must approve all proposals for new letterhead stationery and notepads.
These guidelines create a standardized appearance in letterhead stationery and also apply to notepads.
Trim Size Stock – External Use Only Stock – Internal Use Only Ink* 8-1/2” x 11” 20# White Recycled 25% Rag Bond (JCP G-45) 20# White Writing Green – Pantone Matching System (PMS) 349 Must have Eagle Watermark with Stars
Packing: All letterhead stationery is shrink-wrapped in units of 100 and stored in the National Distribution Center (NDC). Customers must ordered letterhead in units of 100.
Distribution: M&P’s Distribution organization monitors supply level. For information on obtaining official letterhead through M&P, see IRM 184.108.40.206.8, Letterhead/Stationery Program.
Printing: All letterhead stationery prints the IRS logo, title of Heads of Office, the business unit/functional division, and the Washington DC address (with the exception of the Commissioner of Wage & Investment division; the W&I general letterhead will carry the Atlanta address). Taxpayer Advocate Service letterhead must also print the required “operates independently” statement in the masthead. To access Word templates for internal correspondence only, go to http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/letterhead/lttrhead.html.
Learning and Education (L&E) develops training products, and they are supported through the Enterprise Learning Management System (ELMS). This includes Training Products Distribution System (TPDS) products and Automated Data Processing (ADP) products used at IRS campuses.
Training products are sometimes published as one-time pilot materials that will be used in the development of subsequent ELMS courses.
Product originators must submit a PSR and the training materials, along with a Form 9123, Course Catalog Listing, to Publishing for production.
The following types of numbers identify training products and courses:
ELMS Course Number
Course Catalog Number
Item Catalog Number
Obtaining a new ELMS official 5-digit course number is the responsibility of the product originator. L&E uses the course number to deliver training, build classes, plan resources, and give employees credit for attendance. Some courses still have the older 4-digit Administrative Corporate Education System (ACES) number and are still valid courses as they are revised year-to-year.
The course catalog number, assigned by M&P’s TPDS Distribution contact, is the identifier used to order all training products required for a class. The course catalog number assigned will be between 80000-82999 plus one alpha character.
Publishing uses the item number to identify each product in a course. This number uses the ELMS course number as the base number, followed by a hyphen and three numeric digits. Contact one of Publishing’s training team members for assistance with obtaining training item numbers.
The item catalog number identifies a specific product. All IRS product types use this unique number for identification in the Core Repository of Published Products (CROPP). This item number, like the course catalog number, contains five numeric digits followed by one alpha character.
The IRS National Distribution Center (NDC) sometimes prints and stocks other government agency products, predominately General Services Administration (GSA) standard forms. IRS employees use these products on a reoccurring basis.
When the IRS prints other government agency products, they must include the IRS catalog number along with the other agency’s item number. The catalog number should appear on the printed document in the following format:
IRS Catalog Number 99999X
Miscellaneous products are any products that are not forms, publications, documents, notices, letters, etc. Miscellaneous products include, but are not limited to:
The IRS does not stock these products at the NDC or post them on a customer’s website or to Publishing’s catalog page.
A product signature should appear on all miscellaneous published products. The signature is to be incorporated into all newly created, revised, or reprinted miscellaneous products. The miscellaneous signature will contain the product’s requisition number so that the product may be researched and referenced in the future.
A product signature must appear on all miscellaneous published products unless production constraints or other reasons make it unreasonable to do so. Publishing has designed three variations of the miscellaneous signature. The product’s design and physical characteristics should determine the choice of signature variations. The publishing specialist and/or visual information specialist, following IRS design standards, may determine appropriate placement of the signature on the product.
For additional information on IRS design standards, see IRM 1.17.7, Publishing - Use of the Official IRS Seal, IRS Logo, Program Logos, and Internal Logos and Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines.
The purchase of promotional items that include logos or customized slogans could be viewed as frivolous and unnecessary. All IRS offices must discontinue such purchases. This includes but is not limited to the purchase of pens, mouse pads, mugs, and lanyards that are unique to your organization or to an event. You must obtain approval of any exceptions to this policy from either the:
Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support; or
Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement.
Copyright provides copyright owners a bundle of exclusive rights, including the right to authorize others to reproduce, transform, or distribute their copyrighted material.
Copyright protection arises automatically once an original work of authorship is fixed in a tangible medium of expression now known or later developed.
Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operations, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.
The IRS will not knowingly include copyrighted material in their publications or other works without the license or written permission of the copyright owner.
Because of the complexity of the Copyright Act, product originators will follow the safest course by obtaining written permission from the copyright owner, to avoid possible lawsuits due to copyright infringement. See IRM 220.127.116.11.8, Copyright Infringement.
All originators who want to include previously published material (in whole or in part) in government publications must do the following:
Find out if the material is copyrighted and who owns the copyright;
Get written permission from the copyright owner to print the material;
The permission statement must clearly define the specific material and its use, including any restrictions or limitations; and
Submit the original of the permission statement to Publishing, along with the PSR for printing and the material to be printed.
For works created on or after January 1, 1978, copyright protection endures for a term of the life of the author plus 70 years, as cited in 17 USC 302.
For anonymous works, pseudonymous works, and works made for hire, the copyright term is 95 years from the date of first publication, or 120 years from the date of its creation, whichever is earlier, as cited in 17 USC 302.
For works created before January 1, 1978, copyright protection endures for a term of 28 years from the date it originally was secured, with the ability to renew for another 67 years, as cited by 17 USC 304(a).
A Notice of Copyright, while not required for works first published after March 1, 1989, informs the public that the work to which it is affixed is protected by copyright. A proper notice of copyright also serves to restrict a defense based on innocent infringement in mitigation of actual or statutory damages, as cited in 17 USC 102.
A notice of copyright as provided by 17 USC 401, consists of the following three elements:
The symbol © (the letter C in a circle), the word "Copyright" , or the abbreviation "Copr."
The year of first publication of the work
The name of the owner of copyright in the work, an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner
These elements must appear on all publicly distributed copies when copyrighted materials are included in a government publication, in such a manner and location as to give reasonable notice of copyright.
Government publications that are prepared by Government Officers or employees as part of their official duties are not subject to copyright protection. See 17 USC 105.
Thus, government publications prepared by the Government Officers or employees as part of their official duties and that do not include copyrighted materials, should not include a copyright notice.
"Fair use" allows use of copyrighted material by other than the copyright owner.
The courts recognize that certain limited uses of copyrighted material may be made without the copyright owner’s permission.
The copyright is not infringed when reasonable portions are used for purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. See 17 USC 107.
"Fair Use," however, is not defined in the statute and it does not provide a bright–line rule, which brings clarity to a law or regulation that could be read in two (or more) ways (Often a bright line is established when the need for a simple decision outweighs the need to weigh both sides of a particular issue.), for determining what is or is not a "Fair Use." Rather, "Fair Use" identifies four non-exclusive factors that require evaluation on a case-by-case basis. See IRM 18.104.22.168, Copyright and Copyrighted Material.
Consider the following factors when determining whether the use of a work is a "fair use" :
The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit, educational purposes;
The nature of the copyrighted work;
The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
The effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work, as cited in 17 USC 107.
A copyright is infringed whenever any of the exclusive rights of a copyright owner is practiced without permission by another. Exclusive rights include copying, reproducing, printing, reprinting, publishing, exhibiting, translating, vending (all or portions of the copyrighted work), and, in some instances, oral delivery of performance of the work.
Where a copyright is infringed by or for the Government with its authorization or consent, the copyright owner’s exclusive remedy is to sue against the United States in the US Court of Federal Claims for damages or injunctive relief, as cited in 28 USC 1498(b).
If the owner is successful in a damages suit, court-imposed statutory damages can range from $750 to $30,000, as cited in 17 USC 504(c)(1).
If the infringement is determined willful, damages may lie against the United States up to $150,000, at the Court’s discretion, as cited in 17 USC 504(c)(2).
Credit lines are courtesy acknowledgments for contributed materials not copyrighted or loaned by non-governmental parties.
Publishing's mission is to plan, produce, or procure all IRS print and electronic communications products used by the public to comply with tax filing requirements and obligations, and used internally within the IRS for tax administration.
Publishing has a variety of procurement vehicles available to meet customer needs and requirements. The procurement processes used include:
Simplified Purchase Agreements
Simplified purchase agreements are streamlined publishing procurement vehicles that are sanctioned by the Government Publishing Office (GPO). Using simplified purchase agreements, publishing specialists can help customers acquire printing and publishing services from commercial printing vendors by directly placing orders or soliciting competitive quotes.
Publishing establishes term contracts for products that are purchased on a repetitive basis. The GPO writes, awards, and administers these contracts. GPO awards term contracts to publishing vendors who can provide the best line-item prices for the covered services.
Published products that are not suited to other procurement vehicles are procurable using a one-time bid. Publishing specialists forward product requirements to the GPO, where the requirements are advertised to potential vendors. GPO awards the production contract to the lowest-bidding contractor.