1.18.5 National Distribution Center

Manual Transmittal

July 16, 2014


(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.18.5, Distribution, National Distribution Center.

Material Changes

(1) IRM, Added efax phone number to the list of the NDC order entry telephone numbers and websites for internal and external customers.

(2) IRM, Added processing clerks will also answer telephone messages.

(3) IRM, Changed subsection title to Customer Types.

(4) IRM (2), Removed quantity limits column from the table; quantity limitations for tax products by customers are set in Electronic Status Notice (ESN) and can change.

(5) IRM (1), Revised to highlight that NDC processing clerks also forward misdirected mail and remittances to their correct destination.

(6) IRM, Changed Fax to efax as a way for NDC to receive paper orders.

(7) IRM, Specified addresses are sprayed on automated orders.

(8) IRM, Specified folder and inserters are used to fill small envelope orders.

(9) IRM, Removed Community Based Outlet Program (CBOP) from the table of order types.

(10) IRM, Added Small Business Program to the table of order types.

(11) IRM, Added Package Assembly Program to the table of order types.

(12) IRM, Replaced Post of Duty Program with Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC).

(13) IRM, Added name and address to picking tickets list.

(14) IRM, Identified logistics inventory management specialists will establish reorder point for all center products.

(15) IRM, Removed CBOP; program discontinued.

(16) IRM, Added Package Assembly Program to the list of Speciality Programs.

(17) IRM, Removed subsection titled Community Based Outlet Program; CBOP discontinued.

(18) IRM, Added to show that IRS employees order training materials by OSMS from NDC.

(19) IRM, Added to show that NDC fills orders for prior year items for only five years after the current revision.

(20) IRM, Added subsection title; Package Assembly Program.

(21) Editorial changes were made throughout the IRM.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 1.18.5 dated April 29, 2011 is superseded.


IRS Employees

Effective Date


Rick L. Bakerm
Acting Director, Distribution
Wage and Investment

Mission of the National Distribution Center (NDC)

  1. The NDC provides order fulfillment services and distribution of published products to IRS internal and external customers. The NDC is located in Bloomington, IL and is organizationally assigned to the Distribution Director in Media and Publications (M&P).

NDC Software Systems

  1. The NDC uses two software systems for operations:

    • Enterprise Logistics Information Technology (ELITE)

    • Computer Assisted Publishing System (CAPS)

  2. ELITE maintains NDC inventory, controls orders, manages account information, and provides warehouse management tools. ELITE also generates picking tickets which are used to fill orders. ELITE is a commercial-off-the shelf (COTS) application. It is comprised of the following modules:

    • Order Management System (OMS)

    • Warehouse Management System (WMS)

    • Distribution Management System (DMS)

    • Transportation Management System (TMS)

    • ELITE Reporting Facility

    • Forecasting Management System (FMS)

    • Resource Management System

    • ELITE Warehouse Control System (EWCS)

  3. CAPS maintains product specification information. Orders for several specialty programs are entered in CAPS and downloaded into ELITE. Order Subscription Management System (OSMS) is an online ordering system for internal orders that operates with the CAPS.

Order Entry

  1. The Processing Section at the NDC receives public and internal requests for IRS products. Customers may order by phone, mail and through the IRS intranet and internet websites.

    • Phone number for internal orders: 1-800-829-2765

    • Phone number for external orders: 1-800-829-3676

    • efax number for internal orders: 1-855-473-2007

    • Website for internal orders: http://caps-as.enterprise.irs.gov/osms/app

    • Website for external orders: http://www.irs.gov/Forms-&-Pubs/Order-Products

Telephone Operations

  1. Processing clerks answer telephone calls and telephone messages from internal customers who place orders or request information about the status of products and orders.

Customer Types

  1. Some products and quantities are restricted to particular customers or customer groups. ELITE flags orders that exceed the quantity limits and the system generates daily report of such orders. Analysts review the report each day and decide whether to override the limitations or reject the order.

  2. The quantity limitations for tax products by customer are set in Electronic Status Notice (ESN) and can change:

    Order Type Description
    Taxpayer An individual ordering tax related materials.
    Employer A business ordering products to meet its tax reporting requirements.
    Post Office
    1. A post office acting as a third party distributor of tax materials, usually part of the Tax Forms Outlet Program (TFOP).

    2. A post office ordering products to meet its tax reporting requirements.

    Bank A financial institution ordering products to meet its tax reporting requirements.
    1. A public library acting as a third party distributor of tax materials, usually part of TFOP.

    2. A library ordering products to meet its tax reporting requirements.

    Other Government Agencies
    1. A federal, state or local government or government-affiliated organization such as schools, universities and military installations, acting as third party distributor of tax materials to the public or their employees.

    2. A federal, state, or local government or government-affiliated organization such as schools, universities and military installations ordering products to meet its tax reporting requirements.

    Tax Professional
    1. A person or firm that prepares tax returns for compensation.

    2. A person or firm that prepares tax returns for compensation and is ordering products to meet its tax reporting requirements.

Mail Receipt

  1. NDC processing clerks open and sort incoming mail. They also forward misdirected mail and remittances to their correct destination.

Order Entry Paper Orders

  1. NDC receives paper copies of order blanks by:

    • Mail from IRS offices, taxpayers, employers, tax professionals and other public customers

    • efax

    • email

Form 5753 – Action on Your Tax Forms Order

  1. The NDC uses Form 5753, Action on Your Tax Forms Order, to notify customers about changes in their orders. This notification includes referrals to other agencies or offices, and product information.

Invalid Address

  1. All customer addresses must be compliant with the Postal System address requirements.

  2. ELITE verifies that addresses are valid postal addresses and generates a report of all orders with unacceptable addresses.

  3. NDC employees review the report and attempt to correct addresses by using reference materials and internet resources.

Order Fulfillment

  1. Processing and printing clerks are responsible for processing and sorting orders for shipment. Order fulfillment activities include:

    1. Filling orders on lines containing one to hundreds of products

    2. Printing some low volume products on-demand

    3. Spraying addresses on automated orders

    4. Using a folder and inserter to fill small envelope orders

    5. Sorting orders for shipment by carrier

    6. Closing orders

    7. Generating mail and shipping manifests

Types of Orders

  1. The IRS has various methods of making tax forms and instructions available to the public. Processing clerks fill orders for the programs listed below.

  2. The terms order type and programs can be used interchangeably. An order type indicates who is placing the order.

    Programs Users
    International Program Supplies American embassies with tax forms to meet the needs of Americans overseas
    Internal Management Document Distribution System (IMDDS) Program Manages and distributes internal documents to the IRS personnel
    Tax Forms Outlets (TFOP) Program Supplies post offices, libraries and other outlets with tax materials to distribute to the public
    Prior Year Program Supplies public and internal customers with tax products from previous years
    Internal Program Provides IRS employees with forms and publications
    Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) Supplies Taxpayer Assistance Centers with products for re-distribution to the public
    Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program Supplies customers with tax forms, instructions and publications
    Employer Program Supplies businesses with employment tax products for employee and company use
    Small Business Program Supplies forms and publications for small business workshops and/or educate clients on federal tax obligations
    Package Assembly Program Supplies packages of tax products for conferences and trade shows administered by IRS employees

Public Order Fulfillment

  1. A public order is a request for IRS printed product(s) from an individual taxpayer, employer, tax professional or other requestor.

Receiving Public Orders
  1. The NDC receives initial orders by:

    • Order form

    • Correspondence

    • Internet

Picking Tickets
  1. A picking ticket lists the products to fill an order. It includes:

    1. Name and address

    2. Shipping container for the order

    3. Products and ordered quantity

    4. Product fulfillment line location

    5. Transportation for shipping the order

    6. Messages telling the customer some items may be back ordered or shipped separately.

  2. ELITE generates picking tickets. Processing clerks fill orders from the picking tickets. ELITE may generate more than one picking ticket for an order on product availability, quantity or fulfillment line location. Each picking ticket and its associated products are shipped separately.

Forms Clerk Fulfillment Responsibilities
  1. The clerk must check the work station and verify that it is stocked with the correct products and product revisions before filling orders.

  2. The clerk must pull from the products stocked on the workstation.

  3. To complete an order, the clerk must check to verify that all products are included in the correct container, that quantity included is accurate, that the stock is in good condition, and that the customer's address is visible on the container.

  4. When an order is completed, the clerk places the container on the appropriate conveyor for transportation to the verification scales.

Special Notices
  1. Sometimes the IRS includes items not requested by a customer in an order. For example, the organization may provide information about products in a shipment such as errata notices and Form 5753, Action On Your Tax Forms Order.

  2. IRS issues errata notices when printed products contain errors or late legislation minimally changes the content of material. The organization reprints products that contain critical errors.

  3. Form 5753 informs the customer about changes in the order.

Internal Order Fulfillment

  1. An internal order is a request for IRS published products from an IRS employee.

  2. NDC clerks fill orders for most internal use products from a stock carousel. The carousel is an automated storage and retrieval device consisting of a series of linked bins mounted on an oval track. NDC uses four linked carousels to fill orders for internal products. When the carousel is activated, the bins rotate to bring the required items to the operator. The software that controls the carousel combines similar orders, allowing the operator to pick up to 12 orders simultaneously. The operator places the product into a tub. When the order is completed, the operator pushes the tub onto a conveyor which takes it to a packing station.

Stocking Order Fulfillment

  1. ELITE replenishes fulfillment stock using demand and minimum level parameters.

  2. Line resupply impacts productivity, quality, turnaround times, and safety.

NDC Transportation Operations

  1. NDC Transportation Staff:

    1. Provides information for shipping orders at the Distribution Center, updates ELITE transportation tables and maintains a system of accountability for outgoing shipments

    2. Provides guidance to NDC employees for determining and obtaining mail and transportation services so that materials arrive at destination timely and efficiently using the most cost effective method

    3. Works with M&P/Distribution, Distribution Requirements, and Postal and Transport Policy Section to ensure that policies, standards, techniques, and procedures are followed when shipping printed materials

    4. Acts as the contracting officer's representative (COR) for the NDC mail pre-sort


  1. The NDC uses effective inventory management practices to:

    1. Distribute high quality products

    2. Maintain sufficient stock to meet customer needs

    3. Keep government costs low

    4. Use warehouse space efficiently

    5. Capture accurate data for forecasting

  2. Logistics personnel are responsible for:

    1. Following effective inventory management practices

    2. Maintaining inventory accuracy and reorder points

    3. Receiving inbound shipment of tax products and reviewing them on behalf the IRS

    4. Putting stock away using efficient warehousing practices

    5. Pulling stock from warehouse locations

    6. Replenishing fulfillment stock

    7. Filling bulk orders

    8. Loading and unloading trucks

Product Maintenance

  1. The NDC stores and distributes appropriate revisions of printed products. Designated M&P analysts identify current, prior year, and obsolete revisions and product disposition.


  1. Throughout the year, NDC employees must dispose of obsolete, revised, damaged, or unusable products. NDC employees identify and dispose of products as directed by designated M&P analysts.

Inventory Accuracy (Cycle Counting)

  1. The NDC maintains accurate inventory records so that they are able to meet customer needs. The Distribution Center uses cycle counting to ensure their inventory records accurately reflect what is stored in the warehouse and fulfillment. Cycle counting is the process of verifying inventory accuracy by counting a few items every day, comparing the count to ELITE and reconciling differences.

Reorder Points

  1. ELITE reorder points alert NDC and other Distribution employees that products inventory has fallen below specific quantity. A reorder point consists of a date range and quantity.

  2. NDC logistics inventory management specialists establish a reorder point for all center products (with the exception of On Demand), update them on annual basis to avoid stock outages and back orders, increased transportation costs, and potential work stoppages.

Planned Shipments

  1. Specialty program customers place annual orders for products they will need during the filing season. The Distribution Center ships groups of products to these customers as these orders and products are received. These shipments are called planned shipments.

  2. Contractors fill some of these orders and ship them directly to the customer. These shipments are called contractor planned shipments.

Bulk Order Fulfillment

  1. The NDC fills public and internal orders for full cartons of published products directly from the warehouse. Full carton orders are also called bulk orders.

Specialty Programs

  1. Specialty Programs are Distribution programs and products distributed to a specific audience with special requirements. These programs include:

    • International Program

    • Tax Forms Outlets Program

    • Training Publication Distribution System

    • Internal Management Document Distribution System

    • Security Products

    • Prior Year Tax Products

    • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

    • Small Business Program

    • Package Assembly Program

The International Program

  1. The International program supplies the American embassies, consulates, and various military legal assistance offices worldwide with sufficient tax products to meet the needs of Americans overseas. Each summer, these customers receive a survey listing the items and quantities they used in the prior year from program analysts through electronic mail. The customers place orders for the subsequent year and return them to a designated electronic form mailbox.

Tax Form Outlets Program (TFOP)

  1. The IRS distributes tax materials to outlets that are readily accessible to the public. The NDC distributes some of the tax materials while contractors deliver the bulk of the orders. Most program participants are libraries or post offices, however, selected other organizations also distribute forms through the program.

Training Publication Distribution System (TPDS)

  1. Training Publication Distribution System (TPDS) provides training materials to IRS operating divisions worldwide. Training instructors use over 3000 TPDS products in over 500 courses. End users may be at IRS offices or off-site locations. Orders for training materials originate in the field offices.

  2. IRS employees order training material by OSMS from the NDC.

Internal Management Document Distribution System (IMDDS)

  1. The IMDDS Program maintains IRS office mailing addresses and distributes various published products to IRS audience(s). The author(s) of the products and the IMDDS coordinator identify the targeted audience, and establish automatic distribution quantities for each location.

Security Products

  1. Some IRS published products contain protected information (or are serially numbered). These security products require specific measures for receiving, storage, shipping, and disposal. Management authorizes and designates employees within certain order points to order security products. Management identifies and authorizes which products a designated employee may order.

Prior Year

  1. The NDC will enter and fill orders for current forms and publications and five prior year forms and instructions only. The NDC may elect to use on-demand printing to fill prior year orders.

  2. NDC fills orders for prior year items for only five years after current revision.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

  1. The VITA program ordering process is electronically based. The order information is electronically sent to CAPS for Stakeholder Partnerships, Education, and (SPEC's) Communications review and approval. Once the orders are approved, they are downloaded into ELITE for fulfillment.

Small Business Program

  1. The Small Business program is an established partnership with stakeholder organizations to conduct Small Business Tax Workshops (SBTWs) on behalf of the IRS to provide resource materials for the organizations' clients and members.

Package Assembly Program

  1. The NDC will assemble packages of printed products as a service to IRS employees only.

  2. Package Assembly program requests list cataloged tax products that will be used in workshops, conferences, trade shows, or one time events that IRS employees administer.