1.22.5 Mail Operations

Manual Transmittal

October 15, 2015

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.22.5, Mail and Transportation Management, Mail Operations.

Material Changes

(1) IRM 1.22.5.11(3), additional Guidance on Flexiplace Employee Mail.

(2) IRM 1.22.5.11.1, added subsection title; Home as Post-of-Duty (HaP) Employees.

(3) Editorial changes have been made throughout the IRM.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 1.22.5, Mail Operations, dated August 03, 2012 is superseded.

Audience

IRS Employees

Effective Date

(10-15-2015)


Patricia Evans
Director, Distribution
Wage and Investment Division

Introduction

  1. Mail consists of letters, memoranda, telecommunications, post cards, documents, forms, packages, publications, computer tapes and tax data (returns and remittances).

  2. Mail and packages can be received from many sources, including:

    • United States Postal Service (USPS)

    • Small Package Carrier (SPC)

    • Local courier

    • Freight company

  3. Mail and packages should be prepared and shipped based upon the contents, location of origin and location of destination.

Mail Operation Relationships

  1. This section discusses the relationships between the Distribution Requirements Branch (DRB) of Wage and Investment (W&I) and IRS representatives in the overall Mail Management Program.

  2. The success of the Mail Management Program is dependent on Postal and Transport (PTP) Section employees, Agency Wide Shared Services (AWSS) Analysts, Territory Points of Contact (TPOCs) and field office Mail Program Local Points of Contact (LPOCs).

  3. Mailroom operations reside with the Business Operating Division (BOD) in the Submission Processing Center/Campus environments and with AWSS in non-Campus environments. The responsibility for mail operations guidance and direction for all of the IRS resides with AWSS/Facilities Management and Security Services (FMSS) Project Management.

  4. The Mail Management program works best when responsibility is centralized and active liaison with the USPS and SPC is maintained. TPOCs have the knowledge and familiarity with mail and all the available services, so that the most cost-effective and reliable methods are utilized.

Definitions of Mailrooms and Mail Operations

  1. A mailroom is a physical location where mail is received, opened and distributed. It is also the central location where the outgoing mail is processed and consolidated for pickup.

  2. There are four main types of IRS mailrooms:

    1. Submission Processing Center/Campus mailrooms are staffed by IRS employees and provide mail service for the Center/Campus and all locations assigned to the Center/Campus. In this type of mailroom:
      < The staff will typically serve multiple buildings
      < USPS mail is prepared using a postage metering system
      < Mail for SPCs will be prepared using Form 9814, Request for Mail/Shipping Service The form is available at href=http://publish.no.irs.gov/getpdf.cgi?catnum=22023L

      Note:

      Mail addressed to Submission Processing Center/Campus Operations is to be opened in Receipt and Control or other designated areas before distribution within the building(s). See IRM 1.22.3.2.1, Unique Zip Code Addresses, at href=http://publish.no.irs.gov/getpdf.cgi?catnum=31773 for a listing of addresses served by a Center/Campus mailroom

    2. Contract mailrooms are located in field office locations with 250 or more employees and staffed by contractor personnel monitored by AWSS. In this type of mailroom:
      < USPS mail is prepared using a postage meter
      < Mail for SPCs will be prepared using Form 9814, Request for Mail/Shipping Service

    3. Shared mailrooms are located in smaller Posts-of-Duty (POD) with 20 - 250 employees. The mailroom is the designated location that serves all IRS occupied space within the building. Mailroom duties are either designated to a specific set of IRS employees or shared between multiple IRS business units. In this type of mailroom:
      < USPS mail is prepared using a postage meter
      < Mail for the SPC will have an electronic shipping label generated through the SPC website. Employees creating their own shipping labels must still be aware of the shipping instructions contained on page 2 of Form 9814, Request for Mail/Shipping Service

    4. PODs with less than 20 employees generally will not have an enclosed mailroom. In this type of location:
      < USPS mail is prepared using a postage meter or postage stamps
      < Mail for the SPC will have an electronic shipping label generated through the SPC website. Employees creating their own shipping labels must still be aware of the shipping instructions contained on page 2 of Form 9814, Request for Mail/Shipping Service

      Note:

      There are instances when mail/copy areas are included in designated BOD office space. All mail for these BODs must be delivered to and processed by the POD mailroom. These designated BODs are not entitled to an additional postage meter, SPC drop-off or pickup

  3. Mail operations and functions include receiving, opening, date stamping, sorting, routing, controlling and following up on delayed mail shipments. Incoming mail addressed in a manner that does not provide adequate information to sort to a particular area or person will be opened according to local procedure and sorted to the extent possible by the LPOC. If the intended recipient cannot be determined, the mail piece will be forwarded to the TPOC or local designee.

  4. Mail erroneously delivered to any IRS office with a different address from the IRS location (e.g., addressed to XYZ Corp), should not be opened, but returned promptly to the carrier, whether USPS or SPC, as misdirected mail. Misdirected mail should be brought to the attention of the LPOC/TPOC.

  5. All mail should be opened in a centralized mail room or in the official designated mail opening area as mandated in 2001 by the Deputy Commissioner of the IRS.

Processing Incoming Mail

  1. For the safety and security of all employees, mail should be opened in centralized mail rooms or officially designated mail opening areas.

  2. There are several types of incoming mail:

    • USPS Accountable Mail

    • USPS First-Class Mail/Packages

    • SPC Letters and Packages

    • Courier (Messenger) Mail

    • Freight Shipments

    Note:

    Each type of mail must be received, counted, logged, and/or sorted.

USPS Accountable Mail

  1. Accountable Mail (e.g., Registered, Certified and Return Receipt Mail) is delivered by the USPS to the addressee or the addressee's authorized representative. The employee or mail contractor receiving the mail will verify its receipt by signing and dating the PS (Postal Service) Form 3811, Domestic Return Receipt. A copy of this form will be retained by the mailroom.

  2. Postal Service Return Receipts that are attached to the Registered and/or Certified Mail will be removed, date stamped and forwarded to the Post Office. The envelope will be held in the mail area for the addressee or the designee's signature.

USPS First-Class Mail

  1. USPS delivery of all First-Class Mail is dependent on the type of delivery route associated for a particular address. Deliveries can be made to street addresses, Post Office (P.O.) Boxes, cluster mailboxes, door slots, or wall mounted centralized mailboxes.

Small Package Carrier (SPC) Letters and Packages

  1. Incoming packages and letters from SPCs will be delivered to the POD mailroom. The employee or mail contractor will verify receipt of the letters and/or packages by signing the SPC delivery pad. Employees should not accept letters and/or packages from a SPC without signing for receipt of delivery. SPC deliveries are also considered accountable mail.

Courier (Messenger) Mail

  1. Courier deliveries require a signature and are considered accountable mail.

Freight Shipments

  1. Shipments made via a freight carrier are more controlled. If building security permits, the shipment may be delivered directly to the individual floor/room/suite as an "inside delivery," If there is no "inside delivery," the driver will drop the shipment at the dock or inside the first door.

Postage Due Mail/Collect On Delivery

  1. When a carrier attempts to deliver "postage due" or "collect on delivery" mail, such delivery will be refused. The carrier will endorse the mail item returned for additional postage and return the mail item to the sender.

  2. If postage due mail is received from another IRS office, the mail will be accepted and any postage due must be paid through an Official Mail Accounting System (OMAS) postage due account.

Form 3210, Document Transmittal

  1. All mail accompanied by a Form 3210, Document Transmittal, available at href=http://publish.no.irs.gov/getpdf.cgi?catnum=22150 will be received and forwarded to the recipient. The recipient will check the contents against the transmittal document, verify and sign/date the form.

  2. A signed acknowledgement copy of the transmittal will be returned to the sending office via FAX or scan/E-mail.

Remittance Mail

  1. Remittance mail should be forwarded in accordance with established procedures.

Handling Personal Mail

  1. Employees are not permitted to use the mail products and/or services of the IRS for their personal use.

    1. Job applications, resumes or similar material are considered personal and do not meet the definition of Official Mail

      Note:

      Official Mail is mail sent by agencies of the U.S. Government and contains matter related exclusively to the business of the United States that is authorized by law to be transmitted in the mail without the prepayment of postage

    2. A Government travel card bill is a personal matter and Government funds cannot be used to mail such payment

    3. Sending or receiving personal mail through IRS mailrooms is not permitted

    4. For further information, go to:
      < href=http://publish.no.irs.gov/mailtran/permail.html for intranet page, Handling Personal Mail
      < 41 CFR 102-192.155, Public Contracts and Property Management Regulations
      < Document 12011, Plain Talk About Conduct and Ethics Handbook. The Handbook is available at href=http://publish.no.irs.gov/getpdf.cgi?catnum=35691 .

Consolidating Mail

  1. Multiple pieces of mail sent to one address should be sorted and consolidated into a suitable envelope or package and shipped using one of the following methods:

    1. SPC ground for such items as large envelopes and/or packages containing individual letters, forms, books, reports, manuals, newsletters, flyers, or printed products

    2. Delivery for packages that only include remittances and payments

  2. When addressing a consolidated shipment, place the term ‘Consolidated Shipment’ on the address label.

Opening Internal Management Documents Distribution System
(IMDDS)/Consolidated Mail

  1. The IMDDS is a method used to distribute IRMs and other miscellaneous products directly to an IRS office.

  2. IMDDS consolidates all products delivered to an IRS office.

    1. If a product is to be distributed to multiple order points, shipments will come consolidated in a box(es) addressed to the building(s)

    2. IMDDS shipments are recognized by the name "IMDDS Coordinator" in the return address

    3. The box(es) will be opened in the designated mail opening location and the inner contents will be distributed, as labeled, to the individual(s) or group(s)

  3. Receipt of consolidated mail is much like IMDDS shipments but is generally limited to larger locations.

    1. A consolidated mail shipment will contain several envelopes/packages addressed to locations throughout the building(s)

    2. A consolidated mail shipment contains "Consolidated Shipment" in the address line

    3. These shipments will be opened in the designated mail opening location and the inner contents will be distributed, as labeled, to the individual(s) or group(s)

Acceptable Mail/Shipping Services

  1. When possible, documents and correspondence should be faxed or scanned and transmitted via secure E-mail to eliminate agency shipping/mailing cost.

  2. The USPS is the primary carrier for official correspondence and packages going to taxpayers. This is governed by the Private Express Statutes, a group of laws granting the USPS the exclusive right to carry letters for compensation, with certain limited exceptions.

  3. Correspondence and packages shipped between IRS offices and containing processed remittances will utilize the following shipping guidelines as defined in the instructions for Form 9814, Request for Mailing/Shipping Services.

    1. 13 ounces or less will be shipped via USPS

    2. More than 13 ounces will be sent using a SPC ground service

    3. If shipping more than 25 boxes or over 750 pounds to one destination, freight options must be considered to determine the most cost-effective method, fill out Form 14680 and click ‘Send Form by Email’ option on the form. Form 14680 is available at href=http://core.publish.no.irs.gov/forms/internal/pdf/f14680--2015-03-00.pdf

  4. SPC air shipping services will be used by exception only such as:

    1. Packages that include unprocessed remittances and payments

    2. Documents, forms or correspondence on imminent statute cases within 30 calendar days of statute expiration date

    3. Tax court cases scheduled for trial within 15 calendar days

    Note:

    Items such as personnel ranking packages and training material should always use ground services

Guidance on Flexiplace Employee Mail

  1. Due to security concerns, employees working flexiplace must never receive correspondence directly from taxpayers at their residence.

  2. Employees on a flexiplace work schedule who regularly report to their POD at least once a week will receive mail and packages at their POD.

  3. Employees working flexiplace should plan to send mail and packages on the days they report to their regular POD or another IRS location. If the mailing cannot wait until the employee is in the office, the employee must deposit the mail or package in a secure carrier receptacle (e.g., drop box) or at an authorized shipping outlet.

    Caution:

    Due to security and disclosure concerns, mailing official correspondence from an employee’s residential mailbox is strictly prohibited

Home as Post-Of-Duty (HaP) Employees

  1. Employees must comply with all current IRS requirements regarding mail and the protection of sensitive information. For Incoming Mail:

    1. For purposes of receiving mail from outside the IRS, employees in the HaP program will not use their home address as their mailing address. Rather, employees will be provided an IRS administrative address where all mail addressed to the employee will be addressed

    2. The Employer will determine the IRS administrative address where the employee’s mail will be received and processed. Once received, the Employer will determine the most effective and efficient means to forward the mail to the employee, including but not limited to secure email, eFax, SharePoint, or private delivery carrier

    3. The Employer will send mail to the employee’s home that includes Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and /or Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU) information by a private delivery carrier with delivery confirmation-signature required at the home. Employees are prohibited from signing a release that permits private delivery carriers to leave PII and/or SBU shipments unattended on a porch, doorstep, or other location outside the home

    4. Employees will be provided access to the private delivery carrier service, such as United Parcel Service (UPS) My Choice or Choice Premium which enables monitoring of package delivery. Employees will be required to sign-up for pre-delivery notification of incoming packages

  2. For Outgoing Mail:

    1. When employees must send outgoing correspondence, they may use email if such usage is appropriate. Usage of electronic mail must be in accordance with IRM 1.10.3, Standard for Using Email, which prohibits including taxpayer, PII, and/or SBU information in emails unless encryption is used. More information on IRM 1.10.3 is available at http://irm.web.irs.gov/Part1/Chapter10/Section3/IRM1.10.3.asp

    2. The employees must send all taxpayer correspondence via USPS. Employees will use existing office procedures to procure postage stamps for mailing. The administrative office address assigned to the employee must be used as the return address for outgoing mail. The mail must be hand-delivered to a USPS carrier, deposited in a secure receptacle, or hand delivered to a clerk at a USPS walk-in counter.

    3. A private delivery carrier such as UPS should only be used when shipping to an IRS administrative address or another federal/state agency. To generate shipping labels electronically on the designated private delivery carrier’s website, employees must register with the IRS Postal and Transport Policy section. Outgoing packages can be delivered to a UPS store or deposited in a secure UPS drop box. The employee must obtain pre-approval from their supervisor and the IRS Postal and Transport section to schedule private delivery carrier residential pick ups.

    4. Employees are prohibited from leaving mail or packages unsecured on a porch, doorstep, or other location outside their home.

Processing Outgoing Mail

  1. All outgoing mail must include a mail delivery code (e.g., mail stop, office symbols and/or room number) in the return address of any envelope or label to identify the sending office in the event the item is returned.

  2. All outgoing mail will be delivered to the mailroom to be sorted, consolidated, packaged as necessary and postage applied for delivery to the USPS or other authorized carrier.

  3. Employees working flexiplace should plan to send mail on the days they report to their regular POD or another IRS location. If the mail cannot wait until the employee is in the office, the employee must deposit the mail or package in a secure carrier receptacle (e.g., drop box) or at an authorized shipping outlet.

    Note:

    Due to security and disclosure concerns, mailing official correspondence from an employee's residential mailbox is strictly prohibited.

References

  1. References include:

    • 41 CFR 102-192.155, Public Contracts and Property Management Regulations

    • Executed MOU, Home as Post-of-Duty at http://hco.web.irs.gov/Hap.html