- 1.22.8 Mailing and Shipping Equipment
- 220.127.116.11 Introduction
- 18.104.22.168 Postage Meters
- 22.214.171.124.1 Postage Meter Providers
- 126.96.36.199.2 Postage Meter Customer Responsibilities
- 188.8.131.52.3 Postage Meter License
- 184.108.40.206.4 Examination of Postage Meters
- 220.127.116.11.5 Change of Postage Meter Location
- 18.104.22.168.6 Defective Postage Meter
- 22.214.171.124.7 Postage Meter Equipment Failure
- 126.96.36.199.8 Transferring and Refunding Postage
- 188.8.131.52.9 Postage Meter Security
- 184.108.40.206 Small Package Carrier (SPC) Technology Options
- 220.127.116.11.1 Small Package Carrier (SPC)Equipment Failure
- 18.104.22.168 References
Part 1. Organization, Finance, and Management
Chapter 22. Mail and Transportation Management
Section 8. Mailing and Shipping Equipment
October 15, 2015
(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.22.8, Mail and Transportation Management, Mailing and Shipping Equipment. The IRM highlights the importance of mailing and shipping equipment.
(1) Editorial changes have been made throughout the IRM.
IRM 1.22.8, Mailing and Shipping Equipment, dated August 03, 2012 is superseded.
Wage and Investment Division
Every IRS office, whether operated by a staffed mailroom or self-serviced by individual IRS employees, needs equipment for mailing and shipping. This IRM section contains information about postage meters, Small Package Carrier (SPC) shipping systems and SPC web based shipping.
Employees are reminded that it is forbidden to use Government property for conducting personal business or for other unauthorized personal purposes. Government property includes:
Telephone and other telecommunications equipment and services
Government mail carried by agency personnel, contractors, the U.S. Postal Service and all other carriers
Government Mail Services
Automated data processing capabilities
Printing and reproduction facilities
Government records and Government vehicles, per 5 CFR 2635.101 and 107
Postage meters are available only by lease from authorized meter providers. All IRS meters must be penalty postage meters to facilitate payment through the Official Mail Accounting System (OMAS). The United States Postal Service (USPS) holds providers responsible for the control, operation, maintenance and replacement of their meters when necessary. No one other than an authorized provider may possess a postage meter without a valid rental agreement.
The Midstates Procurement office has negotiated a national meter contract to provide nationwide postage meter equipment and maintenance to IRS offices. The provider is subject to change when the current contract expires. Therefore, it is important to check with the appropriate Territory Point of Contact (TPOC) for the current provider.
All IRS postage meters must use the remote Computerized Meter Resetting System (CMRS), which allows a meter to be reset/refilled using telephone technology. The initial dollar amount of postage set and subsequent refills are paid through the OMAS, which is established with the USPS.
The amount of postage to be placed on the meter should be equal to the average amount postage expended in a month. This applies to the initial fill and subsequent refills.
A list of authorized postage meter providers is contained in Chapter 604 of the USPS Domestic Mail Manual (DMM).
Meter licensee responsibilities include:
Securing the meter to prevent any unauthorized use and prevent access to the meter components
Keeping the meter in IRS custody until returned to the authorized provider or Post Office
Recording each day's readings of the ascending and descending registers
USPS requires authorized providers to electronically submit the necessary customer information to the designated Postal Service processing facility in order for the Postal Service to authorize a customer to use a postage meter. There is no application or license fee.
USPS authorizes use of the postage meter when the electronic application is accepted. Conditions that apply to this authorization are:
Customer must provide updated address information to the provider
Postage meter providers must conduct scheduled inspections of meters
A defective meter, loss, or theft of a meter must be reported immediately to the provider
Postage meter inspections are required every three months according to Postal Service regulations. Meters refilled at least once every three months only require annual examination by the USPS.
If a postage meter inspection is not performed, USPS will not allow the meter to be refilled.
The licensing Post Office and the meter provider must be notified of any change in the name, telephone number, meter location, or any other information contained on the original meter license. The licensing Post Office will issue a modified meter license reflecting the updated information.
If an office relocation requires the mail to be processed at a different Post Office and the meter license has not been updated, the Post Office may refuse IRS mail.
Faulty meters must be immediately reported to the meter provider. Examples of a faulty meter include those that have a mechanical or electrical malfunction or are inoperable. The provider must pick up the meter, and take it to the licensing Post Office for service within three business days of notification. The provider is responsible for providing a replacement meter. The meter provider will take the replacement meter to the licensing Post Office to be sealed and placed into service before delivering it to the required location. The licensing Post Office will issue a modified meter license that reflects the updated information.
When equipment fails and it is difficult to place a meter imprint on outgoing mail, the postage meter provider's service repair representative should be contacted. If mail must be processed before the equipment repairs and/or replacement can be made, the following options are available:
Maintain a supply of postage stamps - A small supply of postage stamps stored in the mailroom can be used to process urgent outgoing mail until the meter is repaired or replaced
Arrange for mail to be metered by the nearest IRS office - This option must be coordinated by the TPOC/Local Point of Contact (LPOC)
When a meter is taken out of service, all unused postage loaded on the meter is credited to the IRS OMAS account after the meter is examined by the USPS. Copies of daily ascending and descending meter readings may be required as supporting documentation.
The security of the postage meter requires the following:
Access to the meter must be controlled. The meter is equipped with a lock that allows a designated person using a security key to lock the meter to the base and disable the postage printer
At the end of the workday, the meter must be placed in a locked position and the key placed in a secured area. Access to the key must be limited
The meter key used to set the postage will not be locked in the same location as the security key
Offices with after-hours cleaning must secure the meter in a locked interior room or in a locked cabinet each evening
Offices that do not have an intrusion detection system must secure the meter in a locked interior room or a locked cabinet
All shipments tendered through a SPC should use an electronic shipping label. Electronic shipping labels allow for faster processing and less handling of a package. There are two methods available for generation of an electronic shipping label:
Carrier provided shipping system - This is a stand alone computer system that is provided to large office locations. These systems are typically provided to Campus/Submission Processing locations and IRS locations with a contractor staffed mailroom. A Form 9814, Request for Mail/Shipping Service, is required to generate the shipping label
Carrier web site - This is primarily used in smaller locations that do not have contract mailrooms. It is an internet-based program from which users can easily generate an electronic shipping label, using their computer, printer and plain printer paper. Users are registered and given access to use the program by a Postal and Transport Policy Section employee
All electronic equipment and web sites are subject to failures and breakdowns. Rebooting a system and/or stepping away for 5 to 10 minutes may resolve the situation. If not, follow one of the options below:
Carrier provided shipping systems - Contact the TPOC/LPOC and advise them of the breakdown. If known, call the local carrier representative and advise them of the situation. Replacement software/hardware and technical support must be provided by the equipment owner
Carrier web site - Attempt to open the internet site. If this web site will not load, the problem is internal and not external. Most web site failures are due to an IRS network problem and not related to the SPC web site
If unable to resolve, manually prepare 2nd Day Air and/or Next Day Air shipping documents to ensure timely delivery of high priority shipments. Manually prepared labels should only be used as a last resort.