- 10.23.1 Personnel Security
- 10.23.1.1 Purpose
- 10.23.1.2 Personnel Security Files
- 10.23.1.3 Retention and Disposition of Investigative Reports
- 10.23.1.4 Certificate of Clearance and/or Security Determination
- 10.23.1.5 National Security or Suitability Adjudication of Background Investigations Conducted on Employees of PS and Human Capital Office Executive Team Members
- 10.23.1.6 Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement (SF-312)
- 10.23.1.7 Written Consent Form for Access to Financial Records
- 10.23.1.8 Transfer of Personnel Security Records and Clearances between Treasury/Bureaus
- 10.23.1.9 Protection of Personnel Security Records
- 10.23.1.10 Monitoring Personnel, Security Clearance Changes and Adverse Information
- 10.23.1.11 Clearance Verification
- 10.23.1.12 Protection of Whistleblowers with Access to Classified Information
- 10.23.1.13 Determining Eligibility to Access Classified Information
- 10.23.1.14 Suspension of Access to Classified Information
- 10.23.1.15 Denial and Revocation of Security Clearance
Part 10. Security, Privacy and Assurance
Chapter 23. 3 Personnel Security
Section 1. Personnel Security
August 05, 2016
(1) This transmits revised IRM 10.23.1, Personnel Security.
(1) Added two new sub-sections: 10.23.1.12 and 10.23.1.13.
(2) Altered sub-section titles for 10.23.1.3, 10.12.1.8, 10.23.1.10 and 10.23.1.11 to clearly identify subject matter covered in respective sections.
(3) 10.23.1.3 (2): Clarified time period for retention of copies of Office of Personnel Management (OPM) background investigations.
(4) 10.23.1.4: Moved paragraphs (2) thru (6) about interim access to classified information to new sub-section 10.23.1.13.
(5) 10.23.1.9 (2): Updated address to submit a request for information under the Privacy Act.
(6) 10.23.1.10 (3): Explained required information when reporting adverse information about an employee authorized or being considered for access to classified information.
(7) 10.23.1.11 (1) (2): Updated time period for submitting clearance verification request and added time period for security clearance certification to another Federal agency.
(8) 10.23.1.12: Added new sub-section to provide guidance about protection of whistleblowers with access to classified information.
(9) 10.23.1.13: Added new sub-section to provide regulation about Treasury/bureau’s authority and responsibilities for making determinations for access to classified information, eligibility requirements, reciprocity of existing security clearance investigations, periodic reinvestigations, and security debriefing - Paragraphs (1) through (4) and (6) (7). Paragraph (5) was moved from 10.23.1.4.
(10) 10.23.1.14 (2) (3) (4): Language revised to refine policy and procedures for suspension of access to classified information. Added timeline for delivery of notification to employee and the requirement for completion of a security debriefing.
(11) 10.23.1.15 (6) (10): Added timeline for delivery of notification to employee about denial/revocation of access to classified information. Removed para (7)d about requesting a personal appearance with the IRS Deciding Authority. Added type of information required in a written appeal.
(12) Updated links, improved grammar, and made other editorial changes throughout the IRM.
Acting Director, Employment, Talent and Security
The purpose of this section is to establish general policy and procedures for the maintenance of personnel security investigations and records; and granting security clearances for access to classified information, pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 10450, "Security Requirements for Government Employment," as implemented by Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), parts 731, 732, and 736; EO 12968, "Access to Classified Information," and in accordance with the Department of the Treasury Security Manual, TD P 15-71. The Associate Director, Personnel Security (PS) will maintain personnel security operations in accordance with the procedures outlined therein.
In accordance with Treasury Security Manual, TD P 15-71, Chapter I, Section 4, "Personnel Security Operations," the Service will establish and maintain a personnel security file for employees in the following positions:
national security positions;
moderate and high-risk public trust positions; and
low-risk/non-sensitive positions whereas unfavorable or derogatory information has been developed or received, unless the file is maintained by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
All contractors are subject to the same requirements as Treasury/IRS employees with a file maintained for contractor personnel covered by the provisions of Chapter II, Section 2, of TD P 15-71 or who require a background investigation to meet the requirements of Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD-12).
The Service will not maintain a file on a contract employee granted access to classified information under the National Industrial Security Program (NISP), unless there is a requirement for additional investigation in connection with access to Treasury/IRS facilities or automated information systems or access to classified information not covered under the NISP.
With regard to favorable investigations on employees or contractor personnel in low or moderate risk positions, the Service will retain pertinent investigative data only, such as adverse derogatory information.
All personnel security files are under the control of the Associate Director, PS.
Personnel security files shall be maintained in accordance with "IRS Records Control Schedules, Personnel Security Records" published in Document 12990 located at: http://publish.no.irs.gov/getpdf.cgi?catnum=57910D.
Investigative reports and related documents obtained from other agencies for making security/suitability determinations will be destroyed in accordance with the investigating agency’s instructions.
Copies of OPM investigations on individuals for Federal employment, whether or not a security clearance is granted will be retired to the National Archives and Records Administration Center for two years after the date of the investigation, final legal action, or final administrative action, whichever is appropriate; and destroyed after 16 years. Investigations conducted by other Federal agencies, but transmitted through OPM, will be handled in the manner prescribed by the originating agency’s Privacy Act system security notice or stamped caveats that may appear on those documents.
To ensure compliance with OPM Federal Investigations Notice 10-04, "Enhancements to the Central Verification System (CVS) for Reciprocity," dated March 18, 2010; the IRS has established procedures by which clearance data is electronically submitted to the enhanced CVS on a monthly basis in support of reciprocity.
For employees granted access to classified information, a Certificate of Clearance and/or Security Determination, (Treasury Department Form [TDF] 15-03.2) will be completed. This form documents the date and basis of the determination, but does not reflect any adverse information recorded in the personnel security file. When access to classified information has been granted, upgraded, administratively downgraded, suspended or cancelled, the following will occur:
The form will be issued and will include the level of access granted, and, where appropriate, whether the access was granted on an interim or final basis;
The Associate Director, PS signs the form and the original signed certificate is mailed to the Official Personnel Folder (OPF) consolidation site;
The OPF office will file the original on the right side of the employee’s OPF; and
A copy will be maintained in the employee’s personnel security file.
For employees who do not require a security clearance, IRS Form 2077 (C) and a Certificate of Investigation will be used to reflect the completion date of the investigation, type of investigation, investigative agency and type and date of the suitability determination. The originals are filed on the right side of the OPF with a copy maintained in the personnel security file.
To ensure independence of the adjudication and referral process and to eliminate any appearance of a conflict of interest in the handling of investigative reports conducted on employees of PS and the HCO Executives to whom PS directly reports, the following procedures shall be effected:
All such completed reports of investigations conducted for suitability or security purposes will be made available either electronically or in hard copy to the Office of Security Programs (OSP), Department of the Treasury by OPM.
Treasury OSP adjudicates the case for suitability and clearance eligibility, using the common adjudicative standards set forth by the Security Policy board.
Treasury OSP sends an email notification regarding the completion of the investigation to Associate Director, PS.
Upon notification from Treasury, PS updates Automated Background Investigation System and the Security Entry and Tracking System with security clearance and investigative information.
PS briefs IRS employees and HCO Executive Team members whose cases are favorably adjudicated for access to classified information. PS provides Treasury OSP a copy of the signed SF-312 for recordation purposes.
PS advises Treasury OSP of any change in status of PS employees or contractors.
The final determination/adjudication will be referred to Labor Relations only when appropriate action is recommended. Treasury OSP will maintain a copy of the report of investigation and complete the Form 2077 (C) or TD F 15-03.2.
As a condition of being granted access to classified information, the individual must first undergo a security briefing. The briefing will be administered by a PS security officer or an officer acting on the authority of that office. The individual is informed of the obligations and responsibilities contingent upon being granted such access and must execute the SF-312, which must be appropriately witnessed per instructions in the SF-312 and returned to PS.
For all IRS employees, the original SF-312 shall be placed on the right hand side of the OPF or retained in a file system of records that meets the Information Security Oversight Office’s 50 year retention requirement.
Every employee granted access to classified information must provide the employing Treasury/bureau with a written consent form. The consent form allows an authorized investigative agency access to financial and other records as defined in EO 12968 Section 1.2(e), Access to Classified Information, for the duration of the employee’s access to classified information plus three years thereafter when any of the following occur:
There are reasonable grounds to believe, based on credible information, that the employee or former employee is, or may be, disclosing classified information in an unauthorized manner to a foreign power or agent of a foreign power;
Treasury or a bureau has received credible information that an employee or former employee has incurred excessive indebtedness or has acquired a level of affluence that cannot be explained by other information; or
Circumstances indicate that the employee or former employee had the capability and opportunity to disclose classified information that is known to have been lost or compromised to a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.
In accordance with TD P 15-71, Chapter I, Section 5, when an employee transfers from Treasury to a bureau or from one bureau to another, the complete personnel security file or a copy of it must be transferred from the personnel security office of the losing bureau to the personnel security office of the gaining bureau. Exception: when the file of an IRS employee contains tax information, the tax information is not transferred outside the IRS.
A current security clearance is transferable between Treasury bureaus without re-adjudication of the requisite investigation. Treasury bureaus must complete a Checklist of Permitted Exceptions to Reciprocity prior to requesting additional information (security forms or investigations) on employees with existing investigations.
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in personnel security investigations, records and operations shall be carefully safeguarded to protect the interests of both the individual and the Service pursuant to requirements of the Privacy Act. Unless classified at a higher level, personnel security information must be afforded the same degree of protection as material identified as Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information and must be used only for authorized official purposes. When not in use, personnel security information must be stored in a locked container or compartment or in an equally secure area. For information on locked containers, see IRM 10.2.14.3.1 at http://irm.web.irs.gov/link.asp?link=10.2.14.3.1.
Personnel security investigation information requested by the subject of an investigation will be processed according to established procedures under provisions of the Privacy Act or the Freedom of Information Act, as appropriate. Requests for the release of the results of any personnel security investigation should be referred to the Treasury/bureau or non-Treasury agency that conducted it. When another agency requests a copy of a PS report of investigation under the routine use provision of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), for the purpose of suitability or the granting of a security clearance, the request must be made in writing to IRS, Personnel Security, FOIA/PA Section, 1111 Constitution Avenue, NW, NCFB: Room C1-530, Washington, DC 20224.
Reports containing classified information must be protected in accordance with EO 13526, Classified National Security Information and appropriate Treasury regulations.
Employees or their supervisors must report any of the following changes regarding their employees to PS immediately.
Change of name
Marriage or cohabitation
Termination of employment
Reduction in Force
Leave of absence for a period exceeding one year
Death of an employee
All employees with a security clearance must immediately report major life changes pertaining to foreign passport, marrying/cohabiting, mental and emotional health counseling, criminal activity, bankruptcy and court ordered liens. This information must be reported on the Standard Form 86 Certification (SF86C) and submitted to PS. The following additional guidance is provided for foreign citizenship/passport and marital status. For more details about reporting significant life changes, see TD P 15-71, Chapter 1, Section 2, subsection 10.
Citizenship. Any employee with a security clearance must report when assuming foreign citizenship, any renunciation of U.S. citizenship, and the application/receipt of a foreign passport with or without the intent to use the foreign passport while still a Federal employee.
Marital Status. An employee who possess a Top Secret security clearance and marries or cohabits in a spouse-like relationship during the time they hold a Top Secret security clearance must immediately report the marriage or cohabitation to the Personnel Security office.
All personnel are responsible for immediately reporting, to PS, any adverse information known about employees with authorized access to or being processed for access to classified information. If an individual with a security clearance fails to report such information, it may result in the suspension or termination of their security clearance. A report must be submitted even if the individual has been terminated. The report must include:
Individuals first and last name
Date and place of birth, if attainable
Details of adverse information
Reporting person’s information (typed name, signature, position title, telephone number and email address).
When an IRS employee intends to visit a classified facility, and that facility requires verification of the employee’s security clearance, the IRS Personnel Security office must certify that information to the host security office. Details regarding the proposed visit must be provided to PS 5-7 business days in advance of the intended event to permit timely processing of the request. Instructions for requesting clearance verification are located at http://hco.web.irs.gov/recruitstaff/personnelsecurity/ClearanceVerification.shtml.
PS will prepare and fax or send secure e-mail, on IRS letterhead, the necessary security clearance status and other required data on the employee to the host security office. The clearance can only be certified for up to a one-year period. Acceptance of temporary or interim security clearances is at the discretion of the agency whose facility is to be visited.
When a Federal employee is detailed to another agency, it is the responsibility of the sending organization to (1) ensure that the employee meets all investigative/clearance requirements for the new position, and (2) to grant any security clearance required for access to classified information.
When employees of other Federal agencies or cleared contractor facilities require access to classified information at Treasury/bureau facilities, the sponsoring Treasury/bureau office must ask the personnel security office to obtain the pertinent security clearance verification data on the visitors. For Federal employees, the verification data must come directly from the visitor’s agency. For contractors, verification must be obtained from the parent company or the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office.
In accordance with the Presidential Policy Directive 99 available online at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/image/ppd-19.pdf, Protecting Whistleblowers with Access to Classified Information, effective October 12, 2012, employees eligible for access to classified information can effectively report waste, fraud, and abuse while protecting classified national security information free of retaliation against them for reporting such actions. For details, see TD P 15-71, Chapter 1, Section 8.
Treasury/bureaus have the authority to make determinations of eligibility for access to classified information for persons under their authority, and the consequent granting, denying and revoking of security clearances and suspending access to classified information in accordance with provisions of EO 12968.
Treasury/bureaus must keep the number of employees with access to the minimum necessary to conduct agency functions, only grant at the classification level needed to perform official duties, and terminate access immediately when no longer needed.
Eligibility for access to classified information will be granted only to employees who are U.S. citizens (native born or naturalized) for whom:
An appropriate background investigation has been completed by the appropriate Federal Government authority and that investigation favorably adjudicated;
Has an actual need-to-know to access classified information to perform official duties;
Signed a SF-312, Classified Information Non-Disclosure Agreement; and
Received a security briefing on the proper protection of classified information from unauthorized disclosure.
Treasury/bureau employees with dual citizenship who possess a passport or any other identity type document issued by a foreign government may raise a security concern.
The employee may voluntarily destroy, invalidate, or surrender the document to PS for storage in a secured safe and must sign an agreement indicating their choice.
If the document was invalidated or destroyed, the employee must provide official proof.
Surrendered documents will be returned the employee when he/she no longer requires access to classified information.
For employees who are eligible for, but do not possess a foreign passport, they must sign an agreement agreeing they will only possess a U.S. passport. Breach of the agreement will result in the termination of the security clearance.
Final eligibility determinations for access to classified information will be mutually and reciprocally accepted unless the:
New position requires a higher security clearance level;
Investigation upon which the security clearance is based is more than 5 years old;
Existing security clearance was discretionary - Security Clearance granted with a condition, waiver, or deviation for not meeting investigative standards; and/or
Treasury/bureau has substantial information indicating that the individual does not satisfy the requirements of EO 12968.
If any of the above circumstances exist, a Standard Form 86 or 86C must be completed, and if warranted, a new investigation conducted to determine eligibility for access to classified information at the required
For employees who must perform official functions requiring access to classified information before completion of a final investigation, interim access can be granted under the following conditions. Exceptions to the below guidance can only be approved in writing by the Director, OSP, Department of the Treasury:
Interim Confidential or Secret access can be granted in exceptional circumstances.
PS must approve a written justification by the cognizant supervisor, approved and signed by the requesting Business Unit (BU) Head of Office;
A favorable review of a current SF-86;
The appropriate background investigation scheduled commensurate with the level of clearance; and
A favorable National Agency Check to include a Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint check.
Interim Top Secret access can be granted in exceptionally rare circumstances. The Treasury Director, Office of Security Programs retains the authority to render interim eligibility determinations for all Top Secret requests. In addition to the conditions above for a Confidential or Secret, the employee must have a current and favorably adjudicated determination at the Secret level for an interim Top Secret.
If interim access is granted, the initial investigation must be expedited and the employee shall be notified in writing that further access is expressly conditioned on the favorable completion of the investigation and the issuance of access eligibility approval.
All employees who no longer need access to classified information must receive a security debriefing. The debriefing reiterates their responsibilities to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure although their access has been terminated. The employ must complete the bottom section of the SF-312, acknowledging receipt of the security briefing. If the employee is separating from the Service, the employee’s supervisor must notify PS two weeks in advance of the employee’s separation.
Employees with access to classified information must undergo a periodic reinvestigation and may also be reinvestigated if, at any time, there is reason to believe that they may no longer meet the standards for access to classified information set forth in EO 12968.
The Service will comply with the Treasury Security Manual, TD P 15-71, Chapter I, Section 6, "Denial and Revocation of Security Clearance" regarding denying or revoking an employee’s security clearance, in accordance with EO 12968. The procedures do not apply to termination of access when the individual no longer has a need-to-know.
When adverse or unfavorable information becomes available concerning an employee with access to classified information, PS will immediately suspend the employee’s security clearance. The security clearance suspension is temporary and a final decision must be made to either re-instate or revoke the employee’s security clearance.
Whenever a determination is made to suspend access to classified information, the following will occur:
The employee will be notified in writing of their suspended access to classified information by the Associate Director, PS, as appropriate;
The notification must include a brief statement of the reason(s) for the suspension, and a statement that the receipt of the notification is not an acknowledgement of culpability or concurrence with the suspension;
The notification must be delivered by personal delivery, government or commercial overnight courier or certified mail within five calendar days from the date of the suspended access. The employee must sign a receipt, acknowledging receipt of the notification. Regardless of whether delivery of the notice is refused or does not reach the individual through no fault of the Associate Director, PS, suspension of access is immediate;
A copy of any notification required by this section shall be provided to the Associate Director, PS and maintained in the employee’s personnel security file; and
The suspension to access remains in effect until an appropriate investigation is conducted and/or a final determination is made to revoke or reinstate the employee’s access to classified information by the Associate Director, PS. The employee will receive written notification of the final determination. If the final determination is to revoke access, the notification will include reasons for the decision. For employees with SCI access, PS will notify Treasury Security Office of the final determination.
Upon the suspension of an individual's access to classified information, , the Associate Director, PS will notify the employee’s supervisor in writing and the following will occur:
Associate Director, PS, and the employee’s supervisor will take steps to ensure that the employee’s name is removed from all local access rosters and notice of visit certifications. The supervisor must notify all employees (including contractors) working with the affected employee of the suspension to make certain the employee has not further access to classified information. The cause of the suspension will not be disclosed to the supervisor or colleagues.
The employee’s supervisor will ensure that the employee’s government work space(s) does not contain unsecured classified information during the period of the suspension of access to classified information.
The employee’s supervisor will ensure all combinations to classified storage containers to which the employee had access will be changed immediately unless sufficient controls exist to prevent the employee’s continued access to the container.
The Service will comply with the Treasury Security Manual, TD P 15-71, Chapter I, Section 6, "Denial and Revocation of Security Clearance" regarding denying or revoking an employee’s security clearance, in accordance with EO 12968. The procedures do not apply to termination of access when the individual no longer has a need-to-know.
The Associate Director, PS will be the "Determining Official" for all such determinations within the Service.
The IRS Human Capital Officer will be the "Deciding Authority" for all such determinations within the Service.
PS will proceed with access denial or revocation of eligibility for access, as appropriate when the Associate Director, PS determines either of the following:
An individual who has been nominated for or currently possesses a security clearance fails to meet applicable security criteria; or
There are insufficient mitigating factors that indicate whether security clearance eligibility fails to meet applicable security criteria.
As set forth in EO 12968, Section 5.2, the applicant or employee must be provided with a written notice of determination stating that he or she does not meet applicable eligibility standards for access to classified information. The written notice of determination must contain the following information:
As comprehensive and detailed an explanation of the basis for the determination as the national security interests and applicable laws permit;
The name and address of the official to whom the employee should direct any reply, request or other filing;
A copy of Chapter I, Section 6, Denial and Revocation of Security Clearance directing the individual to the description of the review proceedings; and
A copy of EO 12968, Access to Classified Information.
The notice of determination must be delivered by personal delivery, government or commercial overnight courier, or certified mail within five business days from the date of the decision. The employee must sign a receipt, acknowledging receipt of the notification. A copy of any notification required by this section must be maintained in the employee’s personnel security file and a copy must be provided to the Director, OSP, Department of the Treasury.
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, the time period for a reply or other filing by an applicant or employee begins upon delivery of notification to the individual. Where delivery cannot be made or the delivery is refused, the time period begins five calendar days after issuance of notification to the employee.
The due date specified for a reply or other filing by an employee is the date the reply or other filing must be received by the appropriate office. The reply or other filing can be made by personal delivery, facsimile, mail, or General Services Administration approved commercial overnight delivery.
If an employee to whom a notice of determination is issued requests a review of the determination, he or she may:
Be represented by counsel or other representative at personal expense.
Request, in writing, not later than 15 days after receipt of the notice of determination, either or both of the following:
Any documents, records, and reports upon which a denial or revocation is based, as defined in Section 5.2(a)(2) of EO 12968; or
The entire investigative file, as permitted by the national security standards and other applicable law.
Request, in writing, a review of that determination, within the following time frames:
No later than 30 days after receipt of the notice of determination, if no timely request has been made under paragraph 7b above; or
No later than 30 days after receipt of a notice from Treasury/IRS to the employee that the Treasury/IRS has made the final release of material requested, where a timely request under paragraph 7b above has been made.
Request to appear personally before the IRS Human Capital Officer (the deciding authority) and present relevant documents, materials and information. A request to appear personally shall be made no later than the time at which a written reply to a notice of determination would be timely made.
Treasury/IRS must notify the employee when final release of documents or the file is made, so that the due date for a written reply may be set.
If the applicant or employee requests any documents, records or reports upon which a denial or revocation is based, the documents must be provided to the employee within 30 days of receipt of the request. The documents must be provided to the extent they would be provided if requested and released under the Freedom of Information Act or the Privacy Act, as applicable.
If the applicant or employee requests the entire investigative file, such documents must be provided promptly prior to the time set for a written reply, as permitted by the national security standards and other applicable law. A reply to the notice of determination must be reviewed by an official designated by Treasury/IRS officials or personnel security authority.
A reply to the notice of determination must be reviewed by an official designated by a Treasury/IRS official or the PS Deciding Authority.
Upon completion of the review of the case, the deciding authority must notify the employee in writing of his or her decision (referred to as a notice of review). In the notice of review, the deciding authority must state the reasons for the decision. If the decision of the deciding authority affirms the determination to deny or revoke the security clearance, the notice of review must also inform the employee of the right to appeal the decision to the Treasury Department’s Security Appeals Panel, as described in EO 12968, Section 5.2(a)(6)(7).
To file an appeal, the employee must submit a written appeal to the Security Appeals Panel within 30 days of receipt of the notice of review. An appeal filed beyond the 30-day time limit will not be accepted by the Security Appeals Panel unless the appellant demonstrates compelling reasons beyond his or her control that prevented timely filing.
The appeal should be addressed to: Security Appeals Panel c/o Director, Office of Security Programs, Room 3180 Treasury Annex, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20220. The appeal must include the following information
Employee’s full name, address and telephone number(s);
f applicable, the name, address and telephone number of the attorney or other representative;
A copy of notice of review; and
Any written statement, relevant documents, materials, or information the employee wants the Security Appeal Panel to consider.
When an applicant or employee timely requests a review of a notice of determination or, after such review, appeals to the Security Appeals Panel, the denial or revocation of eligibility for access to classified information is implemented only when any or all such proceedings have been completed.
Failure of the applicant or employee to: (1) request review of the determination, (2) appeal to the Security Appeals Panel or (3) meet any applicable time limit for these actions will result in the termination of any further proceedings. The denial or revocation of security clearance is upheld at that time.
The deciding authority will make any necessary rulings on these proceedings.
Upon receipt of a written appeal to the Security Appeals Panel, the Chair of the Panel shall make any necessary rulings on procedural matters.
These provisions, consistent with EO 12968, Section 5.2(c), create no procedural or substantive rights.