11.3.19 Privacy Act Accounting for Disclosures

Manual Transmittal

May 02, 2018

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 11.3.19, Disclosure of Official Information, Privacy Act Accounting for Disclosures.

Material Changes

(1) Editorial changes have been made throughout to update IRM/statute/organizational references and to make the text easier to follow.

(2) Changed ownership and responsibilities throughout from Governmental Liaison and Disclosure (GLD) to Privacy Policy and Compliance (PPC).

(3) IRM 11.3.19.1 - Revised the title to Program, Scope and Objectives, to properly reflect the information communicated in this subsection. Included important information to conform to the new internal and management control standards under the following titles:

  1. IRM 11.3.19.1.1, Background - Information from prior subsection 11.3.19.1 was incorporated into this new subsection.

  2. IRM 11.3.19.1.2, Authorities - Added legal authorities governing Privacy Act accounting for disclosures.

  3. IRM 11.3.19.1.3, Responsibilities - Added new information regarding responsibilities for the programs and procedures outlined in this IRM.

  4. IRM 11.3.19.1.4, Additional Resource - Added subsection with additional resource information.

(4) IRM 11.3.19.2 - Added reference to IRM 11.3.37, Recordkeeping and Accounting for Disclosures.

(5) IRM 11.3.19.3 - Added new subsection that provides general rules explaining accounting procedures for Privacy Act records that contain IRC 6103 information.

(6) IRM 11.3.19.4 - Added reference to Document 12990 and revised the Form 5482 retention requirement language for clarity.

Effect on Other Documents

This supersedes IRM 11.3.19 dated September 13, 2013.

Audience

All Operating Divisions and Functions.

Effective Date

(05-02-2018)

Related Resources

The Disclosure and Privacy Knowledge Base is available at:
https://portal.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/vl003/pages/default.aspx.

Frances Kleckley
Director, Privacy Policy and Compliance

Program, Scope and Objectives

  1. Purpose: This IRM contains instructions for accounting required by the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. 5 U.S.C. 552(a).

  2. Audience: The information and guidance in this IRM applies to all IRS employees.

  3. Policy Owner: Privacy Policy and Compliance (PPC) is responsible for Privacy Act oversight.

  4. Program Owner: The PPC office, under Privacy, Governmental Liaison and Disclosure (PGLD), is the program office responsible for oversight of the Servicewide Privacy Act accounting for disclosures program.

Background

  1. The requirement for Privacy Act accounting for disclosure of tax records has been codified. The system used to account for disclosures of returns and return information was designed to comply with two laws:

    • Subsection (c) of the Privacy Act of 1974 (Act); and

    • Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §6103(p)(3)(A).

Authorities

  1. The Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 5 United States Code (USC) § 552a.

  2. The Freedom of Information Act, as amended, 5 United States Code (USC) § 552

Accounting Requirements

  1. The Privacy Act requires each agency to keep an accurate accounting of the date, nature, and purpose of each disclosure of an individual’s record to any person or to another agency and the name and address of the person or agency to whom the disclosure is made. See 5 USC § 552a(c). This requirement only applies to records maintained in a system of records. See § 552a(a)(5). A system of records is a group of records regarding individuals that is retrievable by some identifier corresponding to those individuals.

  2. The accounting is not required when the disclosure has been to those officers and employees of the agency which maintains the record who have a need for the record in the performance of their duties.

  3. Accountings are only required to be made when the disclosure is pursuant to subsection (b) of the Act.

  4. The accounting is not required if the disclosure is made or would be required to be made pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Release of publicly available information maintained in a Privacy Act System of Records released pursuant to a FOIA request does not require an accounting. Routinely this occurs when no FOIA exemption is applicable to withhold the records.

  5. The accounting must be retained for at least five years or the record retention period, whichever is longer.

  6. See IRM 11.3.37, Recordkeeping and Accounting for Disclosures, for detailed information about disclosures of tax returns and return information pursuant to IRC § 6103(p)(3)(A) accounting.

General Rules

  1. When accounting for disclosures, the number of sources from which information is furnished determines how many accounting records must be prepared. A source is information collected, developed, or maintained by a function from a system of records. See IRM 11.3.37 for additional information.

    Exception:

    When the information disclosed is from a tax system of records, the maximum number of accounting records that should be prepared regarding a particular taxpayer is one accounting for the return or return information involved, and one for each function whose systems of records are disclosed.

  2. Though a function might disclose information about an individual taxpayer from more than one of its systems of records, the function should prepare an accounting record for only the system of records where the greatest amount of information is provided.

    Note:

    This procedure is consistent with the spirit of IRC §6103(p)(3)(A) and subsection (c) of the Act. It is more practical for administrative reasons to limit the number of sources when several systems of records are involved in order to avoid confusion over the amount of information disclosed.

    Example:

    The Department of Justice is conducting a nontax Federal criminal grand jury and makes a request under IRC §6103(i)(1) for the 2016 individual income tax return and related files and records of John Doe. After searching our records, we locate and disclose the following information:

    a) 2016 Form 1040
    b) Lien file (three pages)
    c) Taxpayer Delinquent Account file (20 pages)
    d) Examination administrative file (workpapers, affidavits, etc.) (50 pages)
    e) Classification and Examination Selection file (edited list of taxpayers selected for audit on which the taxpayer’s name appears) (2 pages); and
    f) AIMS Record (computer printout indicating office where return was examined) (1 page)

    An accounting record should be prepared for the following:

    1) The 2016 Form 1040
    2) The Taxpayer Delinquent Account file (although a disclosure was also made from the lien file, most of the information disclosed from Collection files was obtained from the TDA file), and
    3) The Examination administrative file (the greatest amount of information was disclosed from the administrative file.)
  3. The number of disclosures that are recorded on a taxpayer’s account per disclosure record is equal to the number of tax periods reported on the record.

    Example:

    An accounting record for ABC Company indicates the IRS disclosed ABC's Forms 1120 for 2013-2016 to the Department of Labor. The number of disclosures recorded on the taxpayer’s account in the accounting file would be four. If multiple years are involved in multiple functional systems, the number of total accountings would ordinarily be the years multiplied by the number of systems involved.

Form 5482 Procedure

  1. Each employee who makes a disclosure of a non-tax record subject to the accounting requirement, must prepare Form 5482, Record of Disclosure (Privacy Act of 1974).

  2. The original will be maintained in a separate Form 5482 file by the official having custody of the system of records. Forms will be filed in alphabetical order by name of the subject in a separate section for each (calendar) year. This file will be maintained for five years. At the end of each year, all the forms in the section which become five years old will be destroyed. See Document 12990, Records Control Schedules, RCS 8, Item 44.

  3. The duplicate will be associated with the record disclosed and will be retained for the retention period of that record.

  4. If the record is maintained on tape or some other format which precludes attaching Form 5482, no duplicate need be prepared.

  5. For multiple disclosures, in which all entries would be identical, except the identity of the subject, a single Form 5482 may be prepared by leaving the name block blank. A list of all persons involved would be attached to the original form which should be placed in front of the alphabetical items in the Form 5482 file. However, the list must not be attached to the Form 5482 copy placed in the record disclosed. The Form 5482 should be photocopied (one for each person whose records are disclosed) and the appropriate individual’s name inserted before association with the disclosed record.

  6. A Form 5482 recording a disclosure made pursuant to (b)(7) of the Privacy Act may be associated with the record disclosed only if the system of records has an exemption which would preclude the subject from obtaining the Form 5482 or learning of the (b)(7) disclosure. If the system of records would be generally available for the subject’s inspection (such as the official personnel folder) the Form 5482 should not be associated with the record. It should be marked for retention to be kept for as long its associated record file exists in the agency and filed in a special section of the Form 5482 file. The Form 5482 may be destroyed whenever the associated record disclosed is known to have been actually destroyed.

  7. Research to determine the existence of the underlying record should not be undertaken simply to permit destruction of Forms 5482.