13.1.8 Congressional Affairs Program

Manual Transmittal

April 04, 2017

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 13.1.8, Taxpayer Advocate Case Procedures, Congressional Affairs Program.

Material Changes

(1) 13.1.8 - Updated all references to Governmental Liaison (GL) to IRS Congressional District Liaison (DL) in document.

(2) IRM 13.1.8.1.(5) - Add paragraph addressing outreach responsibilities for Local Taxpayer Advocates.

(3) IRM 13.1.8.2 (1) – Clarify tax related inquiries rather than non-tax related and incorporated IGM TAS 13-1115-007 on case criteria.

(4) IRM 13.1.8.2 (2) – Clarify assignment of congressional inquiries.

(5) IRM 13.1.8.2 (4) – Updated the IRM Reference to IRM 13.1.8.7, Disclosure Issues.

(6) IRM 13.1.8.2 (5) – Remove the references to GL & LA cases. Update IRM reference to IRM 13.1.8.6, Congressional Letter Writing.

(7) IRM 13.1.8.4 (1) – Update IRM reference to IRM 13.1.17.5.

(8) IRM 13.1.8.4.1 (1) (d) – Clarify congressional case assignments.

(9) IRM 13.1.8.4(1)(g) - Added information on completing duplicate case screens, incorporating IGM TAS 13-0316-001.

(10) IRM 13.1.8.4.1(1) (h) – Update the IRM reference.

(11) IRM 13.1.8.4.1 (2) – Added IRM 13.1.8.7 Reference

(12) IRM 13.1.8.4.2 – Where appropriate changed references to the new office of Executive Secretariat Correspondence Office (ESCO) from Legislative Affairs.

(13) IRM 13.1.8.4.2 (1) (l) – Change the examples to match the TAS Quality Review Attribute guidelines.

(14) IRM 13.1.8.4.2 (1)(o) – Corrected the IRM reference for Exhibit IRM 13.1.8-1.

(15) IRM 13.1.8.4.3 - Adding Subsection Addressing Congressional Inquiries Involving Litigation Issues - added IRM 13.1.8.4.3(1)

(16) IRM 13.1.8.5(2) - Added power of attorney screen to be completed, if appropriate.

(17) IRM 13.1.8.5 (6) – Removed the “Note.”

(18) IRM 13.1.8.5(10) - Removing the requirement for separate TAMIS cases on duplicate congressional case with the same taxpayer, same issues, and same TAS employee working the case. This incorporates IGM TAS 13-0316-001.

(19) IRM 13.1.8.5(11) - Revised paragraph addressing when a duplicate congressional case is appropriate and codes.

(20) IRM 13.1.8.6 (1) – Revised to reflect reference to IRM 1.10.1.14 and IRM 1.10.1.15 for ESCO Controlled Correspondence.

(21) IRM 13.1.8.6 (2) –Expanded the “Note” to cover “No Response” correspondence to congressional offices.

(22) IRM 13.1.8.6(3) - Changing the title of Area Directors to Deputy Executive Director Case Advocacy (DEDCA).

(23) IRM 13.1.8.6 (5) - Added paragraph concerning email with congressional offices.

(24) IRM 13.1.8.7 (1) (c ) – Change the IRM reference to IRM 1.10.1.13, Disclosure Information and add reference to IRM 11.3.4.2.1.

(25) IRM 13.1.8.7 (3) – Corrected the IRM reference to IRM 13.1.8.7 (1)(b). Added information on disclosures with congressional offices and early vacancy. Renumbering the rest of the IRM 13.1.8.7.

(26) IRM 13.1.8.7 (6) - Previously (5), clarified contact with power of attorney, authorized third party on congressional inquiries.

(27) IRM 13.1.8.7 (7) – References IRM 1.10.1.13 for disclosure information working with congressional offices.

(28) IRM 13.1.8.7 (8) - Added new paragraph, moved current (8) to (9).

(29) IRM 13.1.8.8 (1) – Changed IRM reference to IRM 13.1.21

(30) IRM 13.1.8.8.(2) – Changed the wording to reflect the TAS Quality Review Attributes.

(31) IRM 13.1.8.9 (1) – Changed IRM references to reflect the new IRM 1.10.1.14 and IRM 1.10.1.15 ESCO Controlled Correspondence.

(32) We made editorial changes throughout this IRM section.

Effect on Other Documents

This IRM supersedes IRM 13.1.8 dated 02-27-2012.

Audience

Taxpayer Advocate Service employees

Effective Date

(04-04-2017)

Nina E. Olson
National Taxpayer Advocate

Introduction to Congressional Affairs Program

  1. The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) plays a key role in the Congressional Affairs Program (CAP). The Local Taxpayer Advocate (LTA) will coordinate the CAP along with the IRS Congressional District Liaison (DL) in each geographic area.

  2. The LTA will have responsibility for all tax account related issues, primarily constituent casework and advocacy.

  3. The DL will have responsibility for any non-tax account related inquiries and for communicating IRS policy and procedures. The DL will deliver IRS messages through outreach or liaison efforts.

  4. The LTA and DL will coordinate congressional visits, outreach activities, and hosting congressional staff liaison meetings. Congressional visits may be separate, depending on the nature of the visit, but must be coordinated.

  5. LTAs are responsible for building and maintaining professional relationships with local congressional offices through effective outreach. Congressional outreach requirements are covered in IRM 13.6.1.12.3, Congressional Outreach.

Control Principles

  1. All tax account related congressional inquiries received by TAS will be controlled on the Taxpayer Advocate Management Information System (TAMIS). If an inquiry does not qualify under acceptance criteria 1-8, follow current interim guidance on accepting cases under TAS case criteria 9, Public Policy, which specifically includes congressional account inquiries. Interim guidance is published annually and can be found on the TAS Intranet.

    Exception:

    General telephone (or e-mail) inquiries from a congressional office that can be answered while on the line need not be controlled.

  2. Assign Congressional inquiries that are not associated with an existing case with the same issue to the Local Taxpayer Advocate office that is aligned with the congressional district that initiated the inquiry. The LTA office/congressional district alignment includes both the local and campus offices. See the LTA office/congressional district alignment list on the Congressional page of the TAS intranet site.

  3. Cases requiring normal campus assistance should be worked through the Operations Assistance Request (OAR) process. Functions should work all controls assigned to them by Legislative Affairs (LA) on e-trak.

  4. Taxpayer correspondence noted as having a courtesy copy (cc) sent to a congressional office will not be treated as a congressional inquiry. See IRM 13.1.8.7, Disclosure Issues.

  5. When responding to congressional offices in writing, do not delegate signature authority below the LTA on TAS cases. See IRM 13.1.8.6, Congressional Letter Writing.

  6. All congressional inquiries received by Business Units (BUs) in the National Office are forwarded to Legislative Affairs for review and control on e-trak.

    Exception:

    The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) will control and assign inquiries addressed to that office.

Assignment and Routing

  1. Tax account related inquiries will be assigned to TAS. These cases may require assistance and cooperation from BUs on complex issues, and will be worked via the OAR process. The DL or LA office will work non-tax related inquires, depending on the issue involved.

  2. Establish only one control on TAMIS if a congressional inquiry addresses a tax account issue as well as a non-tax account issue. TAS will attempt to resolve the taxpayer account and coordinate resolution on the non-tax account issue.

  3. The following tables provide directions for assigning congressional inquiries, and consider the impact of §1203 of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98).

    TAX ACCOUNT RELATED NON-TAX ACCOUNT RELATED NATIONAL OFFICE NON-TAX ACCOUNT RELATED
    Assign to Taxpayer Advocate (Controlled as Criteria Code 1-9) Route to IRS Congressional District Liaison Route to Legislative Affairs
    1. All tax account related congressional inquiries. 1. IRS employee complaints about routine personnel actions that have not yet gone through the system, or local issues that fall under local union agreement or MOU. 1. Personnel actions that have gone through the system but are still unresolved.
    2. An inquiry from a taxpayer that contains both a tax account and a non-tax account issue will stay with TAS. 2. Complaint about an unidentified IRS employee that isn’t an RRA 98 §1203 violation. If employee is identified or if the complaint is an RRA 98 §1203 violation, route to Legislative Affairs. 2. All IRS hardship transfer requests.
    3. Tax law / Technical specific to an account issue or request for opinion or ruling. 3. Tax law / Technical questions and issues that don’t involve a taxpayer's account. 3. IRS employee reporting or alleging impropriety, RRA 98 §1203 violation, ethical issues.
    4. Reorganizations for locations of offices. 4. Agency practices, procedures, and policies.
    TAS EXAMPLES DL EXAMPLES LA EXAMPLES
    IRS denied EITC Who can claim EITC? EITC is welfare
    IRS employee has hardship and needs refund IRS employee wants a parking space near office IRS employee misuse of government time
    Trouble understanding notice received IRS employees are rude and misinformed Employee who can be identified gave taxpayer's return information to neighbor
    IRS levied prematurely Where is my closest Collection office? Constitutionality issues
    Why was frivolous filer penalty assessed? Frivolous filer penalty is unconstitutional Frivolous filer penalty and constitutionality have previously been explained and taxpayer isn’t satisfied
    Where is my refund? How long does it take to receive an e-filed refund? IRS should provide e-file to everyone
    IRS employee didn't receive refund Employee concerned POD closing due to reorganization Employee concerned about reorganization issues previously negotiated in local offices
    Offset based on bad data, need help getting it back What are the rules for injured spouse? Offset law unfair

Case Processing

  1. Process cases under general guidelines in IRM 13.1.18, Processing TAS Cases. However, see IRM 13.1.17.5 , Exceptions to TAS Case Transfers, for information about transferring congressional cases.

Congressional Office Inquiries Received By TAS

  1. Upon receipt of an inquiry from a congressional office:

    1. Date stamp the request if written or faxed.

    2. Research e-trak, TAMIS, or IDRS to identify the issues involved and the appropriate office to which to assign the inquiry.

    3. Control the inquiry on TAMIS (see below for unique input items).

    4. Work tax-related inquiries in the LTA office aligned with the congressional district that initiated the inquiry. The LTA office/congressional district alignment includes both local and campus offices. See the LTA office/congressional district alignment list on the Congressional page of the TAS intranet site. If, under unusual circumstances, a transfer is necessary, fax the documents to the assigned office or express-mail them if they require the taxpayer’s original signature(s).

    5. Forward non-tax related inquiries to the DL, who will decide whether to work the case or forward it to LA for assignment if it is national in scope. LA assigns these inquiries in e-trak to the appropriate BU to prepare a response. The BU works all cases assigned by LA. Do not forward these cases back to TAS.

    6. Attempt to reach the congressional staff by telephone to acknowledge receipt of the inquiry. See IRM 13.1.18.3, Initial Contact. Contact the congressional office for permission to respond to the taxpayer directly.

    7. Each congressional inquiry and subsequent inquiries will be controlled on TAMIS. If more than one congressional office contacts TAS to assist a taxpayer with the same issue and the same TAS employee, in the same office will be working the case, an additional case will not be created. Add an additional Congressional Record screen with the additional congressional office’s information to the existing case. Refer to IRM 13.4.5.2.2.2, Congressional Screen.

    8. Timely resolution and the best interest of the taxpayer should always be the deciding factors when determining the office responsible for any needed actions. Consistent information and correspondence must be given to the congressional office and the taxpayer. Refer to IRM 13.1.8.6, Congressional Letter Writing, for procedures for responding to congressional inquiries.

  2. See IRM 13.1.8.7, Disclosure Issues addressing the requirements about the Congressional Authorization to receive information.

Congressional Inquiries Received By Legislative Affairs and Routed to Local TAS Office

  1. Upon receipt of a congressional inquiry on e-trak from Legislative Affairs:

    1. Control the case on TAMIS (if not already controlled on TAMIS).

    2. Annotate the TAMIS case file number in the "Other ID NO:" section of the e-trak ticket. If a prior TAMIS/e-trak case exists, annotate this information in the HISTORY/COMMENTS section of the e-trak control ticket. Include the TAMIS case file number, name and telephone number of the case advocate assigned to the case.

    3. The receiving office should immediately contact the congressional office to advise the staff of the assignment of the inquiry to the TAS office. Follow time frames established in IRM 13.1.18.3, Initial Contact. TAS needs to use the standard congressional letter template when responding to congressional offices.

      Note:

      When discussing cases with congressional staffers, case advocates are not required to give the independence statement if there is an established relationship between the advocate and staffer. The case advocate should notate the independence statement on the TAMIS history. This does not eliminate the requirement that the statement be included in all written congressional correspondence.

    4. If an e-trak congressional assignment from National Office is sent to your office in error, immediately (within one workday) transfer the case to the correct office with a detailed explanation of why the case should be transferred. Before transferring, be sure the time frame for congressional acknowledgment has not passed. If the time frame has passed or is about to pass, acknowledge the case and then transfer it to the correct office.

    5. Take appropriate actions and document e-trak and TAMIS. Extension requests must be input to e-trak and TAMIS with a detailed explanation of the reasons for an extension. National Office approval is not required unless specifically requested by the controlling office.

    6. The Executive Secretariat Correspondence Office (ESCO) must review the written response to an e-trak controlled congressional case before it is issued. E-mail the incoming letter and the draft response letter to ESCO at *Executive Secretariat E-Review for review. Include the e-trak control number in e-mail.

    7. Make appropriate corrections to letter once it is returned by ESCO.

    8. Secure the appropriate signature and send the closing letter.

    9. Scan the final closing letter signed by the LTA into e-trak. Close the e-trak control and close the case on TAMIS. Update histories on both e-trak and TAMIS.

    10. Enter the date of the closing contact, either by correspondence or telephone, on the congressional screen of TAMIS. Refer to IRM 13.4.5.2.2.2, Congressional Screen.

    11. Written responses are not mandatory unless requested by the congressional office. Telephone closures are acceptable. Document on TAMIS and e-trak the details of the phone call that closed the case. Include the date of the call and the name of the person you spoke to in the congressional office.

    12. These cases are subject to the TAS quality review guidelines (e.g., timeliness of contacts and actions, accuracy of actions, authorized disclosures and correct communication, etc.).

    13. In the closing paragraph, the NTA//LTA must include his/her contact telephone number.

      Example:

      A suggested closing paragraph is "I hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions please contact me at (XXX) XXX-XXXX."

    14. If the letter is to a taxpayer, RRA 98 requires you to include your identification number(s) or badge number in the letter. The case advocate employee number should be included if the case advocate is referenced as a contact person in the letter.

    15. Do NOT include hours of availability or operation in congressional responses. Do NOT use pattern letters. On all congressional correspondence, use the approved method for incorporating your local address within the letter. See Exhibit 13.1.8-1, Sample Congressional Letter, for an acceptable letter template.

      Note:

      If a congressional case (not on e-trak) already exists and you receive a non-congressional e-trak case from the same taxpayer, the e-trak case must remain open until the issue is resolved. If the cases are assigned to two different offices, the two case advocates must coordinate efforts.

Congressional Inquiries Involving Litigation Issues

  1. Inquiries received from congressional offices that involve issues under litigation, follow the guidance found in IRM 13.1.10, Special Procedures. If guidance is needed, the LTA should contact the Office of the Counsel to the National Taxpayer Advocate.

TAMIS

  1. All congressional inquiries controlled on TAMIS will be processed within one workday of receipt, except for:

    1. Inquiries (other than written) that can be answered immediately during the call.

    2. Courtesy copies (copies of letters addressed to someone other than the member of Congress with cc: member’s name) of written responses to congressional offices. These will not be treated as congressional inquiries unless actually referred by a congressional office.

    3. Non-case-related inquiries that will be worked by the DL or sent to LA for control and assignment on e-trak. The LA cases should not be controlled on TAMIS by the receiving office but instead faxed to the DL. If LA assigns the case to TAS as the BU, then follow procedures in IRM 13.1.8.4.2, Congressional Inquiries Received by Legislative Affairs and Routed to Local TAS Office.

  2. When an inquiry is received from a congressional office, the Congressional Screen on TAMIS must be input as well as the Taxpayer Screen, including Power of Attorney information, if applicable. Refer to IRM 13.4.5.2.2.2, Congressional Screen, for TAMIS input requirements.

  3. Use the Taxpayer Screen to record the taxpayer data.

  4. If the case is controlled on e-trak, input the e-trak control number in the e-trak Control # field (Taxpayer Screen 5) of TAMIS.

  5. If the congressional inquiry was addressed to the BU and the BU referred the case, input "0" in the first Outreach field, and "00" in the second Outreach field to indicate the request did not come directly from the taxpayer. Input "20" in the second Outreach Field on Taxpayer Screen 1 to indicate the taxpayer’s inquiry was received in TAS from a congressional office. If a congressional inquiry was addressed to TAS or there was a request for TAS assistance, input "1" or "2" in the first Outreach field and "20" in the second Outreach field.

  6. Use the appropriate criteria code when inputting the congressional inquiry on TAMIS. All TAS congressional inquiries should be coded 1 – 8, or if the NTA has identified the issue as a compelling public policy issue, as code 9.

  7. Use Taxpayer Screen 5 on TAMIS in the "How Received" field to indicate how the congressional inquiry was received into TAS.

    1. Use an "X" to identify a congressional inquiry addressed or sent to operations/functions/units other than TAS.

    2. Use a "Y" to identify a congressional inquiry addressed or sent directly to the NTA, Deputy Executive Director of Case Advocacy (DEDCA), or LTA.

  8. Use the congressional screen of TAMIS to input the congressional office contact information.

  9. Check the "Disclosure Release Received" box on the congressional screen if the congressional office has appropriate disclosure authorization.

  10. When there is an existing case (non-congressional) and a congressional inquiry is received concerning the same taxpayer with the same issue and the same TAS employee is the same office will work the case, an additional case will not be created. If more than one congressional office contacts TAS to assist a taxpayer with the same issue and the same TAS employee in the same office will work the case, do not create another case on TAMIS. In both instances, add a Congressional Record screen for each additional congressional office to the existing case.

    Note:

    Casework Procedures (for example: initial contact, next contact date, and follow up dates) still apply for each congressional office with the case. See IRM 13.1.18Case Procedures.

    Caution:

    .

  11. If any of the above requirements are not met: same issue, same office, and same TAS employee assigned, an additional case should be opened in TAMIS. Code the congressional inquiry with the appropriate criteria code (1-9). On the congressional TAMIS case, input DUPTA in the N.O. Use field on the TAMIS Taxpayer Screen 5. The congressional case will be worked in the LTA office of the member of Congress’ home state. If the cases are assigned in two different offices, the two case advocates must coordinate efforts, but each office will be responsible for responding to its local congressional office staff.

    Note:

    TAMIS allows duplication of history to other cases. Refer to IRM 13.4TAS TAMIS Guide, for information on how to automatically duplicate the TAMIS history from one case to another. Initial and closing actions, including follow-up dates and next contact dates, should be entered on each case.

    Caution:

    .

Congressional Letter Writing

  1. IRM 1.10.1.14, Format for Responses to ESCO Controlled Correspondence, and IRM 1.10.1.15, Variable Elements for ESCO Controlled Correspondence, provides instructions for preparing responses to congressional inquiries and should be used to supplement regular instructions for TAS case processing. Refer toExhibit 13.1.8-1, Sample Congressional Letter, for an example of writing style, format, headers, and salutation to follow in written correspondence to congressional offices.

  2. The LTA will review and sign all written correspondence, including interim correspondence, to congressional offices, and ensure adherence to quality attributes on tax account related congressional inquiries.

    Note:

    If you do not receive requested information from the taxpayer or congressional office, do not send a second request pattern letter (1671 Letter). Contact the office again, re-request the information, and discuss as necessary to work and resolve the issue. If the taxpayer still fails to provide documentation and you close the case as No Response, send the congressional office a final communication to explain the circumstances, for example: As we discussed on MM/DD/YYYY, TAS is unable to pursue further relief for your constituents because they haven’t responded to our requests for supporting documentation we need to proceed with their case. If your constituents can provide this information later, we would be happy to reopen the case.

  3. Signature authority cannot be delegated below the NTA/DEDCA/LTA or the responsible official, unless the individual has been officially designated to act on their behalf. For example, when an LTA delegates a group manager to act as the LTA, that manager may sign the written response as the acting LTA.

  4. Do NOT include hours of availability or operation in congressional responses. Do NOT use pattern letters. On all congressional correspondence, use the approved method for incorporating your local address within the letter.

  5. Communication that involves a specific tax case, taxpayer, or is account related cannot be sent to a congressional office by email. This correspondence must be sent through the mail or by fax. TAS will follow existing guidance in IRM 11.3.1.14.2, Electronic Mail and Secure Messaging, which prohibits the use of email to communicate with taxpayers or their representative, including congressional offices, when the email contains Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information. See IRM 10.8.1.4.14.1.1Sensitive but Unclassified Information,IRM 11.5.2, Congressional Affairs Program and IRM 11.5.2.7.6, Email/Fax Inquiries.

Disclosure Issues

  1. IRC § 6103(c) permits disclosure of a taxpayer’s return or return information to a third party designee. A taxpayer’s letter to a member of Congress will authorize disclosure to the extent it is signed, dated, and indicates the following:

    1. Taxpayer’s identity: name, address, and identifying number (e.g., Social Security number/ individual taxpayer identification number/ employer identification number),or any combination thereof, which enables the IRS to clearly identify the taxpayer.

    2. The identity of the person to whom disclosure is to be made. A letter addressed to "Dear Sir" that does not specifically refer to the member of Congress is not sufficient. However, the taxpayer’s letter, forwarded with the envelope showing it was addressed to the member of Congress, is sufficient.

    3. The letter must contain sufficient facts to enable the IRS to determine the nature and extent of the assistance requested and the returns or return information to be disclosed. SeeIRM 1.10.1.13 , Disclosure Information and IRM 11.3.4.2.1 , Inquiry Accompanied by Taxpayer’s Correspondence.

    4. The congressional office may substantiate valid authorization by submitting Form 8821 (or a satisfactory facsimile) with all required information included and the taxpayer’s signature and date.

  2. An authorization to a member of Congress will be construed to include a member of the Congressperson’s staff designated in the Congressperson’s inquiry, identified in a general designation from the Congressperson, or known to be the Congressperson’s staff person for dealing with constituents’ tax inquiries. Likewise, an authorization to a staff member of the Congressperson in their capacity as staff member handling constituent inquiries includes the Congressperson as well. Should the Congressperson become incapacitated or die in office requiring a long-term actor or designee to be appointed to fill the term, authorizations can be construed to remain in effect for that Congressional office. If there is any doubt that the taxpayer would want continuing disclosures in these situations, contact the taxpayer to determine his or her wishes.

  3. Typically, TAS should not accept congressional cases subsequent to the congressional member vacating office until a new member is elected. However, if the Office of the Clerk for the United States House of Representatives or the Assistant Secretary of the Senate issues a letter stating the congressional office would continue assisting taxpayers, renames the office and officially names the Clerk or Assistant Secretary as the supervisor, TAS may continue to receive and work cases from that office. TAS must receive proper authorization from the taxpayers to disclose information to that office as outlined in IRM 13.1.8.7, Disclosure Issues and IRM 11.3.4.2.1, Inquiry Accompanied by Taxpayer Correspondence. If there is any doubt the taxpayer would want continuing disclosures in this situation, contact the taxpayer to determine their wishes.

  4. Copies of letters addressed to someone other than the member of Congress ("cc" letters) do not authorize the IRS to disclose returns or return information to a member of Congress or staff. An exception to this rule will be made when the taxpayer includes a signed addendum requesting the assistance of the member who forwarded the correspondence to the IRS, and the letter otherwise meets the above requirements for valid disclosure authorization. Also, as in IRM 13.1.8.7 (1)(b) above, a signed, dated "cc" letter, not a photocopied signature, forwarded with the envelope showing it was addressed to the member of Congress, is sufficient.

  5. Absent written authorization from the taxpayer, the member of Congress or his/her staff person may be provided general information and advised when IRS considers the matter resolved. However, no disclosures of the constituent’s returns or tax account information may be made. In that case, resolve the problem by communicating directly with the taxpayer and advise the congressional office that this was done.

  6. Whether responding directly to the taxpayer at the request of a congressional office, or to the congressional office, check command code "CFINK" on IDRS for power of attorney or written authorization information. TAS is not required to work with the POA or authorized third party when responding to the congressional inquiry; as a courtesy, however, the Case Advocate may want to let the POA or authorized third party know of the inquiry and copy them on any written response sent to the congressional office. .

  7. If the congressional office has appropriate disclosure authorization, check the "Disclosure Release Received" box on the congressional TAMIS screen.

  8. The effective period of authorization generally continues for the tax periods and issues covered by the original disclosure consent even after TAS closes the case and a subsequent inquiry requires TAS to reopen the case. The original consent is valid for the reopened case if it covers the same years and congressional office. A valid disclosure consent does not have an expiration date unless the taxpayer revokes it. Follow the procedures in IRM 13.1.21.3, Reopening Cases, to reopen the case.

  9. See IRM 1.10.1.13, Disclosure Information for all disclosure considerations for working with congressional offices.

Closing Actions

  1. Follow the guidelines in IRM 13.1.21 , TAS Case Closing and Reopen Case Procedures, to determine when to close the case. TAS will communicate with the congressional office throughout the process unless the office requests that TAS work with the taxpayer directly, or determines it no longer wishes to stay involved. The office staff will also determine if telephonic closure is acceptable.

    Note:

    Even though the congressional office is no longer involved in the case, the TAMIS coding should still reflect "Congressional" for tracking purposes.

  2. All tax account related congressional inquiries are subject to the same attributes as any other TAS criteria case and may be selected for quality review.

  3. An apology must be given on TAS criteria cases, including congressional inquiries that meet the criteria. The following IRM sections address apologies:

    1. IRM 13.1.6.5, Apology - Just saying TAS is sorry for any inconvenience it has caused is not a sincere apology. State why we are apologizing.

    2. IRM 13.1.18.3, Initial Contact - Advise the taxpayer of your name, job title, address, telephone number, office hours, and employee identification number. Apologize, if appropriate.

  4. If an apology is clearly not appropriate, address the reasons in the TAMIS history.

  5. Close the case on TAMIS by completing all case screens, including the closing action screen and the Congressional Screen.

    Reminder:

    Complete the Closed Date field on the Congressional Screen on TAMIS.

Congressional Inquiries on Frivolous Filers

  1. If you receive a congressional frivolous filer inquiry that has no tax account related issue, send the inquiry to the DL. For general information on responding to congressional inquiries, see IRM 1.10.1.14 , Format for Responses to ESCO Controlled Correspondence, and IRM 1.10.1.15 , Variable Elements for ESCO Controlled Correspondence.

Sample Congressional Letter - DC or Local Office

This sample shows the proper format for a congressional letter, as follows based on office location. It should be copied into the TAS LTA letterhead showing the current logo and other information.

Position Example
House of Representatives
Washington, DC Office
The Honorable (Full Name)
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative (Last name):
House of Representatives
Local Office
The Honorable (Full Name)
Member, U.S. House of Representatives
(Local office street address)(City) (State) (ZIP Code)
Dear Representative (Last Name):

Note:

If the Member, U.S. House of Representatives is too long, carry over part of it to the next line and indent 2 spaces. This will give the inside address a more balanced appearance

Attention: Name of Staffer

Dear Representative XXX:

I am responding to your letter of (date) to Commissioner of Internal Revenue _____ _________ on behalf of your constituent, Mr. John Smith of (constituent’s city/town). Mr. Smith had expressed concern about (description of issue), and the Commissioner referred this issue to the Taxpayer Advocate Service for independent review.

We have (description of resolution / status of case). I apologize for the problem and for any inconvenience and delay it caused Mr. Smith.

I hope this information is helpful in responding to Mr. Smith. If you have any questions, please call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX, or Case Advocate John Doe of my staff at XXX-XXX-XXXX.

Sincerely,

(signature)




(name)

Local Taxpayer Advocate