13.1.15 Customer Complaints/RRA98 §1203 Procedures

Manual Transmittal

August 08, 2016


(1) This transmits a non-procedural update to IRM 13.1.15, Taxpayer Advocate Case Procedures, Customer Complaints/RRA98 §1203 Procedures.

Material Changes

(1) Updated this paragraph to add link to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights II (TBOR 2) for clarification.

(2) Minor formatting and grammatical changes made throughout the section.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 13.1.15 dated September 10, 2010 is superseded.


Primarily Taxpayer Advocate Service and all Operating Divisions and Functions.

Effective Date


Signed by Nina E. Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate.

Introduction to Customer Complaints/RRA98 §1203 Procedures

  1. Complaints about IRS employee conduct should be evaluated and acted upon according to the procedures described in RRA '98 §1203 All Employee Guide ( Document 11043).

    • Allegations determined to be potential IRC §1203 violations will be sent to Treasury Inspector General for tax Administration (TIGTA) for processing and investigation, if required. See IRM, RRA98 §1203 - Employee Responsibilities.

    • Allegations determined to contain no §1203 violations will be handled using administrative procedures. See IRM , Customer Complaints (Non - §1203 Violations).

Elements of Misconduct

  1. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights II (TBOR 2) defines three elements of misconduct:

    • An employee violated a law, regulation, or rule of conduct (these cases are worked and reported by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA);

    • An IRS system failed to function properly or within proper time frames (these cases are worked as Taxpayer Advocate Service cases); or

    • An IRS employee treated a taxpayer inappropriately in the course of official business. For example, rudeness, over zealousness, excessive aggressiveness, discriminatory treatment, and intimidation. (These cases will be worked/handled by management within the employee's function.)

RRA98 §1203 – Employee Responsibilities

  1. Employees should have a basic understanding of the conduct provisions of IRC § 1203 as outlined in Document 11043, RRA98 § 1203 All Employee Guide. Employees are also responsible for reporting allegations involving potential IRC § 1203 violations to their manager for forwarding to the appropriate officials. Depending on the nature of the allegations, these officials may be management or TIGTA.

  2. The employee's manager is required to complete Form 12217, § 1203 Allegation Referral Form, and determine if the case should be referred to TIGTA or management. Except for EEO and tax related issues, allegations relating to all Executives, Senior Level Managers (paybanded and supervisory GS-15s) and Criminal Investigation Employees must be directly and immediately referred to TIGTA.

  3. The following types of employee misconduct cases require referral to the manager for §1203 consideration:

    • False statements under oath;

    • Falsification of documents;

    • Assault or battery;

    • Misuse of IRC § 6103 (Disclosure);

    • Threat of Audit;

    • Seizure violations;

    • Infringement of taxpayer's constitutional rights;

    • Harassment/Retaliation;

    • Discrimination;

    • Failure to file; or

    • Understatement of liability.

Customer Complaints (Non - §1203 Allegations)

  1. Information regarding inappropriate behavior may be brought to the Case Advocate's attention through internal sources, taxpayers or third parties. All cases alleging inappropriate conduct or handling by an IRS employee or IRS manager, must be referred to the employee's manager. However, allegations relating to the manager should be referred to that manager's immediate manager. Obtain the taxpayer's name, address, telephone number and specifics of the alleged inappropriate behavior and or complaint. Also obtain the name, identification number, function and location of the IRS employee. Submit the information, as indicated above, to the manager for appropriate action.

  2. Issues or concerns involving IRS policy, procedure, or practice may be referred to the Human Capital Office, Employee Conduct and Compliance Office (ECCO). ECCO ensures employee and taxpayer concerns about IRS employee conduct are addressed in a fair, objective and timely manner. For additional information see Document 11325, Don't Let it Happen to You! Section 1203 Tax Compliance Violations.