2.25.101 IRS.gov Content Management Guidelines


  1. IRS.gov is the Internal Revenue Service’s Internet web site. The IRS.gov web site is a major strategic tool that allows the Service to more efficiently fulfill its mission to help taxpayers understand and meet their tax responsibilities. IRS.gov is a public web portal designed to serve the widest variety of web customers, both in the public and internally.

  2. The capability to manage the majority of content on IRS.gov has been decentralized. Business Operating Divisions and Functional Areas throughout most of the Service have the ability to maintain their own content using the IRS.gov Content Management Application (CMA). This IRM explains CMA-related content management processes and operating guidelines. It provides definitions of major content management roles and responsibilities, high-level content management and maintenance guidelines, and general procedures for the content publishing process.

Content Management Roles and Responsibilities

  1. The IRS.gov Internet web site is maintained by a partnership involving the following parties, whose specific roles and responsibilities are described below:

    • Public Portal Branch

    • Web Services

    • National Communications and Liaison

    • Operating Division and Functional Area Executives

    • Web Facilitation Group

    • Content Area Administrators

    • Content Management Application Users

    • Content Providers

Public Portal Branch

  1. Role: The Public Portal Branch (PPB), in Modernization and Information Technology Services (MITS) Internet Development Services Division, leads IRS.gov development activities and operation. PPB oversees content management of IRS.gov, as well as new functionality development, and web site enhancement efforts.

  2. Responsibilities:

    • Defining IRS.gov business and technical requirements with input from impacted Operating Divisions and Functional Areas.

    • Managing the technology maintenance and enhancements for the enterprise user community.

    • Determining the overall look and feel of IRS.gov with input from National C&L.

    • Providing enterprise-level guidance and direction to the content management community comprised of Web Facilitation Group members, Content Area Administrators, Content Management Application (CMA) Users, and other IRS.gov stakeholders.

    • Providing support to the content management community for tools and functionality related to IRS.gov.

    • Providing information to business and functional areas on IRS.gov usage and usability.

    • Coordinating with National Communications and Liaison (C&L) to ensure IRS.gov messaging and style standards are communicated and met by the content management community.

    • Coordinating with Web Services Division to ensure IRS.gov web site functionality and enhancements are supported by the infrastructure and available budget.

    • Coordinating with the Office of Privacy to ensure privacy provisions have been incorporated into IRS.gov content management and operations.

Web Services

  1. Role: Web Services’ role is to leverage and deliver the required web based technologies for IRS.gov.

  2. Responsibilities:

    • Providing Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR) support for the IRS.gov contract.

    • Supplying technical guidance on software evaluation, publishing, and content management, platform standards, and web hosting.

    • Coordinating external web hosting and links to IRS.gov.

    • Providing technical assistance to internal customers regarding Section 508 standards compliance.

    • Partnering with both internal IRS organizations and external organizations (Treasury) on special projects that involve the coordination of standards, external hosting, links, establishing web hosting environment models, and IRS web security certifications.

National Communications and Liaison

  1. Role: National Communications and Liaison (C&L) is responsible for managing the general message presentation on IRS.gov. C&L provides leadership on message presentation issues that impact the IRS.gov Home Page and taxpayer community Landing Pages, ensuring a consistent corporate message on those pages.

  2. Responsibilities:

    • Managing activities associated with packaging the substance, tone, writing style, ease of use, and the look and feel of IRS communications for delivery on IRS.gov.

    • Providing input on components used to construct and/or compile web pages for IRS.gov. These components include, but are not limited to, graphic and photo images, sound bites, audiovisual and interactive media, and animation.

    • Reviewing key web pages for consistency, style, and corporate message.

Operating Division and Functional Area Executives

  1. Role: The Operating Division and Functional Area Executives (senior management and director level) are sponsors of IRS.gov. Executive managers provide the vision and direction for their content on the site. Responsible for overseeing their information on the public portal, these executives are accountable for identifying and managing their content requirements. Executives are required to assign one or two Content Area Administrator(s) to manage their section of content on IRS.gov.

  2. Responsibilities:

    • Championing IRS.gov strategic use throughout their organization.

    • Overseeing their content on IRS.gov to position it as a premier customer communication channel.

    • Certifying on a yearly basis that their content has been reviewed and validated as current and relevant.

    • Providing leadership and resolving any issues or needs pertaining to their organization’s content.

    • Assigning Web Facilitation Group (WFG) member(s) to represent their interests at enterprise coordination meetings; reviewing the high level information brought back by their WFG members.

    • Assigning Content Area Administrator(s) to manage and act as stewards of their IRS.gov content area(s).

Web Facilitation Group

  1. Role: The Web Facilitation Group (WFG) is a cross-organizational group of IRS leaders, from the Operating Divisions and Functional Areas, who act as a conduit for Internet-related information to reach Executives throughout the Service. The WFG is not a decision-making group. Its members review and provide input to the overall design, structure, and implementation of IRS.gov.

  2. Responsibilities:

    • Communicating key Internet-related information to their Executives, and representing their Executives' interests to the rest of the group.

    • Recommending enterprise-wide Internet strategy and direction including new technologies and processes that support their area's business strategies.

    • Addressing organization-level and enterprise-level issues and recommendations for IRS.gov, and communicating outcomes back to their individual organizations.

    • Analyzing enterprise-wide usage reports and surveys.

    • Working with their Content Area Admininistrator(s) to ensure their organization is adhering to enterprise guidelines and standards as well as any internally developed procedures.

Content Area Administrators

  1. Role: The Content Area Administrator is designated by their executive management as the content steward of their content on IRS.gov. They oversee implementation of their Executives' Internet strategy. Content Area Administrators manage their content area by coordinating the creation, review, approval, maintenance and retirement processes for their content on IRS.gov. They oversee the activities of all other Content Management Application (CMA) Users in their area, and ensure that members of the content management community under their control follow both enterprise and local content management procedures. Content Area Administrators are available to their CMA Users to answer and assist with any content publishing and web site usage issues. For Internet-related business questions from the enterprise that pertain to their content area, Content Area Administrators act as the Points of Contact for their Organization. They also collaborate across business areas to provide a seamless enterprise web presence. Content Area Administrators generally have the ability to publish content through the Content Management Application (CMA). Content Area Administrators are empowered to make necessary operating decisions to enhance their content area's customer use and effectiveness.

  2. Responsibilities:

    • Championing the effective use of IRS.gov and the Content Management Application throughout their organization.

    • Working with and providing guidance to Content Providers in developing web content.

    • Monitoring their content area’s timeliness and relevance to the customer.

    • Overseeing content creation and maintenance in their content area(s), including updates and retirements/deletions.

    • Identifying and managing valid CMA Users – either individuals inside their organizations or contractors (if appropriate) – to prepare and maintain content within their content area. CMA Users must submit Online 5081 to request access to the CMA. In addition, the Content Area Administrator must coordinate with Public Portal Branch (PPB) to establish individual permissions/access to the CMA for each of their CMA Users. Upon reassignment of current CMA Users to positions no longer requiring access to CMA, the Content Area Administrator must immediately notify PPB. Online 5081 must also be submitted to request termination of CMA access.

    • Prioritizing content publishing requests (both internal to their organization, and those sent/received across Organizational lines).

    • Fielding questions and supplying answers to content publishing-related questions and providing assistance to their internal content management community.

    • Providing or facilitating answers to business-related questions from outside their Organization.

    • Responding to feedback from the enterprise IRS.gov oversight team.

    • Working with other business areas' Content Area Administrators to maintain the enterprise content management process and a seamless web presence.

Content Management Application Users

  1. Role: Content Management Application (CMA) Users must submit an Online 5081 request to gain access to the CMA. CMA Users must also complete training on the use of the IRS.gov Content Management Application before Public Portal Branch (PPB) will activate their CMA account. CMA Users may create and/or review content within their designated content area(s), and request its publication (or if authority has been delegated to them, publish the content). They assist their Content Area Administrator(s) by maintaining a specific segment of their business area's web content. CMA Users are empowered by their Content Area Administrator to continuously replace outdated content and to keep their area fresh and responsive to their customer segment. In many cases, the CMA User is also a Content Provider.

  2. Responsibilities:

    • Follow guidance provided in this IRM and local procedures provided by their Content Area Administrator regarding the creation and maintenance of IRS.gov web content using the CMA.

    • Suggest improvements about the publishing process to their Content Area Administrators.

    • Receive and process requests for content creation, updates and removal/deletion received from their relevant Content Providers. Specific procedures for interactions between CMA Users and their internal Content Providers are determined by the business organizations, and are not documented in this IRM.

Content Providers

  1. Role: Content Providers are the originators of information published on IRS.gov. A Content Provider includes anyone who produces information for publication on IRS.gov. Content Providers are usually located in the same organization as the Content Area Administrators, but may belong to other groups within the IRS or be outside contractors or stakeholders. Content Providers may have access to the CMA if they are also trained CMA Users. If not, they send their web change requests to designated CMA Users or their Content Area Administrator, following local procedures.

  2. Responsibilities:

    • Providing content in the required format (i.e., appropriate approvals and file attachments, logically organized, edited) to the appropriate CMA User or Content Area Administrator for publishing.

    • Monitoring the content to ensure that it remains current and relevant.

Content Management Guidelines

  1. The Content Management Application (CMA) enables Operating Divisions and Functional Areas to manage their own content on IRS.gov. Business areas can develop their own internal content management processes, as long as they don't conflict with this IRM and other enterprise guidelines. The following guidelines generally address high-level enterprise processes, but may contain specific procedures when appropriate.


    Step-by-step instructions detailing procedures for creating, publishing and maintaining content using the IRS.gov CMA are provided in the Content Management Application (CMA) Procedures Guide (a training manual provided to CMA Users during training).

  2. This section of the IRM provides standardized publishing procedures developed to promote a consistent look and feel throughout IRS.gov. The procedures that follow are IRS.gov publishing requirements. Content must be consistent with the requirements and recommendations detailed within this section to be acceptable for publishing on IRS.gov.

General Authoring Guidelines

  1. You must follow these guidelines when preparing content for publishing on IRS.gov.

    • Write content using plain language. The web site www.plainlanguage.gov is a recommended resource for authors seeking further information and examples.

    • Write in active voice rather than passive voice.

    • Define all acronyms the first time they appear in your text.

    • Do not use unusual formatting. IRS.gov must maintain a consistent look and feel throughout the site. Therefore, the CMA has been designed with limited built-in formatting capability. If a source document contains formatting that is incompatible with the CMA, the CMA User will encounter difficulty when entering the content in the CMA.

    • Web Enhancing Technology (JavaScript, ASP, web forms, etc.) is solely for use in applications. Do not insert Web Enhancing Technology into content that is managed by the Content Management Application.

    • Do not write in ALL CAPITAL letters.

    • Avoid duplicating existing IRS.gov content. Always search the site to ensure the content doesn't already exist. If it does, provide a link to the original content whenever possible.

    • Test all link destinations for accuracy and to avoid broken links.

    • Confirm that the content is appropriate for public access on IRS.gov.

    • Avoid using IRS specific terminology (jargon), and complex information (legalese).

    • Avoid information that only applies to IRS employees, such as reorganizations.

    • Do not include pictures of IRS buildings or names, or photos of specific employees.

    • Keep date and phone number formats consistent. IRS.gov approved formats are MM/DD/YYYY for dates and (123) 555-1212 for phone numbers.

    • Use standard postal codes within a document. Put states in alphabetical order and not in postal code order e.g., Maine (ME) should come before Maryland (MD). Also, use Washington, DC, not Washington, D.C.

    • Proofread all text. Correct typos, misspellings and, inconsistent data.

    • For static files that will be uploaded, make file names indicative of the file's contents. Use lowercase letters only (no capitals) in file names. Do not use spaces or other non-alphanumeric characters, with the exception of the dash - or underscore _ to show delineation in file names. Use standard file extensions (such as .pdf for Adobe Acrobat).

    • Avoid "visit our web site at..." as the reader is already on our web site. Also avoid referencing "www.irs.gov " for the same reason. Edit materials originally published in print to remove such references, if at all possible.

Landing Page Layouts

  1. All content on IRS.gov is created, stored, managed and displayed by Content Area. Each Content Area has only one Landing Page. Landing Pages are always Assembly content types in the CMA.

  2. The CMA provides several standard Landing Page layouts, some with a region for an image, some without. Existing Content Area Landing Pages can be converted from one layout to another in the CMA, but it is not always a simple process. The Content Area Administrator must coordinate with C&L and PPB before changing the Landing Page Layout of their Content Area. Send an email to initiate coordination to *IRS-C&L-Web Content and *IRS.gov Admin mailboxes.

Alternative Landing Page Layouts
  1. Some Content Areas on IRS.gov have unique presentation needs for their Landing Pages. A Content Area Administrator can ask C&L and PPB to give consideration to an alternative layout for a particular Content Area by sending an email to the *IRS-C&L-Web Content and *IRS.gov Admin mailboxes. Alternative layouts must still maintain the primary design goals of IRS.gov, to provide site visitors with a consistent experience regardless of the content they are viewing. PPB and C&L strongly recommend usability testing of new layouts before implementing them.

  2. Upon C&L and PPB approval, an alternative Landing Page layout can be implemented as follows:

    1. Create an Article in the CMA, using the two-column layout employed on the Site Map on IRS.gov.

    2. After launching the new Article, create a new Assembly Page in the CMA, using the Landing Page Generic Body layout.

    3. Associate the Article created in Step 1 to the new Landing Page Generic Body Assembly Page. This layout allows the Article body to appear as the Landing Page when the Assembly Page is viewed.

    4. Subsequent updates to the Landing Page require a 2 step process. The CMA User must first update and launch the Article. Second, the CMA User must push the Landing Page Generic Body Assembly Page through workflow and launch it. Only then will the updates appear on the live site.

Major Content Categories With No Separate Content Area
  1. Major content categories without a separate content area sometimes require a Landing Page. These Landing Pages are the primary starting points for content that, while a distinct category of content, has not been segregated into separate content areas. An example of this type of page is the Appeals Landing Page, which is managed and posted within the "Individuals" content area. This type of page is defined in the CMA as a "Non-Landing Page" Assembly type.

  2. These pages follow the same rules as Landing Page content items, but with fewer layout options. They are:

    • Non-Landing One Region (most commonly used Assembly Page layout). This is the equivalent of "Landing Page without Graphic", and displays on the site as a listing of the titles and abstracts of the content items associated to it.

    • Non-Landing Two Regions. Content items are associated separately to the upper and lower regions in this layout, although on the live site it looks the same as the Non-Landing One Region.

    • Non-Landing Page with Graphic. This is the equivalent of "Landing Page with Graphic".

Image Guidelines

  1. Images on IRS.gov are regulated by National C&L and PPB. The excessive use of images has a negative impact on web site performance (speed of page loading), so images are used sparingly on IRS.gov. Each image used must support a business goal.

  2. The overall concept for image selection is to maintain consistency and show diversity (race, age, nationality) across all of IRS.gov. Images on IRS.gov must also be consistent in image quality and focus on approachable people either at rest or in motion within a setting relevant to the content.

  3. All images on IRS.gov must be approved by National C&L before posting. This includes acceptance of the image itself, as well as approval of its placement on IRS.gov. To initiate a request, the Content Area Administrator must send the proposed image file in an email to the *IRS-C&L-Web Content mailbox. The Content Area Administrator must also identify the proposed location for the image placement. If C&L approves the image and the proposed location for display on IRS.gov, they will upload the image into the CMA. Once C&L has uploaded the image, they will provide the image's Content ID to PPB, who will then associate the image to the page where it will be displayed.

  4. IRS.gov Home Page Images:

    • Tone: Relevant to Featured Content on Home Page.

    • Subject matter: Approachable people (i.e., facing the camera with a welcoming expression and tone). All images should depict a diverse representation of society. Objects are also acceptable (tax form, money, flag, etc.).

    • Context: White background preferred with no visible square border showing. Image should seem as though it is part of the page.

    • Size: 70 x 70 pixels

  5. Community Landing Page Images:

    • Tone: Friendly.

    • Subject matter: Approachable people. People in photos are facing camera with a welcoming expression / tone, normally with smiling faces and expressions. All images should depict a diverse representation of society. Subject matter can be at rest or in the middle of a related action to the subject matter.

    • Context: Visibly square photo

    • "Landing Page Layout with Graphic" image size: 190 x 190 pixels.

    • "2-2-1 Layout" image size: 110 x 110 pixels.

    • "2-1-2 Layout" image size: 110 x 110 pixels.

  6. Approved Icons and Logos:

    • Icons and logos are only accepted to brand IRS services (e.g., e-file) or products (e.g., CD-ROMs). They are not to be used for branding parts of the IRS organization.

    • All icons and logos must be C&L approved and recognized, as defined by C&L policies and procedures, before they can be posted on IRS.gov.

    • C&L must also approve each location of placement for icons and logos. Size of the icon or logo is determined by specific location of approved placement.

Linking to and Using Forms and Publications Content

  1. Do not copy content from the Forms and Publications area (i.e., forms, instructions, publications, etc., which includes the static files (PDFs)). Instead, link to the Forms and Publications content you need to reference.

  2. When linking to an on-line Publication or Instruction, link to that Publication’s/Instruction’s Table of Contents page. Do not link to content embedded within an on-line Publication or Instruction, as content is updated frequently which makes it difficult to maintain the link to the intended location.

Linking to and Using Bulk Content

  1. Bulk Content consists of HTML content files that are stored outside of the CMA, with no content IDs. Since the Bulk Content exists only as a URL, a Bulk Content Link will have to be defined to associate it to existing content within the CMA. There are six types of Bulk Content files: Online Instructions and Publications, Internal Revenue Manual (IRM), Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Tax Topics, Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB), and Written Determination Documents.

  2. When linking to Bulk Content, link to the content file index page. Do not link to content embedded within a Bulk Content file, as content is updated frequently which makes it difficult to maintain the link to the intended location.

  3. All links for Instructions & Publications content are created and maintained by Media and Publications.

Links to External Web Sites

  1. Linking to external web sites from IRS.gov implies a recommendation that the site is a valid source of information. All Federal Government web sites are considered valid sources, so you can link to any Federal Government site that contains relevant content.

  2. Ensure that any non-Federal Government external site meets all of the following criteria before creating a link to it:

    • The site clearly relates to and complements existing information, products, and services on IRS.gov;

    • The site contains relevant and useful content that will benefit our customers;

    • The site clearly states and reflects its purpose, and provides overall quality and authoritative value to the IRS.gov audience;

    • The site contains accurate and timely information;

    • The site provides information at no cost. Do not link to sites whose primary purpose is to sell products or services (unless as part of an approved agreement with IRS – e-file partners, for example);

    • The site has an excellent overall quality and professional image;

    • The site is "user-friendly" and easy to navigate;

    • The site is a credible source for information. Site must be free of typos and errors so that it does not detract from the credibility of the site;

    • The site does not exhibit hate, bias, or discrimination; and

    • The site does not contain misleading or unsubstantiated claims, or conflict with the mission of the IRS.

  3. To ensure that the IRS.gov site exit disclaimer is displayed when the site visitor clicks on an external link, the link must be created in the Content Management System (CMA) as a Link Content Type item. Do not simply type a web address (e.g., www.firstgov.gov) in the text of an Article. This results in a "hard-coded" link that bypasses the site exit disclaimer.

  4. The "Organization" field of the Link Content Item (in the CMA) indicates ownership of each external link. A designee from the owning Organization must review all external links yearly (at a minimum) to ensure:

    • that all external sites referenced by their external link content items continue to meet all the criteria listed above; and

    • that the external links still work properly. This is to avoid having broken links on IRS.gov. There is an automated report of broken links within the IRS.gov site, but links to external sites must be validated manually. If a link to an external site becomes broken, for example due to a change in that site's URL, the designee from the owning Organization must identify the correct destination URL and ensure that the link is updated properly.

Publishing Files in Non-Standard Formats

  1. Hyper-text Mark-up Language (HTML) created through the Content Management Application (CMA) tool is the standard format for publishing on IRS.gov. The CMA systemically generates HTML pages as you create, review and publish Articles and Assembly pages. Do not create HTML files outside the CMA and upload as static files. Simple documents (i.e., text files with no diagrams or images) must be entered into the CMA whenever possible.

  2. When it is not feasible to enter a document in the CMA, accessible (i.e., compliant with Section 508 of the Americans With Disabilities Act) Portable Document Format (PDF) is the second preference for publishing on IRS.gov.

  3. Generally, you should not publish files in non-standard formats (e.g., proprietary software formats like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, etc.) on IRS.gov. You may only publish files in non-standard formats on an exception basis for software that you are reasonably certain your intended audience is able to access. For example, it is reasonable to publish files in Microsoft Excel for e-file Software Developers, but not for information targeted to general individuals. Note: It is also acceptable to provide both HTML (or accessible PDF) and proprietary software versions of the same content.

  4. If you believe that you need to publish content in a non-standard format and you cannot provide a corresponding HTML or accessible PDF version, you must do the following to request an exception:

    1. Prepare an IRS.gov Content Publishing Request (CPR) explaining the need to publish in non-standard format.

    2. Forward the CPR, along with a copy of the non-standard file(s) you intend to publish, to the *IRS.gov Admin mailbox (from within Outlook), or irs.gov.admin@irs.gov (from outside).

    3. The Public Portal Branch (PPB) will inform you within a reasonable time whether or not you may publish the file(s).

Content Management Life Cycle

  1. The Content Area Administrators manage the publication process for their content area and are responsible for overseeing the life cycle of the content, which includes the following conceptual stages:

    • Origination

    • Pre-CMA Approval

    • Create/Modify

    • Review/Approve

    • Publishing

    • Maintenance

    • Retirement

    CMA Users support their Content Area Administrator in managing the content life cycle.

Content Origination

  1. Before content is entered in the CMA, it is generally authored in Word, or some other text editing software. The person who originates the content is the Content Provider. The Content Provider may also be a CMA User if he or she has received training, but it is not necessary for Content Providers to be CMA Users. Each business area determines who fills the roles of Content Provider and CMA User within their organization.

  2. Content Providers need to author content according to the General Authoring Guidelines in IRM They also must follow any specific web authoring guidelines established within their organization.

Pre-CMA Approval

  1. Most Content Providers have one or two individuals review their content in draft form before submitting it for entry into the CMA. Reviews may be conducted for editing or to check subject matter accuracy. Business areas establish their own rules and procedures for their Pre-CMA Approval stage.

  2. The Pre-CMA Approval process can only be completed for content in final form. Generally, a Content Area Administrator, a division’s management, C&L or PPB approves content. Each Operating Division and Functional Area defines the approval process for publishing content to their IRS.gov content area. C&L approves Landing Pages and content placed on the Home Page.

  3. The IRS.gov Content Publishing Request (CPR) template is available as a means for Content Providers to submit their content and document their publication requirements. The CPR is designed to capture the information necessary to publish CMA content, and provides space for documenting the necessary approvals. Content Providers can receive the standard IRS.gov CPR template by sending an email to the *IRS.gov Admin mailbox. However, many business areas have customized the CPR for their own purposes. The customized CPR should be available from the Content Area Administrator.

C&L Approval Process
  1. Publishing or modifying content on the following pages falls within C&L's purview:

    • Home Page (www.IRS.gov landing page)

    • Newsroom content area

    • About IRS content area

    • Taxpayer Community Landing pages (review only)


    Content Area Administrators desiring to publish content through the IRS.gov listservs, Digital Dispatch and Local News Net, must contact C&L's Web Management Team at (202) 622-4050.

IRS.gov Home Page Featured Content Requests
  1. C&L manages the Featured Content on the Home Page, which is located in the middle area of the page. Space is limited and requests are considered based on importance of the message to the national audience and availability on the page. C&L gives consideration to each request.

  2. Content Area Administrators wishing to propose content for the Home Page Featured Content area must complete the following steps:

    1. Contact the C&L Web Management Team at (202) 622-4050 for a consultation. Allow ample time for edits and review when submitting time sensitive content. Home Page content undergoes an editorial review to fit the overall tone of the Home Page.

    2. After consulting with the C&L Web Management Team, complete the IRS.gov Content Publishing Request. Include contact information, target page, and divisional-level approval parties on the form.

    3. Submit the IRS.gov Content Publishing Request to *IRS-C&L-Web Content mailbox via Outlook. To ensure prompt review, do not send directly to the email account of the C&L Web Management Team members.

Create/Modify Stage

  1. Once the proposed new content or modifications to existing content have been approved, it is ready for the Create/Modify stage. In this stage, the CMA User creates new content items (i.e., Articles, static files, links, etc.), or makes updates to existing content items.

  2. The CMA User must follow step by step instructions in the Content Management Application Procedures Guide (received during CMA Training, and also available for download by clicking the "Forms and References" menu item within the CMA session.)

  3. When the CMA User completes work on the content item and believes it is ready for review and approval, he or she uses the "Submit " function in the CMA to move it to the Review stage.

CMA Content Review

  1. CMA Users with permission to perform the Reviewer function in their content area can open files that have been submitted for review. They are required to check for any errors that may have been introduced during the Create/Modify stage. If they find errors, they can either make the correction or use the "Reject" function in the CMA to send it back to the person who submitted it. If the Reviewer believes the content is acceptable, he or she will use the "Approve" function in the CMA to send the content to the Publishing stage.

  2. Non-CMA Users who need to review content can do so by accessing the IRS.gov preview site, as long as they can access the IRS Intranet and the item's content type supports the Preview function. For example, Articles can be previewed, but static files cannot be. The CMA User requesting the review can find the URL for the page on the preview site by performing the following steps:

    1. Open the content item in the CMA.

    2. Click on the "Preview" button, located at the bottom of the page.

    3. Right-click on the preview page that opens, and click on " Properties" .

    4. Highlight and copy the page URL.

    The CMA User can then send the URL to the reviewer (following procedures established by their Organization). Upon approval by the Non-CMA User, the CMA User will then perform the approval step in the CMA to move the item to the Publish stage.

Shared Page Review
  1. Assembled pages that contain content owned by different Content Area Administrators (content areas) are considered shared pages. Each time a shared page is assembled for publishing by the page owner, due to an update or the addition of content, all Content Area Administrators who share space on the page are provided a courtesy review of the page by the publishing Content Area Administrator based on the following procedures:

    1. Page owner assembles shared page in the CMA.

    2. Page owner sends email notification of the change, and preview link to all Content Area Administrators who share space on the page.

    3. Content Area Administrators receiving the notification have 2 business days to preview the page and provide comments to the page owner should they disapprove of the changes. No response is necessary if page is approved.

    4. If the page owner receives no comments within the 2 business day time frame, he or she is authorized to publish the assembled shared page.

    5. If changes are required, the page owner makes modifications and then publishes or repeats the review process above, if necessary.

C&L Content Area Landing Page Review Process
  1. C&L monitors, advises and coordinates any activity or publishing to the Landing Pages of Content Areas linked from the Primary Navigation (first level), to ensure the consistency of the IRS message. These pages are hereafter referred to as "Primary Navigation Landing Pages" The following Content Area Landing Pages are currently included in the Primary Navigation Landing Page review:

    • Individuals

    • Businesses

    • Charities & Non-Profits

    • Government Entities

    • Tax Professionals

    • Retirement Plans Community

    • Tax Exempt Bond Community

  2. C&L review and approval is required for changes on the Primary Navigation Landing Pages. However, publishing of content will not be delayed by the review/approval process. Content may be published without C&L's approval, but approval must still be obtained. If C&L disapproves a content posting or requires modification of a content posting, the content owner must take the requested action (i.e., modify or remove the content in question).

  3. The following steps explain the C&L Primary Navigation Landing Page review process:

    1. Content Area Administrator identifies content to be posted to a Primary Navigation Landing Page.

    2. Content Area Administrators must complete an IRS.gov C&L Landing Page Review Request form to receive a review of an assembled Landing Page.

    3. If the Primary Navigation Landing Page is a shared page, the requesting Content Area Administrator must coordinate with the shared page owners before forwarding the request for approval.

    4. Note the shared page owner’s agreement on the IRS.gov C&L Landing Page Review Request form.

    5. Submit the IRS.gov C&L Landing Page Review Request form to *IRS-C&L-Web Content mailbox via Outlook. To ensure prompt review, do not send directly to the email account of the C&L Web Management Team members.

    6. Content Area Administrator publishes content to IRS.gov Primary Navigation Landing Page.

    7. C&L reviews the content posting within a reasonable time and notifies the Content Area Administrator of approval or further action required by returning the form via email.

    8. If the content is disapproved for publishing, the Content Area Administrator will be notified by email and/or phone to explain why the request was denied. The Content Area Administrator will be responsible for removing content by re-publishing the page using the CMA.

    9. If the content is approved, but a change to the content is necessary, the Content Area Administrator will have responsibility for implementing the changes requested by C&L by re-publishing the page using the CMA.

    10. An approved IRS.gov Landing Page Review Request will be returned to the Content Area Administrator via email.

C&L Approval Time Frame
  1. Depending on the content and target publishing location, and other factors, C&L will provide a response within a reasonable time. Content Area Administrators will be notified via email of the request status. If an IRS.gov Content Publishing Request is not approved for publishing, the Content Area Administrator will be notified by email and/or phone to explain why the request was denied and the Content Area Administrator will take appropriate action to change/delete posted content.

Content Publishing

  1. Once the content has been reviewed and approved in the CMA, it moves into the Publishing stage. CMA Users with permission to publish content within a content area will see items available for final review and publishing in the Workflow Management screen of the CMA. After verifying that the content is ready to be published, the CMA User will click on the Launch button. After that, the content will be picked up by a systemic process that runs on the hour and the half hour. That process completes the publishing of the content to IRS.gov.

Content Maintenance

  1. Content Area Administrators are responsible for keeping content fresh, up-to-date and relevant to their customer segments.

Content Expiration Date
  1. All content within the CMA has an expiration date that is assigned by the content provider or the Content Area Administrator. The CMA User enters the expiration date to content when created in the CMA. Content must contain an expiration date that is no more than twelve months from the date of creation.

  2. Each month PPB generates and distributes an Expired Content Report to the Content Area Administrators for review.

  3. Content Area Administrators are required to review expired content within their content area, to either retire the content via the deletion procedure or to modify the expiration date if the content is still valid.

Comments Field Maintenance
  1. All CMA Users are responsible for updating the Comments field when content is created or updated. The Comments field provides a recent history to track all updates and changes made to a particular piece of content.

  2. The Comments field can contain a maximum of 4000 characters. The Comments field does not automatically truncate the text once the maximum of 4000 characters has been reached. Instead, an error message is presented indicating the field size has reached the maximum. To be able to save the content item, the CMA User must enter the most recent text at the top of the Comments field and then scroll down to delete the oldest text from the bottom until the field contains less than 4000 characters.

Organization Field Maintenance
  1. The Organization field is a required entry field in the CMA for all content types. Content cannot be created in the CMA without an entry in the Organization field. The CMA User must select the appropriate Organization from the predetermined list of organizational symbols before initiating workflow for that content item. The Organization field is incorporated into the following CMA components:

    • CMA Entry Screens (across all content types).

    • CMA Search Screens (across all content types).

    • Orphan Content and Expired Content Administrative Reports.

    • Nightly Static File Upload Process.

  2. When the Organization field was first implemented in 2004, a default value was assigned for all content in the CMA. A default Organization value, specified by the Content Area Administrators, was assigned per content area. Specific content items within a content area could belong to an organization that differs from the default value that was used for that content area. As content is edited, or as a Content Area Administrator specifies, the default Organization value must be updated if it does not reflect the correct organizational owner of that content. The CMA User can easily correct the entry in the Organization field. However, if the CMA User wishes to change the Organization field entry to reflect an area outside the purview of his or her Content Area Administrator, the Content Area Administrator of the proposed new organization must first concur.

  3. There are two ways to enter or update the Organization field for a content item in the CMA:

    1. If you know the Organization code, begin to type it in the Organization field. As the organization matches the typed value, the selection box will move to the specific organization. Remember to include all the colons (:) in the Organization code, as necessary.

    2. If you do not know the Organization code, select an Organization from the drop down list.

  4. The nightly static file upload process affects the Organization field as follows:

    • For the static files that are processed during the nightly static file upload process, there is a default Organization value for each folder. Currently, only the Tax Products (e.g., irs-pdf, irs-fill, irs-dft, irs-sgml) and the Written Determinations (irs-wd) static file folders utilize the nightly static file upload process.

    • Any new static files uploaded to these folders will be set with the folder's default Organization during nightly batch processing. If a CMA User subsequently makes an update to one of these static files through the CMA, he or she will be able to set the Organization to any available entry. A subsequent upload of the same named file through the overnight batch processing will not reset the Organization entry to the default value. The Organization will remain as entered by the CMA User.

    • The default Organization is set systemically and cannot be modified through a transaction file without programming changes being implemented. Any need to modify this behavior should be coordinated through PPB.

  5. Organization Symbols can be added, modified, and deleted via a request to PPB. Upon approval, PPB will submit all updates to Organization values to the Accenture Operations & Maintenance team. The request will follow the weekly CMA code migration process.


    While adding Organizations has minimal impact, changing and deleting Organizations has a CMA-wide impact and should only be done when necessary.

  6. Deleting an Organization code will require one of the following courses of action:

    1. The Content Area Administrator ensures that all content assigned to the specified Organization code is manually updated in the CMA to reflect a different Organization code. Then the Content Area Administrator submits the request to delete the obsolete Organization code from the CMA list, or

    2. The Content Area Administrator provides an alternative single Organization code to be used at the time of deletion, to systematically replace the obsolete code. This will result in all content that contained the deleted Organization code now containing the specified replacement Organization code.

Content Deletion

  1. Content must be deleted if it is obsolete, and there is no intention to update it.


    This does not apply to content that must remain on the site as archive information.

  2. A CMA User with the appropriate permission will be able to delete content. Clicking on the "Delete" button in the CMA initiates a deletion checking process. Content can only be deleted if there are no associations (links) to it from elsewhere on the site. If no associations are found, the CMA requires the CMA User to confirm the intention to delete the content, and then performs the deletion.

  3. Once content has been deleted, it is no longer accessible for viewing on IRS.gov or for re-publishing using the CMA. Content Area Administrators must contact Public Portal Branch (PPB) if they need to have deleted content restored.

  4. If a CMA User attempts to delete content that has associations, the CMA will not perform the deletion. The content items linking to the "to be deleted" item will be listed. The CMA User must make note of the items, and ensure that the associations are removed so deletion can proceed.

  5. If an item cannot be deleted due to associations from outside the CMA User's and Content Area Administrator's content area, they must send a deletion request to the Content Area Administrator who owns the content. Once all links are removed, the CMA User will be able to delete the item. Contact the appropriate Content Area Administrator for any format they require for deletion requests. Generally, the requestor will indicate a target deletion date. If there has been no response within 10 business days, forward the request to the *IRS.gov Admin mailbox for processing. PPB will remove the associations (as long as there will be no impact on wording in the referring content items), or facilitate a response from the Content Area Administrator.

  6. Static File deletion often requires special procedures. Many CMA Users do not have the permission/capability to delete static files. Since the "irs-utl" static file folder contains files belonging to multiple organizations, permission to delete files from that folder is restricted to PPB. This is done to prevent accidental deletions of content owned by someone else. Unfortunately, CMA permissions cannot be set specifically for one static file folder. Therefore, anyone outside of PPB with permission to upload to the "irs-utl" directory cannot have static file deletion capability at all. Content Area Administrators needing to have static files deleted must send a request to PPB.

Orphan Content

  1. Content items that exist on the live site without being linked from any other content on the site are called orphans. There is no way for a web site user to navigate to an orphan item (except through the site search). The lack of a navigation path could indicate low or no business priority for directing users to an item.

  2. Content Area Administrators regularly receive an Orphan Content Report, which they are responsible for reviewing. The Content Area Administrator must determine if their items on the Orphan Content Report are obsolete and due for deletion. If so, they must follow appropriate deletion procedures. If there is a business reason to maintain the orphan content, no further action is necessary. The content will continue to appear on the Orphan Content Report as long as it has no other content linking to it.

Content Retention

  1. A record control (a.k.a records schedule, or disposition authority) is a document that provides mandatory retention and destruction instructions for what to do with records (and non-record materials) no longer needed for current Government business. The development of a record control schedule is not by choice, but by law. Federal law requires all agencies to have an effective and efficient records program.

  2. Public Portal Branch is working with the IRS Records Office and Chief Counsel to establish the IRS.gov Record Control Schedule. The Record Control Schedule will outline the relevant web-related artifacts to retain, and the appropriate time frame for retaining these artifacts.