- 21.1.1 Accounts Management and Compliance Services Overview
- 22.214.171.124 Program Scope and Objectives
- 126.96.36.199.1 Background
- 188.8.131.52.2 Authority
- 184.108.40.206.3 Responsibilities - Accounts Management, Compliance Services and Field Assistance
- 220.127.116.11.4 Program Controls
- 18.104.22.168.5 Acronyms
- 22.214.171.124.6 Related Resources
- 126.96.36.199 Commitment to Quality
- 188.8.131.52 Customer Service Representative (CSR) Duties
- 184.108.40.206.1 Out of Scope and Limited Service
- 220.127.116.11 Communication Skills
- 18.104.22.168 Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) and Default Screener Application
- 22.214.171.124.1 Default Screener Application Guidelines
- 126.96.36.199 e-Services
- 188.8.131.52 Contact Recording
- Exhibit 21.1.1-1 Out-of-Scope Topics and Forms
- Exhibit 21.1.1-2 Out-of-Scope Communications
Part 21. Customer Account Services
Chapter 1. Accounts Management and Compliance Services Operations
Section 1. Accounts Management and Compliance Services Overview
September 08, 2017
(1) This transmits revised IRM 21.1.1, Accounts Management and Compliance Services Operations, Accounts Management and Compliance Services Overview.
(1) This IRM has been restructured to include Internal Controls per IRM 1.11.2, Internal Revenue Management Documents Systems, Internal Revenue Manual Process.
(2) Editorial changes made throughout the IRM for clarity. Subsections and titles have been revised.
(3) IRM 184.108.40.206 - Added Program Scope and Objectives, replaces Overview
(4) IRM 220.127.116.11.1 - Added Background.
(5) IRM 18.104.22.168.2 - Added Authority.
(6) IRM 22.214.171.124.3 - Added Responsibilities - Accounts Management, Compliance Services and Field Assistance.
(7) IRM 126.96.36.199.4 - Added Program Controls.
(8) IRM 188.8.131.52.5 - Added Acronyms.
(9) IRM 184.108.40.206.6 - Added Related Resources.
(10) IRM 220.127.116.11(3) - Added additional duty of Customer Service Representative (CSR) and removed preparing original returns from list.
(11) IRM 18.104.22.168(4) - Added statement that list is not all inclusive.
(12) IRM 22.214.171.124(10) - Added what CSR must address when assigned to making TAC appointments for Field Assistance.
(13) IRM 126.96.36.199(10) - Updated the CSR duties for making appointments for Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC).
(14) IPU 16U1680 issued 11-18-2016 IRM 188.8.131.52(10) - Provides exception for international callers using the non-toll-free line.
(15) IPU 17U0191 issued 01-27-2017 IRM 184.108.40.206(2) - Provides instructions for using hyphenated last names.
(16) IRM 220.127.116.11(2) - Added authorized representatives; use of the last names in greeting and provided instructions on speaking clearly and controlling the conversation.
(17) IPU 17U1202 issued 07-31-2017 IRM 18.104.22.168(2) and (19) - Clarified options for CSRs to identify themselves to taxpayers.
(18) IRM 22.214.171.124(3)(a) - Provided clarity to instructions when the taxpayer is not readily available.
(19) IPU 17U0570 issued 03-27-2017 IRM 126.96.36.199(9)(c) - Provides additional information on transferring calls.
(20) IPU 17U0191 issued 01-27-2017 IRM 188.8.131.52(9)(d) - Added additional NOTE for guidance when receiving fax materials from the taxpayer.
(21) IPU 17U0512 issued 03-16-2017 IRM 184.108.40.206(9)(d) - Revised note for faxing procedures.
(22) IRM 220.127.116.11(9)(d) and (e) - Added link that provides instruction for preparing Form e-4442/4442; provided link the Enterprise Lead Gate.
(23) IPU 17U0512 issued 03-16-2017 IRM 18.104.22.168(9)(e) - Removed small portion of Lead Gate instructions.
(24) IRM 22.214.171.124(10)(b) - Added procedures for supervisor callbacks for Infrastructure Replacement Project (IUP) sites.
(25) IRM 126.96.36.199(12) - Provides additional guidance to sites that use the electronic note pad.
(26) IPU 17U0512 issued 03-16-2017 IRM 188.8.131.52.1(1) - Added phone number for Taxpayer Assistance Center.
(27) IPU 17U0530 issued 03-20-2017 IRM 184.108.40.206.1(1) - Corrected Taxpayer Assistance Center phone number.
(28) IPU 17U0570 issued 03-27-2017 IRM 220.127.116.11.1(1) - Removed Taxpayer Assistance Center phone number (calls do not default from that extension).
(29) IPU 17U1202 issued 07-31-2017 IRM 18.104.22.168.1(2) - Clarified options for CSRs to identify themselves to taxpayers.
(30) IRM 22.214.171.124.1(8) - Updated instructions for calls related to receipt/status of amended returns.
(31) IPU 17U0512 issued 03-16-2017 IRM 126.96.36.199 - Updated extension numbers for receipt/status of amended returns.
(32) IPU 17U0191 issued 01-27-2017 IRM 188.8.131.52.1(10) - Updated Transfer Telephone Guide (TTG) reference for phishing.
(33) IRM 184.108.40.206(6) and (7) - Clarified instructions for IUP sites for Contact Recording.
(34) Exhibit 21.1.1-1 - Added Form 5695 Residential Energy Credits to Miscellaneous list.
Kevin M. Morehead
Director, Accounts Management
Wage and Investment Division
Purpose: The IRS mission is to provide America's taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.
The IRS will not tolerate discriminatory treatment of taxpayers by its employees in any programs or activities supported by the Service. No taxpayer should be subject to discrimination in educational programs or activities based on sex, race, color, national origin, disability, reprisal, religion, or age.
If a taxpayer believes they have been discriminated against on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, disability, reprisal, religion, or age, advise the taxpayer that he/she can forward an email to *EDI.Civil.Rights.Division@irs.gov, or send a written complaint to: Operations Director, Civil Rights Division, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution, NW, Room 2413, Washington, DC 20224.
The Wage and Investment (W&I) and Small Business/Self Employed (SB/SE) Business Operating Divisions (BODs) are responsible for taxpayer relationships by:
Providing general tax related information,
Providing information on the status of taxpayer returns/refunds/accounts, and
Adjusting taxpayer accounts, when appropriate.
These responsibilities are divided into three subordinate units:
Customer Assistance, Relationships, and Education (CARE)
Customer Account Services (CAS)
To ensure taxpayer inquiries and accounts are addressed correctly, Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC), Accounts Management, and Compliance Services use the guidelines provided in IRM 21, Customer Account Services.
Audience: The primary users of this IRM are all IRS employees in Business Operating Divisions (BODs) who are in contact with taxpayers by telephone, correspondence or in person.
Policy Owner: Director of Accounts Management
Program Owner: Wage and Investment, Process and Program Management, Accounts Management.
Program Goals: Program goals for this type of work are included in the Accounts Management (AM) Program Letter as well as IRM 1.4.16, Accounts Management Guide for Managers.
Employees in the AM organization respond to taxpayer inquiries and phone calls as well as process claims and other internal adjustment requests.
Refer to IRM 1.2.21, Policy Statements for Customer Account Services Activities, for more information.
The Wage and Investment Commissioner has overall responsibility for the policy related to this IRM, which is published on a yearly basis
The Accounts Management organization in CAS is responsible for taxpayer relations by answering tax law/account inquiries and adjusting tax accounts. In addition, it is responsible for providing taxpayers with information on the status of their returns/refunds, and for resolving the majority of issues and questions to settle their accounts.
The Compliance Services organization is responsible for taxpayer relations by providing support services to the Compliance organization through administration of the following programs (this list is not all-inclusive):
Alternative Strategies for Tax Administration (ASTA)
Automated Collection System (ACS)
Automated Underreporter (AUR)
Backup Withholding (BUWH)
Combined Annual Wage Reporting (CAWR)
Correspondence Examination (Corr Exam)
Deferred Adverse Tax Consequences (DATC)
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Federal Unemployment Tax Administration (FUTA)
Installment Agreements (IA)
Offers in Compromise (OIC)
Return Delinquency (RD)
Substitute for Return (SFR) and Automated Substitute for Return (ASFR)
For more information on Compliance support services, see IRM 5.18, Liability Determination, and IRM 5.19, Liability Collection.
The Return Integrity and Correspondence Services (RICS), Office of Taxpayer Correspondence (OTC), is the Enterprise point of contact when significant volume of erroneous correspondence is issued to taxpayers or when there is a risk of issuing considerable volumes of erroneous correspondence. It is the responsibility of all IRS employees to report erroneous correspondence as soon as possible to the OTC. For erroneous correspondence procedures, see IRM 220.127.116.11, Erroneous Correspondence Procedures - Red Button Process.
The Field Assistance (FA) organization is responsible for taxpayer relationships by providing personal assistance to answer tax law questions and resolve account issues. In addition, the Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC) provide help with:
Solutions to tax issues
Multilingual interpreter services
Proof of receipt of tax returns
Alien clearances (Sailing Permits)
Various other services
For more information on TAC responsibilities, see IRM 18.104.22.168, Standard Services in a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC), and procedures throughout this IRM.
Program Effectiveness: Program effectiveness is determined by AM employees successfully using the guidelines provided in this IRM.
Program Controls: Goals, measures and operating guidelines are listed in the yearly Program Letter. Quality data and guidelines for measurement are referenced in IRM 21.10.1, Embedded Quality (EQ) for Accounts Management, Campus Compliance, Tax Exempt/Government Entities, Return Integrity and Compliance Services (RICS) and Electronic Products and Services Support.
For a comprehensive listing of any IRM acronyms, please refer to the Acronym Database.
Refer to IRM 22.214.171.124Related Resources, for more information on resources that impact internal controls.
Additional related resources for this IRM include (list is not all inclusive):
IRM 21, Customer Account Services
IRM 5, Collecting Process
IRM 20.1, Penalty Handbook
IRM 20.2, Interest
Interactive Tax Law Assistant (ITLA)
Job aids for IRM 21, Customer Account Services
All of the tools mentioned in paragraph (2) above are accessed through the IRS Intranet at the Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) site.
All functional areas of the IRS are committed to achieving excellence in the service provided to all taxpayers. Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are trained to communicate with taxpayers and to be knowledgeable of tax law and related IRS operational procedures. CSRs must assist taxpayers, practitioners and other third parties, in a manner that warrants the highest degree of public confidence.
To ensure quality service for our customers, all work performed by CSRs is subject to review. Some of this work is reviewed by the Centralized Quality Review System (CQRS) and some of the work is reviewed by the Program Analysis System (PAS). The national review is designed to review all phases of telephone contacts (account and tax law calls), email, and closed cases (both paper and telephone initiated).
The results of these reviews are input to the National Quality Review System (NQRS). NQRS is available to all authorized users. Refer to IRM 21.10.1, Embedded Quality (EQ) Program for Accounts Management, Campus Compliance Services, Field Assistance, Tax Exempt/Government Entities, Return Integrity and Correspondence Services (RICS), and Electronic Products and Services Support, for more information.
A CSR (referred to throughout this section) includes, but is not limited to, the following named positions:
Individual Taxpayer Advisory Specialist (ITAS)
Office Collection Representative (OCR)
Senior Taxpayer Advisory Specialist (STAS)
Tax Account Representative (TAR)
Tax Examiner (TE)
Tax Law Specialist (TLS)
Tax Specialist (TS)
Tax Technician (TT)
Taxpayer Service Representative (TSR)
The duties of a CSR are varied. Many hours are spent on the telephone, working paper cases, or assisting taxpayers at a TAC counter. Paper cases include both incoming taxpayer correspondence and internally generated cases.
The duties of a CSR may include, but are not limited to:
Adjusting tax return accounts
Answering tax law questions
Assisting taxpayers directly or by transferring to the appropriate application using the Telephone Transfer Guide
Preparing substitute returns
Proposing additional assessments
Securing delinquent returns
Resolving delinquent accounts
Responding to correspondence
Providing functional support (i.e., other duties as assigned)
Making appointments for Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs)
Taxpayer inquiries include telephone calls, correspondence, and personal contacts about:
Notices and letters
Requests for forms, publications, and public use documents, including alternative media, i.e., Braille (BR) and large print (LP)
Requests for installment agreements and direct debit agreements
Requests for payroll deduction authorizations
Requests for tax account adjustments
Requests for transcripts of accounts and account information
Requests for addresses to mail returns, payments, and/or correspondence
For callers using private delivery services (PDS), provide the Submission Processing (SP) campus street addresses. The only PDS designated by the IRS are DHL Express (DHL), Federal Express (FEDEX), and United Parcel Service (UPS). PDS cannot deliver items to P.O. Boxes. The SP campus street addresses are located on SERP (under the Who/Where tab) in the Post of Duty (POD) List. The above list is not all inclusive.
Accounts Management (AM) representatives trained in tax law will be responsible for answering In-Scope (IS) tax law inquiries ONLY from January 2 through the last day of the filing season. After that date, and continuing for the remainder of the year (through December 31) taxpayers should be referred to self-help options listed in Exhibit 21.1.1-2, Out-of-Scope Communications. Representatives not trained in tax law will transfer In-Scope tax law inquiries during this time frame (January 2 through the end of the filing season) using the TTG. When providing an ITLA response to a domestic tax law question, assistors MUST advise the caller that answers to their questions can be found in the Interactive Tax Assistant and/or other available tools on IRS.gov under the Help and Resources tab. Tax law assistance includes responding to inquiries regarding:
If income is taxable
If the taxpayer is eligible for a tax benefit (taxpayer identification number (TIN)/income requirements, time frame for eligibility, etc.), and
If an expense (or loss) is deductible
Application 363 (International Tax Law) and Applications 765, 766, 767, 768, 769, 770, and 771 Tax Exempt Government Entities (TEGE), will continue to answer tax law inquiries year round.
Application 25 (Employment Tax Accounts) and Application 30 (Business Accounts) will answer tax law inquiries year round with the exception of issues identified in the TTG as being topics transferred to extensions 92192/92193 (extension 3011/3012 for IUP sites) and 92194/92195 (3013/3014 for IUP sites). (TTG topics 92192/92193 (3011/3012 for IUP sites) are not available January - April)
Application 98 and 99 (Special Services and Special Services Spanish) will answer tax law inquiries specific to Special Services topics year round. These Special Services topics are listed under the Application 98 and 99 scope of responsibility in the TTG. Those staffing Applications 98 and 99 should probe to determine if the source of the inquiry is special services related at the beginning of the call. If the call was an erroneous referral, follow out-of-scope procedures.
Applications 111, 112, 113, 114, 116 and 117 (Basic and Advanced Affordable Care Act (ACA)) will answer tax law inquiries related to ACA year round, including any crossover tax law topics that need to be addressed in order to completely answer the primary ACA question.
AM will NOT be answering out-of-scope (OOS) tax law questions. During filing season, topics listed in the TTG (as well as those listed in Exhibit 21.1.1-1) under Extensions 92194 (English) (Extension 3013 for IUP sites) and 92195 (Spanish) (Extension 3014 for IUP sites) will be OOS tax law topics. Taxpayers should be referred to the self-help options on ALL OOS tax law questions, following the instructions in Exhibit 21.1.1-2, Out-of-Scope Communications.
Post filing season, ALL tax law will be OOS, (except those listed in the exceptions in paragraph 5). Topics listed in the TTG (as well as those listed in Exhibit 21.1.1-1) under Extensions 92192 (English) (3011 for IUP sites) and 92193 (Spanish) (3012 for IUP sites) for basic and intermediate tax law and 92194 (English) (3013 for IUP sites) and 92195 (Spanish) (3014 for IUP sites) for advanced tax law will be OOS. Taxpayers should be referred to the self-help options for information on all OOS tax law questions, following the instructions in Exhibit 21.1.1-2, Out-of-Scope Communications.
Field Assistance representatives should refer to IRM 126.96.36.199.4, Tax Law Assistance, for overall guidance on responding to tax law inquiries and IRM 188.8.131.52.5.5, Out-of-Scope Procedures, to determine if the question is considered in-scope or out-of-scope.
See IRM 184.108.40.206.1, Out of Scope and Limited Service, for information regarding the services CAS, Accounts Management, will not provide.
Field Assistance (FA) has implemented the FA Appointment Services in Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs). AM employees answer these calls on a designated toll-free line, and schedule appointments only after trying to resolve the issue and/or offering other alternatives to the taxpayer. In the event a TAC Appointment call is received by an assistor not staffing Agent Groups 55 or 56, even if trained, the employee will provide the taxpayer the toll-free number (1-844-545-5640).
For taxpayers who cannot call the toll-free number, the employee must transfer to the appropriate agent group, (e.g., international callers that require assistance on non-toll-free applications).
CSRs who are assigned to this application must:
Target the taxpayer’s question (determine why the taxpayer is requesting the appointment)
Work the issue (i.e., provide Account Transcripts, address Balance issues, answer questions, etc.),
If the issue cannot be handled over the phone, offer alternative options, information or services (i.e., IRS.gov), if available or appropriate
If taxpayer must go to a TAC for face-to-face assistance, refer to IRM 220.127.116.11.4.6, Accounts Management Procedures for Appointment Services, for further procedures.
Appointment information is also available on www.irs.gov.
The areas discussed below are beyond the level of service (out of scope) that CAS, Accounts Management will provide:
Tax form and schedule preparation
Highly complex tax issues (limited service)
Tax form and schedule preparation is defined as:
Use of taxpayer information to provide "line-by-line" assistance in the completion of all or most of a form/schedule.
Performance of "line- by-line" computations and guidance on what to enter on each line (although not necessarily every line).
Verification of form/schedule entries after completion by the taxpayer.
Tax form/schedule preparation does not apply to completion of worksheets (e.g., Form 1040-ES Worksheet, and tax or credit computation worksheets).
Tax planning is defined as a request as to whether one course of action is favored over another.
Legal opinions are not provided; however, CSRs can advise taxpayers of the applicable law.
Highly complex inquiries are inquiries that cannot be expeditiously resolved by referencing IRS publications, procedures, forms, instructions or through IRM research within a reasonable amount of time.
CSRs are required to respond to tax law inquiries by using ITLA. However, "limited service" may be provided by AM employees for highly complex issues.
While these inquiries generally involve extensive research using Revenue Procedures, the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), Lexis-Nexis, Westlaw, or the Commerce Clearing House (CCH), a CSR trained on the topic may provide a brief overview/discussion or an expeditious response to a simple inquiry.
"Limited Service" determinations are only made by CSRs trained/certified to respond to tax law inquiries in the application responsible for the subject area of inquiry.
CSRs are responsible for using good judgment and probing in making determinations and advising taxpayers of their options for obtaining the information requested, including some out of scope (OOS) topics. CSRs should probe to determine the purpose of the call and provide basic information on OOS topics such as:
Identifying a form
How to obtain a particular form for OOS topic
Provide related publications as it may relate to a particular form or OOS topic
Provide any related web sources, as it may relate to a particular form or OOS topic
For specific information on responding to "Out of Scope" and "Limited Service" inquiries, see Exhibit 21.1.1-1, Out of Scope Topics and Forms. This list is not all inclusive.
Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, and Schedule A, Public Charity Status and Public Support
Form 990-BL, Information and Initial Excise Tax Return for Black Lung Benefit Trusts and Certain Related Persons
Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return
Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation or Section 4947(a)(1) Trust Treated as a Private Foundation
Form 990-W, Estimated Tax on Unrelated Business Taxable Income for Tax Exempt Organizations
Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
Form 1024, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(a) or for Determination Under Section 120
Form 1028, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 521
Form 1120-POL, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Political Organizations
Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return
Form 5309, Application for Determination of Employee Stock Ownership Plan
Form 5310, Application for Determination for Terminating Plan
Form 5768, Election/Revocation of Election by an Eligible Section 501(c)(3) Organization to Make Expenditures to Influence Legislation (Under Section 501(h) of the Internal Revenue Code)
Form 8718, User Fee for Exempt Organization Determination Letter Request
The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (IRS RRA 98), Section 3705(a), provides identification requirements for all IRS employees working tax related matters.
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR) adopted by the IRS in June of 2014, provides that taxpayers have the right to receive prompt, courteous and professional assistance in their dealings with the IRS. They are to be spoken to in a manner that is understood and any correspondence from the IRS must be clear and understandable. They have the right to speak to a supervisor whenever quality service is not received.
You must provide, in a professional and courteous manner, the following information to each taxpayer/authorized representative/caller/Lead Gate representative you speak with during the contact:
By telephone or face-to-face contact, provide your:
- title (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss), and last name, OR
- first and last name, OR
- first initial and last name
- your identification (ID) (Badge) number or, if the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12/SmartID Card) has been issued, use the 10 digit Personal Identification (PID) number.
If your last name is hyphenated or you have two last names on your ID, please use accordingly.
Speak in a clear tone so the ID number can be understood. Control the conversation by keeping the taxpayer on track and avoid extraneous dialogue. Do not accept any collect calls.
If contacting the Lead Gate, both lead and CSR must provide first, last name, Standard Employee Identifier (SEID) and location.
By written correspondence, provide your generated Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) or other unique letter system number. If an IDRS/unique number is not generated, use your ID/badge number or all 10 digits of your PID if the IRS HSPD-12 (SmartID card) is issued. Do not use IRS jargon when communicating (either speaking or corresponding) with the taxpayer.
Greet the caller.
The CSR must promptly greet the taxpayer as outlined in paragraph (2), above. When the call is connected, if there is no taxpayer on the line, first make an effort to ensure the taxpayer can hear you, (e.g., asking if the taxpayer can hear you, repeat name and badge number, etc.) and allow 30 seconds for the taxpayer to respond. If there is still no response, disconnect the call and move on to the next call.
If the caller asks you to repeat your name and identification number, please do so courteously and professionally.
Speak to the caller in a pleasant, courteous, and professional manner indicating a willingness to help, by using an appropriate phrase such as "May I help you?" or "How can I help you?" .
Respond to the caller's opening statement.
Transferring calls to the Spanish gate or translator. When an assistor receives a call from a Spanish speaking individual and is unable to complete Disclosure Authentication or obtain Oral Disclosure Consent due to limited (or no) English language, it is appropriate to transfer the call to the Spanish gate. This follows the specialized product review group (SPRG) definition in IRM 18.104.22.168.1.12, Definition of Spanish Tax Law and Account Calls SPRG.
A transfer of this type is only used when the assistor cannot be understood (by all callers) nor can the assistor understand all parties to obtain the required disclosure authentication or answer the taxpayer's/representative's question.
If an individual is calling in a language other than Spanish, when the assistor cannot be understood (by all callers) nor can the assistor understand all parties to obtain the required disclosure authentication or answer the taxpayer's/representative's question, advise the caller they will need to call back with a translator. See IRM 22.214.171.124, Other Third Party Inquiries, for additional information.
Target the caller's question.
Deal with the caller's feelings (if appropriate), noticeable through tone, voice inflection, and rate of speech.
Ask the questions necessary to determine the nature of the inquiry.
Use paraphrasing to show you comprehend and have identified the question.
Disclosure check (for account calls only). Follow the guidelines outlined in IRM 126.96.36.199.3, Required Taxpayer Authentication, and IRM 188.8.131.52.4, Additional Taxpayer Authentication.
Get the necessary facts.
Use a purpose statement (when appropriate) to prepare caller for a series of questions.
Ask questions pertinent to the inquiry in order to obtain the information necessary to answer the inquiry.
Record the facts on paper, job aid, or other methods to help you remember specific details.
Provide accurate and complete information. Explain any procedures and order necessary forms and publications.
If you research the account, make sure you have covered all open issues.
If you are unable to research the account, refer the question in accordance with proper referral procedures. If the caller needs to be transferred to another area, advise the caller where they are being transferred to.
If you must place the caller on hold while researching an inquiry, you must use the hold feature. Use of the mute feature or unplugging from the tele-set are not options to be used for placing the caller on hold. Only place the caller on hold to research information that is not readily available, unless the taxpayer requests not to be placed on hold. See NOTE below. Provide the reason for placing the caller on hold, ask for permission and wait for a response. Advise the caller of the expected wait time and return to the caller within that time frame. The promised wait time should be no more than five to seven minutes. If no promised wait time is indicated, do not keep the caller on hold for more than five minutes without returning to the caller. When returning to the taxpayer, always thank the taxpayer for holding when resuming the call. If it is necessary to place the caller on hold again, when you return to the caller, you must either thank the caller for holding, OR apologize for the additional hold and provide an explanation for the additional research.
If the taxpayer chooses not to remain on the line while the call is being researched, the CSR should offer a written referral, via Form 4442 or e-4442 per IRM 184.108.40.206.2.1.1, Preparing an e-4442/4442 Inquiry Referral.
If you must receive a fax from the caller, verify the fax number BEFORE placing the caller on hold. Confirm how long it will take to receive the fax and return back to the caller within that time frame. However, once receiving the fax, if the caller must be placed on hold, adhere to the hold procedures listed above (d).
If unsure on how to respond to an account inquiry, you must contact the Enterprise Lead Gate. See IRM 220.127.116.11.7, Enterprise Lead Gate. The Enterprise Lead Gate is used when, after research, a CSR/TLS cannot determine the correct response to provide to the taxpayer or if it is necessary to clarify a procedure. Before calling the Enterprise Lead Gate, CSRs must attempt to locate the answer independently. CSRs should have question(s) ready and prepared, providing the lead with the necessary information for assistance. If the lead is unavailable or unable to locate the answer, the CSR will complete an in-house e-4442 referral per IRM 18.104.22.168.2.1.1, Preparing an e-4442/4442, and advise the customer to allow 30 days for a response.
Taxpayers may contact the Service requesting information on their accounts. CSRs will limit the taxpayer to one account per call, not tax year/period. If there are multiple taxpayers who need assistance with their account (e.g., a married couple who filed FS 3, married filing separate returns), it is still considered one account per call. For BMF, a Treasurer of multiple business entities, Trustee of multiple trusts, partner of multiple firms, etc., is also considered one account per call. However, no more than five taxpayers/TINs, will be handled during one call. The call should not be disconnected. Example: A husband who filed a FS 3 return calls for assistance with his account. His wife (also FS 3) and their two children (who each have filed their own returns), also need assistance with their accounts. The CSR would not disconnect the call after assisting the husband and require the other three family members to call back, but would assist all four taxpayers during the phone call. This example is not just limited to family members. The call can also include unrelated people.
The Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) line, which limits callers to five clients per call, is available for tax practitioners calling with account issues.
For calls received on other than the PPS line, third party callers such as tax preparers, monitoring companies, lending institutions, and tax practitioners, are limited to receiving information on five clients per call. When inquiring for more than five clients, the third party should be directed to alternate self-help methods for obtaining this information (i.e., Transcript Delivery System, Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return) and not to other toll-free applications. See IRM 22.214.171.124.1, Authorized Third Parties
, for additional information.
If a caller requests to speak to a supervisor, follow the instructions below.
Advise the caller you will refer him or her to your supervisor. Please ask the caller to hold.
Contact your supervisor or appointed designee. Transfer the call to the supervisor or designee in accordance with your organization's procedures. Areas using the Aspect System may transfer the call using "Inside Line" . Sites using IUP, please contact your manager on the proper procedures.
If your supervisor or designee is not available, advise the caller accordingly and secure from the caller the best time and day (same day of call or the next business day) for your supervisor or designee to return the call.
While you should exhibit patience with customers, you are not expected to be subjected to abusive language. If the customer is being verbally abusive, explain that you are willing to help and request that the caller remain calm in order to resolve the issue. If the customer continues with the abusive language, explain that if the caller does not discontinue the abusive language, the call will be terminated. If the caller continues the abusive language, terminate the call and inform your manager.
Close the Conversation.
Verify caller's comprehension by asking if he/she understands information given, i.e., "Have I answered all your questions?" or "Do you understand the information I have given you today?"
Conclude the contact courteously and appropriately. For example, thank the caller if he/she has provided information to help resolve an open issue; apologize if the Service has made an error.
Provide name and ID number, if not yet provided.
Use of wrap time should be minimal except in rare instances. CSRs are expected to complete calls (account adjustments, tax related research and writing Account Management Services (AMS) notes) while on the line or on hold with the caller. For additional information regarding completing on-line account inquires, see IRM 126.96.36.199 (2), Oral Statement Authority.
If a call prematurely disconnects while the CSRs are completing account or tax related actions, CSRs must wait to finish actions for this call after they complete the next incoming call. At that time, the CSR will select "wrap" to complete all actions. (For sites that use the electronic note pads that must be cleared before moving to the next call, greet the caller and advise them that due to the previous caller’s premature disconnection, additional time is necessary to close out the account.)
To ensure that you provide quality service, when assisting callers who visit in person or who call on the telephone with tax law/technical inquiries, you are required to use the available ITLA Tax Law Categories (TLCs) or the IRM 21 for account inquiries.
UsingITLAand taking the actions specified is mandatory on tax law/technical inquiries.
Use the Account Management Services (AMS) or CIS case notes, as appropriate, to document outgoing calls and actions taken.
When an account related call turns into a tax law/technical inquiry, you must use ITLA.
You can answer a call received on any tax law application, if you have been trained and are certified, for the current filing season, on the tax law/technical topic in question. If you are not certified on that topic, offer the taxpayer a choice to go to IRS.gov or transfer the call to the proper application, using the TTG on SERP.
You must address all pertinent taxpayer/caller authentication probes, when necessary. See IRM 188.8.131.52.3, Required Taxpayer Authentication.
When you make outgoing phone calls, or when you leave a voice mail message in response to a caller's voice mail message (not a controlled case), state the following:
Your title (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss), last name (if your last name is hyphenated, or you have two last names, please use accordingly, as listed on ID), OR
- first and last name, OR
- first initial and last name
- your ID/badge number, or the last ten digits of your PID Number if the HSPD-12 (SmartID Card) is being used,
That you are with the IRS,
That you are calling in response to his/her inquiry on (date), and
The telephone number to call to request additional assistance.
When you initiate an outgoing phone call, the taxpayer may be reluctant to give you his/her TIN. To ease any concerns that the taxpayer may have, provide the taxpayer with the last four digits of his/her TIN (social security number/employer identification number). Then, request that the taxpayer verify the first five digits. After you verify the TIN, follow IRM 184.108.40.206.3, Required Taxpayer Authentication.
Do not leave confidential tax information on a voice mail message or an answering machine message.
Do not provide taxpayers/third parties with the telephone numbers of functional areas.
Do not transfer taxpayer/third party calls to functional areas.
Employee personal cell phones and other electronic devices (IPads, tablets, etc.,) may be brought into the work place, but are to be used ONLY during breaks and lunchtime, or prior to or after an employee's official tour of duty. Employees should not interrupt their calls and conversations with taxpayers, third parties, and/or other IRS employees to take an incoming call on their personal cell phones. This also includes incoming and outgoing phone media such as text messages and emails. All personal cell phones should be silenced to avoid distractions and disturbances during working hours.
When staffing account applications on the toll-free telephone lines, do not immediately ask the taxpayer for a notice or letter number to determine the reason they called. It is not required and increases the amount of time it takes to handle the call. Perform routine account research to obtain notice and letter numbers. Ask the caller to identify the notice or letter if it is unobtainable from account research. The last notice (most recent notice) sent to the taxpayer can be found in the top section of Command Code (CC) TXMOD. Notices sent can also be identified in the Posted Transaction Section of CC TXMOD in the miscellaneous field of a transaction code (TC) 971 action code (AC) 804. Additional notice information can be found in the history sections of CC TXMOD. Letter numbers can generally be found on CC ENMOD.
The PSTN is a menu-based, call-routing Voice Response Unit (VRU) application that permits callers to self-direct their calls to designated IRS resources/applications.
The PSTN systemically answers a call and initiates an automated greeting script. Through voice prompts, PSTN then routes the call to a requested destination. If a caller:
Selects an interactive application, PSTN routes the call to that application.
Selects a non-interactive application, such as tax law, PSTN routes the call to a CSR.
If a caller makes no selection/response or makes an invalid selection, PSTN routes the call to a CSR who has been assigned to the default screener application. See IRM 220.127.116.11.1, Default Screener Application Guidelines.
CSRs assigned to the default screener application respond to callers who default from:
Individual Income Tax Services Line (800-829-1040)
Business Service and Specialty Tax Line (800-829-4933)
Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) Hotline (866-860-4259 - Only from Tax Law Prompt)
Business Customer Response Line (800-829-0115)
The default screener application CSR further directs calls to applications that are staffed with CSRs who are certified to answer specific inquiries.
For all calls, you will:
- title (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss), last name (if your last name is hyphenated, or you have two last names, please use accordingly, as listed on ID), OR
- first and last name, OR
- first initial and last name
- ID/badge number or, if the HSPD-12 (SmartID card) is issued, use the ten digits of your PID number if the HSPD-12 (SmartID Card) is issued.
Ask the caller how you may direct or transfer his/her call.
If necessary, probe (ask questions) in order to "determine" the real reason for the call. See paragraph (5) below.
If needed, paraphrase and/or ask more questions of the caller before making a determination. See paragraph (6) below.
If needed, take notes.
Always indicate a willingness to help.
If a taxpayer refuses to be transferred and requests to speak to a supervisor immediately, see IRM 18.104.22.168 (10), Communication Skills.
When assigned to the default screener application, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ANSWER THE QUESTION OR EXPLAIN THAT YOU KNOW THE ANSWER.
Your assignment as a default screener is to properly direct the caller to the designated area related to his/her inquiry.
You must become familiar with the TTG in order to properly direct the caller to the correct application. The guide provides a list of English and Spanish transfer numbers. The TTG has a number of links at the top containing valuable references such as a job aid and search tips. These links are periodically updated.
To determine the topic of the call, ask the caller if he/she has a question that requires research on his/her personal or business tax account.
If yes, probe to determine to which TTG account application to transfer. Actively listen to the caller.
If no, ask if the caller has a general tax law or procedural question. Probe to determine the specific question. Continue to probe until you determine the issue. Then, using the TTG, transfer to the correct procedural application.
If the caller is inquiring about an OOS topic, transfer the caller to Extension 92194 for English (Extension 3013 for IUP sites) and 92195 for Spanish (Extension 3014 for IUP sites) and advise the caller that he/she is being transferred to an automated line which provides available resources for finding answers to their questions. Extensions 92192 (English) (Extension 3011 for IUP sites) and 92193 (Spanish) (Extension 3012 for IUP sites) automated lines will be available for additional OOS tax law topics between April 16th and January 1st. If the caller states he/she has previously been transferred to the automated assistance line and does not want to be transferred again, provide the following explanation or similar statement: "We apologize that live assistance is not available on this topic. Please visit our website at IRS.gov. Our Help and Resource tab is a great place to begin your search. It has a host of good information that we’re sure will address your concerns. I’m transferring you now to the automated line that will provide the resources available to assist you. Thank you for calling." Transfer the call.
If you cannot understand a Spanish speaking taxpayer, use the TTG Search bar and type in the word Spanish and click Search. This will give you the current topic and transfer number. Currently IRS only provides English and Spanish services.
When you identify the topic of the call:
Advise the caller that you are transferring his/her call to the area that handles the question (identify the specific area).
Transfer to a specific TTG line by pressing "inside line" key.
Press the pound sign.
Dial the appropriate TTG five or four digit extension.
Press the enter key.
Press the transfer key.
When the topic is a refund inquiry (current year only), there is a direct transfer number to be used by default screeners. Transfer refund inquiries to Refund Inquiry Automated Self-Service Extension 90278 for English (Extension 1046 for IUP sites), or 90279 for Spanish (Extension 1047 for IUP sites).
Probe to determine if the caller e-filed their return more than 21 days before today's date or mailed a return more than six weeks before today's date.
If the time frame has not been met, transfer the caller directly to the automated application.
If the time -frame has been met, transfer the caller to the appropriate accounts application for assistance.
When the topic is the receipt/status of an amended return, transfer the caller to Extension 92046 for English (Extension 1046 for IUP sites) or 92047 for Spanish (Extension 1047 for IUP sites). These transfer numbers pertain only to individual (IMF) accounts. Probe to determine the amended return issue and whether the caller has already used the Where’s My Amended Return automated application, then follow the procedures below for these calls:
If the caller has not already used the automated application, advise that he/she is being transferred directly to the automated system. Advise the caller to select the Amended Return prompt.
If the call is regarding receipt of an amended return filed less than 21 days before today’s date, and the caller has already used the automated application but there was no record of receipt of the amended return, advise the caller it can take up to 21 days after the mailing date for the amended return to show up on our automated system. Do not transfer the call.
If the call is regarding receipt of an amended return filed more than 21 days before today’s date, and the caller has already used the automated application but there was no record of receipt of the amended return, transfer him/her to the appropriate accounts application for assistance.
If the call is regarding the status of an amended return filed more than 21 days but less than 16 weeks ago, advise the taxpayer of the appropriate processing time frame for amended returns, that the automated system has the most current information, and no additional information is available. Do not transfer the call.
If the call is regarding the status of an amended return filed more than 16 weeks ago and the taxpayer has used the automated application but the amended return has not completed processing, transfer him/her to the appropriate accounts application for assistance.
When the topic is related to a tax account or tax return transcript request, there is a direct transfer number to be used by default screeners. Transfer these requests to Transcript Automated Self-Service Extension 90276 for English (Extension 3140 for IUP sites), or 90277 for Spanish (Extension 3240 for IUP sites). This transfer number pertains only to individual (IMF) accounts. Follow the procedures below for these calls:
Probe to determine whether the caller has already used the automated system.
If the caller has already attempted to use the automated system, transfer him/her to the appropriate accounts application for assistance.
If the caller has not attempted to use the automated system, and can wait 5-10 calendar days for postal delivery of the transcript, advise the caller that he/she is being transferred directly to the automated application. If the caller cannot wait for postal delivery or asks to have the transcript faxed, transfer him/her to the appropriate accounts application for assistance.
When the topic is related to the taxpayer’s concern with IRS scams or phishing, advise the caller they are being transferred to Individual Accounts (Extension 1020 for English/1021 for Spanish for IUP sites) (Application 20) so that it can be verified that the taxpayer does not have a balance due.
The information on e-Service products is now found in IRM 22.214.171.124, e-Services.
Contact Recording is a telephone application/tool/system that records incoming toll-free telephone contacts for the purpose of possible subsequent monitoring.
Incoming calls are answered with an additional announcement that states, "Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality purposes."
The system has been implemented in all Accounts Management and Compliance Services call sites.
Managers and Quality Review use the tool to perform required random reviews (performance and product) of incoming telephone contacts.
While the system provides screen capture of account actions, as well as voice recording of the call, the recordings are NOT accessible by TIN, voice processing personal identification number (VPIN), personal identification number (PIN), or any other TIN.
The system stores data by employees' standard employee identifier (SEID) for a maximum of 45 days. For IUP sites, an Agent Number is used.
There is a procedure, within the system, to disable the recording if a caller indicates that he/she does not wish to be recorded. Computer desktops should have a "Stop on Demand" icon for this purpose. Click the "Stop on Demand" icon, the Stop Recording button should be available. For IUP users, use the Variant Agent Monitoring icon on the start task bar and select Stop Monitoring to stop recording if the taxpayer requests not to be recorded.
If the caller also asks to record the conversation, advise the caller that he/she may not record the call. Advise the caller that he/she may request a copy of the call under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). See IRM 126.96.36.199.2, Taxpayer Request to Tape Record Conversation. Advise the caller this request must be in writing and contain the date, name and ID/badge number of the CSR, and the approximate time of the call. Also, in order for IRS to locate and associate the call with the requester, there must be some identification of the taxpayer (name, address, TIN, etc.,) during the call. The FOIA request cannot be processed without this information. See IRM 188.8.131.52.1 (5), Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for FOIA recording requests.
Lucy Phone and Fast Customer are two connection service companies offering to call IRS for assistance and do the waiting in the queue for the taxpayer. Lucy Phone and Fast Customer are two of the companies identified, however more companies may exist. Taxpayers initiate contact to these connection services requesting they contact IRS on their behalf. When the connection service reaches a CSR, it contacts the taxpayer and the taxpayer then becomes available to discuss their issue with the CSR.
These types of calls can be identified by pre-recorded messages that play repeatedly. Fast Customer calls can be identified by a message stating "Please press one for your next call." Lucy Phone connections can be identified by a pre-recorded message stating "Don't hang up, it is Lucy Phone, the customer switchboard, press one to be connected to this caller."
Do not accept these types of calls. Immediately disconnect these calls and move on to the next taxpayer.
Bad line calls are defined as calls where the taxpayers cannot be assisted due to systematic problems in the phone line. Some examples of bad line calls are:
Dropped Calls: A call that starts normally but disconnects unexpectedly during the conversation. If a caller indicates they were previously disconnected, the CSR would assist the caller but attempt to gather information from the prior call such as date, time, prior assistor (if known), and call topic.
Static Calls: A call where static or noise interferes with effective communication
Lost or Dead Calls: A call that connects but CSR hears IRS hold music, silence or background noise but the caller does not respond to the CSR
Line Connections: A call where volume (audio) issues interferes with effective communication
Cross-Talk Calls: A call that connects but the CSR is hearing a conversation between the caller and another CSR
For all types of bad line calls, the CSR should press the appropriate keys on the telephone equipment during the call so that the system records the problem with the trunk line. If this issue resulted in an incomplete call, the CSR must notify the manager immediately.
For Cross-Talk calls only, the CSR should complete the Cross Talk Reporting Procedures and Template form during the call and then provide it to the lead or manager immediately after the call.
The following lists of out-of-scope topics and forms apply to both toll-free and non-toll free calls. Toll-free assistors see IRM 184.108.40.206 (5) - (7), Customer Service Duties.
|International (includes Advanced International)|
|Partnership, Corporations, Exemption Organizations|
|Sale of Business/Depreciation|
|Capital Gains and Losses|
CAS call sites will answer all non-complex capital gains questions. However, we will not do complex calculations for the taxpayer such as calculating actual basis in complex situations.
The information in this exhibit is for ALL Accounts Management assistors not receiving calls in the Default Screener application, who have determined that the caller's question is regarding an OOS Tax Law topic following the guidelines in IRM 220.127.116.11.1 (5) - (7), Customer Service Duties.
Information provided to the caller should be limited to the resources available and basic directions for locating the information. At a minimum, the caller should be referred to the web site for information. OOS tax law questions should not be answered or answers implied.
Initial response to inquiry (or similar statement):"Thank you for calling us today regarding (paraphrase taxpayer's question). I'm sorry, but we do not provide live assistance on this topic. However, I can provide you resources available to assist you."
Advise the taxpayer that the following resources are available (other appropriate resources may be provided):
www.irs.gov. - Click on Information For in the upper right corner and select the appropriate option, (i.e., Individual, Business, Tax Professionals, etc.,)
Publications can be accessed through the Forms and Pubs tab. Some examples are:
Pub. 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals
Pub. 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records
Pub. 15, (Circular E) Employer’s Tax Guide
Pub. 510, Excise Tax
Pub. 559, Survivors, Executors and Administrators
Circular 230 for Tax Professional
Access the Interactive Tax Assistant by entering "ITA" in the search box.
Enter "IRS Tax Map" into the Search feature for more detailed information
If the caller seems resistant to using the available resources, the assistor may remind the caller that IRS.gov has easy-to-use tools to help answer tax questions such as the Interactive Tax Assistant or the IRS Tax Map, each designed to help find answers to tax questions quickly and easily. They can also enter their topic or question in the search box on the website.
Close the call.
Additional information for assistors:
Where do I look on the internet? When you first enter the website at www.irs.gov, you will see the search box available at the top right hand side. Enter your topic in the search box and click on the magnifying glass. This will provide you several options in the main body of text to help narrow your search. Also on the right hand side, you will see several options to identify the forms and publications available to assist you. Another option is to select the Help & Resources tab on the irs.gov home page. Options are listed on the left side of the page.
Why is the IRS doing this? Like other federal agencies, we must use our limited resources to provide the best service possible and are doing so by balancing technology based and face-to-face services. That way we can focus on taxpayers who have no other alternative method to resolve their tax issue. We apologize if this has caused you an inconvenience.