21.1.1 Accounts Management and Compliance Services Overview

Manual Transmittal

September 09, 2021


(1) This transmits revised IRM 21.1.1, Accounts Management and Compliance Services Operations, Accounts Management and Compliance Services Overview.

Material Changes

(1) IRM - Revised Program Scope and Objectives section to comply with IRS Style guidelines.

(2) IRM - Removed previous guidance the Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) requirements for non-appointment topics. TAC offices are now operating under appointments only for all services; corrected IRM reference. IPU 21U0371 issued 03-11-2021.

(3) IRM - Added new subsection titled Accounts Management (AM) Customer Service Representatives (CSR) Duties Handling Accounts with Balance Due/Missing Returns. Provided instructions on how to help taxpayers calling about balance due notices, pay-off balances, penalty abatements, missing and delinquent returns, etc. IPU 21U0943 issued 07-15-2021. Added taxpayer balance due pay off for unreversed TC 520.

(4) IRM - Added guidance for AM National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) employees for balance due procedures to align with NTA.

(5) IRM - Removed Over the Phone Interpreter (OPI) Service procedures and placed in new section; revised supervisor call back procedures to advise of call back times and notate In-House referrals and align with IRM 21.3.5, Taxpayer Inquiry Referrals Form 4442. IPU 21U0899 issued 06-06-2021.

(6) IRM - Removed all references to Lead Gate due to closure. IPU 21U0371 issued 03-11-2021.

(7) IRM and (6) - Provided clarity for the Over the Phone Interpreter Service (OPI) Applications procedures by updating the toll-free number taxpayers use and editorial changes. IPU 20U1331 issued 12-21-2020. Moved OPI procedures to IRM per IPU 21U0899 issued 06-30-2021.

(8) IRM - Added instructions to address returning to taxpayer after placing on hold and there is no response.

(9) IRM - Finalized procedures for supervisor callbacks to reflect uniformity with IRM 21.3.5, Taxpayer Inquiry Referrals Form 4442.

(10) IRM - Added more scenarios for writing referrals. IPU 20U1331 issued 12-21-2020.

(11) IRM - Added NOTE for representatives not trained in balance due calls. IPU 20U1331 issued 12-21-2020. These procedures have been removed to align with new balance due procedures.

(12) IRM - Removed all references to Lead Gate due to closure. IPU 21U0371 issued 03-11-2021. Renumbered to IRM

(13) IRM - Added instructions to use IRS communication systems when seeking technical help. IPU 21U0188 issued 02-02-2021. Renumbered to IRM

(14) IRM - Added the selection of Personal when preparing e-4442/4442s for managerial callbacks. IPU 21U0371 issued 03-11-2021. These procedures have been renumbered to IRM 21.1.1.(10)(c). Reflects procedural change and how to notate taxpayer’s account.

(15) IRM - Added new section titled Over the Phone Interpreter (OPI) Service Applications and clarified procedures. IPU 21U0899 issued 06-30-2021.

(16) IRM - (6) and (8) - Provided clearer instructions on how to address the interpreter when additional help is necessary; provides information for employees to provide feedback on the Over-the-Phone (OPI) Service. IPU 21U0943 issued 07-15-2021.

(17) IRM - Provided extensions for transferring the taxpayer when requesting tax account or tax transcripts. IPU 20U1331 issued 12-21-2020. IRM has been renumbered and change is now reflected in IRM

(18) IRM - Added managerial reference for Bad Line/Dropped Calls.

(19) IRM - Added further instructions for Dropped Calls. IPU 21U0899 issued 06-30-2021.

(20) Editorial and grammar updates have been made throughout this IRM to comply with Plain Language Writing. IRM has been renumbered extensively due to added/deleted material.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 21.1.1 dated September 11, 2020 (effective October 1, 2020) is superseded. This IRM incorporates the following IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs): IPU 20U1331 issued 12-21-2020; IPU 21U0188 issued 02-02-2021; IPU 21U0371 issued 03-11-2021, IPU 21U0899 issued 06-30-2021 and IPU 21U0943 issued 07-15-2021.


All IRS employees in any Business Operating Divisions (BODs) who are in contact with taxpayers by telephone, correspondence, or in person

Effective Date


Karen A. Michaels
Director, Accounts Management
Wage and Investment Division

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. This IRM provides procedures to help customer service representatives answer telephone inquiries accurately and quickly.

  2. Purpose: The Wage and Investment (W&I) and Small Business/Self Employed (SB/SE) Business Operating Divisions (BODs) handle taxpayer contacts by:

    1. Providing general tax related information,

    2. Providing information on the status of taxpayer returns/refunds/accounts, and

    3. Adjusting taxpayer accounts, when proper.

  3. Audience: The primary users of this IRM are IRS employees in areas who are in contact with taxpayers by telephone, correspondence or in person.

  4. Policy Owner: Director of Accounts Management

  5. Program Owner: Wage and Investment, Customer Account Services, Accounts Management, Policy and Procedures.

  6. Primary Stakeholders: The responsibilities outlined in this IRM are divided into three subordinate units:

    • Customer Assistance, Relationships, and Education (CARE)

    • Customer Account Services (CAS)

    • Compliance

    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.

  7. Program Goals: Program goals for this type of work are to strive to keep integrity, quality and excellence in the service provided to our telephone and face-to-face customers. This is done by achieving a high customer service accuracy rate within each Specialized Product Review Group (SPRG). To continue this, the work performed is continuously monitored and reviewed for quality.


  1. This IRM is the official source for customer service representatives in performance of daily duties. Interim guidance procedures may be used to provide updates to the current procedures outlined in this IRM. Employees responding to taxpayer inquiries and phone calls, the processing of claims and other internal adjustment requests use this IRM as a primary source.


  1. Per Policy Statement 5-2: We will actively help taxpayers who try to follow the law, and work to continually improve the quality of our systems and service to meet the needs of our customers. All taxpayers, whether delinquent or fully compliant, are entitled to prompt and professional service whenever they deal with Service employees. The public as a whole is our customer, not just delinquent taxpayers. Our customers expect us to promote voluntary compliance by ensuring that all promptly pay their fair share.

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. The Director of Accounts Management has oversight responsibility for the instructions to employees contained in the IRM content.

  2. Accounts Management employees handle taxpayer contacts by answering tax law/account inquiries and adjusting tax accounts. In addition, it is also 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.

  3. Compliance Services employees handle taxpayer contacts by providing support services to the Compliance organization, including Automated Collection System (ACS), Automated Underreporter (AUR), Installment Agreements, and multiple other programs.

  4. For more information on Compliance support services, see IRM 5.18, Liability Determination, and IRM 5.19, Liability Collection.

  5. The Office of Taxpayer Correspondence (OTC), in Media and Publication is the Enterprise point of contact when a 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, Erroneous Correspondence Procedures - Report Erroneous Correspondence Process.

  6. Field Assistance (FA) employees handle taxpayer contacts by providing personal help to answer tax law questions and resolve account issues. Assistance includes multilingual interpreter services, proof of receipt of tax returns, and various other services.

  7. For more information on TAC responsibilities, see IRM, Standard Services in a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC), and procedures throughout this IRM.

Program Controls

  1. Program Effectiveness: Program effectiveness is determined by public-facing employees successfully using the guidelines provided in this IRM.

  2. Program Controls: 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.


  1. Acronyms commonly used throughout this IRM:

    • AMS - Account Management Services

    • BMF - Business Master File

    • BOD - Business Operating Division

    • CARE - Customer Assistance, Relationships and Education

    • CAS - Customer Account Services

    • CIS - Correspondence Imaging System

    • CSR - Customer Service Representative

    • FA - Field Assistance

    • FOIA - Freedom of Information Act

    • IMF - Individual Master File

    • ITLA - Interactive Tax Law Assistant

    • OOS - Out-of-Scope

    • PIN - Personal Identification Number

    • PPS - Practitioner Priority Service

    • PSTN - Public Switch Telephone Network

    • SEID - Standard Employee Identifier

    • SERP - Servicewide Electronic Research Program

    • TAC - Taxpayer Assistance Center

    • TCJA - Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

    • TIN - Taxpayer Identification Number

    • TTG - Telephone Transfer Guide

    • UCCE - Unified Contact Center Enterprise

    • W&I - Wage and Investment

Related Resources

  1. Resources commonly used in this IRM:

    • TTG - Telephone Transfer Guide

    • ITLA - Interactive Tax Law Assistant

    • SERP - Servicewide Electronic Research Program

  2. Additional 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

  3. All the tools mentioned in paragraph (2) above can be accessed through the IRS Intranet at the Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) site.

Commitment to Quality

  1. 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 help taxpayers, practitioners and other third parties, in a manner that warrants the highest degree of public confidence.

  2. The IRS does 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 education programs or activities based on sex, race, color, national origin, disability, reprisal, religion or age.

  3. If a taxpayer believes they have discriminated against on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin (including limited English proficiency), disability, reprisal, religion or age, advise the taxpayer they he/she can forward an email to: *EDI.Civil.Rights.Division@irs.gov or send a written complaint to: Internal Revenue Service, Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, CRU, 1111 Constitution Ave, NW, Room 2413, Washington, DC 20224. To obtain a complaint online, it can be found at Civil Rights On-Line Form.

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

Customer Service Representative (CSR) Duties

  1. A CSR (referred to throughout this section) includes, but is not limited to, the following named positions:

    • Contact Representative

    • 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)


    All employees assigned to Accounts Management, Field Assistance and Compliance Services are considered CSRs.

  2. The duties of a CSR are varied. Many hours are spent on the telephone, working paper cases, or helping taxpayers at a TAC counter. Paper cases include both incoming taxpayer correspondence and internally generated cases.

  3. 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 correct application using the Telephone Transfer Guide

    • Preparing substitute returns

    • Proposing more 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)

    • Referring taxpayers to Low Income Tax Clinics (LITCs)

  4. Taxpayer inquiries include telephone calls, correspondence, and personal contacts about:

    • Accounts

    • Notices and letters

    • Payments

    • Refunds

    • 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

    • Tax law

    • 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.

  5. Tax law assistance includes responding to inquiries about:

    • If income is taxable


      Questions about In Home Health Care (IHHS) or In Home Support Services (IHSS) payments for individuals are considered income calls.

    • 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.


      This includes advising the taxpayer of the correct forms for reporting requirements.

  6. See IRM, Out of Scope and Limited Service, for information about the services CAS Accounts Management does not provide.

  7. Field Assistance representatives should refer to IRM, Tax Law Assistance, for overall guidance on responding to tax law inquiries and IRM, Out-of-Scope Tax Law Referrals, to determine if the question is considered in-scope or out-of-scope.

  8. 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 (if certified or trained) and offer other alternatives (self-help) to the taxpayer.


    TAC offices are now operating under appointment only for all services.

    If a TAC appointment call is received by an assistor not staffing Agent Groups 55 or 56, even if trained, the employee must provide the taxpayer the toll-free number (844-545-5640).


    For taxpayers who cannot call the toll-free number, the employee must transfer to the correct agent group, (e.g., international callers that require help 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)

    • Authenticate

    • Access IDRS, if trained in the topic

    • 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

    • If taxpayer must go to a TAC for face-to-face help, refer to IRM, Accounts Management Procedures for Appointment Service, for further procedures.

    See IRM (3), Appointment Considerations, for further instructions. Appointment information is also available on www.irs.gov.

  9. AM does not answer out-of-scope (OOS) tax law questions. Topics listed in the TTG (as well as those listed in Exhibit 21.1.1-1) under extension 3013 and 3014 are OOS tax law topics. Taxpayers should be referred to the self-help options on OOS tax law questions. See Exhibit 21.1.1-2 Out-of-Scope Communications, for further instructions.

Accounts Management (AM) Customer Service Representative (CSR) Duties Handling Accounts with Balance Due / Missing Returns

  1. As of April 19, 2021, Accounts Management (AM) no longer negotiates payments on balance due accounts or set demand dates for missing/unfiled returns. A request for basic account information should be considered an account related issue. Do not transfer callers if the only reason for the call is to request transcripts, correct math errors, locate missing payments or request return status. The AM CSR will continue to respond to balance due accounts as it relates to below:


    Account Management (AM) employees assigned to the NTA toll free intake application are directed to follow the guidance in IRM 13.3.1, National Taxpayer Advocate Toll-Free Program - NTA Toll-Free Procedures.


    List is not all inclusive.

    • Math Errors

    • Penalty Abatements

    • Payment Tracers

    • Payoff Amount/Balance on account

    • Missing Returns (e.g., information on which returns are missing, request for wage and income information, address to send return, etc.)

    • Transcript Requests

    • Exam/AUR Assessments

  2. When responding to balance due issues as described above, you must access the account and address all non-collection account issues. See chart below for examples.


    This chart is not all inclusive.

    The account contains a math error Adjust/Correct the math error on the account IRM 21.5.4, General Math Error Procedures Math Error Procedures
    The caller requests a STAUP or hold on the account(s) Place hold on the account per IRM, Notice Suppression.


    If the account is in status 22/24/ or 26 See IRM, T- Freeze.

    The caller requests a penalty abatement Use Reasonable Cause Assistant (RCA) for penalty abatement request per IRM, Reasonable Cause Assistant (RCA)
    Requests for reasonable cause penalty abatement (including penalty appeals) in status 22 must be forwarded to Automated Collection System Support (ACSS). Use the following link for ACSS routing: ACS Support and Status 22 TAS Liaisons.
    Penalty Abatement requests such as Civil Penalties and Exempt Organizations (EO) will be routed to the correct area that assessed the penalty. See IRM 20.1.1-4, Penalty Reference Numbers (500 Series), or IRM 20.1.1-5, Penalty Reference Numbers (600 Series), for Civil Penalty reference numbers and descriptions. Penalty request from Form 5471, Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations, and Form 5472, Information Return of a Foreign Owned Corporation, see the exception in IRM, Campus Collection Function Correspondence/Inquiry/Notice.
    The caller requests information on missing or delinquent return(s) Provide information on which return(s) are missing, address where to send return, wage and income information as needed, etc.
    The caller requests transcripts Issue transcript for verbal transcript requests see IRM Required Taxpayer Authentication.
    The issue involves payment Information, payment tracer or misapplied payment(s) Research and correct payment(s) on account per IRM, Resolving Missing Payments Procedures, and IRM 21.5.7, Payment Tracers.
    The caller requests an IA status Provide status of IA (default/current).
    The caller requests information on missing refund Research the account and try to resolve missing refund (i.e., refund trace, offset information, etc.,) per IRM 21.4.1 Refund Research.
    The caller requests information on return/ amended return filed Research the account and provide information on return/ amended return filed.
    The caller requests balance due/payoff amount (except accounts in status 22/26) Provide payoff according to IRM, Can Full Pay Balance Due Now (Payoff). For taxpayers with an unreversed TC 520 on the module, research the TC 520 closing code and freeze on the account and follow applicable IRMs to address bankruptcy.
    The caller requests information about where and how to send payments
    • Provide caller with self-help methods (i.e., Online Payment Agreement (OPA) electronic payment methods, etc.),

    • Provide caller with address to mail payments and on how to annotate check, see IRM, Taxpayer Responsibilities

    • When submitting payments by check or money order, see IRM, Electronic Federal Tax Payment Systems (EFTPS), IRM, Electronic Payments Options for Individuals and Business e-File Users, IRM, Online Payment Agreement (OPA) for Certain BMF Debts.

    The caller requests a formal payment agreement (i.e. installment agreement, extension to pay, etc.) Transfer the call to ACS per specific guidance in paragraph 7 below.
    The caller requests information on an Examination audit Provide the caller with information requested, per IRM 21.5.10 Examination Issues.
    The caller requests information on an AUR assessment Provide the caller with information requested, see IRM, Status of Individual Master File (IMF) Underreporter Cases.
    The caller requests account information and has previously submitted an offer in comprise (OIC) Provide the caller with information, see IRM, -Y Freeze.
    The caller believes he/she is a victim of identity theft Provide information as outlined in IRM, Identity Theft Telephone General, and IRM, Identity Theft Balance Due Issues.
    The caller requests a hold from SFR/ 6020(b) to send in missing returns After providing services as outlined above, transfer the caller to ACS to negotiate hold on SFR/ 6020(b).

  3. You must address all account issues prior to transferring the call.

  4. After addressing all account issues, if the account still has a balance due or a missing return in TDI status 02 or 03 (that will not be resolved by the AM action taken), transfer the call to ACS for compliance resolution.


    If the action taken by AM will resolve the balance due once the action posts, advise the taxpayer they will receive a notice showing the resolution.

  5. For issues concerning balances due, determine if the taxpayer or authorized representative made an effort to use the Online Payment Agreement (OPA) application on www.irs.gov.

    The caller has not made an effort to use OPA for an IMF balance
    1. Refer to IRM, Online Payment Agreement (OPA) for IMF Debts, for requirements and options available through OPA.

    2. If the caller qualifies to use OPA, advise the taxpayer the Online Payment Agreement tool allows authorized users to:

      • Establish, view and revise most payment arrangements,

      • Not wait on hold to speak to an assistor in the Collections Department

    The caller has not made an effort to use OPA for a BMF balance
    1. Refer to IRM, Online Payment Agreements for Certain BMF Debts, for requirements and options available through OPA.

    2. If the caller qualifies to use OPA, advise the taxpayer the Online Payment Agreement tool allows authorized users to:

      • Establish, view and revise most payment arrangements,

      • Not wait on hold to speak to an assistor in the Collections Department.

    The caller is unable to use OPA or declines to use OPA Refer to paragraph 7 below for transfer/referral references.
  6. For cases assigned to an RO (status 26), direct the caller to the telephone number listed on the notice.


    If the caller does not have the notice available, see IRM, Revenue Officer (RO) Assignment, for more information.

  7. Follow specific product lines IRM procedures when referring balance due and/or TDI issues to ACS; see the table below:


    For Taxpayer Information Authorization (TIA) (Form 8821, Taxpayer Information Authorization) callers, refer to IRM, Instructions for Form 8821, Taxpayer Information Authorization.

    Product Lines Reference
    Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) IRM, Transfers and/or Referrals
    Taxpayer Protection Program (TPP) IRM, TPP Basic Authentication and Research,
    IRM, Responding to the Taxpayer and Case Resolution for the Taxpayer Protection Program (TPP) Telephone Assistors and Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) Assistors
    TAC Appointment Service IRM, Addressing, Targeting and Resolving Issues Without an Appointment
    IMF International IRM, Websites and Telephone Numbers
    BMF International IRM, Websites and Telephone Numbers
    TE/GE IRM, Requests for Installment Agreements on Exempt Organization (EO) and Employee Plan (EP) Tax Modules
    AM Identity Theft IRM, Identity Theft Telephone General
    IRM, Identity Theft Balance Due Issues
    For TTY/TTD IRM, Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHOH) Callers and TTY/TTD Equipment
    All other product lines Refer to the Telephone Transfer Guide

Out of Scope and Limited Service

  1. The areas discussed below are beyond the level of service (out of scope) that CAS, Accounts Management provides:

    • Tax form and schedule preparation

    • Tax planning

    • Legal opinions

    • Highly complex tax issues (limited service)

  2. Tax form and schedule preparation is defined as:

    • Use of taxpayer information to provide "line-by-line" help 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).


      AM and FA assistors do NOT help in the preparation of the Shared Responsibility Payment or Affordability Worksheets.

  3. Tax planning is defined as a request as to whether one course of action is favored over another.

  4. Legal opinions are not provided; however, CSRs can advise taxpayers of the applicable law.

  5. 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 must respond to tax law inquiries by using ITLA. However, "limited service" may be provided by AM employees for highly complex issues.

    • While these inquiries can 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.

  6. CSRs must use 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

  7. 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


    Inquiries about the forms above should be transferred to the proper Telephone Transfer Guide applications.

Tax Reform

  1. On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Public Law 115-97). The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the most sweeping change about tax law in over 30 years. It affects every area of tax law, including increasing the standard deduction, removing personal exemptions, increasing the Child Tax Credit, limiting or stopping certain deductions and changing the tax rates and brackets.

  2. The Tax Withholding Estimator has been updated to reflect the new tax rates in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and changes in the withholding table. When taxpayers complete the Tax Withholding Estimator, it helps them determine if they are having the correct amount of tax withheld from their pay for the current tax year. See IRM, Tax Withholding Estimator, for more information.

Tax Withholding Estimator
  1. The Tax Withholding Estimator is a special external tool on irs.gov designed to help taxpayers determine the correct amount of federal withholding for the tax year. It does not ask the taxpayer to provide sensitive, personally-identifiable information (i.e., taxpayer’s name, social security number, bank account numbers).

  2. Taxpayers have an option to select calculating your income tax withholding when calling the IRS about the Tax Withholding Estimator. Tax Withholding Estimator calls must be routed to Application 127 (English - 1127) or Application 128 (Spanish - 1128) and answered at Andover, Atlanta, Kansas City, Fresno and Puerto Rico.

  3. The assistors respond to questions such as:

    • Where do I find the tool?

    • Where do I find the information on Form W-2 to populate the tool?

    • What do I do with the Form W-4?

    • What do I do if I cannot get into the tool now?


    If the taxpayer has a more complex tax situation, advise the taxpayer to review Pub 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, for more assistance.

  4. The last page of the Tax Withholding Estimator is a "Your Results" page, which provides guidance (which may or may not recommend revising the Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate), based on the taxpayer’s response throughout the Tax Withholding Estimator. Assistors will not help the taxpayer with preparation of the Form W-4.

  5. While staffing Application 127/128, if the taxpayer has a tax law question that extends past the entries on the Tax Withholding Estimator AND the CSR is not trained and certified, the taxpayer should either be transferred to the applicable tax law application per the TTG or referred to the Interactive Tax Assistant on irs.gov.

  6. If a Tax Withholding Estimator call comes into an application OTHER THAN App 127/128 (e.g., Application 55/56) and the taxpayer requests an appointment with the TAC office concerning general guidance or questions about the Withholding Estimator or the Form W-4, not tax law, do not make an appointment with the TAC. Instead, transfer the call as follows (this is necessary to keep accurate counts):

    • Application 127 English - 1127

    • Application 128 Spanish - 1128

  7. If a Tax Withholding Estimator call comes into Application 55/56 and the taxpayer requests face-to-face help with the Tax Withholding Estimator or Form W-4, schedule the appointment in the Field Assistance Scheduling Tool (FAST) under the Tax Law topic. Advise the taxpayer to bring the following documents/information to the appointment:

    • Most recent pay stubs and previous pay stubs for each job (and spouse’s job(s)) showing Federal Income tax withheld to date

    • The most recent completed tax return could be beneficial if the current tax year income needs to be estimated

    • Number of dependents to be claimed for the Child Tax Credit

    • Number of dependents to be claimed for Earned Income Tax Credit

    • Other items that affect the taxpayer’s current tax year taxes (i.e., other tax credits, estimate of itemized deductions)

    • Information about interest/dividends

IRC 965 Transition Tax
  1. IRC 965 of the Internal Revenue Code, enacted on December 22, 2017 imposes a transition tax on untaxed foreign earnings of foreign corporations with U.S. shareholders by considering those earnings to be repatriated (funds held in a foreign country by U.S. shareholders must be taxed). Foreign earnings held in the form of cash and cash equivalents are taxed at a 15.5 percent rate, and the remaining earnings are taxed at an 8 percent rate. The taxpayer may elect to pay the transition tax in installments over an eight-year period.

  2. The IRS released the following guidance:

    • IRC 2018-131, IRS offers penalty, filing relief to many subject to new transition tax on foreign earnings.

    • Notice 2018-07, Guidance Under Section 965

    • Notice 2018-13, Additional Guidance Under Section 965

    • Notice 2018-26, Additional Guidance Under Section 965

    • Pub 5292, How to Calculate Section 965 Amounts and Elections Available to Taxpayers

    • Rev. Proc 2018-17Change in Accounting Periods and In Methods of Accounting

  3. IRS has also posted on IRS.gov a series of Frequently Asked Questions which provide guidance to taxpayers about reporting and paying tax attributable to IRC 965 on their tax returns. See IRM, IRC 965 - Transition Tax on Untaxed Foreign Earnings, for more information on IMF and IRM, Section 965 Transition Tax, for BMF.

Communication Skills

  1. The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (IRS RRA 98), IRC 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 help 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.

  2. You must provide, in a professional and courteous manner, the following information to each taxpayer/authorized representative/caller with whom you speak 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 AND

    • Your identification (ID) badge number or, if the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12/SmartID Card) is issued, use the 10 digit Personal Identification (PID) number.


      If your last name is hyphenated or you have two last names on your ID, you must use as stated on your federally issued identification badge. 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. It is imperative you remain professional and courteous throughout the course of the call. Do not accept any collect calls.

    • 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

  3. Greet the caller.

    1. 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.) then allow 30 seconds for the taxpayer to respond. If there is no response after 30 seconds expire, disconnect the line and move on to the next call.

    2. If the caller asks you to repeat your name and identification number, do so courteously and professionally.

    3. Speak to the caller in a pleasant, courteous, and professional manner showing a willingness to help, by using the proper phrase such as "May I help you?" or "How can I help you?" .

  4. Respond to the caller's opening statement.

  5. Transferring calls to the Spanish gate. When an assistor receives a call from a Spanish speaking individual and is unable to complete Disclosure Authentication or obtain Oral Disclosure Consent because the caller speaks limited (or no) English, it is proper to transfer the call to the Spanish gate. Refer to the Telephone Transfer Guide for a list of topics and transfer numbers to refer the caller. This follows the specialized product review group (SPRG) definition in IRM, Definition of Spanish Tax Law and Account Calls SPRG.

  6. Target the caller's question.

    1. Deal with the caller's feelings (if proper), noticeable through tone, voice inflection, and rate of speech.

    2. Ask the questions necessary to determine the nature of the inquiry.

    3. Use paraphrasing, if necessary, to show you comprehend and have identified the question.


      If you are not trained and certified in the topic as it relates to the taxpayer’s question, advise the taxpayer you are transferring their call to an assistor to help them. Always remember to advise the caller about where you are transferring them.

  7. Disclosure check (for account calls only). Follow the guidelines outlined in IRM, Required Taxpayer Authentication, and IRM, Additional Taxpayer Authentication.


    Customers requesting general information (i.e., questions about forms, letters or publications not requiring account access) do not require authentication. If, in the course of the call, a general question turns into an inquiry that needs to be answered by accessing taxpayer account information, authentication procedures must be followed.

  8. Get the necessary facts.

    1. Use a purpose statement (when proper) to prepare the caller for a series of questions.

    2. Ask questions pertinent to the inquiry to obtain the information necessary to answer the inquiry.

    3. Record the facts on paper, job aid, or other methods to help you remember specific details.

  9. Provide assistance.

    1. Provide accurate and complete information. Explain any procedures and order necessary forms and publications.

    2. If you research the account, make sure you have covered all open issues.

    3. If you are unable to research the account, refer the question following proper referral procedures. If the caller needs to be transferred to another area, advise the caller where they are being transferred and the role of the function.

    4. 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 should not 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, which should never be more than five to seven minutes, but can be less. If no promised wait time is given, do not keep the caller on hold for more than five minutes without returning to the caller. When returning to the taxpayer, always thank them 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 them for holding, OR apologize for the hold and provide an explanation for the additional research. If you encounter systemic problems or need to seek more help that may place the promised wait time in jeopardy, reconnect with the caller, thank them for holding and advise of the additional wait time and the reason for the hold. If you have returned to the caller after placing them on hold and there is no response, wait five minutes before disconnecting and notate on Account Management Services (AMS) the call ended due to no response when returning from hold.

    5. If you must RECEIVE a fax from the caller, verify the correct IRS fax number and confirm that the fax has been sent BEFORE placing the caller on hold. Advise the caller of the expected wait time, which should never be more than five minutes. Do not keep the call on hold for more than five minutes without returning to the caller. If you encounter systemic problems that place the promised wait time in jeopardy, apologize for the hold time, provide an explanation, and thank the caller for holding. However, if the caller must be placed on hold after the fax is received, adhere to the hold procedures listed above in (d).


      If the taxpayer chooses not to remain on the line while the issue is being researched, the CSR should offer a written referral, via Form 4442 or e-4442 per IRM, Preparing an e-4442/4442. If the taxpayer requests not to be placed on hold while information is researched, place the call on mute to avoid inadvertent disclosure of PII, tax information or background sounds.

    6. For tax law related questions, see your manager or lead. Use IRS communication systems such as SKYPE and Jabber; refrain from the use of personal cell phones. If real-time help is not available, complete an in-house e-4442 referral per IRM, Preparing an e-444/4442.

    7. Taxpayers may contact the IRS requesting information about their accounts. Limit the taxpayer to one account per call, not tax year/period. If there are multiple taxpayers who need help with their account (e.g., a married couple who filed FS 3, married filing separate returns) on the call, allow one account for each taxpayer on the call.


      A husband who filed a FS 3 return calls for help with his account. His wife (also FS 3) and their two children (who each have filed their own returns), also need help with their accounts. The CSR would not disconnect the call after helping the husband and require the other three family members to call back, but would help all four taxpayers during the phone call. This example is not just limited to family members; the call can also include unrelated people.

    8. 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, limit service to no more than five taxpayers/TINs during one call. The call should not be disconnected.


      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 request the taxpayer to obtain copies of transcripts via Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return. Third parties are no longer allowed to obtain transcripts by mail. See IRM, Authorized Third Parties, for more information.

  10. If a caller requests to speak to a supervisor, follow the instructions below.

    1. Advise the caller that you are referring him or her to your supervisor, and ask the caller to hold.

    2. Contact your supervisor or appointed designee. Transfer the call to the supervisor or designee per your organization's procedures. Areas using the Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE), contact your manager for the proper procedures.

    3. If your supervisor or designee is not available, advise the caller and secure from the caller the best time and day (request best times for the same day of call and the next business day) for your supervisor or designee to return the call via Form 4442/e-4442, select In-House, per IRM 21.3.5, Taxpayer Inquiry Referrals Form 4442. Contact your manager or designee immediately via email and attach pdf print copy of Form 4442 call back request. Notate account via Account Management Services (AMS) advising of the supervisor callback request.


    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 to resolve the issue. If the customer continues with the abusive language, explain that if the caller does not stop with the abusive language, the call will be terminated. If the caller continues the abusive language, terminate the call and inform your manager.

  11. Close the Conversation.

    1. Verify the caller's comprehension by asking if he/she understands the information given (e.g., "Have I answered all your questions?" or "Do you understand the information I’ve given you today?" ).


      If it is clear the caller comprehends the information provided during the call, (i.e., caller repeats the information back to the CSR, says that he/she understands, etc.), it is not necessary to verify the caller’s comprehension.

    2. Provide name and ID number, if not yet provided.

    3. Conclude the contact courteously. For example, thank the caller if he/she has provided information to help resolve an open issue; apologize if the IRS has made an error. Be sure to disconnect the call.

  12. Any telephone call not finalized by close of business (COB) may become a written referral. Apologize to the caller and explain that more research is needed to answer their question. Offer to prepare a referral and advise the taxpayer of the 30-day time frame for a response. If the taxpayer does not want to wait 30 days for a response, advise the caller to call back and provide the hours of operation. See IRM, What Is a Referral, for more instructions. These procedures should also be followed if a call must be terminated in other circumstances, such as a sudden illness of an employee or building evacuations. All other circumstances should be discussed with your manager.

  13. 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. If the taxpayer does not want to be placed on hold while specific actions are being performed on the account, wrap time should be used to close out notes being made to the account. For more information about completing on-line account calls, see IRM (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, 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, more time is necessary to close out the account.)

  14. To ensure that you provide quality service, when helping callers who visit in person or who call on the telephone with tax law/technical inquiries, you must use the available ITLA Tax Law Categories (TLCs) or the relevant IRMs for account inquiries.

  15. Using ITLA and taking the actions specified is mandatory on tax law/technical inquiries.

  16. Use the Account Management Services (AMS) or CIS case notes, to document outgoing calls and actions taken.


    The AMS screen that shows employee name and manager information is for internal use only. Do not give the taxpayer or his or her representative the name or telephone number of any employee (e.g., CSR, Manager, Analyst, etc.).

  17. When an account related call turns into a tax law/technical inquiry, you must use ITLA.


    When a specific IRM reference advises a CSR to tell a taxpayer to file an amended return, this would be considered a procedure, NOT tax law and the use of ITLA is not required.

  18. You can answer a call received on any tax law application, if you are 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.


    Advise the caller that you are transferring his/her call to the area that handles the question (identify the specific area).

  19. You must address all pertinent taxpayer/caller authentication probes, when necessary. See IRM, Required Taxpayer Authentication.


    If a call is not an account call, do not address taxpayer authentication probes.

  20. 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:

    1. Your title (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss), last name (if your last name is hyphenated, or you have two last names, please use 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,

    2. That you are with the IRS,

    3. That you are calling in response to his/her inquiry on (date), and

    4. The telephone number to call to request more help.

  21. 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, Required Taxpayer Authentication.

  22. When making outgoing calls, do not:

    1. Leave confidential tax information on a voice mail message or an answering machine message,

    2. Provide taxpayers/third parties with the telephone numbers of functional areas,

    3. Give the taxpayer or his/her representative the name or telephone number of any employee (i.e., CSR, manager, analyst, etc.) unless specifically required by an IRM or

    4. Transfer taxpayer/third party calls to functional areas.

  23. Employees’ 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. Additionally, SKYPE should only be used for work related matters.

  24. 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, unless required by the IRM. 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 be found on CC ENMOD.

Over the Phone Interpreter Service (OPI) Applications

  1. Accounts Management has specific applications which are staffed to offer interpreter services for customers who do not speak English or Spanish. These customers will typically contact the service via the Multilingual Product Line, 833-553-9895. A group of specialized assistors staff applications 33, 123, 135 and 137, have received an OPI PIN and training for interpreter service access. ONLY assistors who are trained and equipped will use the interpreter service. If you receive a call in a language other than English or Spanish and you are not staffing one of the applications that provide OPI service, refer to the Telephone Transfer Guide (TTG), Other Languages section for a list of topics and transfer numbers to which the taxpayer can be referred. Provide the caller with the Multilingual Product Line number 833-553-9895, before transferring the call.


    When a taxpayer needs an interpreter and their topic isn't covered in an OPI application, instruct the taxpayer to call back with their own translator.


    If the taxpayer speaks Spanish, refer him/her to the correct Spanish application. The OPI applications are only for assistance in languages other than English or Spanish.

  2. Assistors staffing OPI applications must verify that the caller is properly routed and requires help in a language other than English or Spanish. After greeting the caller, probe to identify which language the interpreter service will need to translate.

    • If the language required is other than English or Spanish, connect to the interpreter service.

    • If the caller speaks English or Spanish, refer to the Telephone Transfer Guide for a list of topics and transfer numbers to which the customer can be referred.

    • If you cannot identify the language needed, call the interpreter service and ask the operator for help.


    Assistors staffing International product lines use the OPI service for all Limited English Proficient (LEP) callers, including Spanish.

  3. The IRS/OPI contract allows the disclosure of tax information to the OPI Interpreter. The assistor should limit disclosure to only that information which is necessary to resolve the issue. The interpreters are not employees of the IRS so communicate with them exactly as you would communicate with the taxpayer. To use the OPI services, take the following steps:

    1. To conference a call from the Soft Phone - Press Consult/Conf to initiate a consult or conference call.

    2. A Consult/Conference Dialing Pad dialog box will display.

    3. Enter the numbers 9 and 1, then enter the new toll-free number, 888-563-1155.

    4. Enter the PIN number (xxxx-xxxxx) - this is a unique personal PIN for each employee. PINs have been distributed to site management. If an employee does not have a PIN, management or local SA must contact the OPI coordinator to have one assigned, usually within 1 business day.

    5. Select language.

    Press... For Language...
    1 Spanish (For International Only)
    2 Creole
    3 Mandarin
    4 Korean
    5 Vietnamese
    6 Somali
    7 Russian
    8 French
    9 Arabic
    0 Operator help (To address any other language needs or concerns)


    A transfer to OPI is only used by OPI Applications or assistors staffing International lines when the assistor cannot be understood (by all callers) due to Limited English Proficiency, nor can the assistor understand all parties to obtain the required disclosure authentication or answer the taxpayer’s/representative’s question due to language barriers.

  4. An interpreter will be connected to the call.

  5. Brief the interpreter. Summarize what you wish to accomplish and give any special instructions.

  6. The OPI Interpreter is there to help you in communication with the LEP taxpayer regardless of the individual’s preferred language by removing the language barrier between you the caller.

    • Interpreters are trained to speak in the “first person”. Please conduct the conversation as if you are communicating with an English-speaking taxpayer, in the first person.


      Address the interpreter: "I need you to provide me your tax forms." Do NOT address the interpreter: "I need you to tell the taxpayer to provide their tax forms."

    • Speak in short sentences and ask the non-English speaker to do the same. Over-the-phone interpreting is done consecutively, thus the call is most effective with concise sentences.

    • Pause at the end of a complete thought to allow for interpretation.

    • Avoid compound questions. Asking a single question at a time will help avoid misunderstandings and set a good rhythm.

    • If you sense the LEP customer does not understand, rephrase the question in a different manner.

    • Avoid using acronyms.

  7. To avoid unnecessary OPI charges, ensure the taxpayer and interpreter disconnect at the end of the call. When the caller disconnects, you will automatically move to "available" status and capture the next call. If the system does not place you in available status and the line is still open, make the following statement: "The call is complete and you may hang up now." After the statement, press the Release key.

  8. All IRS employees who use the OPI service can provide feedback about the service by completing Form 14162, OPI Service Feedback, and submitting it by e-mail to the address on the form.

  9. OPI Assistors Staffing NON-OPI Applications - If you have an OPI PIN but are staffing a non-OPI application, and the caller needs an interpreter for a language other than English or Spanish, transfer the caller to the correct OPI application according to the Telephone Transfer Guide (TTG), Other Languages.

  10. Assistors Who Do Not Staff OPI Applications - Not all assistors are assigned to staff OPI applications and will use OPI services. Assistors who are not staffing an OPI application provide help in English and Spanish only. Assistors must transfer requests for languages other than English or Spanish following the Telephone Transfer Guide (TTG), Other Languages, which includes a list of topics and transfer numbers to which the taxpayer can be referred. If the taxpayer speaks Spanish, refer the caller to the proper Spanish application per the TTG.

Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) and Default Screener Application

  1. 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.

  2. 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:

    1. Selects an interactive application, PSTN routes the call to that application.

    2. Selects a non-interactive application, such as tax law, PSTN routes the call to a CSR.

Default Screener Application Guidelines

  1. 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)

  2. The default screener application CSR further directs calls to applications that are staffed with CSRs who are certified to answer specific inquiries.

  3. For all calls:

    1. State your:
      - title (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss), last name (if your last name is hyphenated, or you have two last names, please use 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.

    2. Ask the caller how you may direct or transfer his/her call.

    3. If necessary, probe (ask questions) to "determine" the real reason for the call. See paragraph (5) below.

    4. If needed, paraphrase and/or ask more questions of the caller before making a determination. See paragraph (6) below.

    5. If needed, take notes.

    6. Always show a willingness to help.

    7. If a taxpayer refuses to be transferred and requests to speak to a supervisor immediately, see IRM (10), Communication Skills.

  4. When assigned to the default screener application, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ANSWER THE QUESTION OR EXPLAIN THAT YOU KNOW THE ANSWER.

    1. Your assignment as a default screener is to properly direct the caller to the designated area related to his/her inquiry.

    2. You must become familiar with the TTG 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.


    If the taxpayer complains about receiving a courtesy disconnect due to heavy call volumes, apologize to the taxpayer. Provide the taxpayer with the hours of operation and advise that you will transfer them to the correct area again.

  5. 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.

    1. If yes, probe to determine to which TTG account application to transfer. Actively listen to the caller.

    2. 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.

    3. If the caller is inquiring about an OOS topic, transfer the caller to Extension 3013 (English) or Extension 3014 (Spanish) and advise the caller that he/she is being transferred to an automated line which provides available resources for finding answers to their questions. If the caller says he/she was previously transferred to the automated line and does not want to be transferred again, provide the following explanation or similar statement: "We apologize that live help is not available on this topic. Please visit our website at IRS.gov. Our Help tab (at the top of the page) is a great place to begin your search. It has a host of good information that is sure to address your concerns. I’m transferring you now to the automated line to provide the resources available to help you. Thank you for calling." Transfer the call.

    4. If you cannot understand a Spanish speaking or Limited English Proficient (LEP) taxpayer, use the TTG Search bar and type in the word Spanish or Other Languages and click Search to find the current topic and transfer number.

  6. When you identify the topic of the call:

    1. Advise the caller that you are transferring his/her call to the area that handles the question (identify the specific area).

    2. Press the proper TTG extension.

    3. Press transfer.

  7. 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-ServiceExtension 3158 (English), or Extension 3258 (Spanish).

    1. 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.

    2. If the time frame is not met, transfer the caller directly to the automated application.

    3. If the time frame is met, transfer the caller to the proper account application for help.

  8. When the topic is the receipt/status of an amended return, transfer the caller to Extension 3158 (English) or Extension 3258(Spanish). 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:

    1. If the caller has not already used the automated application, advise that he/she is being transferred (Extension 3158 (English), 3258 (Spanish)) directly to the automated system. Advise the caller to select the Amended Return prompt.

    2. If the call is about 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 is 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.

    3. If the call is about 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 is no record of receipt of the amended return, transfer him/her to the proper account’s application for help.

    4. If the call is about the status of an amended return filed more than 21 days but less than 16 weeks ago, advise the taxpayer of the proper processing time frame for amended returns, that the automated system has the most current information, and no other information is available. Do not transfer the call.

    5. If the call is about 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 correct accounts application for help.

  9. When the topic is related to a tax account or tax return transcript request, there is a direct transfer number for use by default screeners. Transfer these requests to Transcript Automated Self-ServiceExtension 3140 for English, or Extension 3240 for Spanish. This transfer number pertains only to individual (IMF) accounts. Follow the procedures below for these calls:

    1. Probe to determine whether the caller has already used the automated system.

    2. If the caller has already tried to use the automated system, transfer him/her to the correct accounts application for help, Extension 1045 for English, or Extension 1021 for Spanish.

    3. If the caller has not made an effort to use the automated system, advise the caller that he/she is being transferred directly to the automated application. If the caller cannot wait for postal delivery, transfer him/her to the correct account application for help.

  10. 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 (Application 20) so that it can be verified that the taxpayer does not have a balance due.


  1. The information on e-Service products is now found in IRM, e-Services.

Contact Recording

  1. Contact Recording is a telephone application/tool/system that records incoming toll-free telephone contacts for the purpose of possible subsequent monitoring.

  2. Incoming calls are answered with an announcement that says, "Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality purposes."

  3. The system is implemented in all Accounts Management and Compliance Services call sites.

  4. Managers and Quality Review use the tool to perform required random reviews (performance and product) of incoming telephone contacts.

  5. 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.

  6. The system stores data by employees' standard employee identifier (SEID) for a maximum of 45 days. For IUP sites, an Agent Number is used.

  7. There is a procedure, within the system, to disable the recording if a caller says that he/she does not wish to be recorded. Use the Verint Agent Initiated Monitoring icon on the start task bar and select Stop Monitoring to stop recording if the taxpayer requests not to be recorded.


    If you must transfer this caller, advise the caller of the transfer and that he/she must restate his/her request (that he/she does not wish to be recorded). When the call is transferred into a new site, the employee at the new site must take action to disable the recording.

  8. 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) and Field Collection Action. See IRM, 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, for the 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 (5), Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), for FOIA recording requests.

Lucy Phone/Fast Customer

  1. Lucy Phone and Fast Customer are two connection service companies offering to call IRS for help 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.

  2. 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."

  3. Do not accept these types of calls. Immediately disconnect these calls and move on to the next taxpayer.

Telephone Troubleshooting Reporting Procedures

  1. Bad line calls are defined as calls where the taxpayers cannot be helped due to audio transmission difficulties in the phone line. Some examples of bad line calls are:

    • Static: A call where static or noise interferes with effective communication

    • Echo: When the CSR hears their speech or the caller’s speech in a delayed repeat

    • Cross-Talk: When the CSR hear parties on the line other than the caller

    • Can’t hear Caller: When the CSR is unable to hear the caller

    • Caller Can’t Hear: When the caller is unable to hear the CSR

    • Low Volume: When the caller or CSR are having difficulty hearing the other due to low volume

  2. The CSR should take the following steps on the CTIOS/IPBlue desktop application to report a bad line if any audio transmission difficulties are experienced while talking to a taxpayer:

    1. Click Tools in the Menu Bar

    2. Click Bad Line

    3. Select the correct Bad Line Description

    4. Click OK


    If this issue results in an incomplete call, the CSR must notify the manager immediately. Managers will refer to IRM Bad Line/Dropped Calls.

  3. Dropped Calls are defined as calls that start normally but disconnect unexpectedly during the conversation. If a dropped call occurs, provide the following information (known and or available at the time of disconnect) and notify the manager immediately after the next call, to allow the assistor to move to Wrap:

    1. CSR’s CTIOS/IPBlue 6-digit extension number

    2. Date of incident

    3. CSR’s SEID

    4. Time of incident

    5. IRS telephone number dialed by the caller

    6. Caller’s telephone number

    7. Phone Type, Land Line or Cell Phone

    8. Phone MAC Address

    9. Call Key (located in the call data section on the CTIOS/IPBlue desktop application)


      If a caller says they have been previously disconnected, the CSR should apologize and continue to help the caller. Make an effort to gather information about the prior call such as date, time, prior CSR’s name and badge number, (if known) and call topic.

Out-of-Scope Topics and Forms

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 (5) - (7), Customer Service Representative (CSR) Duties.

International (includes Advanced International)
  • Alternative Minimum Tax foreign tax computation

  • Base Erosion Tax (Tax Reform)

  • Branch Profits Tax - foreign corporations with branch in U.S. Any question beyond requirement to file Form 1120F, U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Corporation, and due dates would be out of scope

  • Deemed paid foreign tax credit

  • Form 1120-DISC, Domestic International Sales Corporation Return

  • Earnings and Profit of foreign corporations

  • E-Commerce

  • Entity Classification Election - anything beyond telling a taxpayer about Form 8832 and where/when to file is out of scope

  • Expatriates

  • Extraterritorial income exclusion

  • FDII (Foreign Derived Intangible Income) (Tax Reform)

  • FISC (Foreign International Sales Corporation)

  • Foreign Corporations including Foreign Sales Corporations - foreign corporations that specialize in international trade

  • Foreign currency exchange rate gain - IRC 988

  • Foreign Trusts

  • Form 8865, Return of U.S. Persons with Respect to Certain Foreign Partnerships

  • GILTI (Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income) (Tax Reform)

  • International Boycotting Income

  • Legal Advice

  • Partnerships with foreign partners, Form 8804, Annual Return for Partnership Withholding Tax (Section 1446), Form 8805, Foreign Partner's Information Statement of Section 1446 Withholding Tax, and Form 8813, Partnership Withholding Tax Payment Voucher (Section 1446)

  • Passive Foreign Investment Company

  • Possession Corporations - incorporated in U.S. but operating primarily in U.S. possessions, such as Puerto Rico

  • Qualified Electing Funds

  • Reorganizations

  • Sec 367 rulings

  • Sec 482 Adjustments

  • Sec 78 gross up

  • Startups

  • Sub Part F - IRC 951 - IRC 964 - under limited circumstances foreign corporations do not pay U.S. tax on foreign sourced income

  • Tax Planning Questions

  • Transfer Pricing - IRC 482 - IRS authority to change prices of goods/services sold between related parties if not arm’s length transaction

  • Trusts other than grantor

  • US Persons Overseas starting a business

  • Withholding requirements for nonresident aliens and foreign entities, encompassing Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding; W-8 BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Individuals); Form W-8 IMY, Certificate of Foreign Intermediary, Foreign Flow-Through Entity or Certain U.S. Branches for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting;Form W-8 EXP, Certificate of Foreign Government or Other Foreign Organization for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting; Form W8-ECI, Certificate of Foreign Person's Claim That Income Is Effectively Connected With the Conduct of a Trade or Business in the United States; Form W-8BEN-E, Certificate of Status of Beneficial Owner for united States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Entities); and Form W8-CE, Notice of Expatriation and Waiver of Treaty Benefits.

  • Form 8288, U.S. Withholding Tax Return for Disposition by Foreign Persons of U.S. Real Property Interests

  • Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

Partnership, Corporations, Exemption Organizations
  • 754 Elections

  • IRC 481(a) adjustments (change of accounting method - Form 3115) - calculation of

  • Corporate consolidations/mergers/reorganizations

  • Deduction for Qualified Business Income (Tax Reform)

  • Employment Compensation Reforms (Tax Reform)

  • Entities changing their classifications (Corp--->S Corp, or Partnership---> Corp, for instance)

  • Excise Tax on Investment Income for Private Colleges and Universities (Tax Reform)

  • Insurance Industry Reforms (Tax Reform)

  • Qualified Subchapter S Trust (QSST) Election under IRC 1361(d)(2)

  • Net Operating Losses

  • Unrelated Business Taxable Income Reforms (Tax Reform)

  • Form 1066, U.S. Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC) Income Tax Return

  • Form 1118, Foreign Tax Credit – Corporations

  • Form 1120-C, U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations

  • Form 1120-FSC, U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Sales Corporation

  • Form 1120-RIC, U.S. Income Tax Return for Regulated Investment Companies

  • Form 1120-SF, U.S. Income Tax Return for Settlement Funds

  • Form 1128, Application to Adopt, Change, or Retain a Tax Year

  • Form 2032, Contract Coverage Under Title II of the Social Security Act

  • Form 2438, Undistributed Capital Gains Tax Return

  • Form 2439, Notice to Shareholder of Undistributed Long-Term Capital Gains

  • Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method

  • Form 4626, Alternative Minimum Tax Corporations (Tax Reform)

  • Form 5452, Corporate Report of Non-dividend Distributions

  • Form 5471, Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations (including Schedules J, M, N, and O)

  • Form 6069, Return of Excise Tax on Excess Contributions to Black Lung Benefit Trust Under Section 4953 and Computation of Section 192 Deduction

  • Form 8308, Report of a Sale or Exchange of Certain Partnership Interest

  • Form 8827, Credit for Prior Year Minimum Tax - Corporations

  • Form 970, Application to Use LIFO Inventory Method

  • Form 972, Consent of Shareholder to Include Specific Amount in Gross Income

  • Form 973, Corporation Claim for Deduction for Consent Dividends

  • Form 976, Claim for Deficiency Dividends Deductions by a Personal Holding Company

  • Form 966, Corporate Dissolution or Liquidation

  • Form 1120 Schedule H, Section 280H Limitation for a Personal Service Corporation (PSC)

  • Form 1120 Schedule N, Foreign Operations of U.S. Corporation

  • Form 1120 Schedule PH, U.S. Personal Holding Company (PHC) Tax

  • Bankruptcy Estates

  • Charitable Trusts, calculations for

  • Dissolving a Trust (Actually closing one out. Questions beyond excess deductions distribution

  • Distributions to alien beneficiaries

  • Electing Small Business Trusts (ESBT) – The rules for changing to/from an ESBT are generally complex and difficult, and can increase taxable errors or the election may be disallowed if completed improperly. Most questions that pertain to ESBTs will be beyond the scope of the program. Answer only those that can be addressed by the information in the 1041 instructions.

  • Estate/trust funds - when and how someone can have access to

  • Form 3520, Annual Return to Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts

  • Form 3520-A, Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust With a U.S. Owner

  • Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return

  • Form 709, United State Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return

  • Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax series

  • Form 1041-N, U.S. Income Tax Return for Electing Alaska Native Settlement (Tax Reform)

  • Ownership of assets and their valuation

  • Rabbi Trusts – Taxability and establishment of the trust

  • Tax prep software - questions

  • Basis calculation in complex situations

  • Form 8582, Passive Activity Loss Limitations, parts unrelated to the taxpayer’s rental property

  • Line-by-line help with any form

  • Material participation for the taxpayer calculation of

Sale of Business/Depreciation
  • Actual calculation of the basis of property, depreciation recapture or the gain (loss) from the sale or other disposition of business property. (The discussion of the formulas and rules for calculating basis, depreciation recapture or the gain/loss from the sale of business property is within scope.)

  • Advising taxpayers about which method (i.e., installment sale, IRC 1031, etc.) is most advantageous for the prospective sale of business assets.

  • Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization (Including Information on Listed Property), line-by-line preparation.

  • Form 4797, Sale of Business Property, line-by-line preparation.

  • Form 6252, Installment Sale Income, line-by-line preparation.

  • Form 8824, Like-Kind Exchanges, line-by-line preparation.

  • Notice 2000-4, Calculation of Depreciation for Property Acquired in a Section 1031 (like-kind) Exchange

  • IRC 1031 - Advising taxpayers on how to structure a transaction to meet the requirements of Section 1031 exchange (Explaining the statutory requirements of a IRC 1031 exchange is within scope.)

  • IRC 1250 depreciation recapture using the applicable percentage to figure ordinary income because of other depreciation - calculation

  • IRC 179 - Advising taxpayers on what method of depreciation (including advice on electing the amount of IRC 179 deduction) is most advantageous.

Capital Gains and Losses


CAS call sites answer all non-complex capital gains questions. However, do not complete complex calculations for the taxpayer such as calculating actual basis in complex situations.

  • Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency/Virtual Currency

  • Mark-to-market transactions

  • Day trading

  • Stock Options (hedging transactions; notional principle contracts; puts, calls, and straddles; statutory/non-statutory employee stock options)

  • Egg Donors (capital gain or self-employment?)

  • IRC 1031 Like-Kind Exchange

  • Opportunity Zones (Tax Reform)

  • Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service

  • Form 637, Application for Registration (For Certain Excise Tax Activities)

  • Form 730, Monthly Tax Return for Wagers

  • Form 1128, Application to Adopt, Change or Retain a Tax Year

  • Form 4678A, Election to Be Treated as an Interest Charge DISC

  • Form 4720, Return of Certain Excise Taxes on Charities and Other Persons Under Chapter 41 and 42 of the IRC

  • Form 5300, Application for Determination for Employee Benefit Plan

  • Form 5300 Schedule Q, Nondiscrimination Requirements

  • Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, including all 5500 series and schedules

  • Form 5695 Residential Energy Credits

  • Form 6251, Alternative Minimum Tax - Individuals

  • Form 8271, Investor Reporting of Tax Shelter Registration Number

  • Form 8848, Consent to Extend the Time To Assess the Branch Profits Tax Under Regulations Sections 1.884 - 2(a) and (c)

  • Form 8994, Employer Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave (Tax Reform)

  • Sec 965, Transition Tax on Untaxed Foreign Earnings (Tax Reform)

  • 529 Account Funding for Primary School Education (Tax Reform)

  • Discharged Student Loans (Tax Reform)

  • Excess Business Losses (Tax Reform)

  • Health Savings Account (HSA)

  • Legal Assessments

  • General Rule for calculating taxation of distributions of pensions and annuities

  • Qualified Bicycle Commuting Reimbursement (Tax Reform)

  • Revenue Officers/Revenue Agents requesting account related inquiries should request technical support from their own BOD/functions.


    ROs/RAs who need to request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for a taxpayer should follow the instructions in IRM, Receiving EIN Applications From Field Compliance.

Out-of-Scope Communications

The information in this exhibit is for all assistors not receiving calls in the Default Screener application, who have determined that the caller’s question is about an OOS Tax law topic as stated in IRM (6), Customer Service Duties. The caller should be referred to the web site for information as OOS tax law questions should not be answered or implied. Information provided to the caller should be limited to the resources available and basic directions for locating the information.

Initial response to the inquiry (or similar statement): "Thank you for calling us today about (paraphrase taxpayer’s question). I’m sorry, but we do not provide live help on this topic. However, I can provide you resources available to help you."

Advise the taxpayer that the following resources are available (other proper resources may be provided):

  • www.irs.gov - Click on Help at the top of the page and select the proper option.

  • Publications can be accessed through the Forms and Instructions 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 Professionals

  • Access the Interactive Tax Assistant by entering "ITA" in the search box

  • Enter "IRS Tax Map" into the Search feature for more detailed information (not available for tax periods after 2018)

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 (for tax periods 2012 to 2018), 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 the assistors:

Where do I look on the internet? When you first enter the website at www.irs.gov, a search box is available at the top right hand side. Enter your topic in the search box and click on the magnifying glass. Several options in the main body of text to help narrow your search are provided. On the home page, there are several tabs available to help you in your research (Make a Payment, Get Your Refund Status, Get Answers to Your Tax Questions, etc.).