21.1.1 Accounts Management and Compliance Services Overview

Manual Transmittal

September 04, 2018

Purpose

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

Material Changes

(1) Minor editorial changes were made throughout this IRM.

(2) All references/phone procedures relating to the ASPECT phone system, and the five digit transfer numbers have been removed and replaced with Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE).

(3) IRM 21.1.1.1.6 - Updated reference to Related Resources.

(4) IPU 18U0408 issued 03-06-2018 IRM 21.1.1.3 - Corrected link to Telephone Transfer Guide (TTG); added procedures for answering Tax Reform Act questions after filing season.

(5) IPU 18U0541 issued 03-27-2018 IRM 21.1.1.3(5)(6) and (7) - Updated procedures for answering Tax Reform Act questions during and after the filing season.

(6) IPU 18U0840 issued 05-21-2018 IRM 21.1.1.3(6), (7) and (8) - Updated to clarify procedures for Tax Reform Legislation guidance in (6) and (7); Added paragraph to provide more clear instructions in (8).

(7) IPU 17U1631 issued 11-29-2017 IRM 21.1.1.3 - Clarified procedures for accessing the Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS).

(8) IRM 21.1.1.3(13) - Clarified procedures for when a TAC appointment is not required.

(9) IRM 21.1.1.3.1 (2) - Added Affordability Worksheet to NOTE.

(10) IPU 18U0450 issued 03-14-2018 IRM 21.1.1.3.2 - Added new subsection for Tax Reform.

(11) IRM 21.1.1.3.2 - Combined information from (1) and (2) into one paragraph (1).

(12) IPU 18U0450 issued 03-14-2018 IRM 21.1.1.3.2.1 - Added new subsection on procedures for Withholding Calculator.

(13) IPU 18U0541 issued 03-27-2018 IRM 21.1.1.3.2.2 - Added new subsection on Section 965 Transition.

(14) IPU 18U1009 issued 06-27-2018 IRM 21.1.1.3.2.2 - Added additional reference information.

(15) IRM 21.1.1.3.2.2 - Added Notice 2018-26 to list of Section 965 guidance; updated paragraph about Section 965 Frequently Asked Questions.

(16) IPU 18U1009 issued 06-67-2018 IRM 21.1.1.3.2.2.1 - Added new subsection on guidance for Section 965 Transition Tax on Untaxed Foreign Earnings - Individuals (IMF).

(17) IPU 18U1009 issued 06-27-2018 IRM 21.1.1.3.2.2.2 - Added new subsection on guidance for Section 965 Transition Tax on Untaxed Foreign Earnings - Businesses (BMF).

(18) IPU 17U1631 issued 11-29-2017 IRM 21.1.1.4(2) - Removed Lead Gate representative from having the requirement to use the badge number in the identification process.

(19) IPU 18U0408 issued 03-06-2018 IRM 21.1.1.4(2) - Added additional clarification on use of two last names. Also added information on remaining courtesy throughout the course of the telephone call with the taxpayer.

(20) IPU 18U0840 issued 05-21-2018 IRM 21.1.1.4(7) - Added NOTE providing clarification on the authentication process.

(21) IPU 17U1631 issued 11-29-2017 IRM 21.1.1.4(9)(e) - Clarified procedures on contacting the Enterprise Lead Gate or manager for account related calls.

(22) IRM 21.1.1.4 (9)(f) and (g) - Simplified paragraphs for one account per call.

(23) IPU 18U0408 issued 03-06-2018 IRM 21.1.1.4(12) - Added procedures for calls received at the end of Tour of Duty (TOD). Updated reference.

(24) IPU 18U0840 issued 05-21-2018 IRM 21.1.1.4(12) - Added reference to IRM 21.3.5.2, What is NOT a Referral.

(25) IPU 17U1631 issued 11-29-2017 IRM 21.1.1.4(21) - Revised for clarity when making outgoing calls.

(26) IPU 18U0840 issued 05-21-2018 IRM 21.1.1.4(24) - Provides additional guidance for determining the reason for taxpayer calls.

(27) IRM 21.1.1.5 - Removed paragraph (3).

(28) IPU 18U0408 issued 03-06-2018 IRM 21.1.1.5.1(7) - Corrected extension for current year refunds only.

(29) IRM 21.1.1.7 (7) - Updated information about how to "Stop Monitoring" calls.

(30) IRM 21.1.1.7.2 - Corrected link for Cross Talk Procedures and Template.

(31) IPU 17U1631 issued 11-29-2017 Exhibit 21.1.1-2 - Updated information for assistors when providing assistance for IRS.gov.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 21.1.1 dated September 8, 2017 (effective October 1, 2017) is superseded on the effective date of this IRM section. The following Interim Procedural Updates (IPUs) have been added: 17U1631 dated 11-29-2017, 18U0408 dated 03-06-2018, 18U0450 dated 03-14-2018, 18U0541 dated 03-27-2018, 18U0840 dated 05-21-2018. and 18U1009 dated 06-27-2018.

Audience

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

Effective Date

(10-01-2018)

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

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. The Wage and Investment (W&I) and Small Business/Self Employed (SB/SE) Business Operating Divisions (BODs) are responsible for taxpayer relationships by:

    1. Providing general tax related information,

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

    3. Adjusting taxpayer accounts, when appropriate.

  5. These responsibilities are divided into three subordinate units:

    • Customer Assistance, Relationships, and Education (CARE)

    • Customer Account Services (CAS)

    • Compliance

  6. 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. 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.

  8. Policy Owner: Director of Accounts Management

  9. Program Owner: Wage and Investment, Process and Program Management, Accounts Management.

  10. 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.

Background

  1. Employees in the AM organization respond to taxpayer inquiries and phone calls as well as process claims and other internal adjustment requests.

Authority

  1. Refer to IRM 1.2.21, Policy Statements for Customer Account Services Activities, for more information.

Responsibilities - Accounts Management, Compliance Services and Field Assistance

  1. The Wage and Investment Commissioner has overall responsibility for the policy related to this IRM, which is published on a yearly basis

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

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

  5. Media and Publications, 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 25.13.1.3, Erroneous Correspondence Procedures - Red Button Process.

  6. 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

    • Payments/payment arrangements

    • Proof of receipt of tax returns

    • Alien clearances (Sailing Permits)

    • Various other services

  7. For more information on TAC responsibilities, see IRM 21.3.4.2, Standard Services in a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC), and procedures throughout this IRM.

Program Controls

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

  2. 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.

Acronyms

  1. For a comprehensive listing of any IRM acronyms, please refer to the Acronym Database.

Related Resources

  1. Refer to IRM 1.4.2.1.8Related Resources, for more information on resources that impact internal controls.

  2. 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

  3. All of the tools mentioned in paragraph (2) above are 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 assist taxpayers, practitioners and other third parties, in a manner that warrants the highest degree of public confidence.

  2. 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).

  3. 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)

    Note:

    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 assisting 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 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)

  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

    Note:

    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. 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. 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.

  6. After filing season ends and through December 31st, taxpayers with tax law questions (not Tax Reform) must be given the initial response and the resources listed in Exhibit 21.1.1-2, Out-of-Scope Communications. AM representatives trained in tax law who provide an ITLA response to a domestic tax law question, 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.

    Note:

    After filing season, Tax Reform inquiries will continue to be answered by AM representatives trained in tax law. Consequently, Tax Reform is included in paragraph (8) below.

  7. Since the Tax Reform (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)) legislation is the most sweeping change regarding tax law in over 30 years, AM representatives trained in tax law will answer Tax Reform (TCJA) In-scope inquiries for current tax year and tax year 2018. The Tax Reform Resource page links to Job Aids that assist tax law-trained representatives in responding to Basic, Intermediate and Special Services Tax Reform questions.

    • Tax Reform Basic TL Application 118 English (1118)/Application 119 Spanish (1119)

    • Tax Reform Intermediate 1 TL Application 135 English (1135)/Application 131 Spanish (1131)

    • Tax Reform Intermediate 2 TL Application 125 English (1125)/Application 131 Spanish (1131)

  8. After filing season, AM representatives trained in tax law will continue answering inquiries for the following Application exceptions, including Tax Reform:

    1. 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.

    2. 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 3011 (English)/3012 (Spanish) and 3013 (English)/3014 (Spanish). (TTG topics 3011 (English)/3012 (Spanish) are not available January-April).

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    Note:

    When providing an ITLA response to an ACA tax law question, assistors MUST advise the caller that answers to their questions can be found using the Interactive Tax Assistant and/or other available tools on IRS.gov under the Help tab.

  9. 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 extension 3013 (English) and extension 3014 (Spanish) 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.

    Note:

    Only assistors receiving calls on the Default Screener application should transfer OOS questions.

  10. Post filing season, ALL tax law will be OOS, except those listed in IRM 21.1.1.3 (6). Topics listed in the TTG (as well as those listed in Exhibit 21.1.1-1) under extension 3011 (English) and 3012 (Spanish) for basic and intermediate tax law and 3013(English) and 3014(Spanish) 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.

    Note:

    Only assistors receiving calls on the Default Screener application should transfer OOS questions.

  11. Field Assistance representatives should refer to IRM 21.3.4.3.4, Tax Law Assistance, for overall guidance on responding to tax law inquiries and IRM 21.3.4.3.5.5, Out-of-Scope Procedures, to determine if the question is considered in-scope or out-of-scope.

  12. See IRM 21.1.1.3.1, Out of Scope and Limited Service, for information regarding the services CAS, Accounts Management, will not provide.

  13. 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).

    Exception:

    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)

    • 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 or appropriate

    • If taxpayer must go to a TAC for face-to-face assistance, refer to IRM 21.3.4.2.4, Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) Appointment Service, for further procedures.

    TAC appointments are NOT required to:

    • Drop off a non-cash payment;

    • Drop off a current year 1040 series return, or

    • To obtain forms or publications.

    See IRM 21.3.4.2.4.6.2 (3), Field Assistance, for further instructions. Appointment information is also available on www.irs.gov.

Out of Scope and Limited Service

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

    • 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" 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.

      Exception:

      Tax form/schedule preparation does not apply to completion of worksheets (e.g., Form 1040-ES Worksheet, and tax or credit computation worksheets).

      Note:

      AM and FA assistors will NOT assist 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 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.

  6. 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

  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.

    1. Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, and Schedule A, Public Charity Status and Public Support

    2. Form 990-BL, Information and Initial Excise Tax Return for Black Lung Benefit Trusts and Certain Related Persons

    3. Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return

    4. Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation or Section 4947(a)(1) Trust Treated as a Private Foundation

    5. Form 990-W, Estimated Tax on Unrelated Business Taxable Income for Tax Exempt Organizations

    6. Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code

    7. Form 1024, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(a) or for Determination Under Section 120

    8. Form 1028, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 521

    9. Form 1120-POL, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Political Organizations

    10. Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return

    11. Form 5309, Application for Determination of Employee Stock Ownership Plan

    12. Form 5310, Application for Determination for Terminating Plan

    13. 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)

    14. Form 8718, User Fee for Exempt Organization Determination Letter Request

    Note:

    Inquiries regarding the forms above should be transferred to the appropriate Telephone Transfer Guide applications.

Tax Reform

  1. On Friday, 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 regarding 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 discontinuing certain deductions and changing the tax rates and brackets.

  2. The Withholding Calculator 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 Withholding Calculator, it will help them to determine if they are having the correct amount of tax withheld from their pay for the 2018 tax year. See IRM 21.1.1.3.2.1, Withholding Calculator (WC), for additional information.

Withholding Calculator (WC)
  1. The Withholding Calculator, is a special external tool on irs.gov designed to help taxpayers determine the appropriate amount of federal withholding for the 2018 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 regarding the WC. Withholding Calculator 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 will 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?

    Note:

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

  4. The last page of the WC is a "Your Results" page, which provides guidance (which may or may not recommend revising the Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate), based on the taxpayer’s response throughout the WC. Assistors will not be assisting 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 WC 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 Withholding Calculator 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 WC 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 Withholding Calculator call comes into Application 55/56 and the taxpayer requests face-to-face assistance with the WC 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 2018 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 will affect taxpayer’s 2018 taxes (i.e., other tax credits, estimate of itemized deductions)

    • Information about interest/dividends

Section 965 Transition Tax
  1. Newly enacted Section 965 of the Internal Revenue Code imposes a transition tax on untaxed foreign earnings of foreign corporations with U.S. shareholders by deeming 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. Generally, 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 965

    • Notice 2018-26, Additional Guidance Under 965

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

    • Rev. Proc. 2018-17, Change 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 section 965 on their 2017 tax returns.

Section 965 Transition Tax on Untaxed Foreign Earnings - Individuals - (IMF)
  1. IRC Section 965 requires certain taxpayers to pay a transition tax on the untaxed foreign earnings of certain specified foreign corporations as if those earnings had been repatriated to the United States. Those potentially subject to the transition tax are:

    • US Shareholders of a deferred foreign income corporation

    • Certain direct/indirect domestic partners in domestic partnerships that are United States shareholders of specified foreign corporations

    • A shareholder in an S corporation that is a United States shareholder of a specified foreign corporation

    • Certain beneficiaries of another pass-through entity that is a United States shareholder of a specified foreign corporation.

    A United States shareholder is generally one who owns 10 percent or more of the foreign corporation’s stock, applying the indirect stock ownership principles of section 958.

  2. Very generally, foreign earnings held in the form of cash and cash equivalents are subject to an effective tax rate of 15.5 percent rate, and the remaining earnings are taxed at 8 percent. This is accomplished through a deduction under 985(c).

  3. Taxpayers can elect to pay the transition tax in eight annual installments of the following amounts:

    • 8 percent in years 1 through 5

    • 15 percent in year 6

    • 20 percent in year 7

    • 25 percent in year 8

  4. Taxpayers make the election to pay in installments by including attachments with their returns:

    1. Taxpayers who are subject to the transition tax for 2017 make the election to pay the transition tax in installments by following the rules in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Appendices in the Questions and Answers about Reporting Related to Section 965 on 2017 Tax Returns at irs.gov. Specifically, taxpayers must attach the election statement described in FAQ 7 and the IRC Transition Tax Statement described in FAQ 3.

    2. Taxpayers who are subject to the transition tax for 2018 make the election to pay the transition tax installments by the following the instructions to Form 965, Inclusion of Deferred Foreign Income Upon Transition to Participation Exemption System.

    3. Taxpayers who are subject to the transition tax must attach Form 965 to their 2018 return.

  5. Taxpayers must make the election by the due date of their return, including extensions.

    Note:

    Taxpayers who already filed at 2017 and did not make an election under section 965(h), can file a Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, on or before October 15, 2018 and make the election to pay their new tax liability under Section 965 in 8 annual installments. The taxpayer will be treated as having requested an extension of time to file the original return such that the due date to make the election is extended to October 15.

  6. Annual installments are due on the due date of the return (not the extended due date). Failure to timely pay a required installment could result in the assessment of an addition to tax, which could accelerate the entire IRC 965 tax balance and cause it to become immediately due.

    CAUTION: Relief is available for individual taxpayers who missed the first of the 8 annual installments if the individual’s total 965 transition tax liability is less than $1 million and the first installment is paid in full by April 15, 2019.

    Taxpayers are instructed to make two separate payments; one for the transition tax (which can be identified as a TC 670 with a Designated Payment Code (DPC) 64 and one for the remaining tax due.

  7. Taxpayers report 100 percent of the transition tax, which is included in the TC 150, but if the taxpayer elected to pay installments, a TC 766 with Credit Reference Number (CRN) 263 is posted for the remaining installment amount (deferred amount).

    EXAMPLE: A taxpayer’s regular tax is $5,000. The transition tax is $25,000. The TC 150 is $30,000. Since 8 percent of the transition tax is due in year one ($25,000 X .08 = $2,000), a TC 766 is posted for $23,000.

    There will also be a TC 971 AC 114 posted with the original return. The Miscellaneous field will show the total amount of the IRC 965 transition tax as shown on the original return and included in the TC 150.

  8. For tax years 2018 and subsequent, taxpayers will file Form 965-A or Form 965-B to report their next installment.

  9. The IMF IRC 965 transition tax program is centralized at the Brookhaven Accounts Management Campus (BAMC). Control fields (IDRS numbers, category codes, etc.) will be posted when available. Temporary post-processing procedures for trained BAMC employees will be posted to the SERP Tax Reform page under Topics (training).

Section 965 Transition Tax on Untaxed Foreign Earnings - Business (BMF)
  1. IRC section 965 requires certain taxpayers to pay a transition tax on the untaxed foreign earnings of certain specified foreign corporations as if those earnings had been repatriated to the United States. Those potentially subject to the transition tax are:

    • US shareholders of a deferred foreign income corporation

    • Certain direct/indirect domestic partners in domestic partnerships that are United States shareholders of specified foreign corporations

    • Shareholders in a S corporation that is a United States shareholder of a specified foreign corporation

    • Certain beneficiaries of another pass-through entity that is a United States shareholder of a specified foreign corporation

    • Certain beneficiaries of a cooperative association that is a United States shareholder of a specified foreign corporation

    A United States shareholder is generally one who owns 10 percent or more of the foreign corporation’s stock, applying the indirect stock ownership principles of Section 958

  2. Generally speaking, foreign income held in the form of cash and cash equivalents will be subject to an effective tax rate of 15.5 percent rate, and the remaining earnings are taxed at 8 percent.

  3. Taxpayers can elect to pay the transition tax in 8 annual installments of the following amounts:

    • 8 percent in years 1 through 5

    • 15 percent in year 6

    • 20 percent in year 7

    • 25 percent in year 8

  4. Taxpayers make the election to pay in installments by including attachments with their returns:

    1. Taxpayers who are subject to the transition tax for 2017 make the election to pay the transition tax in installments by following the rules in the Frequently Asked Questions and Appendices at irs.gov. Specifically, taxpayers must attach the election statement described in FAQ 7 and the IRC Transition Tax Statement described in FAQ 3.

    2. Taxpayers who are subject to the transition tax for 2018 make the election to pay the transition tax installments by following the instructions to Form 965, Inclusion of Deferred Foreign Income Upon Transition to Participation Exemption System.

    3. Taxpayers who are subject to the transition tax must attach Form 965, to their 2018 return.

  5. Taxpayers must make the election by the due date of their return, including extensions.

  6. Annual installments are due on the due date of the return (not the extended due date). Failure to timely pay a required installment could result in the assessment of an addition to tax, which could accelerate the entire IRC 965 tax balance and cause it to become immediately due.

  7. Taxpayers are instructed to make two separate payments; one for the non-965 tax and another for the section 965 installment. The deferred payments can be identified by a TC 670 with a Designated Payment Code (DPC) of 64.

  8. The TC 150 will be a combination of regular income tax and 100 percent of the total IRC 965 liability. If the taxpayer elected to defer the net tax liability under section 965, a TC 766 with a Credit Reference Number (CRN) 263 will be present on the account.
    EXAMPLE: A taxpayer’s regular tax in $5,000. The transition tax is $25,000. The TC 150 is $30,000. Since 8 percent of the transition tax is due in year one ($25,000 X .08 = $2,000), a TC 766 is posted for $23,000.

  9. The transition tax for foreign income can be identified on the 2017 and subsequent income tax returns by the following:

    • TC 971 AC 114 - total transition tax on foreign income found in the Miscellaneous Field

    • TC 971 AC 115 - deferred transition tax on foreign income found in the Miscellaneous Field

  10. For tax years 2018 and subsequent, taxpayer will file Form 965 to report their next installment.

  11. The BMF IRC 965 transition tax program is centralized at the Ogden Accounts Management Campus (OAMC). Control fields (IDRS numbers, category codes, etc.) will be posted when available. Temporary post-processing procedures for trained OAMC employees will be posted to the SERP Tax Reform page under Topics (training).

  12. For more information on elections and reporting section 965 foreign income taxes, see Questions and Answers about Reporting to Section 965 on 2017 Tax Returns.

  13. The Department of Treasury and IRS previously released guidance related to section 965 issues including Notice 2018-07, Notice 2018-13, Notice 2018-26, and Rev. Proc. 2018-17. The IRS will provide additional guidance and other information on IRS.gov as it becomes available.

Communication Skills

  1. 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.

    Note:

    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.

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

      Note:

      If your last name is hyphenated or you have two last names on your ID, please 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. Do not accept any collect calls.

      Note:

      It is imperative you remain professional and courteous throughout the course of the phone call.

    • If contacting the Lead Gate, both lead and CSR must provide first, last name, Standard Employee Identifier (SEID) and location.

      Note:

      If you do not have a SmartID card, you must give the caller your first initial and last name and your badge/ID number.

    • 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.) 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.

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

    3. 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?" .

  4. Respond to the caller's opening statement.

  5. 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 21.10.1.4.1.12, Definition of Spanish Tax Law and Account Calls SPRG.

    Reminder:

    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.

    Note:

    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 21.1.3.4, Other Third Party Inquiries, for additional information.

    Note:

    If an individual is calling about EIN toll-free telephone service, advise the caller that they will need to call back with a translator.

  6. Target the caller's question.

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

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

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

  7. Disclosure check (for account calls only). Follow the guidelines outlined in IRM 21.1.3.2.3, Required Taxpayer Authentication, and IRM 21.1.3.2.4, Additional Taxpayer Authentication.

    Note:

    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 appropriate) to prepare caller for a series of questions.

    2. Ask questions pertinent to the inquiry in order 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 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.

    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 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, that should never be more than five to seven minutes, but can be less. 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.

      Note:

      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 21.3.5.4.2.1.1, Preparing an e-4442/4442 Inquiry Referral.

      Note:

      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).

    5. If unsure on how to respond to an account inquiry, you should contact the Enterprise Lead Gate or your manager for account-related issues. See IRM 21.1.2.3.7, 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 21.3.5.4.2.1.1, Preparing an e-4442/4442, and advise the customer to allow 30 days for a response.

    6. Taxpayers may contact the Service requesting information about 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. 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.

    7. 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.

      Note:

      The Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) line, which limits callers to five clients per call, is available for tax practitioners calling with account issues.

      Note:

      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 21.3.10.3.1, Authorized Third Parties

      , for additional information.

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

    1. Advise the caller you will refer him or her to your supervisor. Please ask the caller to hold.

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

    3. 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.

    Note:

    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.

  11. Close the Conversation.

    1. 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?"

    2. 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.

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

  12. Any telephone call not finalized by Close of Business (COB) becomes a written referral unless the caller prefers to call back. Make every attempt to complete the call prior to the end of your tour of duty (TOD). If you cannot resolve the caller’s issue before the end of your tour of duty, prepare Form 4442/e-4442 that day. The referral will be worked following your site’s established procedures. See IRM 21.3.5.2, What Is a Referral, for more instructions.

  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. For additional information regarding completing on-line account inquires, see IRM 21.1.3.20 (2), Oral Statement Authority.

    Note:

    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.)

    .

  14. 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.

  15. UsingITLAand taking the actions specified is mandatory on tax law/technical inquiries.

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

    Note:

    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.

    Note:

    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 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.

    Note:

    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 21.1.3.2.3, Required Taxpayer Authentication.

    Reminder:

    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 accordingly, as listed on ID), OR
      - first and last name, OR
      - first initial and last name
      AND
      - 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 additional assistance.

  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 21.1.3.2.3, Required Taxpayer Authentication.

  22. When making outgoing calls, do not:

    • leave confidential tax information on a voice mail message or an answering machine message,

    • provide taxpayers/third parties with the telephone numbers of functional areas,

    • give the taxpayer or his/her representative the name or telephone number of any employee (i.e., CSR, manager, analyst, etc.) or

    • transfer taxpayer/third party calls to functional areas.

  23. 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.

  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 generally 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.

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, you will:

    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 accordingly, as listed on ID), OR
      - first and last name, OR
      - first initial and last name
      AND
      - 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) in order 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 indicate a willingness to help.

    7. If a taxpayer refuses to be transferred and requests to speak to a supervisor immediately, see IRM 21.1.1.4 (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 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.

    Note:

    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 attempt to transfer them to the appropriate 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. Extension 3011 (English) and Extension 3012 (Spanish) 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 tab (at the top of the page) 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.

    4. 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.

  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. Transfer to a specific TTG line by pressing "inside line" key.

    3. Press the pound sign.

    4. Dial the appropriate TTG four-digit extension.

    5. Press the enter key.

    6. Press the transfer key.

  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 has not been met, transfer the caller directly to the automated application.

    3. If the time frame has been met, transfer the caller to the appropriate accounts application for assistance.

  8. When the topic is the receipt/status of an amended return, transfer the caller to Extension 1046 (English) or Extension 1047 (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 directly to the automated system. Advise the caller to select the Amended Return prompt.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

  9. 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-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 attempted to use the automated system, transfer him/her to the appropriate accounts application for assistance.

    3. 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.

  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.

e-Services

  1. The information on e-Service products is now found in IRM 21.2.1.53, 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 additional announcement that states, "Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality purposes."

  3. The system has been 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 indicates 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.

    Note:

    If you must transfer this caller, advise the caller of the transfer and that he/she will need to 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). See IRM 21.1.3.17.2, 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 21.1.3.17.1 (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 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.

  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.

Bad Line Calls

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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 21.1.1.3 (5) - (7), Customer Service Duties.

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

  • 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

  • FISC (Foreign International Sales Corporation)

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

  • Foreign currency exchange rate gain - Section 988

  • Foreign Trusts

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

  • 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

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

  • Corporate consolidations/mergers/reorganizations

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

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

  • Net Operating Losses

  • 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 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

Trusts
  • 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

  • Ownership of assets and their valuation

  • Rabbi Trusts – Taxability and establishment of the trust

  • Tax prep software - questions regarding

Rentals
  • Basis calculation in complex situations

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

  • Line-by-line assistance 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 regarding which method (i.e., installment sale, Section 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

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

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

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

Capital Gains and Losses

Note:

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.

  • 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?)

  • Section 1031 Like-Kind Exchange

Miscellaneous
  • 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)

  • Legal Assessments

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

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

    Exception:

    ROs/RAs who need to request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for a taxpayer should follow the instructions in IRM 21.7.13.3.8, Receiving EIN Applications From Field Compliance.

Out-of-Scope Communications

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 21.1.1.3.1 (5) - (7), Customer Service Duties.

Note:

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 Help at the top of the page and select the appropriate option.

  • 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. On the home page, there are several tabs available to assist you in your research (Pay My Tax Bill, Get My Tax Refund, Get Answers to Tax Questions, etc.).
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.