- 21.1.2 Reference Materials Overview
- 126.96.36.199 Program Scope and Objectives
- 188.8.131.52.1 Background
- 184.108.40.206.2 Authority
- 220.127.116.11.3 Responsibilities
- 18.104.22.168.4 Acronyms
- 22.214.171.124.5 Related Resources
- 126.96.36.199 IRM 21 Purpose
- 188.8.131.52.1 IRM 21 - Explanation of Contents
- 184.108.40.206.2 IRM 21 - Change Requests/SERP Feedback
- 220.127.116.11.3 IRM 21 SERP Alerts
- 18.104.22.168 Other Reference Materials
- 22.214.171.124.1 Multi-Functional IRMs
- 126.96.36.199.2 Tax Publications
- 188.8.131.52.3 e-File Services Publications
- 184.108.40.206.4 Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) Reference Material
- 220.127.116.11.5 Interactive Tax Law Assistant (ITLA)
- 18.104.22.168.6 Telephone Transfer Guide (TTG)
- 22.214.171.124.7 Enterprise Lead Gate
- 126.96.36.199.8 Post of Duty (POD) List
- 188.8.131.52.9 Technical Communication Documents (TCDs)
- 184.108.40.206 Other IRM References
- 220.127.116.11.1 Submission Processing, Agency-Wide Shared Services (AWSS) and Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS)
- 18.104.22.168.2 Unpostable lRMs
- 22.214.171.124.3 Accounting IRMs
- 126.96.36.199.4 International IRMs
- 188.8.131.52.5 Liability Collection IRMs
Part 21. Customer Account Services
Chapter 1. Accounts Management and Compliance Services Operations
Section 2. Reference Materials Overview
September 14, 2017
(1) This transmits revised IRM 21.1.2, Accounts Management and Compliance Services Operations, Reference Materials Overview.
(1) Editorial changes have been made throughout the IRM.
(2) IRM 184.108.40.206 - Added new subsection to address internal controls.
(3) IPU 17U0825 issued 05-09-3017 IRM 220.127.116.11.2(2) - Added a link to the instructions for SERP Feedback.
(4) IPU 17U0568 issued 03-27-3017 IRM 18.104.22.168.2(2) - Provided additional resource available before submitting a SERP Feedback for use by both managers and employees.
(5) IPU 17U0825 issued 05-09-3017 IRM 22.214.171.124.7 - Provided clarification of the Enterprise Lead Gate.
Kevin M. Morehead
Director, Accounts Management
Wage and Investment Division
Purpose: This Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) section provides an overview of reference materials cited in various other sections of IRM 21, Customer Account Services. Many parts of the IRM, including all of Part 21, are available on the Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP), accessed through the IRS Intranet Homepage. Most of the other referenced research materials are available on SERP and as published paper products. SERP is a "living" project and, as such, is constantly in the process of being updated and appended.
Audience: The primary users of this IRM section are all IRS employees in Business Operating Divisions (BODs) who are in contact with taxpayers by telephone, correspondence, or in person.
Policy Owner: Director of Accounts Management
Program Owner: Process and Program Management, Accounts Management, Wage and Investment (WI)
Primary Stakeholders: The primary stakeholders are organizations with whom Accounts Management collaborates (e.g., Return Integrity and Compliance Services (RICS) and Submission Processing).
Program Goals: Program goals for this type of work are included in the Accounts Management Program Letter as well as IRM 1.4.16, Accounts Management Guide for Managers.
Employees in the Accounts Management (AM) organization respond to taxpayer inquiries and phone calls as well as process claims and other internal adjustment requests.
Refer to IRM 1.2.21,Policy Statements for Customer Account Services Activities.
The Wage and Investment Commissioner has overall responsibility for policy related to this IRM, which is published on a yearly basis.
Additional information is found in IRM 126.96.36.199.4, Accounts Management, and in IRM 21.1.1, Accounts Management and Compliance Services Overview.
For a comprehensive listing of any IRS acronyms please refer to Acronym Database.
Refer to IRM 188.8.131.52, Related Resources, for information on related resources that impact internal controls
The IRS adopted the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in June 2014. Employees are responsible for being familiar with and acting in accord with taxpayer rights. See IRC 7803)a)(3) and Pub 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, for information about the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
The purpose of the IRM 21, Customer Account Services, is to provide instructions to resolve taxpayer correspondence, telephone, and in person inquiries. This includes identifying compliance issues and issuing correspondence to adjust tax accounts.
Employees in the following functional areas must use this IRM:
Automated Collection System (ACS) (only IRM 21 references noted in IRM 5.19, Liability Collection)
Automated Underreporter (AUR)
Combined Annual Wage Reporting (CAWR)
Compliance Services Collection Operations (CSCO) (only IRM 21 references noted in IRM 5.19, Liability Collection)
Correspondence Examination (CORR)
Customer Accounts Services (CAS)
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Field Assistance (FA)/Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC)
Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)
Taxpayer Relations (TPR)
Toll Free Call Sites
IRM 21 is designed to provide instructions to achieve "Initial Contact Resolution" (ICR). However, this may require transferring a call to a specific area (application) that is certified to handle the inquiry.
IRM 21 contains account and processing procedures for Individual Master File (IMF) and Business Master File (BMF) tax returns. You will need to refer to other documents for specific instructions on various issues. See IRM 184.108.40.206.1, Multi-Functional IRMs, and IRM 220.127.116.11, Other IRM References.
Certain chapters/sections provide an overview of contents, definitions of subject matter, and the research required to complete procedures and follow-up actions.
An explanation of IRM numbering follows:
Subsection numbers are generally limited to six numbers separated by decimal points (dots) and refer to Part, Chapter, Section, Subsection 1 and Subsection 2 (e.g., IRM 18.104.22.168.1).
The Part, Chapter, Section, and Subsection appear at the bottom of each page and the Part, Chapter, and Section appear with the consecutive page number at the top of each page of the published version of the IRM available in the Publishing Catalog.
Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) must become familiar with IRM 21, Job Aids for IRM 21, Interactive Tax Law Assistant (ITLA), the Telephone Transfer Guide (TTG) and related IRS reference materials.
To maintain the accuracy of IRM 21, corrections and change requests, "not questions" , can be sent to the IRM author or program owner in several ways. See IRM 22.214.171.124, Providing Feedback About an IRM Section - Outside of Clearance, for further details. Some functional offices may have specific internal processes on how employees are to submit recommended changes or clarifications on IRM content. Employees should contact their lead or manager on the preferred method for forwarding changes or clarification on existing IRM content.
In all functional areas, changes must be approved by the first line manager or designee and the responsible Planning and Analysis Analyst before submission to Headquarters. All change requests submitted by Quality Review Staff must be approved by the first line manager or designee and the Quality Assurance Coordinator (QAC). For assistance in determining whether a change request should be submitted through the SERP Feedback System, use the SERP Feedback Employee/Manager Checklist on theFeedback Notifications page.
The IRM 21SERP Feedback Application (Database) procedures must be followed by all Accounts Management/field employees as well as the Quality Review Program Staff.
Before submission, re-examine the requested change(s) and cite supporting documentation. Be specific. Avoid the use of general terms such as revise procedures. Submit only one issue/topic on the SERP Feedback.
Complete all required fields on the SERP Feedback form. The Identification field MUST be completed or the feedback will not be forwarded.
All changes are considered, but all may not be accepted. Accepted changes are usually posted on SERP as IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs).
IPUs are announced in "Today's News" on the SERP Homepage.
Each IPU is assigned a number and identifies the intended audience and applicable Master File.
Previous IPUs are accessed via SERP through the IRM Procedural Updates link under the IRM Supplements Tab.
IPUs are numbered consecutively through the calendar year.
IPUs are maintained on the current IRM until a new IRM is republished and effective.
You can view responses to SERP Feedbacks via the "Feedback" link located at the top of the left hand column of the SERP homepage or with the "Feedback" button located at the top of most IRM pages.
Do NOT use the SERP Feedback form to request changes to the following:
Forms - see IRM 1.17.2, Publishing Systems and Programs, for instructions
Letters - see IRM 126.96.36.199, Requests for New and Revised Taxpayer Correspondence Products - Request Services Process
Notices - see IRM 188.8.131.52, Request for New and Revised Taxpayer Correspondence Products - Request Services Process
Policy statements, tax law, and regulations - Use existing procedures
Suggestions - Use the electronic Employee Suggestion Program. Please follow the instructions on the IRS Intranet
Changes for typographical, printing errors in text or procedure and/or system changes must be made via SERP Feedback.
Information that may impact employees service-wide, but does not require an IRM procedural update, is placed on SERP as a "SERP Alert" .
Each Alert is assigned a number and identifies the (BOD) and the intended audience.
Alerts are numbered consecutively through the calendar year.
Previous Alerts are accessed via the Alert Messages link under the IRM Supplements Tab.
At the end of the calendar year, the previous year's Alerts can be accessed through SERP archives.
Some examples of SERP Alerts are:
Reminders to follow certain existing procedures.
"Hot" issues – e.g., scams, schemes, processing errors, new tax legislation, erroneous and/or one time notices, etc.
Non IRM related issues - e.g., changes to job aids, ITLA, etc.
Route SERP Alerts to your first-line manager for approval. Campus managers must obtain approval from an appropriate P&A or Quality representative.
Approving officials send the SERP Alert request, via e-mail, to the appropriate IRM contact (program analyst). See the SERP Authorized Submitter List.
The Headquarters program analyst or his/her manager reviews and expeditiously forwards the Alert to the SERP Office.
The following sub-sections provide listings of other reference materials (e.g., IRMs, Publications, etc.) which you may need to use to resolve account inquiries.
Use Document 6209, IRS Processing Codes and Information, as a job aid, along with IRMs listed in IRM 184.108.40.206.1, Multi-Functional IRMs, and IRM 220.127.116.11, Other IRM References, when working account inquiries.
Reference materials must be easily accessible for use as needed.
Multi-Functional IRMs needed to perform your official duties are:
IRM 1.2.40 through IRM 1.2.64 - Servicewide Policies and Authorities - Delegations of Authority - All existing authorities delegated by the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners, Taxpayer Advocate Service, and the business operating divisions.
IRM 2.7.1 - Inter-Center - Provides information regarding the Information Technology (IT) operational functions between the IRS Campuses (IRSCs) and Enterprise Computing Centers (ECCs). These guidelines are for the IT staff that performs operational functions in IRS campuses, National Headquarters, User and Network Services, and Enterprise Computing Centers.
IRM 18.104.22.168.1 - Oral Statement/Telephone Contact Address Change Requirements for MFJ Accounts - Instructions on address changes.
IRM 3.21.263 - International Returns and Documents Analysis - IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification (ITIN) Real Time System (RTS) - Provides instructions for Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
IRM 10.2.1 - Physical Security Program - Physical Security - Security guidelines for tax information and property that requires more than "normal protection" against disclosure, loss, damage or destruction.
IRM 10.8.1 - Information Technology (IT) Security - Policy and Guidance - Provides guidance to all security related polices for protection for all information related systems.
IRM 10.8.2 - Information Technology (IT) Security - IT Security Roles and Responsibilities - Establishes IT security roles and responsibilities.
IRM 11.3 - Disclosure of Official Information - Instructions, guidelines, and procedures to comply with the disclosure laws under which IRS must operate.
IRM 13.1 -Taxpayer Advocate Service - Guidance for the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
IRM 20.1 - Penalty Handbook - Instructions to compute, assess, and abate penalties.
IRM 20.2 - Interest - Instructions to compute and assess interest.
IRM 21.3.3 - Taxpayer Contacts - Incoming and Outgoing Correspondence/Letters - Instructions to receive, prepare, and handle correspondence.
The following IRMs provide Integrity and Verification Operation (IVO) employees with procedures needed to perform their duties:
IRM 25.25.1 - Revenue Protection - Return Integrity and Verification Revenue Protection Programs
IRM 25.25.2 - Revenue Protection - Revenue Protection Screening Procedures for Individual Master File Returns
IRM 25.25.3 - Revenue Protection - Revenue Protection Verification Procedures for Individual Master File Returns
IRM 25.25.4 - Revenue Protection - Integrity and Verification Identity Theft Return Procedures
IRM 25.25.5 - Revenue Protection - Special Handling Procedures
IRM 25.25.6 - Revenue Protection - Taxpayer Protection Program
IRM 25.25.7 - Revenue Protection - Automated Questionable Credit Program
IRM 25.25.8 - Revenue Protection - Revenue Protection External Lead Procedures
IRM 25.25.9 - Revenue Protection - Revenue Protection Prisoner Lead Procedures
Tax publications must be easily accessible for use as needed. This list is not all inclusive.
Publication 1 - Your Rights As A Taxpayer
Publication 15 - Circular E - Employer's Tax Guide
Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals
Publication 51 - Circular A - Agricultural Employer's Tax Guide
Publication 54 -Tax Guide for US Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad
Publication 80 - Circular SS - Federal Tax Guide for Employers in the US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands
Publication 179 - Circular PR - Federal Tax Guide for Employers in Puerto Rico
Publication 225 - Farmer's Tax Guide
Publication 334 - Tax Guide for Small Business (For Individuals Who Use Schedule C or C-EZ)
Publication 531 - Reporting Tip Income
Publication 535 - Business Expenses
Publication 547 - Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts
Publication 584 - Casualty, Disaster and Theft Loss, Workbook (Personal-Use-Property)
Publication 587 - Business Use of Your Home
Publication 590-A - Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)
Publication 590-B - Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)
Publication 926 - Household Employer's Tax Guide
Publication 966 - Electronic Federal Tax Payment System: A Guide to Getting Started
Publication 970 - Tax Benefits for Education
The following publications explain requirements of the various Electronic Filing Systems:
Publication 966 - Electronic Federal Tax Payment System: A Guide to Getting Started
Publication 1345 - Handbook for Authorized IRS e-File Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns
Publication 1436 - Test Package for Electronic Filers of Individual Income Tax Returns
Publication 1474 - Technical Specifications Guide for Reporting Agent Authorization and Federal Tax Depositors
Publication 3112 - IRS e-file Application and Participation
Publication 4163 - Modernized e-File (MeF) Information for Authorized IRS e-file Providers for Business Returns
Publication 4164 - Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers and Transmitters
Publication 5078 - Modernized e-File Test Package (MeF will be consolidating all Business Test Publications)
The following IRMs/documents explain the IDRS:
IRM 2.3 - Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) Terminal Responses - Instructions for Command Codes
IRM 2.4 - Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) Terminal Input - Instructions for Input of Entity and Tax Account Transaction Codes
IRM 2.8.1 - Audit Information Management System (AIMS) - Introduction to AIMS REALTIME Processing
Document 6209, IRS Processing Codes and Information - reference guide which contains sensitive Automated Data Processing (ADP) and IDRS data relative to various components of the IRS
The Interactive Tax Law Assistant (ITLA) is designed for use when responding to telephone tax law inquiries on the topics covered in the guide. For written inquiries, the guide is also a good reference tool. Field Assistance uses ITLA and the Publication Method for all in scope tax law inquiries. Refer to IRM 22.214.171.124.4, Tax Law Assistance, for more information. ITLA is available for use on SERP.
Individual income tax topics generally correspond with the topics in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals.
ITLA topics are organized in crosswalks as follows:
For Field Assistance alphabetically or by category.
For Accounts Management-alphabetically or by Aspect application number.
The TTG is designed to assist you in making the correct decision when you must transfer a call to another application on Aspect.
The TTG is located on the SERP Intranet site and is self explanatory.
The Enterprise Lead Gate is a toll-free number that CSRs can use when assistance is needed on account-related issues during a phone call. CSRs contacting the Lead Gate will be connected to a lead who may be located anywhere in the country. If the lead is unable to assist, the CSR will be directed to an e-4442 referral that will be worked in-house. For further assistance with the Enterprise Lead Gate visit, Enterprise Lead Gate.
The Post of Duty (POD) List is accessed via SERP - Who/Where.
The Post of Duty (POD) List contains Campus and local office addresses located in each state, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
In addition to POD addresses the following contact information, while not all inclusive, can also be found in the Post of Duty (POD) List:
Use TCDs in conjunction with the IRM when you respond to telephone, in-person, and paper inquiries.
TCDs condense IRM procedures and consolidate technical information from the IRM and various other sources such as the ITLA and IRS Publications.
TCDs use plain language and are created in an easy to use, one-page electronic format to help you resolve issues quickly. They are designed to follow the flow of a taxpayer’s inquiry. TCDs provide hyperlinks to the IRM, ITLA, IRS publications, related topics, and other references.
You can locate TCDs on the Intranet via SERP under the IRM Supplements tab (see Technical Communication Documents), or by selecting the "TCD" tab on the left side of the SERP Homepage.
A wide variety of TCD topics can be found under the following categories:
It is highly recommended that you use TCDs when you respond to account inquiries on the telephone. It is also recommended that you use them for in-person and paper inquiries.
The IRMs referenced in the subsections below may help resolve inquiries related to tax account problems and questions. These listings are not all inclusive.
The following IRMs address tax and information returns processing:
IRM 1.15.1 - Records and Information Management - The Records Management Program - Practices and techniques in the creation, maintenance, retrieval, preservation and disposition of all records.
IRM 3.8 - Deposit Activity - Deposit procedures for remittances received in campuses.
IRM 3.10 - Campus Mail and Work Control - Procedures for receipt and control of all documents received in campuses.
IRM 3.11 - Returns and Documents Analysis - Procedures to code and edit individual income tax returns for computer input and processing.
IRM 3.13.2 - BMF Account Numbers - Procedures to change the entity portion of a business taxpayer's account, (i.e., name and address changes).
IRM 3.13.5 - Individual Master File (IMF) Account Numbers - Procedures to change the entity portion of an individual taxpayer's account (i.e., name and address changes).
IRM 3.13.62 - Media Transport and Control - Distribution instructions for output from Campus Computer Services, Machine Services, and Shipping Functions.
IRM 3.30.123 - Processing Timeliness: Cycles, Criteria and Critical Dates - Data Processing Operations Objectives for Area Offices, Campuses, and Enterprise Computing Center, Detroit (ECC-DET).
IRM 3.40 - Block Out of Balance Resolution - General instructions to resolve Block Out of Balance (BOB) problems.
IRM 3.42 - Electronic Tax Administration - Authorized IRS e-File Providers - An overview of the Electronic Filing Program.
The following IRMs provide information, guidelines, and procedures to resolve unpostable conditions:
IRM 3.12.32 - Error Resolution - General Unpostables - Provides general information for the Generalized Unpostable Framework (GUF).
IRM 3.12.166 - Error Resolution - EPMF Unpostables - Provides information on working Employee Plans Master File (EPMF) unpostables.
IRM 3.12.179 - Error Resolution - Individual Master File (IMF) Unpostable Resolution - Provides information on IMF and Payer Master File (PMF) unpostables.
IRM 3.12.278 - Error Resolution - Exempt Organization Unpostable Resolution - Provides EO unpostable instructions for correcting EO return unpostable to allow to post to Master File.
IRM 3.12.279 - Error Resolution - BMF/CAWR/PMF Unpostable Resolution - Identifies unpostable transactions/conditions that are not compatible with existing master file data or normal Submission Processing Campus operating procedures and their resolution.
IRM 21.5.5 - Account Resolution - Unpostables - Provides general instructions for resolving unpostable tax account conditions.
The following IRMs provide instructions for Campus and Enterprise Computing Center, Martinsburg (ECC-MTB) Accounting and Data Control:
IRM 3.17.46 - Accounting and Data Control - Automated Non-Master File Accounting - Provides instructions for processing tax information to the Automated Non-Master File by the Accounting function in the Cincinnati Submission Processing Campus.
IRM 3.17.79 - Accounting and Data Control - Accounting Refund Transactions - Provides procedural and processing instructions to Accounting Operations to approve, schedule and certify refunds.
IRM 3.17.220 - Accounting and Data Control - Excess Collections File - Provides technical instructions to be used by Accounting Technicians when receiving and adding records to the Excess Collections File (XSF).
IRM 3.17.243 - Accounting and Data Control - Miscellaneous Accounting - Provides information for campus Accounting Branch to process quick, prompt, and jeopardy assessments.
IRM 3.17.277 - Accounting and Data Control - Electronic Payments - Provides information for Ogden Submission Processing Center Accounting Branch to operate the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).
The following IRMs provide instructions for processing international tax returns.
IRM 21.7.12 - Non-Master File (NMF) Adjustments - Used by IRS employees to process International NMF adjustments and instructions on filing Form 1120–IC_DISC, Interest Charge Domestic International Sales Corporation Return.
IRM 21.8.1 - International - IMF International Adjustments - Used by Tax Examiners, CSRs and Taxpayer Resolution Representatives (TRRs) in Accounts Management to process International IMF adjustments.
IRM 21.8.2 - International - BMF International Adjustments - Used by Tax Examiners, CSRs and TRRs in Accounts Management to process International BMF adjustments.
The following IRMs provide instructions for securing delinquent returns and assisting with balance due inquiries.
IRM 5.19.1 - Balance Due - Provides procedures for campus processing of balance due accounts where "Can't Pay", "Won't Pay" and "Can Pay Later" have been indicated by the taxpayer.
IRM 5.19.2 - Liability Collection - Individual Master File (IMF) Return Delinquency - Contains information for working returns delinquency responses in Compliance Services and Accounts Management.
IRM 21.3.12 - Taxpayer Contacts - Accounts Management Balance Due Telephone Contacts - Provides procedures for telephone contacts of balance due.