25.4.2 "Caution Upon Contact" Taxpayer

Manual Transmittal

January 30, 2017


(1) This transmits revised IRM 25.4.2, Employee Protection, Caution Upon Contact Taxpayer.


The "Caution Upon Contact" program was implemented in 2002 to enhance the safety of IRS employees. This IRM section provides information on the program's criteria, procedures, five-year reviews and the location of the program's indicator.

Material Changes

(1) Editorial changes are made throughout to update titles, to change or correct grammatical phrasing, and to update website links.

Effect on Other Documents

This material supersedes IRM 25.4.2, dated August 5, 2014.


All Business Operating and Functional Divisions with employees whose duties require them to have contact with taxpayers.

Effective Date


Related Resources

Employees can visit the Office of Employee Protection's website at https://organization.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/vldp/DEP/EP/Pages/default.aspx for other guidance and information.

Frances W. Kleckley
Director, Privacy Policy & Compliance
Privacy, Governmental Liaison & Disclosure


  1. The designation of Caution Upon Contact (CAU) must be based on reliable evidence or information. There must also be a nexus to tax administration.

  2. Taxpayers must be identified by Social Security Numbers and/or Employer Identification Numbers.

  3. A Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer (PDT) designation takes precedence over a CAU designation. As a result, taxpayers who have been identified as PDT's cannot be simultaneously designated with the CAU indicator.

  4. The following criteria have been established for determining CAU status:

    1. Threat of physical harm that is less severe or immediate than necessary to satisfy PDT criteria;

    2. Suicide threat by the taxpayer; or

    3. Filing or threatening to file a frivolous lien or a frivolous criminal or civil legal action against an IRS employee or contractor or an IRS employee's or contractor's immediate family member.

  5. A taxpayer who meets any of the above criteria must be approached with caution.


    The preceding criteria were approved by Chief Counsel. Adherence to the criteria is essential to ensure compliance with the Privacy Act. If a particular situation represents a borderline case in the application of the above criteria, the determination must be made in favor of the CAU designation (erring on the side of caution) for the protection of Service employees.

Reporting to the Office of Employee Protection (OEP)

  1. Employees will complete and submit a Caution Indicator Referral Report, Form 13090, to the OEP via fax, mail or a secure email message. Employees must provide a copy of the completed form to their immediate manager.

  2. The form must contain a minimal amount of tax information and only what is necessary to establish a nexus to tax administration.

  3. When preparing Form 13090, employees must be sure to:

    1. State only the facts necessary to explain the incident;

    2. Provide the taxpayer's Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number; and

    3. Describe the exact words, body language or gestures made by the taxpayer.

Office of Employee Protection's Role

  1. The OEP will:

    • Initiate a CAU case

    • Evaluate the Caution Indicator Referral Report, Form 13090, against the CAU criteria

    • Make a determination as to whether or not CAU criteria have been met

    • Input and remove the CAU indicator to and from IDRS Master File and/or Non-Master File accounts

    • Maintain the CAU section of the Employee Protection System (EPS) database

    • Function as liaison with General Legal Services (GLS)

    • Provide information and feedback to the referring employee and the referring employee's manager as to the case disposition

    • Perform CAU five-year reviews

CAU Determination and Appeal

  1. The Chief, OEP has the authority to make all CAU determinations.

  2. Cases determined to not meet CAU criteria can be appealed by the referring employee's IRS Manager.

  3. The referring employee's IRS Manager must contact the assigned OEP Specialist, either in writing or by telephone, to discuss the reasons for disagreement.

  4. If an agreement is not reached between the OEP and the employee's IRS Manager, the OEP will forward the case to GLS. GLS will make a final decision on the determination.

CAU Indicator

  1. Input and removal of the CAU indicator onto IDRS is restricted to the OEP.

  2. Input of the CAU indicator will result in "CAU" appearing on the systems and documents listed in Exhibit 25.4.2-1.

CAU Indicator versus PDT Indicator

  1. If a CAU case meets PDT criteria rather than CAU criteria:

    1. The OEP will notify the referring employee and his/her manager that a PDT case will be initiated on the reported incident.

    2. The OEP will contact the referring employee's local TIGTA Field Division to begin an investigation and to initiate a PDT case.

Power of Attorney (POA) Information

  1. An IRS employee, who is assigned a case for which there is a POA and there will be contact with that POA, has a "business need to know" whether the POA has been designated as a PDT or CAU. The IRS employee can utilize IDRS to ascertain whether the POA has been designated as a PDT or a CAU, just as the IRS employee does for any taxpayer, as long as the IRS employee does not access any of the POA's other tax information.

  2. IDRS Command Code "ENMOD" can be used to determine if the POA has been designated as either a PDT or a CAU. If an IRS employee does not know the POA's SSN and/or EIN needed to utilize "ENMOD" , he/she can use Command Codes "NAMES" or "NAMEI" to obtain the POA's SSN - OR - "NAMEE" or "NAMEB" to obtain the POA's EIN. For assistance in using these Command Codes, please consult the "ADP and IDRS Information" handbook (Document 6209) or other IDRS resources.

  3. If an IRS employee is unable to determine if the POA has been designated as either a PDT or a CAU utilizing IDRS, the IRS employee may contact the Office of Employee Protection. The IRS employee will give the POA’s name, address and CAF number to an OEP Specialist who will utilize the Employee Protection System and determine if the POA has been designated as either a PDT or a CAU.

Five-Year Review of CAU Records

  1. A CAU indicator will remain on the taxpayer's IDRS/Master File and/or Non-Master File account for five years, at which time, the status will be reevaluated by the OEP.

  2. Any taxpayer who has been designated with a CAU indicator for five years, and who meets one or both of the following renewal criteria, will retain the CAU indicator for an additional five-year period:

    1. An additional CAU or PDT referral was made during the five-year period under review and/or

    2. There is current IRS activity at the time of the review.

  3. If the taxpayer does not meet the above renewal criteria, the OEP will remove the CAU indicator from that taxpayer's IDRS/Master File and/or Non-Master File account.

Display of "CAU" Indicator

Once a designation has been made, the CAU indicator will appear in the upper right-hand section of the following documents and systems:

  • National Computing Center (NCC) Transcripts (except Privacy Act Transcripts)

  • Microfilm Replacement System (MRS)Transcripts

  • Audit Information Management System (AIMS)

    • AIMS Display (AMDIS)

    • AIMS Weekly Updates

    • AIMS Charge-Out (Form 5546)

  • Federal Tax Deposit (FTD) Alerts (BMF only)

  • Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) Transcripts

    • Tax Modules (TXMOD)

    • Entity Modules (ENMOD)

    • Summary Modules (SUMRY)

    • Taxpayer Delinquent Inquiry (TDINQ)

  • Corporate Files On Line (CFOL) Modules

    • Individual Master File On Line (IMFOL)

    • Business Master File On Line (BMFOL)

    • Information National On Line Entity (INOLE)

  • Balance Due Accounts

  • Return Delinquency Accounts

  • Daily Transaction Registers (DTR's)

  • Integrated Collection System (ICS) screens

  • Automated Collection System (ACS) Web

  • Examination Returns Control System (ERCS) screens