- 25.15.7 Innocent Spouse Shared Processing Responsibilities
- 18.104.22.168 Overview
- 22.214.171.124 Accounts Maintenance (AM) Overview
- 126.96.36.199.1 Amended Returns
- 188.8.131.52 Campus Compliance Examination Operation/Automated Underreporter (CCEO/AUR) Overview
- 184.108.40.206.1 Form 8857 Received by CCEO/AUR Operations
- 220.127.116.11 Collection
- 18.104.22.168.1 Automated Collection System (ACS) Tax Levy
- 22.214.171.124.2 Bankruptcy
- 126.96.36.199.3 Request for Collection Due Process (CDP) or Equivalent Hearing (Form 12153)
- 188.8.131.52.3.1 Identifying CDP Cases
- 184.108.40.206.4 Offer in Compromise (OIC)
- 220.127.116.11 Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) Field
- 18.104.22.168 Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)
- 22.214.171.124.1 Form 12412, Operations Assistance Request (OAR)
- 126.96.36.199.2 Assigning OARs
- 188.8.131.52.3 Actions Initiated on TAS Cases (OARs)
- 184.108.40.206.4 Closing and Transferring TAS Cases
- 220.127.116.11 Open Litigation/Tax Court
Part 25. Special Topics
Chapter 15. 5 Relief from Joint and Several Liability
Section 7. Innocent Spouse Shared Processing Responsibilities
December 09, 2016
(1) This transmits revised procedures for IRM 25.15.7, Relief from Joint and Several Liability, Innocent Spouse Shared Processing Responsibilities.
IRM 25.15.7 has been substantially revised to consolidate and update information, reduce duplicate content, and provide guidance for coordination between Cincinnati Centralized Innocent Spouse Operations (CCISO) and other functions of the Service. This revision correlates to the revision of IRM 25.15.9, new IRM 25.15.18, and new IRM 25.15.19.
(1) Section title changed from "Compliance Campus Functions" to "Innocent Spouse Shared Processing Responsibilities."
(2) Editorial changes have been made throughout this IRM to add clarity and to update or correct references.
(3) Procedures for processing qualifying accounts have been moved from this IRM to IRM 25.15.18, Innocent Spouse Relief Processing Procedures. Procedures for processing non-qualifying accounts and correcting account problems have been moved to new IRM 25.15.19, Non-Qualifying Claims and Complex Account Issues. Other subsections have remained within this section but have been restructured and renumbered. The following crosswalk identifies the location/disposition of content from the last revision:
|18.104.22.168.2 through 22.214.171.124.3.1||126.96.36.199|
|188.8.131.52.5 and 184.108.40.206.6||25.15.19|
|220.127.116.11.7||25.15.19 and 18.104.22.168.1|
|22.214.171.124.10 and 126.96.36.199.11||obsolete|
|188.8.131.52.16 and 184.108.40.206.17||obsolete|
|220.127.116.11 through 18.104.22.168.8||25.15.19|
|22.214.171.124.10 through 126.96.36.199.13||25.15.19|
|188.8.131.52.14||184.108.40.206.4. Information has been clarified and a Note was added to (1) regarding the non-requesting spouse.|
|220.127.116.11.15 and 18.104.22.168||22.214.171.124|
|126.96.36.199 through 188.8.131.52.2||184.108.40.206.2|
|220.127.116.11.2.1 through 18.104.22.168.2.1.4||22.214.171.124 through 126.96.36.199.4|
|188.8.131.52.2.3||184.108.40.206.3. Information has been expanded and clarified, and additional subsection 220.127.116.11.3.1, Identifying CDP Cases, has been added.|
|18.104.22.168.3 through 22.214.171.124.7||126.96.36.199|
|188.8.131.52.8 through 184.108.40.206.10.5||220.127.116.11|
|18.104.22.168.11 through 22.214.171.124.11.3.1||126.96.36.199.4|
|188.8.131.52.12.1||184.108.40.206.2. Information has been expanded and clarified.|
|220.127.116.11.12.2 and 18.104.22.168.12.3||obsolete|
|22.214.171.124.12.4 and 126.96.36.199.12.5||25.15.3|
|188.8.131.52.12.6 through 184.108.40.206.13.6.5||25.15.19|
|220.127.116.11.14 and 18.104.22.168.14.1||obsolete|
|22.214.171.124.14.3 and 126.96.36.199.14.4||25.15.19|
|188.8.131.52.14.5 through 184.108.40.206.14.6||obsolete|
(4) IPU 14U1421 issued 10/2/2014 regarding appeals request procedures expired. Appeals request procedures have been moved to IRM 25.15.18, Innocent Spouse Relief Processing Procedures.
(5) IPU 15U0093 issued 1/13/2015 regarding procedures for Forgery and Invalid Joint Returns expired. All such procedures have been moved to IRM 25.15.19, Non-Qualifying Claims and Complex Account Issues.
Karen A. Turner
Acting Director, Examination Field and Campus Policy
Small Business/Self-Employed Division
Requests for relief from joint and several liabilities are centralized at the Cincinnati IRS Campus known as the Cincinnati Centralized Innocent Spouse Operation (CCISO). Requests can be received in other operations.
This IRM is general information related to shared responsibilities with:
Accounts Maintenance (AM).
Campus Correspondence Examination Operation/Automated Underreporter Operations (CCEO/AUR).
Collection (which is further broken down into):
Collection Due Process (CDP)
Offer In Compromise (OIC)
Small Business/Self Employed (SB/SE) Field Examination.
Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).
When specific freezes or controls indicate that AM is working or resolving an account issue, then coordination between CCISO and AM is needed. The issue on the account must be resolved before a request for relief can be considered. This is particularly important when AM is working with an amended tax return.
If there is a –A Freeze on the account, it needs to be resolved prior to determination. Amended returns may result in:
A lower liability,
An increase in liability,
A change in the account to full paid, or
A change to the filing status.
Before referring to Technical, retrieve a copy of the amended return through the Correspondence Imaging System (CIS), if available. If there is a control on the account, contact the technician to have the freeze resolved.
If a copy of the amended return cannot be retrieved through CIS, request a copy of the amended return from the employee who is assigned the case.
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The claim may be received in Full Scope with an –A freeze that posted after the Innocent Spouse claim was received. The Full Scope Technician will resolve the freeze before working the claim.
Suspend the claim until the -A freeze is resolved. See IRM 220.127.116.11.2, -A Freeze, for additional information.
If an innocent spouse claim is received on an open CCEO or AUR case, CCISO will coordinate:
CCEO/AUR is responsible for all issues except making a determination on the innocent spouse claim. CCEO/AUR is responsible for coordinating final case processing including issuance of a Statutory Notice of Deficiency (SNOD), and account processing, if CCEO/AUR received the Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief , from the taxpayer.
CCISO is responsible for notifying the Non-Requesting Spouse (NRS), making the innocent spouse determination, sending determination letter(s), and providing CCEO/AUR with instructions on case closing (i.e., how to assess the tax, forward case to Appeals, etc.).
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Upon receipt of the Innocent Spouse claim, CCEO/AUR will:
Date stamp the Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, with CCEO/AUR received date.
CCISO will acknowledge receipt of the claim using Letter 3659-C, Requesting Spouse Initial Contact. AUR will acknowledge receipt of the claim using Letter 4314-C, AUR Interim Letter. Both CCISO and AUR will use the CCISO CCEO/AUR Coordinator as the contact.
Input Stages 01 and 02 on the Innocent Spouse Tracking System (ISTS) using IDRS CC ISTSR. See IRM 18.104.22.168, Introduction, for information on ISTS.
Fax Form 8857 and any correspondence regarding Form 8857 within 10 business days to CCISO at (855) 233-8558, Attn: Innocent Spouse CCEO/AUR Coordinator.
The CCISO Innocent Spouse Coordinator will be available to help, if necessary.
An account may have collection activity indicators. Coordination with the appropriate Collection Operation employee may be required while a request for relief is considered.
If the RS calls or corresponds regarding a levy, or there is an indication of a levy (TC 670 with Designated Payment Code (DPC) 04, 05, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, or 23 are indicators of a levy), ask the RS for the following information:
Levy source’s name.
Fax number, if known.
Continuous or recurring levies may be suspended while an innocent spouse claim is pending (for example, a wage levy). Bank account, state income tax, Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend and electronic funds transfer (EFT) levies are typically a onetime levy action. Typically by the time a taxpayer is aware of a onetime levy, the action cannot be stopped. Any levy payment applied to an account after the received date of the request for innocent spouse relief, may be returned to the RS after a determination is made.
Send a secure email including the taxpayer information for the release of levy request to the Lead.
The Lead will forward the levy release request to the ACS contact.
Coordination with Bankruptcy is required when:
The NRS is in bankruptcy and relief has been granted in full or in part to the RS.
The RS is in bankruptcy and relief has been granted.
Both RS and NRS are in bankruptcy.
If a determination is made to grant full or partial relief, call Centralized Insolvency to determine the bankruptcy specialist assigned to the case.
Contact the bankruptcy specialist and advise which taxpayer filed the innocent spouse claim and the proposed determination.
Confer with the bankruptcy specialist to determine if innocent spouse can mirror the account and adjust it.
Notate the Activity Record with all information obtained during contact with bankruptcy, including the name and phone number of the assigned bankruptcy specialist.
Continue to complete the claim process per normal procedures.
Cases with CDP indicators do not automatically go to Stage 12. When preliminary determinations are purged, Generalized IDRS Interface (GII) recognizes coded CDP cases and a listing is generated. The cases are given to a Lead to research the Appeals Centralized Database System (ACDS).
Complete the following steps and transfer the case using the following procedures to the Appeals Office on open CDP cases where relief is allowed in full or in part:
Do Not issue the final determination letter.
Recharge documents to the Cincinnati Campus Appeals Office, using ESTAB to recharge the documents.
Complete Form 3210, Document Transmittal. Keep two copies with the case and retain one copy for the team. Always use the primary TIN on Form 3210
Update ISTS and ISTSR Input Record accordingly.
Close IDRS control base.
Send the case to Appeals (Stop 29F) with a Form 1725, Routing Slip.
A taxpayer may request a CDP hearing or an equivalent hearing using Form 12153, Request for Collection Due Process or Equivalent Hearing.
See IRM 22.214.171.124, Open Litigation/Tax Court, on how to identify CDPs and related W- freeze with TC 520 posted.
If a TC 520 is present on TXMODA or IMFOLT, it will be paired with an indicator "B" if both spouses requested a CDP hearing, "P" if only the primary spouse requested a CDP hearing or "S" if only the secondary spouse requested a CDP hearing. The CDP must be for the RS. Notate CDP on top of the ISTSR input record sheet and highlight.
If the CDP hearing request was received by Automated Collection System (ACS), there will also be an open IDRS control on TXMODA with activity beginning with CDP or equivalent hearing. The final activity on that control should be to Appeals indicating ACS sent the CDP hearing request to Appeals.
A TC 520 will not be present if the taxpayer has requested an equivalent hearing. Look for the following unreversed TC 971 action codes:
If an OIC was previously filed, look at the indicator on TXMOD to determine who filed the OIC: P - Primary taxpayer or S - Secondary taxpayer or B - Both taxpayers.
Listed below are OIC transaction codes and their explanation.
OIC Transaction Code (TC) Explanation TC 480 OIC filed (-Y freeze) TC 481 OIC rejected TC 482 OIC withdrawn TC 483 TC 480 posted in error TC 780 OIC accepted (-Y freeze) TC 781 Defaulted OIC TC 782 TC 780 processed in error TC 788 Closing of accepted OIC, removes the Y freeze
If the RS’s offer was rejected, denied, or withdrawn, continue normal claim procedures.
If there is a pending OIC (TC 480), contact the RS and advise him/her of the consequences if the OIC is accepted (i.e., the acceptance of an OIC precludes the taxpayer from subsequently being considered for relief from joint and several liability for the same tax period). If the RS wants to proceed with the OIC, contact the OIC area and request that they expedite the OIC. Research SERP under the "Who/Where" tab to determine OIC contact. Suspend the claim in Stage 06 until a determination is made on the OIC.
Disallow the innocent spouse claim if the OIC is going to be accepted. The taxpayer can't be considered for relief from joint and several liability for the same tax period. Issue Letter 4988-C, Requesting Spouse Preliminary Determination Letter on Disallowed Innocent Spouse. Update ISTS and ISTSR Input Record to Stage 11 with the activity description "OC " and applicable code section. Use" 6015(b)" if understatement and" 6015(f)" if underpayment.
If the OIC is going to be denied, document the case Activity Record and continue with claim, as per normal procedures.
In some situations an innocent spouse determination is made by the field after the audit has closed or Centralized Case Processing (CCP) cannot process the determination. CCISO will most often receive the examination administrative file, which will include a Form 3870, Request for Adjustment, to adjust or correct the account, or sometimes only the Form 3870 prepared by a field employee.
Forms that are not correctly prepared or signed must be returned to the sender for perfection before the determination can be processed. Completed forms are sent to the Processing Team to correct or adjust the accounts.
TAS is an independent organization within the IRS whose employees assist taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, who are seeking help in resolving tax problems that have not been resolved through normal channels, or who believe that an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should. TAS protects taxpayers' rights by ensuring that all taxpayers are treated fairly, and that they know and understand their rights under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The goal is to work efficiently with TAS. See IRM 126.96.36.199, Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Guidelines, for more information on TAS.
CCISO receives Operations Assistance Requests (OAR) from TAS, either by mail or fax. Upon receipt of an OAR, hand carry it to the CCISO Taxpayer Advocate Liaison.
The CCISO TAS liaison will be responsible for:
Accepting the OAR from TAS.
Acknowledging receipt of the OAR within 3 days (within 1 day for expedited OARs).
Reviewing the case for appropriate assignment.
Inputting the OAR information on the TAS database.
Placing the innocent spouse/TAS cases in appropriate folder (which will remain around the case until it is closed to Appeals, Files or another area).
Assigning the case to the appropriate employee within the function using a Form 3210, Document Transmittal.
All cases will be worked based on the facts and circumstances of the case and in concurrence with the TAS employee per the Service Level Agreement with TAS. The Service Level Agreement can be found at http://tas.web.irs.gov/policy/sla/default.aspx.
TAS cases which are marked "Expedite" will be expedited through the innocent spouse process.
See IRM 12.1.7, Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Case Criteria, for additional information on criteria.
OARs will be assigned to all functions of CCISO depending upon the recommended actions requested by TAS.
Once a determination has been made or the requested actions have been taken on Full Scope innocent spouse/TAS cases, the technician will:
Complete Section V of Form 12412, Operations Assistance Request (OAR), with the employee’s name, phone number, etc.
Notate Section VI with actions taken, initial and date.
Fax Form 12412 and a fax cover sheet to TAS.
Notate the activity sheet that Form 12412 was faxed to TAS.
File case as appropriate.
Once an action has been taken on innocent spouse/TAS cases assigned to First Read and the Processing Team, the technician will:
Notate Section VI of the Form 12412 with the action taken, initials, and date.
Fax the TAS cover-sheet and completed Form 12412 to TAS.
Notate activity sheet (when applicable) that Form 12412 was faxed to TAS. If activity record is not available, notate the Form 12412.
Keep original Form 12412, TAS/OAR Disposition Sheet and the ISTSR Input Record with the case going to other areas or Files.
Ensure the TAS folder includes a copy of the Form 12412, a print of ISTS showing Stage 30, if closing the claim, and a copy of the TAS OAR Disposition Sheet. If there is not an Innocent Spouse issue because it has previously been closed, the originals will stay in the appropriate folder.
Return to CCISO TAS Liaison.
When closing or transferring a TAS case, update the case on ISTS and notate the ISTSR Input Record to Stage 30 or 07:
Complete all required closing processes.
Notate Section VI of Form 12412, Operations Assistance Request (OAR), of the actions taken to close the OAR such as closing to Appeals, Files, CDP, etc. Initial and date the Form 12412.
Fax Form 12412 with a TAS cover sheet to TAS.
Notate the activity sheet that the Form 12412 was faxed to TAS.
Make a copy of Pages 1 and 2 of the Form 12412.
Remove the innocent spouse case that is closing to Files or forwarding to another area from the TAS folder.
Place copies of the Form 12412 and ISTS print in the TAS folder and return to the CCISO TAS Liaison.
Keep original Form 12412 and ISTS print with the case going to another area or Files. Place originals inside case file so they are on top.
Accounts that have an open litigation/tax court case are identified with the codes listed in the table below.
Open Litigation/Tax Court Identifiers Freeze Code Transaction Codes Notation on ISTSR -W Freeze. TC 520 with Closing Code (CC): 70, 71, 73, 75, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84. Litigation. See IRM 188.8.131.52.46, -W Freeze for more information. -W Freeze. TC 520 with CC 72 or 74. Tax Court. -L Freeze. Open TC 420. Tax Court Examination. -W Freeze. TC 520 with CC 76 or 77. Collection Due Process Hearing; see IRM 184.108.40.206.3, Request for a Collection Due Process (CDP) or Equivalent Hearing (Form 12153), for more information.
If the above indicators are present, research the DIMS list for the account.
Coordinate with the DIMS contact and/or assigned Counsel Attorney to determine if CCISO will send determination letters to the RS or NRS or forward the case to Appeals.
Open CCEO and Area Office Examination cases are identified by an AIMS status of 82 and open AUR cases by having a Processing Code (PC) of 80. Innocent Spouse claims related to tax court cases in CCEO, Area Office Exam or AUR require special handling and most often are claims for relief from proposed tax assessments.
If the case is in CCEO or Area Office Exam as indicated by AIMS, refer the claim to the appropriate Appeals Office to be associated with the case file. See IRM 220.127.116.11.1.5, Audit Information Management System (AIMS), for more information.
Appeals refers the claim to the Area Office Examiner or CCISO for the innocent spouse determination, per IRM 25.15.12, Appeals Procedures. If CCISO receives the claim for consideration, it will be worked at Appeals/Counsel’s direction with regard to taxpayer contact. See IRM 18.104.22.168.2, Litigation Referral Cases, for more information.
For cases open in CCEO/AUR; research to determine if the RS is a party to the tax court case. Obtain case Information from the Tax Court website at http://www.ustaxcourt.gov/, United States Tax Court.
If the RS is a Non-Petitioning Spouse (NPS):
Work the case as normal.
Remove the colored folder.
Update ISTS and the ISTSR Input Record with "RS Non-Petitioning Spouse" .
If the RS has not had their account assessed yet, contact AUR to determine the date that the RS will be assessed per IRM 22.214.171.124.8, Non-Petitioning Spouse.
On partial relief and disallowed cases, send a copy of the work papers and the allocation worksheets to the appeals office at the time of determination. This will assist the attorney if any subsequent adjustments need to be made to the account as a result of the tax court case.
If the RS is a Petitioning Spouse (PS):
Notify Counsel and forward claim for association with petitioned case. Request direction from Counsel on how to proceed with taxpayer contact. See IRM 126.96.36.199.2, Litigation Referral Cases, for more information.
Forward claim to Appeals by using a Form 1725, Routing Slip, notate "pre-assessment" and that the case is docketed on the top in red.
Counsel attorneys, Appeals officers, Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys, and settlement officers may refer innocent spouse claims received in docketed Tax Court or open litigation cases to CCISO to make an innocent spouse relief determination.
A copy of the petition or request should be included with the referral.
The open litigation may be the result of a petition filed in response to a Statutory Notice of Deficiency, an open bankruptcy case, and other cases that are under a court’s jurisdiction.
In general, a claim for relief received during Collection Due Process hearings is referred to CCISO for determination. See IRM 188.8.131.52.3, for more information.
The case will typically include a memorandum addressed to CCISO as follows:
IRS – CCISO
Attn: Department One Manager
201 W. Rivercenter Blvd., Stop 840F
Covington, KY 41011
Upon receipt of a referral to make a determination, call or email the Counsel attorney or officer making the referral, and ask how they want CCISO to process the referral, if it is not apparent from the referral itself.
In a claim filed during open litigation, work the claim with Counsel’s direction. For example:
The Counsel attorney may want CCISO to solicit a Form 8857.
The Counsel attorney may request that CCISO not make contact with the taxpayer and/or any third party witnesses. In these cases, the Counsel attorney will be responsible for corresponding with the taxpayer and/or any third party witnesses and for providing any missing information/documentation to the CCISO employee.
The Counsel attorney may request that CCISO work the claim using normal procedures for taxpayer notifications and requests for information.
If copies of the petition and related documents, such as the Statutory Notice of Deficiency are not in the case file, ask Counsel or the settlement officer to provide copies.
Build the case on ISTS through Stage 04 and open TXMOD control with activity "LITIGATION" , then:
Send Letter 3284-C, Notification to Non-Requesting Spouse, to NRS with a Form 12508, Questionnaire For Non-Requesting Spouse, if appropriate.
Send Letter 3659-C, Requesting Spouse Initial Contact, to RS to request any additional information needed, including Form 8857, if appropriate
Once a taxpayer files a petition in Tax Court or any court with jurisdiction, and alleges they are entitled to innocent spouse relief under IRC 6015, a "claim" has been made. If a Form 8857 is not included with the referral, solicit one, if Counsel concurs with such a request. If the RS does not respond to requests for Form 8857 or other information necessary to make a determination, advise the Counsel attorney and request further instruction.
Work litigation cases in an expedited manner. Make determinations within 60 days of receipt, or by the date specified by Counsel.
Do not issue determination letters since the taxpayer is already in litigation, and counsel/appeals retains jurisdiction. Provide the determination (allowed, partially allowed, or not allowed) to the Counsel attorney or officer making the referral.
Document the case file with the determination. Do not send any letters, unless directed to do so by Counsel.
Update ISTS and the ISTSR Input Record with Stage 11, then Stage 19. Activity description "TAXCOURT" will automatically generate when Stage 19 is input.
Close TXMOD control.