3.42.7 EPSS Help Desk Support

Manual Transmittal

September 11, 2018

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 3.42.7, Electronic Tax Administration, EPSS Help Desk Support.

Material Changes

(1) IRM 3.42.7 - The following changes/updates were made throughout the IRM:

  • Removed 1 from all toll-free numbers (e.g., 1-800).

  • Removed all references to Legacy.

  • Changed all references related to ASPECT and CTIOS to Computer Telephony Integration Object Server (CTIOS) Desktop or softphone.

  • Updated IRM references and links.

(2) IPU 17U1712 issued 12-19-2017 IRM 3.42.7 - All references to eAuthentication have been changed to Secure Access Authentication throughout the IRM.

(3) IPU 18U0204 issued 01-30-2018 IRM 3.42.7 - All references to User ID have been changed to Username throughout the IRM.

(4) IPU 18U0660 issued 04-18-2018 IRM 3.42.7 - All references to Third Party Data Store (TPDS) have been changed to External Customer Data Store (ECDS) throughout the IRM.

(5) IRM 3.42.7.1.3 Terms and Acronyms - In (1) e-Services, removed the list of products available to authorized users of e-Services and linked it to IRM 3.42.8.2, E-Services Overview.

(6) IRM 3.42.7.1.4 Related Resources - In (2), changed the name of Publication 1436 to Assurance Testing System (ATS) Guidelines for Modernized e-File (MeF) Individual Tax Returns. Added Publication 5118, FATCA Online Registration User Guide and Publication 5262, FATCA QI/WP/WT Application and Account Management User Guide. Removed Rev. Proc. 2000-31, Tax Forms and Instructions and Rev. Proc. 2002-9, Requirements of the Electronic Filing Program for Reporting of Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return.

(7) IPU 18U0769 issued 05-07-2018 IRM 3.42.7.2 Overview of EPSS - In (1), changed taxpayers to Business on-line filers for clarification.

(8) IRM 3.42.7.2.1 Hours of Operation - In (1), changed TSO hours to 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Central.

(9) IRM 3.42.7.3.1 Office of Disclosure - In (4), changed Governmental Liaison and Disclosure to Disclosure.

(10) IPU 18U0660 issued 04-18-2018 IRM 3.42.7.3.1 Office of Disclosure - In (8), added references for reporting inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information.

(11) IRM 3.42.7.3.4 Privacy Policy and Compliance - In (3), updated URL and in (4), removed the Identity Protection team.

(12) IRM 3.42.7.4.3 Quick Alerts - In (2), updated the instructions for subscribing to Quick Alerts.

(13) IRM 3.42.7.5.1 EHSS Home Page - In (1), changed the order of the menu items to match the order in EHSS.

(14) IRM 3.42.7.6.1 Contacts - In (4), removed the instructions that the Username must be in all capital letters.

(15) IPU 18U0204 issued 01-30-2018 IRM 3.42.7.6.1 Contacts - In (5) Note, added Taxpayers to Secure Access Authentication.

(16) IPU 17U1712 issued 12-19-2017 IRM 3.42.7.6.2 Business Unit - In (1), added Secure Access Authentication and the Note: The Agent line does not determine the Business Unit for the call. Deleted e-Services.

(17) IPU 17U1712 issued 12-19-2017 IRM 3.42.7.6.3 Product Type - In (9), added Secure Access Authentication and the Product Types: Application, Phone, SAA Tax Professional (e-Services), SAA Taxpayer (Formerly eAuth), TDS, TIN Matching and Unsupported Product. In (12), removed OFP 750-12820 Form 8809 Extension of Time and added OFP 750-12824 Non-Automatic Form 8809 Extension. Deleted e-Services product types.

(18) IPU 18U0204 issued 01-30-2018 IRM 3.42.7.6.3 Product Type - In (10), removed Secure Access Authentication from ONLTP.

(19) IPU 17U1712 issued 12-19-2017 IRM 3.42.7.6.4 Problem Type - In (2), added the Problem Types and definitions for Disabled RC7, Disabled RC8, Exception Processing, Failed Secure Access, LOA3F, Referred to TAC, SAA General Information and TAC Passed. Removed eAuthentication and changed it to Secure Access Authentication under Out of Scope and System Unavailable. Changed the definition for Enabled and Login. In (3), added Non-Automatic Extension and Secret Phrase.

(20) IPU 18U0204 issued 01-30-2018 IRM 3.42.7.6.4 Problem Type - In (2) Figure 3.42.7-4, added Problem Type Activation Code.

(21) IPU 18U0660 issued 04-18-2018 IRM 3.42.7.6.4 Problem Type - In (2) Figure 3.42.7-4, added Problem Type Certification to use for questions concerning the QI WP WT certification process. In (3) Figure 3.42.7-5, retired Problem Types Due Dates and Tax Law. Added General Inquiry to use for providing information found in Publications, IRMs and IRS.gov for preparing and filing information returns.

(22) IPU 18U1217 issued 08-30-2018 Problem Type - In (3) Figure 3.42.7-5, added 972CG, CP2100/CP2100A, Recreate (External) and Recreate (Internal) as separate Problem Types.

(23) IRM 3.42.7.6.8 Description - In (4), added IRM reference 3.42.7.6.1, Contacts and added Note: EFTPS, SAM, 94x PIN Registration, Secure Access Authentication for Taxpayers and FATCA customers will always have a contact as "e-Product Users" .

(24) IRM 3.42.7.6.8.1 Writing Descriptions for Level 2 - In (2), added to the Email address bullet that it has been verified if correct.

(25) IPU 17U1712 issued 12-19-2017 IRM 3.42.7.6.8.1 Writing Descriptions for Level 2 - In (2), added to also include the email address on all Interactions if it is missing in EHSS when completing the Description field.

(26) IRM 3.42.7.12.1 Reviewing the Worklist - In (2) Reminder, changed to click the refresh button after bringing up your worklist from Internet Explorer Toolbar to EHSS Worklist Queue.

(27) IPU 18U0204 issued 01-30-2018 IRM 3.42.7.12.2.2 Responding to Email - In (2), deleted TSO templates for Get TCC Number and 1099 Corrections.

(28) IRM 3.42.7.12.2.2.2 Email Etiquette - In (1), added employees must provide a contact telephone number when corresponding with taxpayers by email.

(29) IRM 3.42.7.12.3 FATCA Emails - In (6), removed: Do not reply to the customer via the Activities section.

(30) IRM 3.42.7.14.1 ASPECT Telephone System changed to Computer Telephony Integration Object Server (CTIOS) Desktop - Softphone.

(31) IRM 3.42.7.14.2 Telephone Etiquette - In (2), added Note: Do not mute calls when research is being conducted. Place the caller on hold or continue speaking.

(32) IPU 17U1712 issued 12-19-2017 IRM 3.42.7.14.2 Telephone Etiquette - In (2), added an alpha bullet: Do not use jargon or acronyms that may confuse customers.

(33) IPU 18U0660 issued 04-18-2018 Revised the title of IRM 3.42.7.14.4 to Over the Phone Interpreter Service (OPI) and added new section for this topic. All other subsequent subsections were renumbered accordingly.

(34) IPU 18U0769 issued 05-07-2018 IRM 3.42.7.14.4 Over the Phone Interpreter Service (OPI) - In (3), added Note to check the Spanish box in EHSS.

(35) IPU 18U0892 issued 06-01-2018 IRM 3.42.7.14.4 Over the Phone Interpreter Service (OPI) - Added (5) to include submitting Form 14162, OPI Service Feedback when the interpreter service is unable to provide an interpreter.

(36) IPU 18U0204 issued 01-30-2018 IRM 3.42.7.14.5.1 Authentication/Authorization for e-file Application - In (1) Note, clarified the probe requirements.

(37) IPU 18U0204 issued 01-30-2018 IRM 3.42.7.14.5.3 Authentication/Authorization for E-Services - Changed (Other Than e-file Applications) to (TDS and TIN Matching Only) in the title. In (1) Note, clarified the probe requirements.

(38) IRM 3.42.7.14.5.4 Authentication/Authorization for SAM, EFTPS and Business Online e-file (e.g., Large Taxpayers) - In Fig. 3.42.7-23, removed preparer information and refund within $100 (unless computed by IRS) from the additional probes.

(39) IRM 3.42.7.14.5.5 Authentication/Authorization for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Online Registration System - In (3) and (4), removed the Note: If the legal name is over 40 characters the customer must provide the name as input in the FATCA Online Registration System.

(40) IPU 18U0660 issued 04-18-2018 IRM 3.42.7.14.5.8 Disclosure Cross-References - In (1), changed IRM 21.2.1.57 reference to IRM 21.2.1.56 Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHOH) Callers and TTY/TDD Equipment.

(41) IRM 3.42.7.14.6.1 Transferring Calls - In Figure 3.42.7-25, Updated the Transfer #s, added Applications 704 and 705 and deleted Applications 708 and 709. In (5), revised instructions on when customers call back. Deleted (6) with the sites ACD numbers. In Fig. 3.42.7-26, deleted CTIOS and entering 92407 from If/Then chart. In the Note, removed the 4130 line. In (7), listed the steps for transferring a call.

(42) IRM 3.42.7.14.6.1.1 Call Transfer Basics - Changed the steps for transferring a call with the softphone.

(43) IPU 17U1712 issued 12-19-2017 IRM 3.42.7.15.4 eAuthentication and Secure Access Authentication - Removed eAuthentication from the title and updated the Secure Access Authentication information.

(44) IRM 3.42.7.15.4.2 Password Problems - In (1), changed first bullet to read between 8 and 20 characters.

(45) IPU 17U1712 issued 12-19-2017 Exhibit 3.42.7-1 Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) Codes (Phones and email) - Removed TSO OFP 750-12820 Processing (Paper Extension of Time) Form 8809.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 3.42.7 dated 09/11/2017, (effective 10/01/2017), is superseded. This IRM incorporates the following IRM Procedural Updates: 17U1712 (issued 12/19/2017), 18U0204 (issued 01/30/2018), 18U0660 (issued 04/18/2018), 18U0769(issued 05/07/2018), 18U0892 (issued 06/01/2018) and 18U1217 (issued 08/30/2018).

Audience

These procedures will be used by e-help Desk assistors and Technical Services Operation (TSO) employees. Also intended for managers, analysts, business owners, and others who provide support to users of IRS electronic products and services.

Effective Date

(10-01-2018)

Patricia LaPosta
Director, Electronic Products & Services Support
Wage and Investment Division

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. Purpose: The Electronic Products & Services Support (EPSS) organization is a stand-alone organization reporting to the Director, Customer Accounts Services (CAS) in the Wage & Investment (W&I) Division. EPSS is a centralized office for the management of IRS electronic products and services within W&I CAS. The EPSS vision is to Advance IRS electronic business opportunities to meet the changing demands of the future while delivering a positive customer experience. The mission is to support customer-valued e-solutions for Service-wide electronic products and services. Visit the EPSS web site at http://win.web.irs.gov/epss_home.html for more information.

  2. Audience: These procedures are used by e-help Desk assistors and Technical Services Operation (TSO) employees. They are also intended for managers, analysts, business owners, and others who provide support to users of IRS electronic products and services.

  3. Policy Owners: Director, Electronic Products & Services Support (EPSS).

  4. Program Owner: E-help, Technical Services Operation, Operation Support.

  5. Primary Stakeholders: All IRS users of electronic products and services.

  6. Program Goals: To support customer-valued e-solutions for Service-wide electronic products and services.

Background

  1. EPSS has two operations responsible for providing support to customers.

    • E-help Desk Operation provides support to individuals, businesses and e-file providers, with electronic products and services. The five e-help Desk sites are located in Andover, Atlanta, Austin, Cincinnati and Ogden.

    • Technical Services Operation (TSO) provides technical support to information return filers and employers. TSO handles inquiries relating to the preparation and filing (electronic or paper) of business information returns (Forms 1096, 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8027, 8596, and W-2G). The two TSO sites are located in Martinsburg, and Austin.

  2. EPSS supports the following electronic products and services:

    • Electronic Filing (e-file)

    • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)

    • Electronic Services (E-Services)

    • Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)

    • System for Award Management (SAM)

    • Acceptance Agent Application

    • Foreign Account Taxpayer Compliance Act (FATCA) online registration and International Compliance Management Module (ICMM) Error Notifications

    • Affordable Care Act Acceptance Form (AFA)

  3. Users of IRS electronic products include, but they are not limited to, the following:

    • Attorneys

    • Certified Public Accountants (CPA)

    • Electronic Return Originators (ERO)

    • Enrolled Agents (EA)

    • Financial Institutions

    • Governmental Agencies

    • Government Contractors

    • Information Return Filer/Payer

    • Intermediate Service Providers (ISP)

    • Large Corporations

    • Low Income Tax Clinics (LITC)

    • Reporting Agents (RA)

    • Software Developers

    • State Taxing Authorities

    • Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Sites

    • Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC)

    • Transmitters

    • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Sites

  4. The e-help Support System (EHSS) provides a holistic view of a customer's contact history with the EPSS Help Desks. Each contact with the customer is documented in EHSS as an Interaction/Incident. An Interaction/Incident is the electronic version of a customer's contact. If the Interaction/Incident is still open and the customer is providing/requesting additional information on the same issue, document and update the activities section of the Interaction/Incident.

    Note:

    It may not be necessary to create an Interaction for a call that is being transferred. See IRM 3.42.7.14.6.2, Escalating/Transferring Interactions.

  5. Assistors create Interactions/Incidents to record the customer information, problem details, and resolution of the issue. EHSS interacts with the External Customer Data Store (ECDS). ECDS contains information about e-Services users. See IRM 3.42.7.5, Introduction to the e-help Support System (EHSS) for further information on e-Services and e-file Providers.

Responsibilities

  1. The Director of EPSS is responsible for supporting customer-valued e-solutions for Service-wide electronic products and services.

  2. The e-help Operations Chief is responsible for providing technical assistance to the users of IRS electronic products and services: such as Electronic Return Originators (EROs), Software Developers, Transmitters, etc.

  3. The TSO Operations Chief is responsible for serving as a focal point for electronic processing of Forms 1099, 1098, 5498, 1042-S and all other Information Returns.

  4. The Operations Support (OS) Chief is responsible for providing program management oversight to ensure the effectiveness of all programs under the jurisdiction of the EPSS director.

Terms and Acronyms

  1. The table lists Electronic Products and their definitions:

    Electronic Products Definition
    Acceptance Agent Applications Applications received, entered, and reviewed for compliance with suitability criteria for the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) program office. For additional information refer to IRS.govhttps://www.irs.gov/Individuals/New-ITIN-Acceptance-Agent-Program-Changes.
    Affordable Care Act Application (ACA) for Transmitter Control Code (TCC) An application for a firm or organization to submit for authorization to electronically file ACA Information returns.
    Affordable Care Act Information Return System (AIR) System used by filers of Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C and 1095-C to file their returns electronically with the IRS.
    Secure Access Authentication The identity proofing process designed for all IRS Online Applications.
    E-file The electronic submission of customer return data for both individual taxpayers and businesses. IRS has partnered with various private industry companies that offer e-file and electronic payment options to the individual taxpayer. Electronic filing and payment options for corporations, tax exempt organizations, partnerships, estates, trusts, employment and excise taxes are also available. Modernized e-File (MeF) is the platform used by the IRS to process customer return data with the exception of filing information returns electronically (FIRE).
    e-Services A suite of web-based products that allows firms or individuals to do business with the IRS electronically. See IRM 3.42.8.2, E-Services Overview for a list of products available to authorized users of e-Services.

    Note:

    See Figure 3.42.7-1 IRS Business Partners who Participate in e-Services.

    Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) Provides ways for business and individual taxpayers to make Federal tax payments electronically using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). EFTPS allows users to submit remittances, validate payments, and view payment history via the Internet or telephone. For additional information, visit the IRS.gov web site at http://www.irs.gov/uac/EFTPS-The-Electronic-Federal-Tax-Payment-System
    Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) The system used by filers of Form 1042-S, Form 1098 series, Form 1097-BTC, Form 1099 series, Form 3921, Form 3922, Form 5498 series, Form 8027, Form 8955–SSA, electronic Extension of Time to File, and Form W-2G, to file their returns electronically with the Internal Revenue Service. IRC 6011(e) requires payers that file 250 or more information returns to file those returns electronically. Payers who are under the filing threshold requirement are encouraged to file electronically.
    Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
    • Online Registration System is an online system for entities, including foreign financial institutions (FFIs) and certain non-financial foreign entities (NFFEs), to register as participating FFIs for FATCA compliance purposes.

    • International Compliance Management Module (ICMM) is an internal IRS electronic FATCA reporting system that will capture, process, and store data.

    System for Award Management (SAM) A TIN matching program. SAM is owned by the Department of Defense (DoD) in partnership with W&I Compliance. The TIN matching process is a joint effort between the General Services Administration (GSA), the DoD, and the IRS to improve the quality of data in government acquisition systems. The TIN is mandatory in SAM unless the vendor is located outside the United States and does not pay employees within the United States. New registrants will go through the IRS TIN validation process at the time of initial registration. Current vendors will go through the IRS TIN validation process at the time of annual renewal. For additional information, visit the SAM web site at https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/
  2. The table lists types of customers and the e-Services Products they use.

    • Figure 3.42.7-1

      Only approved IRS business partners as noted below are eligible to participate in e-Services
      Customer E-Services Product
      Tax professionals who register Online e-file application
      Electronic Return Originators (ERO) who have e-filed 5 or more accepted returns Transcript Delivery System (TDS)
      Low Income Tax Clinics TDS
      Circular 230 Practitioners who qualify as Attorneys, CPAs or EAs TDS
      Reporting Agents TDS
      State Taxing Authorities TDS
      Payers of income subject to back-up withholding TIN Matching Application, Interactive TIN Matching, Bulk TIN Matching

      For additional information, visit the IRS.gov web site at http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/e-services---Online-Tools-for-Tax-Professionals.

  3. See Exhibit 3.42.7-4, Abbreviations for a list of commonly used acronyms and abbreviations.

Related Resources

  1. Resources available to help assistors in the performance of their duties include: Training, publications, Internal Revenue Manuals, the EPSS communications and EPSS SERP Portal. Assistors must report their time under the appropriate Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) codes for tracking purposes. See Exhibit 3.42.7-1, Organization, Function and Program (OFP) Codes (Phones and email), and see Exhibit 3.42.7-2, e-help Organization, Function and Program (OFP) Codes (Paper), for programs to use when working telephones, email, and paper.

  2. The following publications and IRMs are updated periodically and are used to resolve issues related to the various product lines serviced by EPSS assistors:

    • Publication 15 – Circular E - Employer's Tax Guide

    • Publication 966 – Electronic Federal Tax Payment System A Guide to Getting Started

    • Publication 1187 – Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding

    • Publication 1220 – Specifications for Electronic Filing of Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, and W-2G

    • Publication 1239 – Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 8027, Employer's Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips

    • Publication 1345 – Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns

    • Publication 1436 – Assurance Testing System (ATS) Guidelines for Modernized e-File (MeF) Individual Tax Returns

    • Publication 1474 – Technical Specifications Guide For Reporting Agent Authorization and Federal Tax Depositors

    • Publication 1516 – Specifications for Filing Form 8596, Information Returns for Federal Contracts Electronically

    • Publication 2108A – E-Services On-Line TIN Matching Program

    • 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 Guide for Software Developers and Transmitters

    • Publication 4810 – Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants and Deferred Vested Benefits

    • Publication 5078 – Modernized e-File (MeF) Test Package Business Submissions

    • Publication 5118 - FATCA Online Registration User Guide

    • Publication 5164 – Test Package for Electronic Filers of Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns (AIR)

    • Publication 5165 – Guide for Electronically Filing Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns for Software Developers and Transmitters

    • Publication 5258 - Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns (AIR) Submission Composition and Reference Guide

    • Publication 5262 - FATCA QI/WP/WT Application and Account Management User Guide

    • Rev. Proc. 2007-40 – Requirements of Participants in the IRS e-file Program

    • Rev. Proc. 2003-9 – E-Services Online TIN Matching Program

    • Rev. Proc. 97-22 – Guidance on Electronic Records

    • IRM 2.7.9 – Enterprise Computing Center - Martinsburg (ECC-MTB) Processing Timeliness

    • IRM 3.21.112 – Foreign Account Taxpayer Compliance Act (FATCA) Registration

    • IRM 3.42.4 – IRS e-file for Business Tax Returns

    • IRM 3.42.5 – IRS e-file of Individual Income Tax Returns

    • IRM 3.42.8 – E-Services Procedures for Electronic Products and Services Support (EPSS)

    • IRM 3.42.9 – Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)

    • IRM 3.42.10 – Authorized IRS e-file Providers

    • IRM 3.42.20 - Preparer e-file Hardship Waiver Requests

    • IRM 3.21.264 – IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Acceptance Agent Program

    • IRM 21.3.11 – Information Returns Reporting Procedures

  3. The IRM serves as the single, official source of IRS "instructions to staff" relating to the administration and operation of the IRS.

    Note:

    See IRM 1.11.1, Internal Management Documents Systems, IMD Program and Responsibilities, for details on instructions to staff.

    To ensure the IRM is the "single source," the IRM must contain all instructions to staff needed to conduct business. Specifically, instructions to staff contained in job aids, desk guides, web sites, documents, or any other sources must be incorporated into the IRM. Delivery of accurate content to our employees is critical to consistent administration of the tax laws.

  4. The Servicewide Electronic Research Portal (SERP) is designed to provide all IRS employees intranet access to IRMs and other reference materials, and to retrieve frequently-referenced documents required to perform their jobs. Use the IRMs posted on SERP for the most up-to-date procedures.

Overview of EPSS

  1. E-help and TSO assistors do not answer account-specific questions (i.e., calls received regarding individual tax accounts). Exception: Callers who contact the e-help Desk for assistance with Data Verification issues, SAM or EFTPS enrollment. E-help Desk assistors will help all Business Master File (BMF) e-file participants (Business on-line filers and tax professionals) with e-file inquiries (e.g., rejected returns, e-file application issues, etc.). If the e-file return is rejecting due to an existing account issue (e.g., filing requirement, business name issue, etc.), the customer must be referred to the appropriate office. See IRM 3.42.4.14, Handling e-file Inquiries.

    Figure 3.42.7-2

    If ... Then ...
    An individual taxpayer has a question regarding rejects, refund inquiries, and/or any taxpayer account-related issues Refer them to Accounts Management (AM) at 800-829-1040.

    Note:

    It is the online provider's responsibility to tell the filer what was rejected and why. However, if the provider has not or will not help the customer, AM has instructions on how to provide assistance.

    A business taxpayer is filing a business return and it is rejecting due to an existing account issue (e.g., filing requirement, business name issue, etc.)
    • Refer them to the Business and Specialty line at 800-829-4933.

    • Refer rejects associated with Form 990, Form 990-EZ, Form 990-N, Form 990-PF, or 1120-POL to the Tax Exempt/Government Entity (TEGE) line at 877-829-5500.

    A taxpayer is calling to report that an Authorized IRS e-file Provider may be violating IRS e-file rules or through research the assistor finds that an Authorized IRS e-file Provider may be violating IRS e-file rules
  2. Even though EPSS employees provide limited support directly to taxpayers, you must be aware of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR) and keep them in mind when interacting with customers. Your actions support these rights which include:

    • the right to be informed

    • the right to quality service

    • the right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax

    • the right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard

    • the right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum

    • the right to finality

    • the right to privacy

    • the right to confidentiality

    • the right to retain representation

    • the right to a fair and just tax system

    Note:

    For additional information refer to IRS.gov https://www.irs.gov/taxpayer-bill-of-rights or Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayerhttps://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1.pdf.

  3. For a listing of IRS e-file Monitoring Coordinators by state, visit the Servicewide Electronic Research Program (SERP) web site at http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/who-where.dr/e-file-monitor-coordinators.html.

Hours of Operation

  1. Hours of operation for EPSS:

    Figure 3.42.7-3

    Core Hours
    Days Hours
    E-help Monday through Friday 6:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Central Time
    TSO Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Central Time

Escalation Path for Assistance

  1. The escalation path for assistance is as follows:

    1. Level 1 – Level 1 is the first point of contact for customer issues. Level 1 personnel maintain direct contact with the customer and internal support groups as necessary. They handle all issues within the scope of their training and authority. They are responsible for documenting the Interaction in a detailed and complete manner. Typical issues include, but are not limited to, failed transmissions, rejected returns, and assistance with Internet-based applications. If an issue is beyond the scope of their jobs, the Interaction is escalated to a Level 2 Provider Group or as instructed in the solution.

    2. Level 2 – Personnel with more experience, knowledge and training needed for resolution of the issue. Level 2 personnel includes but is not limited to, leads, managers, business analysts, etc. They resolve issues and follow up with the customer to ensure that all issues have been resolved to the customer's satisfaction. Typical issues include, but are not limited to, error code issues resulting from web products, password resets, communication and connectivity issues not resolved at Level 1. Level 2 will engage Level 3 as necessary. See IRM 3.42.7.16, EHSS Level 2.

    3. Level 3 – Personnel such as system administrators and developers, who handle issues including but not limited to web server down and undocumented hard code errors. They interact with internal groups, not external customers.

Impact of Other IRS Offices

  1. Assistors must be aware of the policies and procedures of other IRS offices that impact EPSS. Some of those offices follow.

Office of Disclosure

  1. The Office of Disclosure administers the provisions of IRC § 6103, "Confidentiality and disclosure of tax returns and return information." All IRS employees are responsible for ensuring that taxpayer confidentiality is protected and tax records are properly safeguarded and disclosed only as provided by law.

  2. EPSS assistors must take measures to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of prohibited information. When giving information, verify that the caller is authorized to receive it. Disclose only what is necessary when giving information to third parties. Confirm the identity of the person you are speaking with on the telephone. Follow e-help Desk and Technical Services Operation authentication and authorization procedures. See IRM 3.42.7.14.5, IRM 21.3.11.9 and IRM 3.42.9.3.

  3. Answering machines and voice mail are frequently used when communicating with taxpayers, tax preparers, representatives, and other IRS employees. These systems are not secure and may not be used to transmit sensitive information, including tax information, except under the provisions of IRC § 6103. Guidelines for leaving information on answering machines/voice mail may be found in IRM 11.3.2.7.1, Leaving Information on Answering Machines/Voice Mail.

  4. Disclosure has developed rules to deal with disclosures of Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information (e.g., information protected by IRC § 6103 or the Privacy Act) when using cell phones or other cordless devices. Refer to IRM 11.3.2.7.2, Use of Cell Phones and Cordless Devices.

  5. Faxing of tax information to other IRS offices is permitted consistent with existing internal rules. See IRM 11.3.1.14, Facsimile (FAX), Electronic Facsimile (E-FAX), and IRS Internal Enterprise Electronic Facsimile (EEFAX) Transmission of Tax Information, for guidance in faxing information to taxpayers and their authorized representatives.

  6. Employees may not use email to transmit SBU data unless they use the IRS Secure Messaging system. SBU data may not be sent outside of IRS, including to other government agencies, taxpayers or their representatives. See IRM 11.3.1.17.2, Electronic Mail and Secure Messaging, for general rules for email and Secure Messaging.

  7. Answers to other questions on Disclosure, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and the Privacy Act, may be found in IRM 11.3.1, Introduction to Disclosure.

  8. Employees must report an inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information, whether it be electronically, verbally or in hardcopy form, or the loss or theft of an IT asset, within one hour by filling out the appropriate form. See IRM 10.5.4, Privacy and Information Protection, Incident Management Program, and the Report Losses, Thefts or Disclosures of Sensitive Data; Report Lost or Stolen IT Assets and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Assets page in the Disclosure and Privacy Knowledge Base for additional information concerning incident/breach reporting.

Taxpayer Advocate Service

  1. Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) provides assistance to taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, who are seeking help resolving tax problems that the IRS has not resolved through normal channels, or who believe an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should be.

  2. In general, EPSS does not answer account-specific questions (i.e., calls received regarding individual tax accounts). Refer taxpayers to TAS (See IRM 13 Taxpayer Advocate Service) when the contact meets TAS Criteria in IRM 13.1.7, TAS Case Criteria, and you can't resolve the taxpayer's issue the same day. The definition of "same day" is within 24 hours. Same day cases include cases you can completely resolve in 24 hours, as well as cases in which you have taken steps within 24 hours to begin resolving the taxpayer's issue. Do not refer same day cases to TAS unless the taxpayer asked to be transferred to TAS and the case meets TAS criteria. Refer to IRM 13.1.7.4, Same Day Resolution by Operations. When you refer cases to TAS, use Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order), and forward to TAS. See IRM 13.1.7.2, TAS Case Criteria, for more information. Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order), can be found at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f911.pdf.

  3. If a taxpayer specifically requests TAS assistance and it meets TAS criteria listed below:

    1. The taxpayer is experiencing economic harm or is about to suffer economic harm.

    2. The taxpayer is facing an immediate threat of adverse action.

    3. The taxpayer will incur significant costs if relief is not granted (including fees for professional representation).

    4. The taxpayer will suffer irreparable injury or long-term adverse impact if relief is not granted.

    5. The taxpayer has experienced a delay of more than 30 days to resolve a tax account problem.

    6. The taxpayer has not received a response or resolution to their problem or inquiry by the date promised.

    7. A system or procedure has either failed to operate as intended, or failed to resolve the taxpayer’s problem or dispute within the IRS.

    8. The manner in which the tax laws are being administered raise considerations of equity, or have impaired or will impair the taxpayer’s rights.

    9. The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) determines compelling public policy warrants assistance to an individual or group of taxpayers.

      Note:

      Case criteria are not meant to be all inclusive; each taxpayer situation must be evaluated based on the unique facts and circumstances of each case.

    Refer the case immediately to the TAS office. You must notate on Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance order) Section III:

    • The TAS Criteria number

    • The specific circumstances of the hardship

    • The reason you did not provide the relief

      Note:

      Please see Form 911, Section III Instructions, for box 8 examples of reason(s) that prevent you from resolving the taxpayer's problem.

  4. Form 911 must be reviewed and approved by a manager or lead before submission to TAS. Submit this request to the Taxpayer Advocate office located in the city or state where the customer resides. That information can also be found on the IRS.gov website at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Contact-a-Local-Taxpayer-Advocate.

  5. There is a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between TAS and the Commissioner, Wage and Investment (W&I) Division, as well as SLAs between TAS and the other Operating Divisions. These agreements outline the procedures and responsibilities for the processing of TAS casework when the authority to complete the case transactions rests outside of TAS. The W&I SLA is available at: http://tas.web.irs.gov/policy/sla/default.aspx.

  6. TAS emphasizes the polite and respectful treatment of taxpayers and practitioners by IRS employees. See IRM 3.42.7.14.2, Telephone Etiquette.

  7. Congressional inquiries are referred to TAS.

Free File

  1. Wage & Investment, Industry Stakeholder Engagement & Strategy Branch manages the Free File Program. Free File is the result of a public-private partnership agreement between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, LLC, a group of tax software companies providing free online tax preparation and electronic filing services to qualifying taxpayers. Electronic Products Services and Support (EPSS) provides back-up assistance for resolving Free File Fillable Forms (FFFF) escalations. EPSS assistance only applies to taxpayers who contact the IRS.gov website help desk. The e-help Desk phone line is reserved for helping tax preparers and Electronic Return Originators. IRS Customer Service Representatives must not refer taxpayers to the e-help Desk for Free File Fillable Forms issues. Refer to IRM 21.2.1.54, IRS Free File Overview: The Free Way to Prepare and e-file Federal Taxes, for program-related information.

Privacy Policy and Compliance

  1. Privacy Policy and Compliance was established to address the increase in identity theft and data loss trends and the need for an IRS authority on policy, procedure, roles and governance policy. Identity theft is a serious crime where someone obtains personal or financial information for personal gain. That information can include, but is not limited to, Social Security Number, birth date, address, bank account information, and even tax records.

  2. If you receive a call from a taxpayer who has received a suspicious, bogus, or phishing email that claims to be from the IRS, advise the taxpayer to send ("Forward" ) the email to the electronic mailbox: phishing@irs.gov. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.

  3. See IRM 21.1.3.23,Scams (Phishing) and Fraudulent Schemes, for additional guidance. Also visit the Disclosure and Privacy Knowledge Base for additional information at https://portal.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/VL003/Pages/default.aspx.

  4. The Incident Management team works with other business units to provide the IRS with the tools and resources necessary to protect sensitive taxpayer and employee data from identity theft and from disclosure due to loss or unauthorized access.

  5. If a taxpayer has previously been in contact with the IRS and has not achieved a resolution, refer them to the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490.

Communication Feedback in EPSS

  1. There are several ways that information is communicated in EPSS. They are SERP Feedback, EPSS Communications and Quick Alerts.

SERP Feedback

  1. To maintain the accuracy of EPSS IRMs, send corrections and change requests (not questions) to the appropriate IRM author via the SERP Feedback Application (Database).

    Note:

    Questions regarding policies and procedures in the IRMs should be directed to managers or leads. If additional clarification is needed, managers and leads should escalate the request to the EPSS analyst with program oversight, through the site training coordinators. The Site Training Coordinators must ensure that the request for clarification is valid. EPSS Program Management Staff Analysts have permission to input SERP Feedback for IRM Part 3.

  2. The SERP Staff will forward SERP Feedback to the appropriate author for consideration of the requested IRM procedural change. The following IRMs used in EPSS are:

    • IRM 3.17.277.4, EFTPS Enrollment Procedures

    • IRM 3.21.112, Foreign Account Taxpayer Compliance Act (FATCA) Registration

    • IRM 3.21.264, IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Acceptance Agent Program

    • IRM 3.42.4, IRS e-file for Business Tax Returns

    • IRM 3.42.5, IRS e-file of Individual Income Tax Returns

    • IRM 3.42.7, EPSS Help Desk Support

    • IRM 3.42.8, E-Services Procedures for Electronic Products and Services Support (EPSS)

    • IRM 3.42.9, Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)

    • IRM 3.42.10, Authorized IRS e-file Providers

    • IRM 3.42.20, Preparer e-file Hardship Waiver Requests

    • IRM 21.3.11, Information Returns Reporting Procedures

  3. Before submitting feedback, 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.

  4. Complete all required fields. The Identification field MUST be completed or the feedback will not be forwarded. Use the Submitter Guide on the SERP Website: http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/Feedback_Instructions/submitter-guide/overview.html.

  5. The employee's manager receives an email confirming the submission of an issue and when a response is posted to SERP.

  6. All changes are considered, but may not be accepted. Accepted changes are usually published on SERP as IRM Procedural Updates (IPUs). IPUs are announced on the EPSS SERP Portal, Daily Newsflash. Each IPU is assigned a number and identifies the Business Operating Division (BOD) and the intended audience.

    • Previous IPUs can be accessed via SERP through the IRM Updates link under the IRM Supplements Tab.

    • IPUs are numbered consecutively through the fiscal year (October through September).

    • At the end of the fiscal year, the previous year's IPUs can be accessed via the SERP Archives.

  7. You can view responses to SERP Feedback via the SERP Feedback Response by selecting IRM or topic.

  8. Do NOT use the SERP Feedback Form to request changes to the following:

    • Editorial changes

    • Forms

    • Letters

    • Notices

    • Policy, policy statements, tax law and regulations

    • EHSS system changes

    • Suggestions

  9. Leads, or other designated personnel, must monitor SERP each day for pertinent IRM changes and alert all employees at their sites.

EPSS Communications

  1. EPSS Communications are email messages that are sent to individuals, such as assistors, analysts, managers, etc., to communicate information across EPSS. The source of information will be from operations within EPSS or the Business Analysts. The following types of information are included in EPSS Communications (the list is not all inclusive):

    1. New procedures or information that impacts the e-help Desk and TSO

    2. IRM updates

    3. System/Application changes

    4. System problems/outages

    5. New/revised solutions

    6. Site closures

    7. Interim procedures

  2. To request an EPSS Communication, pertinent information must be sent to the designated EPSS, Operations Support Analyst with a courtesy copy to the back-up analyst. For example, systems used for software testing or e-file production must be sent to the PM Analyst assigned to the program. Employee User Portal (EUP) issues must be addressed by the e-Services Analyst on the Operation Support staff.

  3. The following information must be included in EPSS Communication:

    1. Subject - Title of your EPSS Communication

    2. Content - Message must be clear and concise. Remember to check spelling and grammar

    3. Source - Organizational symbols (i.e., EPSS:OS:PM, EPSS:TSO:PSS, etc.)

QuickAlerts

  1. QuickAlerts are delivered by email to communicate with Tax Professionals using a subscription based service. Tax Professionals receive immediate updates for e-file transmitters, authorized e-file providers and software developers throughout the year. QuickAlerts are open to any individual, including IRS employees. Quick Alerts subjects include processing delays, programming problems, and error reject code information.

  2. To keep abreast on the information being disseminated to software developers, transmitters, and authorized e-file providers, subscribe to QuickAlerts. Subscribe to QuickAlerts on irs.gov following the steps below:

    • Click "News"

    • Click "e-News Subscriptions"

    • Click "QuickAlerts"

    • Click "Subscribe/Unsubscribe"

    • Enter Email Address and Click "Submit"

    • Enter Confirm Email Address, check "By checking this box, you consent to our data privacy policy" and click "Submit"

    • Select "Subscription Topics"

    • Click Submit

Introduction to the E-help Support System (EHSS)

  1. The e-help Support System (EHSS) is used to provide support to IRS's external customers. The External Customer Data Store (ECDS) maintains contact data for e-Services users and e-file Providers. EHSS also receives contact data for Information Returns from the Transmitter Control Base. As customers contact EPSS, employees are able to access their contact history which is contained in EHSS through Interactions and Incidents. Each customer contact must be documented in an Interaction or Incident.

    Exception:

    It may not be necessary to create an Interaction for a call that is being transferred. Refer to IRM 3.42.7.14.6.2, Escalating/Transferring Interactions. Also, if the Interaction/Incident is still open and the customer is providing/requesting additional information on the same issue, document and update the activities section of the Interaction/Incident.

EHSS Home Page

  1. After successfully logging in to EHSS, the Navigation Pane appears on the left hand side. The following menu items are used by assistors:

    • Favorites and Dashboards – Clicking on Favorites and Dashboards will provide the commonly viewed links selected by the user within EHSS.

    • Incident Management - Clicking on Incident management will allow the user to Open New Incidents, Search Incidents and review the Incidents Queue.

    • Knowledge Management – Search for solutions by entering in key words or using the advanced search feature. It also allows you to add solutions or contribute to existing solutions for consideration.

    • Service Desk – Clicking on Service Desk will allow the user to Open New Interactions, Search Interactions and review the Interaction Queue.

    • Miscellaneous – Clicking on Miscellaneous will allow the user to select their Worklist or their group’s worklists.

Interaction/Incident Overview

  1. Although Interactions/Incidents vary in complexity, the same basic process is used to create all Interactions/Incidents. Assistors will spend a majority of their time creating Interactions. The method for creating an Interaction is to use the "Open New Interaction" menu selection located under the "Service Desk" .

  2. The buttons across the top of the screen allow the user to Add to My Worklist, Cancel, Escalate and Close the Interaction as well as Apply a Template.

  3. The Interaction is divided into three interrelated sections, the Interaction Details, Solution, and Attachments.

    • Interaction Details – allows input of all pertinent information about the nature of the customer problem.

    • Solution – contains information used to solve the customer's problem.

    • Attachments – displays all of the attachments associated with the Interaction.

  4. Links to the e-help and TSO Authentication/Authorization Job Aids are also located on the Interaction page adjacent to the Problem Type. Click the link to refer to the appropriate job aid, which will display in a new window. Refer to IRM 3.42.7.14.5, Authentication and Authorization Guidelines, for additional information.

Interaction Details

  1. The Interaction Details section is used to record information about the nature of the problem. In this window you can:

    1. Identify the Product Type

    2. Identify the Problem Type

    3. Enter call details using free-form text in the Description

    4. Categorize the Interaction based on certain values (Priority and Source)

    5. Assign the Interaction to a group or person

    6. Indicate if the caller speaks Spanish

  2. There are several components within the Interaction Detail.

    • Interaction ID

    • Contact

    • Business Unit

    • Product Type

    • Problem Type

    • Provider Group

    • Priority

    • Source

    • Call Selected for CSS?

    • Description

    • Email

    • EPSS Authentication and Authorization Job Aid

    • Search Knowledge

    • Notify on Close By

    • Spanish Box

    • Internal Comments/Template Instructions

    Note:

    The asterisk (*) within EHSS indicate that it is a required field.

  3. At a minimum, the following items must be completed/documented while the customer is on the phone:

    • Business Unit

    • Product Type

    • All applicable solutions

  4. There is an Apply Template Button located at the top of the tool bar that provides predefined information and populates fields with appropriate information. The Business Unit, Product Type, and Problem Type are automatically populated based on the template selected. A solution may be attached and the issue may be documented in the description area. Once the template is selected the fields can be edited.

Contacts

  1. A contact must be selected to create an Interaction.

  2. The search options listed for a contact in EHSS are:

    • Last Name

    • First Name

    • Employer Identification Number (EIN) (e-file App)

    • Title (Prin, RO, Contact)

    • Doing Business Name (DBA)

    • Legal Company Name

    • e-Services Username

    • Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN)

    • Electronic Transmitter Identification Number (ETIN)

    • Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)

    • Transmitter Control Code (TCC) number (only used by TSO)

  3. You must search by EFIN, ETIN or TCC if known. If unknown, or customer does not have one, enter one of the other above options.

    Note:

    EFIN will only be found if Active or Inactive. If EFIN has been dropped, it will no longer be available in EHSS.

  4. If your first search is unsuccessful you must conduct a second search using criteria relevant to the call. These searches must be conducted as follows:

    • Username - when the contact is regarding an existing registration or login issue, Personal Identification Number (PIN), password change, or incorrect organizational links.

    • TIN – when the contact is regarding an e-file application, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) or ACA Application for TCC. Enter the TIN of the firm/business.

    • Contact – when the customer is registered, the e-file application they are associated with has an active or inactive EFIN, or when they are associated with an ACA application.

  5. Whenever possible, assistors must create a registered case. If e-help Desk assistors are unable to locate customer information in the system, the case must be created using the Contact Name "e-Product User" . When addressing a tax law issue or a general question where customer information is not in FIRE, assistors in TSO will create a case with the Contact Name "TSO" . The contact name, company name (if applicable) must be documented in the description. See IRM 3.42.7.6.8, Description.

    Note:

    EFTPS, SAM, 94x PIN Registration, Secure Access Authentication for Taxpayers and FATCA customers will always have a contact as "e-Product User.”

    If you determine that a customer should have been registered in EHSS (i.e., customer has an active EFIN with application in completed status, customer has a TCC) and the caller is not found, resolve the issue, update the Description appropriately and then close the case using the Status of Closed if appropriate. Be sure to include the contact information as required. See IRM 3.42.7.6.8, Description.

Business Unit

  1. To select the Business Unit, click on fill field arrow and all Business Units will appear. Select the appropriate business unit that best identifies what area the customer is contacting us about.

    • Affordable Care Act

    • Business

    • Certification of Professional Employer Organization (CPEO)

    • EHELP Paper

    • Employment

    • Individual

    • IRS.gov Online Tools & Products (ONLTP)

    • Modernized Information Returns

    • Secure Access Authentication

    • Technical Services Operation

    • TSO Paper

    Note:

    The Agent line does not determine the Business Unit for the call.

Product Type

  1. The product type must be documented as part of an Interaction. Product Types are broad based categories that allow us to identify the overall reason for the inquiry. There are various products associated with different customers; not all customers use all products. The nine Business Units (Business, Employment, e-services, Individual, TSO, EHELP paper, TSO Paper, ACA and ONLTP) in EHSS have distinct product types. Because we frequently receive inquiries that are not supported by the EPSS Operations, an unsupported product type has been added to each business unit. Select the Product Type that best identifies the issue that the customer is contacting us about.

    Note:

    Once the Business Unit has been selected it will automatically display the Product Type associated with the Business Unit.

  2. The Affordable Care Act product types are as follows:

    • Form 8947

    • Form 8963

    • Unsupported

  3. The Business tax return product types are as follows:

    • 1041 e-file

    • 1065 e-file

    • 1120 e-file

    • 2290 e-file

    • 720 e-file

    • 8849 Claims

    • 990 e-file

    • EFTPS

    • Extension

    • Phone

    • SAM

    • Unsupported Product

  4. The CPEO product types are as follows:

    • 760-84340 FPC Received

    • FPC Requested

    • Unsupported

  5. The Employment tax return product types are as follows:

    • 940 e-file

    • 941 e-file

    • 943, 944, 945 e-file

    • Phone

    • PIN Registration

    • Unsupported Product

  6. The Individual tax return product types are as follows:

    • 1040 e-file

    • Electronic Transmitted Documents (ETD) e-file

    • Free File Fillable Forms

    • Phone

    • State e-file

    • Unsupported Product

  7. The Modernized Information Returns product types are as follows:

    • 1094/1095-B

    • 1094/1095-C

    • Application

    • Both 1094/1095-B and 1094/1095-C

    • Phone

    • Unsupported Product

  8. The Secure Access Authentication product types are as follows:

    • Application

    • Phone

    • SAA Tax Professional (e-Services)

    • SAA Taxpayer (Formerly eAuth)

    • TDS

    • TIN Matching

    • Unsupported Product

  9. The Technical Services Operation product types are as follows:

    • Application

    • Electronic Processing

    • FATCA Error

    • Information Returns

    • Notices

    • Phone

    • Unsupported Product

  10. IRS.gov Online Tools & Products (ONLTP) are as follows:

    • Foreign Account Tax Compliance (FATCA)

    • Phone

    • QI WP WT Online System

    • Unsupported Product

  11. The TSO Paper Products are as follows:

    • 710-84381 ACA Undeliverable Mail

    • 750-12810 Form 8508 Waivers

    • 750-12821 Recpt Extension

    • 750-12822 Adtl Ext

    • 750-12823 Unpostables

    • 750-12824 Non-Automatic Form 8809 Extension

    • 750-12850 Form 4419

    • 750-12851 Revised Form 4419

    • 750-12870 TSO Research

    • 750-12872 Paperreg

    • 750-12873 F 10301

    • 750-12874 IRP Research

    • 750-12875 Penalty

    • 750-40010 Security Event

    • 750-84381 Paper Form 4423

    • 760-84381 ACA Extension

  12. The e-help Paper Products can be found by selecting the fill field. See Exhibit 3.42.7-1 and Exhibit 3.42.7-2.

Problem Type

  1. Once the Product Type has been selected, the Problem Type must be identified. Problem types are directly related to the product that was selected in that you must first select a product before the system displays values from which to choose. Choose the Problem Type that most closely represents the problem being resolved.

  2. Problem Types and their definitions are shown below:

    Figure 3.42.7-4

    Problem Type Definition Example
    Activation Code Use when the customer is reporting they did not receive their activation code.  
    Application Use for questions concerning the status, modification or submission of IRS e-file Application (including fingerprint cards), Acceptance Agent, TIN Matching, IVES application, and general application inquiries. How to get applications; who needs to apply; My EFIN has been deactivated, reporting agent questions, general information.
    Browser Use for calls related to problems using the web browser in an e-Services product. Text being displayed improperly; problems with using or updating a browser; problems printing.
    Certification Use for questions concerning the QI WP WT Certification process. QI, WP, WT questions regarding the Certification process.
    Confirmation Codes Use with the Registration product. IRS sends this code once the customer has registered. Confirmation Code not received; Confirmation Code not working.
    Correspondence Use when customer is calling about correspondence received or not received from the IRS. Acceptance letters; CP 301
    Customer Comment Use only for inquiries concerning positive and negative feedback and suggestions.

    Note:

    When there is a comment from a customer (feedback or suggestion), the Interaction Description must contain a clear and concise restatement of the comment and any other pertinent information.

    Use only when Interaction is being escalated/transferred to an analyst or Business Owner.
    Data Verification Use when customer needs to verify their data. Name/TIN verification for EFTPS or SAM.
    Disabled RC1 Use when caller is requesting their Online Services Account (OSA) be disabled - indicates Identity Theft (IDT) is involved. Caller did not set up account and states he previously had identity stolen.
    Disabled RC2 Use when caller is requesting their OSA be disabled - did not request account or does not recall - No indication of IDT. Caller did not set up account and requests we disable.
    Disabled RC3 Use when caller is requesting their OSA be disabled - no longer requires an account. Caller set up account to access online product but no longer needs access.
    Disabled RC4 Use when caller is requesting their OSA be disabled - account was established by a family member or tax professional. Caller believes family member set up account to gain access to online product.
    Disabled RC5 Use when caller is requesting their OSA be disabled - did not request account or file return but return is posted. Caller states return filed but did not file. OSA may have been created to aid in filing fraudulent return.
    Disabled RC6 Use when caller is requesting their OSA be disabled and does not meet criteria for Disabled RC1-6. Include other reason with comments in the EHSS description. Caller set up account in error - product requested cannot be accessed through OSA.
    Disabled RC7 Use only for calls where the assistor or the customer identifies there has been a violation of the e-Services User Agreement.  
    Disabled RC8 Use only when a security event is reported.  
    Due Date Use when caller wants to know the due date of a return. "When is Form 1040 due?"
    Enabled Use when caller is requesting their Secure Access Account be enabled. Caller previously had account disabled but now wants account enabled to set up an Online Payment Agreement.
    Error Message Use for calls where the caller is reporting a specific error message. System returns an error when trying to submit an application (other than e-file application), or receiving an error message when using Secure Access Authentication.
    Exception Processing Use when the customer does not pass Secure Access Authentication and qualifies for exception processing.  
    Extensions Use for questions about extensions of time to file for all return types. Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, or Form 7004, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns.
    FATCA FIN Use for inquiries received requesting a FATCA Identification Number (FIN) for FATCA reporting purposes. User needs a FATCA FIN but is not required to register through FATCA Online Registration System.
    Failed Secure Access Use when new customers cannot pass Secure Access Authentication and does not qualify for exception processing.  
    File Format Use for ACA upload questions or errors. Caller would like to know the file format for Form 8963, 8947, or 8453-R, how to upload the file, the valid file type (.pdf and .zip).
    File Status Use for questions concerning the ACA file status (dup, accepted, rejected). Caller wants to know how to track their submission status, how to correct an error.
    Forms and Publications Use for requests about forms and publications. "How do I get one?" "Which one should I use?"
    General Information Use for giving information found in publications and IRMs, and IRS.gov, when explaining procedures that do not involve filer or return specific topics. Use for a general question when a more specific Problem Type is not available. "Where do I find the Online Registration FATCA System?"

    Caution:

    This problem type should be used infrequently. Document the Interaction to support the reason it is being used.

    Incomplete Use for required fields on a fingerprint card that are incomplete.  
    Invalid Request Use when no FPC card has been sent to requester(s).  
    IRS Acceptance / Acknowledgements Use for calls concerning return acceptance data contained on the Acknowledgment (ACKS) Record. Verifying an accepted return, rehang file; non-receipt of file; inability to read file; requesting time the ACK file will be available.
    IVES Use for calls about transcript issues and the caller is a member of the IVES program. Use when IVES user is having issues with Secure Mailbox response time, transcripts not received in their Secure Mailbox, cannot download transcripts from their Secure Mailbox.
    Links Use when links to e-Services products are not displayed on the main e-Services web page. Links not displaying or links not working.
    LOA3F Use when LOA3F account is established.  
    Locked Out Use for TIN Matching lockout issues. Customer is locked out of TIN Matching for 96 hours.
    Login Use when a customer has trouble logging in with Username, password, locked out, etc. (exception: TIN Matching). Applies to all systems. The caller is having trouble logging in to e-Services, Secure Access Authentication, or FATCA.
    Mail Card Use when a fingerprint card has been sent to requester(s).  
    Mandate Use for calls concerning any issue involving the mandate of Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax; Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return; Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income; and Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return. "What are the mandate limits?" "Do I have to file electronically?"
    Misdirected External Use for external calls for products and services that the e-help Desk does not support. A taxpayer calls the e-help Desk with a tax law or tax account question.
    Misdirected Internal Use for internal calls for products and services that the e-help Desk does not support. A taxpayer is transferred or an IRS employee is referred to the e-help Desk in error from another area of IRS, such as AM.
    Name Check Use when two fingerprint card scans have been unprocessable and a name check is initiated.  
    Out of Scope Use only for questions related to the regulations, tax law or other issues not related to the FATCA registration/QI (input) system. Use when Secure Access Authentication customer needs assistance creating an online account or needs in program support for Online Payment Agreement, Get Transcript, Identity Protection PIN, and subsequent online applications. A financial institution is inquiring about tax law issues, regulations on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. Secure Access Authentication customer has question about payment plan.
    Password Use for calls concerning Secure Access Authentication and FATCA password issues. Customer is having password issues when trying to obtain a transcript.
    Payments Use for calls concerning payment-processing issues. Credit/debit card, ACH Debit and/or Credit, Lockbox, and form payment record.
    PIN Use for calls concerning PIN Application related issues. Rejected PIN enrollments.
    PIN Disabled/Deactivated Use for calls to let the customer know their 94x registration was accidentally deactivated. Customer calls to find out the status of their PIN and discovers it has been deactivated.
    Production Use for calls concerning live processing issues. Processing schedules, cycle schedules.
    Referred to TAC Use when referring the customer to the TAC for identity proofing.  
    Registration Use when troubleshooting registration or FATCA registration issues. Login names, AGIs, general information, Registration 508 compliance issue.
    Rejects Use for calls concerning live and test reject conditions. Request for reject condition, including those occurring after a software update or problems with software package.
    Renewal Use for questions concerning the FATCA Renewal of the FFI Agreement. FFI needs to know where the FFI renewal link is located; What is FFI Renewal of Agreement Account Status.
    Revoked Use when the customer calls because their registration account was revoked. Caller did not reply to Letter 5903 or was already referred to the TAC.
    SAA General Information Use this when a customer has a question about the process or is not ready for exception processing (e.g., needs to gather tax documents).  
    Scanned Use when a fingerprint card has been scanned in Automated Electronic Fingerprint (AEF).  
    Scanned 2nd Use when a fingerprint card was unprocessable and a second attempt is needed.  
    Signature Use for calls concerning IRS generated letters for missing or incomplete; Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization; 8453-FE, U.S. Estate or Trust Income Tax Declaration and Signature for Electronic Filing; Form 8453-P, U.S. Partnership Declaration for Magnetic Tape/Electronic Filing; Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax; and Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return. Customer is inquiring about electronic signatures including Individual and Business PIN signature authorizations. Also use for IRS generated letters for missing or incomplete signature authorizations.
    State Acknowledgements Use for calls concerning the State Only Acknowledgements. "I did not receive my State acknowledgement." "I cannot read my State acknowledgement."
    Status Use when a customer is inquiring on their QI, WP, WT status  
    System Unavailable Use for calls related to technical difficulty, system unavailable, known outage for Secure Access Authentication or FATCA. I am unable to access the site, the system is unavailable.
    Suitability Use for calls concerning receipt of suitability letters. Use for both new and previously accepted applications in accepted or failed suitability status. Background check of applicant, fingerprint card check, IRS tax data, suitability letters, and status of suitability process.
    TAC Passed Use when the customer passes ID proofing at the TAC.  
    Testing Use for calls concerning test-processing issues. Communication tests, specifics contained in the testing package, phone numbers to use, password for testing, and problems identified during testing with software packages.
    Transmission Use for system to system communication that requires a web service connection. Customer is calling about transmission issues including errors when using Automated Enrollment and trouble accessing A2A or IFA.
    Trouble Use for calls that prevents you from communicating with the customer. For instance, ‘dead air’, phone static, poor connection, or lost connection. Speaking with a customer and the phone connection is: poor, lost, static, dead air, Joint Operations Center (JOC) test calls etc.
    Update Use when a customer needs to update their application, is having trouble updating or has questions on updating their application. Use for e-Services applications, and Employment - 94x PIN Registration Application.
    Username Use when an e-Services customer calls about a Username issue. Use when e-Services returned an invalid Username error to the customer or the customer needs to recover a forgotten Username.
    Waivers Use for calls about mandated e-file issues. "How do I get a waiver?" "What is the status of my waiver request?"
  3. TSO Problem Types are in the figure below:

    Figure 3.42.7-5

    Problem Type Definition Examples
    972CG Use for any questions concerning Notice 972CG.  
    Acknowledgements Use for questions regarding why an acknowledgement was not received or how to retrieve an acknowledgement. "How do I retrieve my ACA acknowledgement?" ," I did not receive my ACA acknowledgement" .
    CP2000 / Underreporter Use when a payer or employer may have over reported money amounts for payees or employees on Form 1099 or Form W-2. Payer/employer filed multiple Forms 1099 or Forms W-2 with the same money amount for the payees/employees.
    CP2100 and CP2100A Use for questions concerning IRS Notice CP2100 or CP2100A Caller requests an explanation of the notice and how to respond.
    Combined Federal/State Filing (CF/SF) Program Use for questions on the requirements for the Combined Federal/State Filing (CF/SF) Program and when to submit a test file to qualify for CF/SF. Caller is inquiring on the types of information returns that may be filed with the CF/SF program.
    Communications Test Inquiries concerning one-time communication test. Transmitter/issuer is calling regarding their communication test.
    Confirmation Codes Use with the Registration product. IRS sends this code once the customer has registered. Confirmation Code not received; Confirmation Code not working.
    Corrections Use for questions concerning how to correct a previously accepted electronic form. Caller is requesting guidelines on the requirement to submit corrected returns electronically.
    Correspondence Use when the customer is calling about correspondence received or not received from the IRS. ACA TCC number not received.
    Criteria Based AATS Inquiries on criteria based testing and identifies what form lines require data but allows the SWD to create their own data. Software Developer is calling regarding Criteria Based AATS scenarios.
    Customer Comment Use only for inquiries concerning positive and negative feedback and suggestions.

    Note:

    When there is a comment from a customer (feedback or suggestion), the Interaction Description must contain a clear and concise restatement of the comment and any other pertinent information.

    Use only when Interaction is being escalated/transferred to an analyst or Business Owner.
    Data Verification Use when customer needs to verify their data. Name and address.
    Duplicate file Use for questions concerning duplicate reporting. Caller requests procedures to cancel one Form 1042-S file because they sent the same file twice.
    Electronic Extension of Time to File Information Returns Use for any questions concerning the processing and status Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns submitted electronically. Caller wants to know how to get an extension or what is the status of extension request.
    Electronic Form 4419 Use for any questions concerning the submission and status of Form 4419 submitted electronically. Caller submitted Form 4419 electronically and would like to know when a TCC would be issued via email?
    Error Message Use for calls where the caller is reporting a specific error message. System returns an error when trying to submit an ACA application for TCC, or receiving an error message when using Secure Access Authentication.
    File Format Use for any questions concerning specifications as listed in Publication 1187, 1220, 1239 and 4810. Also, ACA upload questions or errors. Caller would like to know the file format changes for Form 1099-B.
    File Status Use for questions concerning the status of an electronic file. Also, ACA file status (dup, accepted, rejected). Caller says the status of Form 1099-MISC. file is bad and would like to know how to correct a bad file.
    Form 10301 or CD Use for any questions concerning, Form 10301, CD encryption code, damaged and non-receipt of CD. Caller has a question about completing Form 10301 or wants to know if they will be receiving a listing on a CD.
    Form 8508 Use for any questions concerning the submission and status of Form 8508, Request for Waiver From Filing Information Returns Electronically (Forms W-2, W-2G, 1042-S, 1097-BTC, 1098 Series, 1099 Series, 3921, 3922, 5498 Series, and 8027). Caller would like to know if Form 8508 is required to be submitted every year?
    General Information Use for giving information found in publications and IRMs, and IRS.gov, when explaining procedures that do not involve filer or return specific topics. Use for a general question when a more specific Problem Type is not available. "Where can I find information on how to complete ACA Application for TCC?" , "Where do I find the Online Registration FATCA System?"

    Caution:

    This problem type should be used infrequently. Document the Interaction to support the reason it is being used.

    General Inquiry Use for providing information found in Publications, IRMs, and IRS.gov for preparing and filing information returns. Customer uses the self-help resources provided.
    Links Use when links to e-Services products are not displayed on the main e-Services web page. Links not displaying or links not working.
    Login Use when a customer has trouble logging in, including password and PIN issues, or is locked out. Applies to all systems. Attempting to register for e-Services and had three unsuccessful attempts in the same browser session. The caller is having trouble logging in to e-Services, Secure Access Authentication, or FATCA. Lost, forgotten, expired, or changing passwords/PINs.
    Mandate Use for any issue involving the mandated filing of Form 1094-B/C and 1095-B/C including the waiver process. "What are the mandate limits?" , "Do I have to file electronically?"
    Misdirected Use for questions concerning external and internal issues for services that TSO does not support. An individual taxpayer calls TSO with a refund, account issue/question.
    Non-Automatic Extension Use for non-automatic Form 8809 extension  
    On-line Form 8809 Use for any questions concerning the processing and status of Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns, submitted online. Caller would like to know if approvals are displayed online.
    Out of Scope Use only for questions related to the IDES, FATCA Registration, FATCA regulations, FATCA tax law or other issues not related to ICMM notifications. A financial institution is inquiring about the FATCA Registration, FATCA Logon issue, FATCA tax law issues, or regulations on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
    Paper Form 4419 Use for any questions concerning the submission and status of Form 4419 submitted by paper or fax. Caller would like to know how long it takes to process Form 4419.
    Paper Form 8809 Use for any questions concerning the processing and status of Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns, submitted by paper or fax. Caller wants to know how to request an extension to issue recipient copies.
    Password Use for calls concerning FATCA password issues. Customer is having password issues.
    Password / PIN / Username Use for calls relating to passwords, PINs and Username. (FIRE) Caller wants to know if special characters are needed for a Username or has questions about how to create a new PIN.
    Predefined AATS Inquiries on predefined testing scenarios which provides the exact test data, line by line. Software Developer is calling regarding Predefined AATS scenarios.
    Questionable Form Use for any questions concerning Form 1099-OID, Form 1099-A, or other Form 1099, if questionable filing is suspected. Caller needs to order forms to report a large withholding amount on Form 1099-OID, Form 1099-A.
    Record Error Notification Use for inquiries concerning ICMM record-level processing and field level errors notifications. On my FATCA transmission, I received a NVF with no error notification.What does that mean?
    Recreate (External Request) Use for requests from external customers to recreate Notices CP2100/A and 972CG. Caller lost the notice, did not receive notice, or is missing the payee page of the notice, and now needs a notice recreated.
    Recreate (Internal Request) Use for requests from IRS employees to recreate Notices CP2100/A and 972CG.  
    Registration Use when troubleshooting registration, FATCA registration issues or providing general registration information. Login names, general information, Registration 508 compliance issue.
    Replacement Use for questions concerning how to replace a rejected electronic transmission/submission. Caller is requesting guidelines on how to submit a Replacement transmission/submission electronically.
    Secret Phrase Use for calls relating to Secret Phrase for FIRE accounts.  
    Software Requirement Use for any questions concerning software types and online fill-in forms. Caller asks if IRS recommends a type of software.
    Status Use when a customer is calling to check on their ACA Application status. Caller wants to know the status of their ACA Application for TCC.
    System Level Notification Use for questions concerning file system ICMM error notifications regarding Form 8966. Use when ICMM error notification is received regarding a digital signature check, file download, file decryption, schema validation, threat or virus scan.
    System Unavailable/Issues Use for calls related to technical difficulty, system unavailable, known outage. Unable to access the site, the system is unavailable.
    TCC Problem Use for any questions concerning an assigned Transmitter Control Code issue. Caller cannot submit file because of a TCC/EIN mismatch.
    Test Use for questions concerning time frames for testing and test file format. Caller asks when test files can be submitted through FIRE.
    Trouble Test call, dead air, phone static, poor connection or lost connection. Speaking with a customer and the phone connection, is: poor, lost, static, dead air, JOC test calls etc.
    Update Use when a customer needs to update their application, and is having trouble updating or has questions on updating their application. Use for e-Services applications, ACA Application for TCC, registration, and Employment - 94x PIN Registration Application.
    Username Use when an e-Services customer calls about a Username issue. E-Services has returned an invalid Username error to the customer or the customer needs to recover a forgotten Username.

Source

  1. The Source is the communication channel used by the person who originally reported the problem. A person may report a problem by the following sources:

    Figure 3.42.7-6

    Source Definition
    Correspondence Letters (including faxed suitability appeals)
    Direct Call Incoming Call (Default)
    Email Email received
    Fax Faxed In
    Referral From another IRS office
    Voice Mail Voice mail Messages

Provider Group

  1. Provider Groups are pools of personnel with something in common (i.e., assistors who support a certain product or assistors who work at a particular call site). Assistors only assign Interactions directly to Provider Groups and not individuals.

  2. Click the fill field icon adjacent to the field to select your Provider Group or view a listing of all Provider Groups that you are in.

Priority

  1. The Priority typically classifies the Interaction according to its effect on the caller's ability to continue operations. A problem that stops mission-critical activities has a higher priority than a problem that has a work-a-round or that just inconveniences someone.

    Figure 3.42.7-7

    Priority Level Definition
    1 High
    • Issues affecting a number of users such as a reject code not working, a software developer that is experiencing problems, a large number of refunds that have been re-sequenced or data not received at ECC - MTB for posting.

    • Work stoppage affecting all users at all sites or at any one site. This will be any system that has gone down. A Knowledge Incident/Problem Service Asset Management (KISAM) ticket may be opened.

    2 Medium Work stoppage affecting a number of users, an irate customer, or a recurring problem for a customer.
    3 Low Normal (Default)

Description

  1. The Description is used to document the problem(s) a customer is reporting. Start the Description with a relevant phrase that identifies the customers issue(s) (e.g., R0000-902, previously rejected return).

  2. Properly documenting the Interaction will prevent customer frustration by providing an audit trail. Complete details in the Description field are essential when referring an Interaction to any Level 2 . See IRM 3.42.7.16, EHSS Level 2.

  3. Once the Description is documented, select Search Knowledge and enter keywords. A list of solutions will appear based on the information in the Description area.

    Note:

    If you need to search for an additional solution or the solution does not answer your concern, run a separate query to find the appropriate response.

  4. If the caller is an e-help/TSO customer, and you must create an "e-Product user" or" TSO" case, then your Description must contain: contact name, company name (if applicable) when you create an Interaction/Incident where the contact is an e-Product or TSO User. See IRM 3.42.7.6.1, Contacts.

    Note:

    EFTPS, SAM, 94x PIN Registration, Secure Access Authentication for Taxpayers and FATCA customers will always have a contact as "e-Product User" .

    Reminder:

    For case documentation purposes, ask the caller’s name. If the caller’s name is not shown in EHSS or e-file application, but they provide the EFIN, ETIN, TIN and the Company name, add the caller’s name to the Description field.

    Note:

    It is not necessary to include contact information for taxpayers who contact us in error. In addition, contact information is not required for customers who contact the e-help Desk or TSO requesting general information. Examples of general information are: How do I register for e-Services? How do I obtain a TCC? General information does not pertain to inquiries about information specific to the customer. For example, a customer received a rejection letter for their PIN registration or a customer received an error message when attempting to submit their e-file application. This is information specific to the customer; therefore, contact information is required.

    Caution:

    Be careful not to misinterpret "if applicable" if related to Company Name. Some individuals or businesses (i.e., Sole Proprietors) do not have a business name, therefore, the company name is not applicable. This phrase does not mean that the company name is optional.

  5. If the caller is an ACA Information Returns customer, (which is worked in TSO), include the ACA TCC or EIN in addition to the customer’s name, phone number, and description of the issue/problem.

  6. Do not enter the SSN in the Description field.

  7. Be concise, but thorough. Use the standard abbreviations when possible (e.g., Activation Code issue, e-file application processing time, R0000-902, FW2-505-01, F1040-512). Refer to Exhibit 3.42.7-4, Abbreviations.

    Example:

    Data Verification Steve Hare; Hare Enterprises.

    Example:

    ERO Received a suitability letter.

Writing Descriptions for Level 2
  1. Ensure that the Description field is completed properly before escalating to Level 2. Record corrections in the Description field if the information in EHSS is incorrect in the Customer Information section (i.e., the Customer Details or Contact Details).

    Note:

    Do not enter the SSN in the Description field.

  2. Include the following basic information on all Interactions:

    • Customer's first and last name

    • Username (do not include Username if Username contains SSN - instead include Person ID when available)

    • Telephone number with time zone (if incorrect or missing in EHSS)

    • Email address and state “Verified” as correct

    • Error code and message (if applicable)

  3. In addition, make sure that the following information is included:

    • e-file Application – EFIN and/or EIN.

    • ACA Application - TCC or EIN.

    • TIN Matching - TIN, date and time of submission, and tracking number (if known)

    • TDS – CAF, client's name, tracking number (if known), method of delivery

    • IVES – Consolidator/participant's number, company's legal name

    • MeF - Submission ID

Search Knowledge

  1. Once the customer reporting the problem has been identified and the details about the problem recorded, a solution to the problem must be determined before the Interaction is closed. A set of predefined solutions for common problems is available to resolve the customer's problems quickly and efficiently.

  2. When searching Knowledge, assistors have the option of "Use Solution" or "Cancel" the solution. If you select a solution to review from the search results and it is not relevant, select "Cancel" to remove the solution from consideration.

  3. Assistors must review and select the solutions that resolve the customer's issue(s) while the customer is on the phone to ensure they provide the customer with all the pertinent information contained in the solution(s). Reviewing the solution(s) while the customer is on the phone ensures the customer receives a complete and accurate response. All solutions referenced in answering the caller’s questions must be opened and listed in the Search Knowledge area.

    Note:

    New and revised content changes will be highlighted in EHSS. Removed content will not be shown. Assistors will be notified through EPSS Communications when a new solution is added. Assistors are responsible for reading all communications and adhering to changes. You must ensure that you have added the proper solution to the Interaction. Failure to do so will result in you providing incorrect information to the customer. If you need assistance, see your lead or manager.

  4. The Search Knowledge includes two fields that offer different ways of searching for potential solutions – Search and Advanced Search.

  5. Advanced Search displays a separate page where you can identify a solution by completing the applicable fields.

Internal Comments/Template Instructions

  1. This section is "Reserved" for future use.

Solution

  1. The components within this section are:

    • Solution ID - This is a pre-populated field generated when a solution ID from the Search Knowledge base is selected. The solution ID appears as KM000001.

    • Solution - This is a pre-populated field generated when the solution is selected. It displays the narrative of the solution.

    • Send Email -This allows you to send an email within the system.

    • Knowledge Articles Attempted- This field displays all solutions selected. You may view the contents of the solution utilized by selecting the Knowledge Management ID Number.

    • Remove Solution - This allows a solution to be removed if it is selected erroneously before closing your case.

Resolving Interaction/Incident

  1. An Interaction/Incident is considered resolved when a solution has been selected and the Close Interaction button or the Close Incident button has been selected from the tool bar. Once an Interaction/Incident is resolved, you can search for the Interaction/Incident and review the case.

  2. If you have resolved more than one issue for the customer, a separate solution for each issue must be selected. The solutions the assistor used to resolve all issues are visible in the Solution section. For example, an assistor may help a caller with a TDS issue and an e-file application issue, both solution numbers are visible in the Solution Section.

Escalate an Interaction

  1. There may be instances when you need to assign the case to another Provider Group or you will need to escalate the case to a higher level for resolution. When this occurs it is called escalating an Interaction.

  2. A message will appear stating your Interaction SD Number has been associated with an IM Number. Your Interaction number will appear on your worklist as Open-Linked. The open-linked Interaction will remain on your worklist until the associated Incident is closed.

  3. Once an Interaction is escalated it becomes an Incident. The Interaction and Incident are linked together and appear under Related Records.

Relate Interactions

  1. At times you will receive inquiries regarding the same issue/ problem and the Interaction will need to be elevated to another level.

  2. Interactions can be related to Incidents for numerous reasons. The most common reason could be a system is not working properly, causing numerous calls for the same issue/ problem.

  3. When the above, or similar condition exists, an Interaction is escalated and related to a common problem (e.g., Whiteboard) creating a new Incident.

  4. When customers contact us about a common problem, their Interactions can be related to the open Incident (if one exists). Whenever you attempt to escalate an Interaction the system will prompt you with potentially related Incidents. A message will appear stating the Interaction SD number has been associated with the Incident (IM Number).

  5. Once an Interaction is related to an Incident, you can access the Incident from the Interaction (and vice versa) in the Related Records section of the case.

  6. When the Incident is closed all related Interaction cases will close.

  7. If you need to call your customer back you will be notified when the Incident will be closed through an EPSS Communication. If you selected the "Notify on Close By" button, you will not need to call the customer back to inform them their problem has been resolved as an email will be automatically sent to their email address notifying the customer the problem is resolved.

Knowledge Management

  1. The components within this section are:

    • Contribute Knowledge allows you to add solutions or contribute to existing solutions for consideration.

    • Search Knowledge Base allows you to search for solutions by entering in key words or using the advanced search feature. You can "Add Feedback" to a solution. When the "Add Feedback" button is selected you can add comments and associate them with the solution. The comments will be reviewed and taken into consideration during the Continual Certification Process.

Contribute Knowledge

  1. When a user (e.g., an assistor or analyst) determines that a solution article does not exist to resolve the customer's issue, the user may recommend an existing solution be revised or a new solution be created. The assistor can submit a request by selecting Contribute Knowledge from the navigator pane in EHSS. Refer to the How to Submit a Contribute Knowledge "Solution" Requesthttp://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/portals.dr/epss/jobaids.dr/epss_jobaids_toc.htm job aid located on the EPSS SERP Portal for more information. All EHSS solutions articles are reviewed by the Solutions Board lead.

    Note:

    Contribute Knowledge Articles must be submitted timely to the team lead/manager. Unapproved Contribute Knowledge Articles will be deleted by the Solutions Board lead six months after creation.

  2. If an operational change requires a change to a solution article or a new solution, the Operations Chief or analyst must submit the change as soon as possible to ensure the changes are available when the change is implemented.

  3. When the assistor submits a Contribute Knowledge Article, it must be routed to their manager or lead for review before it can go onto the Solutions Board for consideration.

  4. The manager or lead can add comments to the solution through the "Updates" section. If the solution is returned to the assistor, the assistor must review the comments to determine if additional action is needed.

  5. The team lead/manager will review the proposed solution. The team lead/manager review is the first step of the review process. This review must be completed within two weeks when possible and the request should be returned to the assistor or submitted to the Solutions Board for consideration.

    Note:

    Unapproved Contribute Knowledge Articles will be deleted by the Solutions Board lead six months after creation.

  6. When the team lead/manager agrees that a new solution or update may be needed, he/she will:

    1. Edit the solution, if necessary.

    2. Submit the request for consideration.

  7. The Solutions Board lead will:

    • Evaluate the request and if needed, contact the appropriate Solutions Board member(s) for additional action.

    • Make the final determination on whether a revision or new solution is needed.

    • Verify the source of the content of the solution.

    • Correspond via email with the appropriate PM Analyst for review, research and/or approval.

    • Publish the new solution or update when applicable.

    • Notify the assistor of the final disposition (e.g. rejected with reason for rejection, adopted, referred, etc.).

  8. The PM Analyst is the primary EPSS contact for solutions related to their program responsibilities. PM analysts share this responsibility with Business Owners that own the process or product policy. The PM analyst will consult with the Business Owner when a change requires additional technical review, is contingent on an IRM update or will create a gap in processing. The PM Analyst/Business Owner will:

    1. Review the proposed solution.

    2. Review the entire existing solution in depth.

    3. Suggest another Solution ID if they believe a more appropriate solution exists.

    4. Suggest changes or rewrite the solution as needed.

    5. Work with the Solutions Board lead to finalize the solution.

    6. Review and approve solution revision and digitally sign the Solution Approval Record for newly created solutions if needed.

    7. Draft and submit for approval, EPSS Communications for new, retired, and significantly changed solutions. The analyst/owner must confirm EPSS Communication issuance.

      Note:

      Business owners are expected to review and provide feedback for their solutions throughout the year and during the certification process. Refer to IRM 3.42.7.10.2, Continual Certification of Solutions.

  9. When all modifications are made and the solution has been approved, the Solutions Board lead will:

    1. Ensure that the Contribute Knowledge Base is updated.

    2. Retain a copy of all new and revised solutions, and the Solution Approval Record when applicable.

      Note:

      Only select employees have permissions to access and update the Contribute Knowledge Base.

Continual Certification of Solutions

  1. Solutions Certification activities occur throughout the year and are overseen by the EHSS Solutions Board (SB) lead. Working with SB members, the Board lead will review all “Active” solutions in the Knowledge Base. Upon request, Board lead will provide copy of EHSS solution(s) to Business Owners/Policy Analysts. Each Business Owner and analyst will be certifying to the Solutions Board that their solutions have been reviewed and updated, or reviewed and no updates were needed.

  2. At the beginning of the fiscal year, Business Owners will review all solutions supporting their programs and provide feedback to the Board lead. This review must be completed at least once a year and more often if updates are needed. Each solution will be reviewed in its entirety (including hyperlinks) for accuracy and necessary changes.

  3. Throughout the year, EPSS Program Analysts review solutions as part of their regular program oversight to ensure solution content matches current processing procedures and IRM content. Any discrepancies must be resolved by the analyst or escalated to the Program Owner when identified.

  4. The Board lead and designated SB members will review each solution at least once a year. All solutions will be read and reviewed individually for correctness and any possible changes. Solutions that are no longer needed will be retired. Attachments will be added or updated accordingly. Modifications and additions will be made to the EHSS Knowledge Base.

  5. The Board lead will submit a Certification memorandum to the EPSS Director each year by August 31st. The memorandum will certify the completion of the Continual Certification of Solutions for the fiscal year, including all required certification activities.

Other Components in EHSS

  1. Working an Interaction/Incident primarily involves identifying and resolving a problem. In addition to covering problem information and resolution, there are other case management activities that are performed in other pages in the Interaction/Incident section. The other pages utilized in EHSS are:

    • Activities Section

    • Related Records

    • Attachments

    • Status Fields

    • Send email

Activities Section

  1. When the complexity of the problem or the depth of research requires additional information to be captured or other documentation to be referenced, utilize the "Activities Section" . The Activities section can be utilized to input documentation on an Escalated or Open Interaction/Incident. Recording pertinent information and attaching files to this section is often essential to working the Interaction/Incident.

    Note:

    Level 1 assistors must open a new Interaction if the Interaction/Incident was Closed and the customer is calling about the same issue. Review the closed Interaction to review what guidance was provided and open a new Interaction to document the issue.

  2. Activities information allows research and communications to be tracked. If files are exchanged with the internal/external customer, the files need to be associated with the Interaction/Incident.

  3. The input fields within the Activities section are:

    • Assistor Update Type - Provides a selection of choices on why you are updating the case.

    • Assistor Update Entry - Allows you to add additional description on why you are updating the case.

    • Assistor Update Log - Provides the date, time and who updated the case with the description of the action taken.

    • Send email - Allows you to send an email regarding the Interaction/Incident.

Related Records

  1. Interaction/Incidents can be related to each other for numerous reasons. The Related Records section displays a list of all Interaction/Incidents that are related to the current case. You can select the Interaction or Incident number and it will bring up the details of the case for your review or update.

  2. If you have new information on a related case utilize the Activities Section to update and document any new or revised information.

  3. If you receive information that resolves an escalated Interaction, close the Incident which will also close all related Interactions.

Attachments

  1. This section allows you to attach a document to your Interaction/Incident. You may only add attachments that are 5 megabyte (mb) or less. No more than 10 mb worth of attachments can be added to a single Interaction/Incident.

    Note:

    Do not include any attachment containing a SSN.

Status Field

  1. The Status Field shows where the Interaction/Incident is in its life cycle. An Interaction status is updated automatically. An Incident Status case is closed by choosing the appropriate status in the Status Field.

  2. Although the actual Interaction/Incident Status value may vary, all Interaction/Incident status values will fall into one of the following categories:

    Note:

    The following statuses are for Interactions:

    1. Open Idle - If the Interaction was "Saved" only, it will appear as Open Idle. This will appear on your worklist, which indicates the Interaction needs to be worked or closed.

    2. Open Linked - If a case is escalated or linked to another case the Status will appear as "Open Linked"

    3. Closed status indicates that the Interaction is resolved and no further work is necessary.

      Note:

      The following statuses are for Incidents only.

    4. Open - The default status when opening an Interaction or Incident.

    5. Open Change Request - Reserved and will not be used at the present time.

    6. Open Escalated - Forwarding to lead or manager within the escalation chain, sends an email to the next workgroup, and does not change "Assigned To" field.

    7. Open Pending User - Waiting for response from the user

    8. Open Researching - Researching additional information.

    9. Open Testing - Reserved and will not be used at the present time.

    10. Pending Internal - Awaiting a response from an IRS entity.

    11. Pending KISAM - Pending results of a KISAM ticket.

    12. Testing - Pending User - waiting on the customer to resubmit new tests.

    13. Testing - Pending Review - awaiting test review.

    14. Whiteboard – Awaiting a resolution of a system related problem or outage

    15. Disabled - Reserved and will not be used at the present time.

      Note:

      When an Interaction/Incident is closed, saved or escalated the current date and time appear in the Activities section.

Send Email

  1. Email is available within the solution section by selecting the "Send Email" Link. You can send an email within the system from the Send Email link in the Solution section.

  2. Emails can also be sent to all users in a Provider Group.

  3. The following must be completed:

    1. Provide Contact names and Email Addresses in the "To" field.

    2. Select the appropriate template. Be sure to add the template to the email using the plus symbol.

    3. Provide a brief subject in the "Subject" field.

    4. Complete required fill-ins or add your message between Case Status and Kindest regards, if appropriate.

    5. Use spell check.

    6. Select Email button located on the top of tool bar.

Worklists

  1. Worklists consist of queues with all of the Interactions/Incidents that are assigned to your group or to you specifically.

  2. There are a number of queues available to you that you can use to navigate the EHSS system quickly and easily. Some of the queues are redundant in that they provide access to the same records. Some of the queues that you will use most often have been made into shortcuts and are available under favorites. The available queues are:

    1. Interaction Queue

    2. Incident Queue

    3. Knowledge Document

    4. Worklist

  3. Additionally there are available queues under Favorites and Dashboards that will provide the same information:

    1. My Groups Worklist

    2. My Worklist

    3. Open Incident assigned to my Groups

    4. Open Incidents by Provider Groups

    5. Closed Interactions with Additional Email Response

Reviewing the Worklist

  1. As an Interaction/Incident moves through its normal workflow, a lead or manager may assign the case to an assistor.

  2. Your Worklist will display under Miscellaneous Tab on the navigation pane. Click on the Worklist and your worklist items will appear.

    Reminder:

    Always click the Refresh button at the top of the EHSS Worklist Queue tab after bringing up your worklist. Clicking refresh ensures that you have the most current copy of your worklist.

  3. The Worklist must be checked at the beginning of the shift and periodically throughout the day.

  4. There is a My Group's Worklist for cases not assigned to an individual. The lead or manager must monitor My Group's Worklist throughout the day and assign Interaction/Incidents to the individual Worklists. When assigned to an individual, the Interactions/Incidents cases will drop off of the My Group's Worklist.

  5. A Worklist Assignment document for assistors has been created to help avoid misrouted email cases. The document identifies the Provider Group by program to ensure Interactions/Incidents are worked timely. The document, Interaction/Incident Worklist Assignments, is located on the EPSS Research Portal http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/portals.dr/epss/worklist.htm. This list may also be used in the case of business continuance (e.g., inclement weather) when telephone calls should not be transferred and Interactions/Incidents must be created.

Email Function

  1. Email is an available function within EHSS. The email function directs and tracks emails from arrival through response and includes intelligent routing and service-level management and reporting.

  2. Incoming email is received primarily by the state taxing authorities, TSO customers, software developers, Circular 230 participants, e-file Monitoring Coordinators, e-services Level 2 Provider Groups, and FATCA’s (FFIs and NFFEs). Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC) also uses this function to send email inquiries on behalf of external customers. Outgoing email can be sent at any time. See IRM 3.42.7.15.2.1, System Downtime Procedures, for one example of when outgoing email should be used.

  3. Email can only be reassigned to Provider Groups that you are assigned to. If you cannot work the case you must escalate the Interaction to the appropriate Provider Group. If you do not know where to route your case contact your lead or manager for guidance.

    Exception:

    TSO controls the incoming default email and is allowed to change the Provider Group without escalating the Interaction.

  4. The following guidelines govern the use of Email:

    • The email address is irs.e-helpmail@irs.gov. The email address does not display on the customer’s email. The email address is for internal use only and must not be shared with the general public.

    • Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) data such as TINs or EFINs must not be included.

    • Email is not for account-related issues.

    • Emails must never be initiated by the assistors. Assistors may issue or respond by email after an initial contact has already been made by the customer.

    • Attachments (e.g., GTX keys) may be included in the email. The system will retain the attachments for 14 business days.

    • Incoming emails are automatically retrieved by EHSS and generate an Interaction.

    • An email acknowledgment which includes the Interaction number is automatically sent to the submitter within 30 minutes. The customer must use this number for further communications on the issue.

    • Customers must use the "Reply" feature of email when replying or inquiring to the IRS on a particular Interaction/Incident. This will ensure that the complete history of the issue will be contained in one Interaction/Incident. The reply received from the customer will then attach to the original Interaction/Incident.

      Note:

      The original email must not be sent with the reply on FATCA or FFFF inquiries.

    • Email Interactions are routed to a specific group of individuals whose first priority is to work email.

    • Incoming emails are worked during the normal hours.

    • Customers do not need to follow-up the email with a phone call.

  5. Email inquiries are also received from information return payers and transmitters.

  6. Do not respond to incoming SPAM, junk, or undeliverable emails. Close with no action using appropriate solution.

Email Workflow
  1. EHSS queries the IRS Microsoft Exchange email inbox every 5 minutes looking for new email. When an email is received, it is copied to EHSS and once read it is deleted from the IRS Microsoft Exchange inbox.

  2. If the email is new, there are four ways that an email can be routed to a Provider Group:

    1. By the email address of the entity sending the email (used for software developers).

    2. By key words in the body of the email which allow the system to route to a specific Provider Group.

    3. To a default Provider Group if no email address or key words are identified.

    4. By domain name of email address identified in the system.

  3. If the email is in reply to an email from an existing Interaction:

    1. EHSS will use the ticket number in the subject line to associate Interactions.

      Note:

      If the email subject line exceeds 90 characters, the interaction/incident number may become truncated. As a result, a response may not be timely returned to the appropriate provider group.

    2. Once associated, an email will be sent to the escalation contacts for the worklist.

      Note:

      Assistors must monitor their worklist for new email at least twice daily. When an email is reassigned to another provider group, the Interaction with the email attached will be forwarded.

  4. When the Interaction/Incident is closed, all corresponding emails will also be closed.

  5. If an email is received on a product not supported by the e-help Desk, respond to the customer that we do not support the product or service and then refer them to the proper IRS office or other Agency, when possible.

  6. The e-help Desk has an internal goal of responding to our customers’ emails within two hours of receipt.

Responding to Email
  1. The following are some of the email templates that are available in EHSS:

    • SD Acceptance is the acceptance email to be used to inform the software developer that their software has passed testing. Use this template when there is an incoming email.

    • e-help Response is the standard email template used to send an email to a customer when there is an incoming email.

    • Software Template is the email message to be used for software testing. It also gives the software developers the names of their test team members, tours of duty, and extensions. Use this template when there is an incoming email.

    • FATCA Template is the email template used when responding to FATCA Registration Portal questions.

      Note:

      The Software Template can be used by all assistor test teams to inform the software developers of their test team information. Simply remove the reference to the questionnaire.

  2. TSO uses some of the following templates:

    • FATCA Error is the standard email template used to send an email to a customer that reported an error notification.

    • TSO File Bad is the standard email template used to respond to a customer that a requested file has been made bad on the FIRE System.

    • Individual Referral is the standard email template used to send an email to a customer that they must contact the IRS Individual tax help line for further assistance.

    • TSO CSS Additional Information is the standard email template used to send an email to a customer to clarify their request to update information.

    • TSO General Information is the standard email template used to send an email to a customer on general topics.

    • 4419 FIRE is the standard email template used to send an email to a customer to request supporting documentation.

    • FIRE Duplicate File is the standard email template used to send an email to a customer to determine duplicate reporting.

    • Fill-in 4419 Multiple is the standard email template used to send an email to a customer to identify which company to assign a TCC.

    • Fill-in 4419 Revise Established TCC is the standard email template used to send an email to a customer to provide guidelines to update TCC information.

  3. The e-help Response Template is shown below.

    Figure 3.42.7-8

    Sample e-help Response Email Template
    From: irs.e-helpmail@irs.gov
    To: Customer email address
    Subject: Status Report for Case ID: 12345
    2006-06-06
    Dear e-help Partner:
    Thank you for contacting e-help about the problem you reported on 2006-06-09. We regret any inconvenience this has caused you.
    The following information has been provided for your records. Please refer to the case number # 12345 in any future correspondence.
    Product Description: 1040 e-file
    Case Status: Closed - Resolved
    (Enter your message here.)
    Kindest regards,
    Assistor's Name
    Do not submit confidential information, such as Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), EFIN, or ETIN in your email correspondence.
    NOTE: We are providing a written response to your question using the information you provided us in your original message. Our written response is NOT to be considered either a Revenue Ruling or determination letter, which are prepared by the Department of Treasury, Chief Counsel.
     
  4. To initiate an outgoing email when no incoming email is present, follow these steps:

    1. Complete email address.

    2. Apply template if appropriate. If not, fill in the appropriate subject message.

    3. Use spell check.

Email Notifications
  1. When a customer contacts the e-help Desk through email, they receive an email receipt confirmation, along with an Interaction number. The following message is included:

    Figure 3.42.7-9

    email Receipt Confirmation
    From: irs.e-helpmail@irs.gov
    To: Customer email address
    Subject: email Receipt Confirmation, Created Case: 123456
    Your email has been received by the IRS e-help Desk. A case has been opened in response to your question or issue.
    Your case ID is: 001234
    If additional contact is necessary, please reference this case ID.
    You will receive a reply within two business days.
    Thank you for contacting the IRS e-help Desk.
    Do not submit confidential information, such as Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN), Electronic Filer Identification Numbers (EFIN) or Electronic Transmitter Identification Numbers (ETIN) in your email correspondence.
    NOTE: We are providing a written response to your question using the information you provided us in your original message. Our written response is NOT to be considered either a Revenue Ruling or determination letter, which are prepared by the Department of Treasury, Chief Counsel.
    The System Generated ID for this email is "[THREAD_ID:]" {{IRS_THREAD_ID}}
  2. EHSS has a feature that creates and notifies the manager when an Interaction/Incident is created by email and placed in the worklist.

    Figure 3.42.7-10

    email Notification
    From: emailNotify@irs.gov
    To: Manager
    Subject: email has arrived for you in the e-help Support System
    Please sign into the e-help Support System and review the worklist for an email Interaction that requires attention.
     
  3. When an email has not been assigned within two hours, an escalation email is sent to the manager of the Provider Group. The manager will continue to receive an escalation email every two hours until the email is assigned.

    Figure 3.42.7-11

    Sample Escalation email
    From: e-Help_Case_Support@irs.gov[mailto:e-Help_Case_Support@irs.gov]
    Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2006 2:39:37 PM
    To: Manager; Project Manager; Lead
    Subject: Case 12345 has been Escalated!
    The Case 12345 has been Escalated. Please see the below Case Details.
    Case Status: Open - New
    Case Priority: 1 - High
    Date/Time Created: 03/09/2006 1:38 PM
    Assigned To:
    Customer: Consumer
    Contact:
    Provider Group ID: OSC1
     
Email Etiquette
  1. The Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98), Section 3705, provides identification requirements for all IRS employees working tax related matters. All employees, are required to provide (at a minimum) the following information when sending an email:

    • Your title (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss), last name and identification (Smart ID Card Badge) number, or

    • Your first name, last name, and identification (Smart ID Card Badge) number.

    • A contact telephone number.

  2. The following reminders will help you make the best use of this valuable business tool:

    1. Adopt a conversational businesslike tone.

    2. Structure your email so that it includes a greeting, a purpose, and expectations.

      Example:

      "Dear XYZ, I'm responding to your request for a solution to your problem. I suggest you print out the solution below and follow each step to correct the problem. If this solution is not successful, please call us at (866) 255-0654."

    3. Check your spelling.

    4. Review and revise your email before sending it to the customer.

    5. Ensure your name is in the correct format. EHSS will format the users name with last name first, you must reverse the name to first and last name OR title and last name (e.g., John Doe or Mr. Doe).

  3. Occasionally, you may receive an email from a disgruntled customer. Use this approach when responding:

    1. Stay calm.

    2. Acknowledge the customer's concerns.

    3. Advise the customer of a solution.

      Example:

      "I'm sorry for the difficulties you have encountered being locked out of the system and being unable to transmit. We have referred your case to another department. You will receive a call within two business hours. Should you experience additional problems, please call us at (866) 255-0654."

FATCA Emails

  1. FATCA generally requires FFIs to report directly to the IRS certain information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers. It also requires certain NFFEs to disclose U.S. taxpayers who hold a substantial ownership interest in the NFFE. To assist with the FATCA reporting, the FATCA Online Registration System, International Data Exchange System (IDES) and International Compliance Management Module (ICMM) have been developed.

  2. The e-help Desk accepts phone calls and emails for system support related questions regarding the FATCA Online Registration System.

  3. The FATCA Online Registration System support will generate calls/emails to the e-help Desk. The most common calls/emails received for system support will be:

    • Forgotten FATCA ID

    • Access Code

    • General Inquiries

    • Technical Difficulties

    Note:

    The temporary Access Code will not be issued via email under any circumstances.

  4. The Technical Services Operation (TSO) accepts phone calls and emails for technical support related to ICMM FATCA error notifications.

  5. Due to the potential of Personal Identifiable Information (PII) being disclosed, assistors will not use the Reply button using the original email sent.

  6. To send an email response to a FATCA customer you must use the Send Email function.

  7. Use the FATCA email Template to respond to FATCA Online Registration System questions and use the FATCA Error Template to respond to error notifications. Complete the body of the email by copying the prepared response in the Solution, Use the "fill-in" as needed or type in a specific response to the problem. Always use "spell check."

  8. Your name or first initial, last name (e.g., John Doe or J Doe), and badge number must be included in the email.

Intelligent Contact Management (ICM)

  1. The e-help Desk uses the ICM/CVP platform in the IRS Contact Center Environment. The ICM/CVP is a web-based platform that provides for Prompt/Collect, Queuing, and Call Control services for contact centers and self-service Interactive Voice Response (IVR) applications.

    • Prompt/Collect asks callers questions that require responses and collects those entries or voice responses, which determine the skill needed to handle the issue.

    • Queuing accumulates telephone calls in a queue until delivery can be initiated to a resource like an assistor.

    • Call Control communicates with the Intelligent Contact Manager (ICM) to understand the correct place to send a call.

Queuing

  1. When all assistors with the necessary skills are busy, calls queue until an assistor becomes available to answer the call. In an Enterprise Queue, calls queue in a central network location. The call is in queue for every agent group in the enterprise that can handle it.

  2. Queuing calls at an enterprise level is a more efficient use of resources since it prevents calls from being stuck at one site, while there are resources available at another. Enterprise queuing reduces the impact of fluctuations at the sites caused by breaks, lunches, and the beginning and ending of shifts. Customers are less likely to hang up and retry as a result of lengthy queue times, so abandon rates are improved.

  3. When an assistor becomes available, the call will be routed based on priority. Priority is the order in which an agent group will answer a call when more than one call is in queue for that agent group. Priority is determined by the enterprise.

  4. Some calls will continue to queue locally. Local queue means that only that site can handle the call. Local queue has the highest priority and a call will be directed to the Next Available Agent/Assistor (NAA), at that site, before an enterprise queued call.

Queuing International Calls
  1. Callers from the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam will be routed using the Computer Telephony Integration Object Server (CTIOS) Desktop - Softphone. The e-help Desk serves international callers using a non-toll-free number that queues to the local ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) in Austin. Although these calls will not be routed by CTIOS, they will be recognized by CTIOS in order to achieve routing efficiency.

    Reminder:

    Local queues always assume the highest priority so international callers will be routed promptly. This will improve the Average Speed of Answer and reduce the Abandon Rate of international calls.

  2. International calls cannot be transferred to another site. They can be transferred to a Lead/Manager Agent Group (AG 709) or an assistor's administrative extension.

Customer Treatment While in Queue
  1. Recordings for music and announcements will be provided in order to give the caller proper treatment while they are in queue. In addition to the usual delay announcements, e-help has a group of informational messages that will be played during queue times on a specific group of applications.

  2. Emergency informational announcements will be tailored to the specific product experiencing difficulties. In an emergency, the message will be played right after the welcome message before the caller gets to the first prompt.

After-hours and Variable Call Redirect (VCR) Announcements
  1. Callers to the e-help Desk do not have the ability to leave voice mail messages at the sites after normal business hours. Callers will hear one of two messages. After the message, there will be a courtesy disconnect.

    Exception:

    Assistors and managers can receive messages on their administrative extensions.

  2. A Variable Call Redirect (VCR) condition exists when there is a problem routing the call due to assistor availability or system performance. The caller will receive a courtesy disconnect after an appropriate announcement.

    Example:

    An EFTPS call comes in but there are no assistors signed in to an agent group that handles EFTPS calls. A VCR condition exists and the caller will be routed to an appropriate announcement then disconnected.

Voice Mail Messages
  1. Callers can still leave messages for assistors and managers on their softphones in limited scenarios. See IRM 3.42.7.14.6.1, Transferring Calls.

  2. Each assistor must create their own personal greeting which includes their name, ID Number, telephone number, and work hours. If appropriate, forward your line to your voice mail using the call forward feature when you will be away from your desk for an extended period of time.

Call Control

  1. EPSS uses an Intelligent Contact Manager (ICM) platform. ICM is a dynamic call routing system capable of monitoring all EPSS sites within the enterprise. Specific thresholds and business rules are embedded in ICM, along with the identical agent groups and skills that are in the Computer Telephony Integration Object Server (CTIOS) Desktop - Softphone. Based on the established business rules and thresholds, ICM gathers real-time and historical data from CTIOS at each site at designated intervals to determine assistor availability by product line. It then routes each call to the assistor who is best able to handle that call.

Next Available Agent/Assistor (NAA)
  1. Next Available Agent/Assistor (NAA) is a strategy for selecting an assistor to handle a call. The strategy seeks to maintain an equal load across agent groups. E-help is seeking to improve the overall level of service by sending each call to the NAA enterprise-wide who has the necessary skills to answer the customer’s question.

    • Primary Agent Groups are tied to specific applications and receive traffic unconditionally. Primary agent groups are protected from applications they support as back-up unless certain conditions are met.

    • Back-Up Agent Groups are actually primary agent groups receiving traffic from applications they are not assigned to as primary (e.g., an IMF e-file assistor receiving e-file application traffic). This traffic is received on best-performing agent group basis for the application being routed.

    • Alternate Staffing Groups receive traffic just like primary agent groups with the exception that they are not tied to one specific application, Business Operating Division (BOD), or Product Line.

  2. When a call is received on the e-help Desk line, ICM will look for an available primary assistor.

    Figure 3.42.7-12

    If ... Then ...
    A primary is available ISN routes the call to them.
    Two primary assistors are available ISN looks for the Longest Available Assistor (LAA), who will receive the call.
    A primary assistor is not available ISN looks for an available back-up assistor. The LAA will receive the call.
    Neither is available ISN will place the call into the Enterprise Queue. Once in queue, it continually goes through the sequence of primary and back-up until it can route the call.
Class of Service
  1. Class of Service (CoS) is a way of managing traffic in a network by grouping similar types of traffic together, and treating each type as a class with its own level of service. Assistors must use a headset CoS when logged into the CTIOS. The figure below compares a handset CoS with a headset CoS.

    Figure 3.42.7-13

    Assistor with Handset CoS Assistor with Headset CoS
    Can wear a headset or use a handset. Must always wear a headset.
    Can choose to answer the call. Must answer the call. Will hear a beep in their headset and the caller will be on the line.
    Can choose not to answer the call. After several rings, the call will be routed to another assistor's phone. Does not have the option of determining when the call is answered.
  2. When the call is complete, the assistor will be placed in "Wrap" status. When ready to take another call, the assistor must place themselves in "Ready" status. If the assistor is not ready to take a call, they must remain in "Wrap" or "Idle" status.

Applications and Agent Groups
  1. Agent Groups are the skilled groups of assistors that provide service to the customer. Applications are the electronic products or services that we provide. ICM is used to distribute calls to skill groups (agent groups) to provide services (applications) to the caller.

    Note:

    Application numbers and agent group numbers and descriptions do not correspond one for one.

Applications
  1. Application numbers have changed as a result of the implementation of CTIOS. The numbers are shown in the figure below:

    Figure 3.42.7-14

    Application Number Description
    704 EH - Secure Access Authentication
    705 EH - Spanish Secure Access Authentication
    710 EH – International
    711 EH – IMF e-file
    712 EH – Spanish IMF e-file
    713 EH – 1041 e-file
    714 EH – Spanish 1041 e-file
    715 EH – 94x e-file
    716 EH – Spanish 94x e-file
    717 EH – 1120 - 990 -1065 e-file
    718 EH – Spanish 1120 - 990 1065 e-file
    719 EH – Application e-file
    720 EH – Spanish Application e-file
    721 EH – Suitability
    722 EH – Spanish Suitability
    723 EH – Registration e-services
    724 EH – Spanish Registration e-services
    725 EH- FATCA
    726 EH - Spanish FATCA
    727 EH – TDS - e-Services, TIN Matching
    728 EH – Spanish TDS - e-Services, TIN Matching
    729 EH – SAM
    730 EH – Spanish SAM
    731 EH – EFTPS
    732 EH –Spanish EFTPS
    733 EH – Electronic Excise Tax
    734 EH – Spanish Electronic Excise Tax
    735 EH – Acceptance Agents
    736 EH – Spanish Acceptance Agents
    737 EH - e-Services Level 2
    745 TSO - ACA FILING SUP SP
    747 TSO - ACA IR EN
    748 TSO - ACA IR SP
    749 EH - ACA FILING SUP EN
    749 TSO - FATCA Info Returns
    750 EH - ACA E-SERV EN
    811 TSO – Tax Law - Pertaining to Information Returns
    812 TSO CS – Password/PIN Resets for FIRE
    813 TSO – FS Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)
    814 FS (FIRE) Level 2
    815 Tax Law (Customer Service Section) Level 2
    816 IFS (Information Filing Support) Level 1
    817 IFS (Information Filing Support) Level 2
  2. The applications are individually viewed by the ICM and CTIOS software as a single source of product line traffic enterprise wide through CTIOS Scripting. Callers hear prompting (and informational announcements, if placed in queue), and are then routed to an assistor.

  3. If an assistor is not available, the call will queue in the CTIOS until one becomes available.

Agent Groups
  1. To be eligible to receive calls for EPSS applications, assistors will sign in to one of the following agent groups (AG):

    Figure 3.42.7-15

    Agent Group Description
    701 EH – English queue clearing
    702 EH – Spanish queue clearing
    703 EH – Training 1
    704 EH – Training 2
    707 EH – Extension Routing/Inventory
    709 EH – Lead - Manager (transfers only)
    710 EH – IMF e-file - e-file application - Suitability - e-Services - CAA - Secure Access Authentication
    714 EH – BMF e-file — e-file application - Suitability - e-Services - SAM - EFTPS - Electronic Excise Tax - Secure Access Authentication
    716 EH – IMF Spanish
    720 EH – e-file application - Suitability - e-Services
    722 EH BMF Spanish
    744 TSO ACA MOD IRIS Other
    745 TSO ACA MOD IRIS
    805 TSO Inventory
    806 TSO ASG 1
    811 TSO – Tax Law (1099 Information Returns)
    812 TSO CS (Notices and PIN/Password Reset)
    813 TSO FS
    814 TSO FS Level 2 (Internal Transfers Only)
    815 TSO CS Level 2 (Internal Transfers Only)
    816 IFS (Information Filing Support) Level 1
    817 TSO IFS Level 2
  2. Signing into AG 701 (English) and 702 (Spanish) will provide e-help with the ability to clear out local ACD queues. Not all assistors will have 701 or 702 in their profile.

    Example:

    If a call is "in flight" to an assistor from the CTIOS, and the assistor goes from an available state to a non-available state to go to lunch, the call will be routed to the local queue. This call will then be routed to the NAA at that site; however, at the end of the shift or end of the day, managers, leads, or a designated assistor must log in to AG 701 or 702 to clear out any call sitting in the local queue.

    Reminder:

    Assistors must NEVER go from "Ready" to "Release" or a non-available status (Idle or Log off).

  3. AG 703 and 704 will be used for training. New hires or assistors learning a new application will log in to one of these agent groups and will only receive one type of call until they are proficient in the application.

  4. Each assistor will have multiple agent group logins. An assistor can only log in to one agent group at a time.

    • Production – each assistor will have at least two.

    • Training – consists of one or more applications depending on the specific management request. Local system analysts will have a pool of Usernames. While training, an assistor will be assigned a training Username.

    • Administrative – used when not actively taking calls (e.g., AG 707).

      Note:

      When assigned to non-phone work (e.g., software testing), click Login, Idle, select appropriate Idle Reason code and click Ok. Go into "Idle" for lunch, break, or other reason for Idle. See IRM 3.42.7.14.1.1, Reason Codes for Idle.

Standardized Telephone Procedures

  1. A goal of the e-help Desk is for its assistors to use standardized procedures to efficiently provide consistent responses to its customers. This section establishes uniform procedures for telephone responses.

Computer Telephony Integration Object Server (CTIOS) Desktop - Softphone

  1. The routing of calls is managed using the Computer Telephony Integration Object Server (CTIOS) desktop; otherwise known as the softphone. This system provides for call routing capabilities, including queuing, reporting, and toll-free service. For consistency across the EPSS sites, all assistors will use the same softphone guidelines.

  2. At the start of a shift:

    1. Sign on to the softphone.

    2. Select "Ready."

      Note:

      Unless the user selects "Ready," the softphone defaults the user to "Idle" with no code. See IRM 3.42.7.14.1.1, Reason Codes for Idle.

  3. Whenever possible, all work must be completed before a call is ended. If extra time is needed at the end of a call, use "Wrap-up" while finishing the work before taking another call. Then, select "Ready."

  4. At the end of a shift, sign off of the softphone.

Reason Codes for Idle
  1. Idle is a softphone status used by assistors to capture time when not in "Available" , "Talking" , "Hold" or "Wrap-up" status. It is a broad status, controlled by assistors and used to record times for meetings, read time, breaks, paper inventory, lunch, and training.

  2. When not available for incoming calls, assistors must enter the appropriate Idle Reason Code.

  3. The following chart shows the list of Idle Reason Codes used in EPSS:

    Figure 3.42.7-16

    Reason Code Status Explanation
    1 Temporarily Off the Phone Use this code when you will be unavailable for telephone work for a period of time not specified by other reason codes. Examples are individual meetings with a manager, counseling, NTEU official duties, Form 3081 preparation, and rest room breaks.
    2 Inventory, First Available Use this code when you will be available for telephone work, if necessary, but your work assignment is working Interactions/Incidents off your EHSS worklist, or recording interactions after a system downtime.
    3 Paper Inventory Use this code when you will be available for telephone work, if necessary, but your work assignment is working paper inventory.
    4 Training, Partly Available Use this code when you will be unavailable for telephone work during a specified portion of the tour of duty (TOD) because of training-related activities. Examples include partial-day off-site, on the job training (OJT), or instructor preparation. Do not sign on if you will be in training your entire TOD.
    5 Read Time Use this code when you will be unavailable for telephone work during a specified portion of the TOD because of read time as described in IRM 3.42.7.14.1.1.1.
    6 Meeting Time Use this code when you will be unavailable for telephone work during a specific portion of your TOD because of team meeting time as described in IRM 3.42.7.14.1.1.1.
    7 Break Time Use this code when you will be unavailable for telephone work during a specified portion of your TOD because of a scheduled rest break (other than lunch) or unavailable in order to relieve a stressful situation.
    8 Lunch Time Use this code when you will be unavailable for telephone work during a specified portion of your TOD because of a scheduled lunch break.
Read and Technical Meeting Time
  1. Read and technical meeting time are scheduled on a weekly basis.

    1. Read time is defined as time spent reading and/or performing filing activities (e.g., IRM Procedural Updates, SERP Alerts, QuickAlerts, EPSS Communications, all employee memoranda, etc.). Read time must be reported to 990-59221.

    2. Technical meeting time is defined as time spent in recurring meetings that primarily focus on clarifying and reviewing technical or procedural issues. However, some brief or incidental administrative items may be addressed for a small portion of this meeting time. Technical meeting time must be reported to 990-59222.

    Caution:

    Formal training, On-the-Job instruction (OJI), significant administrative issues and Survey meetings should not be regarded as technical meeting time.

Telephone Etiquette

  1. The way calls are handled by EPSS employees makes a difference in the way the customer perceives the IRS. The way the call is handled either enhances or damages the reputation of the organization. It is vital that each call be managed pleasantly and efficiently.

  2. Customers expect timely, accurate and professional service. The tips below will help you to make a good telephone impression.

    1. Use the standard greeting for answering calls. Speak slowly and clearly. See IRM 3.42.7.14.3, Initial Greeting for the initial greeting. Avoid the tendency to display laziness or impatience after saying the same greeting numerous times daily.

    2. Address the caller by their last name and title (Mr. or Ms.). Use the caller's name often. Always be prepared to capture any notes for your case.

    3. Show genuine interest in the caller and enthusiastically try to solve their problem. Communicate accessibility, friendliness, and willingness to accommodate the caller.

    4. Stay calm and use a well-planned approach for disgruntled callers. Take a deep breath and listen. Apologize for any IRS error and inform the caller of our plan to take corrective action. If there are steps the customer needs to take, advise them of what they need to do.

    5. Never let your voice reveal that the last caller was rude and insulting, or displace anger onto the next caller.

    6. Do not use IRS jargon or acronyms that may confuse customers.

    7. Ask permission to place the caller on hold and wait for a response. Do not keep the caller on hold for more than five minutes to research information without returning to the customer. If you must place the caller on hold again, provide the caller an explanation and apology.

      Note:

      Do not mute calls when research is being conducted. Place the caller on hold or continue speaking.

    8. Never eat or drink while talking on the telephone. These annoyances make rude sounds that magnify.

    9. Avoid side conversations when you have a caller on the line.

    10. Use courteous phrases such as "Thank you, Mr. Jones" ," Thank you for holding " , or other appropriate expressions.

    11. Refrain from speculating why certain policy decisions are made and from expressing personal opinions about procedures and processes. Provide the caller only information that can be substantiated by a reference to an official source, such as a publication or the IRS website, or to an IRS research tool such as IDRS.

    12. Provide the caller with the Interaction/Incident number on each elevated case or if you need to call the taxpayer back.

    13. To indicate closure, make sure the customer's questions and needs have been addressed.

  3. Employees may bring personal cell phones into the work place, but they are only to be used during breaks, lunchtime, or prior to or after an employee's official tour of duty. Employees will 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 must be silenced in order to avoid distractions and disturbances during working hours.

Customer Complaints
  1. EPSS values customer feedback as a means of achieving customer satisfaction. If the customer complains, it is EPSS policy to answer the complaint and solve the customer's problem whenever possible. Always apologize for any IRS error.

  2. Professionalism and courtesy in dealing with internal and external customers are essential competencies. Customers must be treated with courtesy regardless of the source of the contact (phone, email, etc.). EPSS desires to build a reputation as a knowledgeable and customer-focused organization.

  3. 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 and put the caller on hold.

    2. Contact your supervisor or appointed designee. Transfer the call to the supervisor or designee in accordance with your organization's procedures (transfer using the softphone or escalate the Interaction).

    3. If your supervisor or designee is not available, advise the caller accordingly and obtain all of the pertinent information and assure the customer that the supervisor will return the call. Secure the customer’s name, specific issue, phone number, and the best time and day (same day of call or the next business day) for your supervisor or designee to return the call.

  4. All complaints regardless of the source or issue may need to be elevated to your lead's Provider Group. Your lead will work with the manager to address the complaint. Ensure the customer's name, address, telephone number and specifics of the complaint are documented in the case. Submit the information to your manager for appropriate action.

    Note:

    Complaints or suggestions about a system or application cannot be addressed by your manager and must be documented using the Problem Type Customer Comment and be escalated to the appropriate Analyst or Provider Group. See IRM 3.42.7.6.4, Problem Types.

  5. See IRM 3.42.7.12.2.2.2, Email Etiquette.

  6. See IRM 3.42.7.14.2, Telephone Etiquette.

Initial Greeting

  1. The Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, Section 3705, provides identification requirements for all IRS employees working tax related matters. All EPSS employees, are required to provide (at a minimum) the following information to each customer who joins the call:

    • Their title (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss)

    • Their last name

    • Their identification (ID Card) number

    Note:

    Title, last name and identification number are the minimum requirements. If the employee prefers they may provide their first and last name and their identification number. Also, employees are required to provide their name and identification number to each customer who joins the call. See IRM 10.5.7.7, When to Use Unique Identifying Number.

  2. The Smart Identification (SmartID) card is a standardized identification card for Federal employees and contractors. The ID card is required by Homeland Security as per Presidential Directive-12. The SmartID has a 10-digit number string called a Personal Identification (PID) Number that is printed on the front of the card. Employees must use their 10-digit SmartID Badge Number (including no spaces or dashes, example, 10000XXXXX) when communicating with taxpayers.

  3. Section 3706 of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98) authorizes the use of pseudonyms by IRS employees only if adequate justification for the use is provided by the employee and its use is approved by the employee’s supervisor.

  4. Section 3706 of RRA 98 is meant to eliminate the taxpayer perception that IRS employees avoid accountability for their actions through the use of pseudonyms, while still protecting an employee’s right to use pseudonyms in appropriate circumstances. Rather than being entitled to use a pseudonym, the employee must provide "adequate justification" , which includes "protection of personal safety" , and the employee’s supervisor must approve use of the pseudonym prior to its use. Thus, requests to use pseudonyms that do not provide adequate justification may be denied on that basis. See IRM 10.5.7, Use of Pseudonyms by IRS Employees. It is located on the IRM Online website: http://irm.web.irs.gov/default.asp.

  5. All e-help Desk assistors will use the following standard greeting when answering calls to the e-help Desk: "This is employee's title and last name of e-help. My ID number is 10000XXXXX. "

  6. Probe the caller for an EFIN, ETIN, Username, contact name, etc., to initiate an efficient search. See IRM 3.42.7.6.1Contacts for additional information. If you determine the caller is not in the EHSS database, you will need to create an e-Product User case.

    Exception:

    SAM, EFTPS, and TIN Matching customers normally do not have an EFIN or ETIN.

  7. An example of a standard greeting is shown below:

    Figure 3.42.7-17

    Assistor Customer
    "This is Mr. Smith of e-help. My ID number is 10000XXXXX”." "This is Jane Doe. I seem to be locked out of the system."
    "May I have your EFIN?" "My EFIN is 001234."
    The assistor will continue with appropriate authentication probes.  

Over the Phone Interpreter Service (OPI)

  1. Employees who need to interact verbally with customers who have limited English proficiency (LEP) can use the secure Over-the-Phone Interpreter (OPI) Service during telephone contacts. OPI provides over-the-phone interpreter service in many languages, and is available on a 24/7 basis.

    Note:

    Bilingual Spanish assistors will not use this service.

  2. To use this on-demand interpreter service, employees must secure a unique 9-digit PIN (personal identification number). Contact the OPI coordinator to secure the corresponding personal OPI Service PIN.

  3. If you receive a call from an LEP customer, explain to the caller that you are attempting to contact an interpreter.

    Note:

    All assistors who receive calls from Spanish speaking customers must check the Spanish box in EHSS. This includes Spanish calls that are referred to OPI.

  4. To contact the OPI service, take the following actions:

    Press “Hold” to place the non-English speaker on hold.

    Press outside line then dial 888-563-1155

    Enter your PIN number (xxxx-xxxxx)

    Select a language:

    • Press 1 for Spanish

    • Press 2 for Creole

    • Press 3 for Mandarin

    • Press 4 for Korean

    • Press 5 for Vietnamese

    • Press 6 for Somali

    • Press 7 for Russian

    • Press 8 for French

    • Press 9 for Arabic

      Note:

      For any other language needs or concerns, Press 0 for operator assistance.

    An interpreter will be connected to the call. Brief the interpreter with what you wish to accomplish and give any special instructions.

    Add the LEP caller to the line by pressing the “Conference Hold” key again.

    Follow disclosure guidelines contained in 3.42.7.14.5, Authentication and Authorization Guidelines, speak directly to the taxpayer and continue with the conversation.

    If a call is selected for customer survey and the employee is using OPI:

    • Go through survey process as outlined in IRM 21.10.1.9, Customer Satisfaction Surveys.

    • When you are ready to transfer the caller to the survey line, disconnect OPI, then complete the transfer.

  5. Assistors needing to use interpreter services to assist customers with limited English proficiency can submit Form 14162, OPI Service Feedback, when the interpreter service is unable to provide an interpreter. Submit one form per call. The User Feedback Form is posted through Publishing Services: http://publish.no.irs.gov/cat12.cgi?request=CAT2&itemtyp=F&itemb=14162&items=* Submitting this individual feedback form will provide the vendor with detailed information and apprise them of these occurrences. This feedback is sent directly to *W&I M&P OPI email box.

Interpreter’s Role
  1. The Interpreter’s role is to assist you in communicating with the taxpayer, not to advocate for the IRS or the taxpayer. The Interpreter bridges the communication gap between you and the taxpayer. You are in control at all times. The interpreter is present to assist with communication, but you drive the conversation.

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

    Example:

    Say: "I need you to provide me your Electronic Filing Identification Number" . Don’t say: "I need you to tell the customer to provide their Electronic Filing Identification Number" .

  3. Speak in short sentences and ask the LEP customer to do the same. Over-the-phone interpreting is done consecutively, thus the call will be most effective when sentences are concise.

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

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

  6. Avoid using acronyms.

  7. Be aware of possible cultural differences. Cultural differences can sometimes distort communication. Language dynamics may differ within each culture. Remind yourself that an LEP customer may have different cultural backgrounds, level of education and experiences. If you sense the LEP customer does not understand, try to rephrase the question in a different manner.

Authentication and Authorization Guidelines

  1. Ensure that the caller is entitled to receive any information that is requested. First, you must authenticate the caller.

    Note:

    Authentication is not required when the assistor does not need to access a system to provide specific account information. For example: "How do I recover my Username?" or "How do I get my password?" . If, in the course of the call, a question turns into an inquiry that needs to be answered by accessing a secure system, disclosure procedures must be followed.

  2. Authentication means to establish the identity of the caller. Callers must provide certain information (i.e., shared secrets) before we can release information return and tax information to them. Authorization means that the caller has the right to the information. The Disclosure and Privacy Knowledge Base (Disclosure section) has excellent topics on who can access tax data at https://portal.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/VL003/Pages/default.aspx.

    Note:

    The Disclosure Help Desk number located on the above website is for employees use only.

  3. To validate the caller's information prior to providing any tax account information, you must research the appropriate system (e.g., EHSS, ESAM, FIRE or IDRS). For example, the legal company name or Doing Business As (DBA) name is found on the IRS e-file Application.

  4. Assistors are required to use the online version of the EPSS Authentication/Authorization Job Aid for each phone call unless the call is a general inquiry that does not require you to provide account specific information. The EPSS Authentication/Authorization Job Aid is available through SERP on the EPSS Portal and EHSS.

  5. When you make an outgoing phone call follow the specific disclosure probes related to the product. When making an outgoing call and the taxpayer is reluctant to give you his/her TIN, 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 and continue with the appropriate probes. If the caller is still reluctant have the customer call the appropriate toll-free number.

Authentication/Authorization for e-file Application
  1. The requiredauthentication probes for e-file application are:

    • Name

    • EFIN, ETIN, TIN (SSN or EIN)

    • Legal Company Name or Doing Business As (DBA), if applicable (Legal Company name or DBA must match the legal business name listed on the e-file application).

      Note:

      If the caller is inquiring about their e-file application and there is no e-file application on file, you must authenticate the caller as an Individual or Business before disclosing e-file application information (no application on file). See IRM 3.42.7.14.5.4, Authentication/Authorization for SAM, EFTPS and Business Online e-file (e.g., Large Taxpayers)) for the required individual or business probes. If the individual probes were already obtained and verified, it is not necessary to obtain the above probes.

      Note:

      You must ask two additional authentication probes when the company name the caller provides differs from our records.

      Reminder:

      Verify the information given in response to the probes by researching ESAM, IDRS or EHSS. If the caller's name does not appear on the e-file application Summary Screen in ESAM, remember to check the Delegated User screen. Delegated Users' names do not appear on the summary screen.

  2. The required authentication probes for a reporting agent are the same as the e-file application, however, you are addressing the Reporting Agents information.

    • Reporting Agent Name

    • Reporting Agent EFIN, ETIN, TIN (SSN or EIN)

    • Reporting Agent Company Name, if applicable

      Note:

      The Reporting Agent company’s address can be used for additional authentication (for example, if the company name the caller gives differs from our records).

      Reminder:

      Verify the information given in response to the probes by researching EHSS, ESAM, or IDRS. If the caller's name does not appear on the e-file application Summary Screen in ESAM, remember to check the Delegated User screen. Delegated Users' names do not appear on the summary screen.

    • Verify the caller has the appropriate e-file Role (Principal, Responsible Official or Delegated User if authorities are granted).

  3. To authenticate a SPEC employee, ask for their SEID and confirm it against the IRS Discovery Directory at http://discovery.directory.enterprise.irs.gov/discovery/search.asp utilizing the appropriate Area Map from the SPEC Organizational & Program Information page at http://win.web.irs.gov/spec/spec_Org_Prog_Info.htm. The probes are:

    • What is your Name?

    • What is your SEID?

    • In which Territory or Area are you located?

  4. Authorized IRS e-file Providers hold important roles in relation to participating in IRS e-file. A listing of those roles is shown below. An authorization matrix for e-file and e-file application follows and shows the authorizations for the various roles for some Problem Types. See Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation, for additional information on the IRS e-file Application process.

    • Principals – Generally, the Principal for a business or organization includes the following:

      Figure 3.42.7-18

      Principal Explanation
      Sole Proprietorship The sole proprietor or owner is the Principal for a sole proprietorship.
      Partnership Each partner who has a 5 percent or more interest in the partnership is a Principal. If no partner has at least a 5 percent or more interest in the partnership, the Principal is an individual authorized to act for the partnership in legal and/or tax matters. At least one such individual must be listed on the application.
      Corporation The President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer are each a Principal of the corporation.
      Other The Principal for an entity that is not a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation is an individual authorized to act for the entity in legal and/or tax matters. At least one such individual must be listed on the application.

      Example:

      VITA Sites, Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), military bases.

    • Responsible Officials – A Responsible Official is an individual with authority over the Provider’s IRS e-file operation at a location, is the first point of contact with the IRS, and has authority to sign revised IRS e-file Applications. A Responsible Official ensures the Provider adheres to the provisions of the revenue procedure as well as all publications and notices governing IRS e-file. The Responsible Official may oversee IRS e-file operations at one or more offices, but must be able to fulfill identified responsibilities for each of the offices. If one individual cannot fulfill these responsibilities, additional Responsible Officials may be identified. To add or change Responsible Officials, a Provider must revise its IRS e-file Application.

    • Delegated Users – A Delegated User is an individual within a firm/organization, other than a Principal or Responsible Official, who is authorized to use one or more of the e-Services products. A Principal or Responsible Official appoints an individual as a Delegated User on the IRS e-file Application available on the IRS web site. A Delegated User must be an employee, partner, or other member of the firm/organization or have a business relationship with the firm/organization. Principals and Responsible Officials with authority to add, delete, and change Principal can assign Principal Consent authority to a Delegated User. A Delegated User with Principal Consent authority has the same e-file application authorities as a Principal.

      Note:

      Each Delegated User needs to be on only one IRS e-file Application. It is not necessary for a Delegated User to be on more than one IRS e-file Application to access e-Services products. Each Delegated User affiliated with different firms (identified by different TINs) and authorized to view and make changes to an e-file application, must be on the specific IRS e-file Application to be able to review and make changes to the application. Large firms with multiple Delegated Users on a single IRS e-file Application must limit the number of Delegated Users to 100.

  5. A Principal or Responsible Official may authorize an individual to do the following:

    • View Application information

    • Update Application Information

    • Sign and submit revised Applications

    • Add, delete and change Principals

    • Add, delete and change Responsible Officials

    • View software package information

    • Serve as MeF Internet Transmitter

    • Serve as MeF System Enroller

    • Access e-Services incentive product: TDS

  6. The e-file application also includes a Primary and Alternate Contacts section. These contacts may be persons distinct from the Principals and Responsible Officials, or they can be the same. Contacts must be available for contact from the IRS on a daily basis for general questions during testing and the processing year. Contacts will not have access to private information that is only available to Principals and Responsible Officials. A Primary Contact is required for the application. Alternate Contacts are not required, but can be specified. It is important for a Principal or Responsible Official to change or delete Contacts when the Contacts are no longer with the firm or their position within the firm no longer warrants being a Contact.

  7. Key Persons – Large firms with multi-layered management that are not sole proprietorships include only Principals and Key Persons who participate substantially with control over the firm’s electronic filing operations as Principals on IRS e-file Applications. "Participate substantially" means participation that is extensive and substantive, and not peripheral, clerical or ministerial.

  8. Use the matrix below to determine what authorizations follow the roles for the Principal/Principal Consent, Responsible Official, Delegated User, and Contacts for the Problem Types shown. An "X" means the role is authorized; "No" means they are not authorized.

    Figure 3.42.7-19

    Problem Type Principal / Principal Consent Responsible Official Delegated User
    *See (9)
    Contact/Alternate
    Suitability (Passed)
    *See (10)
    X X No No
    Suitability (Failed)
    *See 10)
    X X No No
    Status of Application
    *See (10)
    X X X X
    EFIN Status
    *See (10)
    X X X X
    Application Changes X X X No

    Exception:

    SPEC employees can initiate application changes.

  9. The Delegated User must have at least one of the following authorities in order to discuss application status and make application changes. They can discuss signature issues if they have authorities to add, delete, and change Principals and Responsible Officials.

    • Update Application

    • Sign and Submit Revised Applications

    • Add, Delete and Change Principals

    • Add, Delete and Change Responsible Officials

  10. The following authorization rules are related to all callers:

    1. The Principal, Principal Consent, Responsible Official, Delegated User (if they have been granted the authority), and the Contact can discuss the company's EFIN status, but not the status of other individuals.

    2. The Principal, Principal Consent, and Responsible Official can discuss their own suitability but not the suitability of someone else.

      Note:

      If the caller is the individual with the suitability issues, you may discuss the matter in detail, but only after additional authentication. See Figure 3.42.7-22 and use the Authentication Matrix for SAM and EFTPS, "Individual" row.

    3. The Contact/Alternate Contact and Delegated User cannot discuss an individual's suitability.

  11. Encourage all callers to make Application changes through e-Services.

Authentication/Authorization for e-file
  1. The requiredauthentication probes for e-file are:

    • EFIN, ETIN, TIN (SSN or EIN)

    • Legal Company Name, or Doing Business As (DBA), if applicable

      Note:

      Do not authenticate the Company or DBA names using EHSS. Access ECDB and verify the Company or DBA name from the e-file application.

      Reminder:

      For case documentation purposes, ask the caller's name. If the caller's name is not shown in EHSS, or e-file application, but they provide the EFIN, ETIN, TIN and the Company name, add the caller's name to the Description field.

  2. Before providing data from the taxpayer's transmitted return, be sure the EFIN above is contained in the transmitted return. Obtain the following information from the ERO/ISP/Transmitter:

    Figure 3.42.7-20

    IMF BMF
    Taxpayer's Name (including spouse if applicable) Taxpayer's Name
    Taxpayer's TIN Taxpayer's TIN
    DOB (Form 4868 excluded) Address
    Refund Amount, if any (Form 4868 excluded) Filing Year (i.e., calendar or fiscal year)
    Status/Rcvd Date Accepted/Rejected Date
    Submission ID  

    Note:

    Use IDRS, MeF, and or other appropriate systems to verify the items listed.

  3. If the caller is unable to match one of the items from the transmitted return (other than the taxpayer's name and the taxpayer's TIN - these must always match except when the note below applies), you must ask the caller to verify two additional items from the transmitted return (i.e., AGI, Earned Income Tax (EIC) amount, number of W-2's, etc.).

    Note:

    When the taxpayer(s) name is truncated, you may accept the name provided by the caller when it is similar to the name on the transmitted return. Two additional probes may be obtained if you are uncertain about the identity of the caller.

  4. IRS employees must use caution not to disclose return information except to the taxpayer or to a person whom the taxpayer authorized to receive that information by Form 2848, Power of Attorney; Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization; Form 8453, U.S. Income Tax Declaration for an IRSe-fileReturn (Tax Year 2006 and prior); Form 8453-OL, U.S. Income Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Online Return (Tax Year 2007 and prior); or Form 8879, IRSe-fileSignature Authorization. Under the disclosure authority granted on the Form 8453, Form 8453-OL, Form 8879 or equivalent display of text, IRS employees are permitted to discuss the following with Authorized IRS e-file Providers:

    1. An acknowledgement of receipt or reason for rejection of the transmission,

    2. The reason for any delay in the processing of the return or the refund, and

    3. The date of any refund.

    Caution:

    Disclosures of return information must be limited to the authority granted to the third party by the taxpayer. The Form 8453 and Form 8879 give different authority than may be given under the check box authority, or oral authority, or that which is granted with filing of a Form 2848 and Form 8821 and then recorded on the CAF. Be sure that you have checked to see what authority has been granted prior to releasing information to a third party. See IRM 3.42.5.1.2, Disclosure, and IRM 21.1.3, Operational Guidelines Overview.

  5. By putting a firm name on the Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization, the taxpayer is authorizing anyone who works for that firm to contact us concerning the matters outlined on the form. Therefore, you may discuss acknowledgements, transmissions, and rejects with an ERO or their designee provided you have completed proper authentication procedures.

  6. To authenticate a SPEC employee, ask for their SEID and confirm it against the IRS Discovery Directory at http://discovery.directory.enterprise.irs.gov/discovery/search.asp utilizing the appropriate Area Map from the Organizational & Program Information page at http://win.web.irs.gov/spec/spec_Org_Prog_Info.htm. The probes are:

    • What is your Name?

    • What is your SEID?

    • In which Territory or Area are you located?

  7. Individuals at entities such as VITA Sites, Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), and military bases or SPEC employees responsible for these entities can discuss generalities about acknowledgments, transmissions, and rejects, but not an individual taxpayer's information without proper authorization.

Authentication/Authorization for Waiver Request (Form 8944)
  1. Waiver requests are based on Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTINs) which are assigned to an individual. If the caller is inquiring about the status/or information on their waiver request you must authenticate the caller as an individual.

  2. The required authentication probes for a waiver request are:

    • SSN/ITIN

    • Name (s) as reported on their Individual Income Tax Return

    • Address

    • Filing Status

    • DOB

  3. If the caller is unable to match one of the items above (other than the taxpayer's name and the taxpayer's TIN - these must always match), you must ask the caller to verify two additional items from their return (i.e., AGI, number of W-2, SE tax, refund amount etc.).

    Note:

    If a business entity (firm) calls regarding the status of a waiver for a tax return preparer in their firm, inform the caller that the tax return preparer (individual) who signed Form 8944, Preparer e-file Hardship Waiver Request, is the only person that can receive information about the status of the form.

  4. If a Foreign Filer does not have a SSN/ITIN and is looking for the status of their waiver, use the PTIN database to authenticate the caller by asking and verifying the following probes:

    • PTIN

    • Preparer Name (Individual)

    • Address

Authentication/Authorization for e-Services (TDS and TIN Matching Only)
  1. The requiredauthentication probes for e-Services are:

    • Name

    • EFIN, ETIN, TIN (SSN or EIN)

    • Username

      Note:

      If the caller is unable to provide their Username, you must obtain and verify the individual probes. If the individual probes were already obtained and verified, it is not necessary to obtain the above probes.

      Reminder:

      Information obtained must be validated with IRS records before proceeding further.

  2. For a customer who has not completed their Registration, you are validating the individual because the Individual will own the products, not the firm.

    Note:

    If through research, you determine the caller is registered you may ask the required probes in (1) or validate the caller as an individual.

    For TDS, you are authenticating the individual user of these products as a Principal, Responsible Official, or Delegated User with the proper authorities.

  3. See the matrix below for authorization for the TIN Matching and TDS State Users Products/Problem Types.

    Figure 3.42.7-21

    Products / Problem Types Principal Responsible Official Delegated Users Authorized Agent
    TIN Matching / Application [see (4) and (5) below] X X No No
    TIN Matching / Locked Out X X X X
    TDS Delegated User with Authority X X X N/A
    TDS State Users X N/A X N/A
    • Did not receive TDS information

    X N/A X N/A
    • No links, having difficulty using TDS, and other technical problems

    X N/A X N/A
    • Any other problems [See (7)]

    No No No N/A
  4. TIN Matching – A firm may designate Authorized Users (individuals who will be authorized to perform TIN Matching in e-Services). A role must be selected for each one:

    • Principal – A sole proprietor, member of a partnership, or a corporate officer such as President, Vice-President, Secretary, or Treasurer. Principals are the individuals within the firm held legally responsible by the IRS for the activities of the firm.

    • Responsible Official – Someone designated by a Principal to perform all the TIN Matching duties of a Principal, including modifying a TIN Matching application.

    • Delegated User – An individual in the firm who has been authorized to perform TIN Matching.

    • Authorized Agent – An individual in the firm or another firm who has been authorized to perform TIN Matching on clients of the payer.

  5. TIN Matching users must be a payer of income reported on Form 1099-B, Form 1099-DIV, Form 1099-INT, Form 1099-MISC, Form 1099-OID or Form 1099-PATR. The payer must have filed an annual information return reporting income subject to Back-up Withholding paid on the previously mentioned forms in one of the past two tax years.

  6. TDS State Users – TDS functional roles include:

    • Principal – A state user who is responsible for maintaining the state's TDS application.

    • Delegated User – A state employee who requests transcripts but is not responsible for the state's TDS application.

  7. The e-help Desk cannot assist TDS State Users with anything other than a TDS technical issue.

Authentication/Authorization for SAM, EFTPS and Business Online e-file (e.g., Large Taxpayers)
  1. Follow the authentication probes per Figure 3.42.7-22 and Figure 3.42.7-23 before assisting the caller. If the caller is an authorized third party, see IRM 21.1.3.3, Third Party (POA/TIA/F706) Authentication. The figures below provide quick reference guides. IRM 11.3.2, Disclosure to Persons with a Material Interest, and IRM 11.3.2.4,Persons Who May Have Access to Returns and Return Information Pursuant to IRC 6103(e), provide complete guidance on who is authorized to receive data by entity type.

  2. Use the figure below to authenticate the identity of EFTPS and SAM callers:

    Figure 3.42.7-22

    Entity Filing Requirement Position/Relationship TIN (SSN, EIN, ITIN) Name as reported on their tax return Address Filing Status DOB
          Required Authentication Probes*
    Individual 1040 Self X X X X X
    Spouse 1040 Spouse on joint only X X X X X
    Sole Proprietor 1040 with Schedule C and/or 941 Self (identified as first name on first name line) X X X    
    Single Member LLC 1040 with Schedule C and/or 941 Self (listed as single member) X X X    
    Partnership 1065 Partner X X X    
    LLC treated as a Partnership 1065 Partner/Member X X X    
    Corporation 1120 Officer that can legally bind X X X    
    LLC treated as a Corporation 1120 Officer/member that can legally bind X X X    
    Exempt/Church 990 and 941 only Officer/legally authorized X X X    
    Government 941 only Officer/legally authorized X X X    
    Trust 1041 Trustee X X X    

    Note:

    If the caller is unable to match one of the items above (other than the taxpayer's name and TIN - these must always match), you must ask the caller to verify two additional authentications probes. See Figure 3.42.7-23 below. If a call is received regarding a name verification for an EFTPS or SAM product the taxpayer's name does not have to be an exact match but all other probes must be obtained.

  3. Follow the authentication probes in paragraph two for Online Filers calling about their 10 digit PIN. Use the MeF 94x On-Line Signature PIN Registration and ask the caller if they are the Authorized Signatory for the 94x On-Line Signature PIN registration. See IRM 3.42.4.10.4.1, MeF 94x On-Line PIN Registration Option.

  4. For Form 1041 authentication, the trustee is authorized to receive return and return information. If the trustee is a bank, an employee of the trust department in the bank is authorized to receive return and return information. See IRC 6103 (e)(1)(F) for additional information. To authenticate that the caller is an employee in the bank's trust department:

    • Ask the caller if they are an employee of the institution’s trust department.

    • Verify information about the Trust they are calling about as shown in the Matrix: Trust EIN, Trust Name, Trust Address, Matter at issue (rejected return or EFTPS validation).

      Note:

      Secure the name, title, and contact number for that employee (annotate this in the case).

    Figure 3.42.7-23

    *Additional Taxpayer Authentication (+2 add)
    Spouse's Date of Birth (DOB)/TIN
    Children's DOB
    Income or tax due on return
    Employer on W-2(s)
    Financial institution on Form 1099
    Number of exemptions
    Any other account item that can be verified from the return
Authentication/Authorization for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Online Registration System
  1. Assistors may receive calls/emails from a Responsible Officer (RO), Point of Contact (POC) or Power of Attorney (POA) regarding their FATCA ID, Access Code, and registration status which includes status of Renewal of the Foreign Financial Institution (FFI) agreement and Certification process.

    Note:

    There are different authentication probes due to the sensitivity of the Access Code. Additionally, the Temporary Access Code will never be provided via email.

  2. The information must match with the information input by the RO or POC in the FATCA Online Registration System. You are verifying the RO or POC information based from the FATCA Online Registration System.

    Note:

    You will use the FATCA Employee User Portal to verify the items listed.

  3. The required authentication probes for Forgotten FATCA ID and registration status, including Renewal of the Foreign Financial Institution (FFI) agreement and Certification process are:

    • Financial institution legal name

    • Name of the RO, POC inquiring

    • FATCA Role - RO, POC

    • RO or POC email address

  4. The required authentication probes for a temporary Access Code are:

    • Financial institution legal name

    • Name of the RO, POC inquiring

    • FATCA Role - RO, POC

    • RO or POC email address

    • RO or POC business address or the business phone number

  5. FATCA Roles are defined below:

    • A RO is an individual designated by the FFI in the FATCA Online Registration System.

    • A POC is an individual in the FATCA Online Registration System that the RO designates to receive FATCA information and take other FATCA-related actions on behalf of the FFI.

Authentication/Authorization for FATCA Qualified Intermediary (QI), Withholding Foreign Partnership (WP), and Withholding Foreign Trust (WT)
  1. The Qualified Intermediary (QI), Withholding Foreign Partnership (WP), and Withholding Foreign Trust (WT) Application Online System (referred to as QI/WP/WT system), is a secure web-based platform that enables users to apply to become a QI, WP, or WT, renew or terminate an existing QI, WP, or WT agreement, and manage their QI, WP, or WT information.

  2. Majority of inquiries can be addressed by providing general information. However, there may be times when the response will require FATCA QI System account information (e.g. What is my application status? Who is the POA listed on the account?).

  3. The required authentication probes for providing assistance with account information located in the FATCA QI System are:

    • Entity Legal Name

    • Name of Responsible Officer (RO), Contact Person (CP) or Power(s) of Attorney (POA) inquiring

    • Their role (RO, CP or POA)

    • Their email address (RO, CP or POA)

    • Their business phone (RO, CP or POA)

      Note:

      If the caller is unable to match one of the items above including Entity Legal Name, the Entity ID may be asked as an additional probe.

Authentication/Authorization for Secure Access Authentication
  1. Authentication is required for requests to disable or enable an Online Services (OLS) Account (OSA), and for lockout conditions involving Date of Death (DOD) and Identity Theft (IDT) indicators.

  2. The following information must be obtained and verified from callers for 990-N accounts:

    • Name

    • Username (if known)

    • E-mail Address

  3. The required authentication probes for disabling an OLS account are:

    • Name as it appears on the CP 301

    • Address as it appears on the CP 301

      Note:

      Assistors must access IDRS command codes NAMES and INOLES to verify the required information.

  4. If the customer requests their account be enabled, you must conduct high risk authentication (HRA), which is a two-step process. You must follow guidance in IRM 3.42.7.14.5.4 for individuals. The required authentication probes are:

    • SSN/TIN

    • Name as it appears on the return (including spouse if applicable)

    • Address

    • Filing Status

    • Date of Birth (DOB)

    • Two additional items from the taxpayer’s return or account.

      Note:

      Assistor’s must use IDRS command code IRPTR to complete high risk authentication. If no information is available in IRPTR, verify two additional items from the taxpayers return or account.

  5. The required authentication probes for lockout conditions are:

    • SSN/TIN

    • Name as it appears on the return (including spouse if applicable)

    • Address

    • Filing Status

    • Date of Birth (DOB)

  6. Use the Additional Authentication chart below when verifying two or more additional items from the taxpayer’s return or account.

    Figure 3.42.7-24

    Additional Authentication Probes
    Spouse’s TIN or date of birth
    Child’s/children’s date(s) of birth
    Amount of income reported on the last return or tax due on return
    Employers shown on taxpayer’s Forms W-2
    Financial institutions from taxpayer’s Forms 1099-INT or Forms 1099-DIV
    Number of exemptions claimed on last return or on return in question
    Any other verifiable items from the return/account
Disclosure Cross-References
  1. The previous sections are targeted at products and services supported by e-help. However, you must refer to the following IRM sections for complete guidance on Authentication and Authorization.

    • IRM 11.3.2, Disclosure to Persons with a Material Interest

    • IRM 11.3.2.4,Persons Who May Have Access to Returns and Return Information Pursuant to IRC 6103(e)

    • IRM 21.1.3.2, General Disclosure Guidelines

    • IRM 21.1.3.2.1, Disclosure Definitions

    • IRM 21.1.3.2.2, Authorized and Unauthorized Disclosures

    • IRM 21.1.3.2.3, Required Taxpayer Authentication

    • IRM 21.1.3.2.4, Additional Taxpayer Authentication

    • IRM 21.1.3.3, Third Party (POA/TIA/F706) Authentication

    • IRM 21.1.3.3.1, Third Party Designee Authentication

    • IRM 21.1.3.3.2, Oral Disclosure Consent/Oral TIA (Paperless F8821)

    • IRM 21.1.3.4, Other Third Party Inquiries

    • IRM 21.1.3.5, Reporting Agents File (RAF) and Form 8655, Reporting Agent Authorization

    • IRM 21.1.3.7, Requests from Employees of Business Entities

    • IRM 21.1.3.8, Inquiries From IRS Employees

    • IRM 21.1.3.9, Mailing and Faxing Tax Account Information

    • IRM 21.2.1.56, Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHOH) Callers and TTY/TDD Equipment

Transferring Calls and Interactions/Incidents

  1. With CTIOS, calls are not transferred to a site; they will be transferred to an application. Similarly, Interaction/Incidents are not transferred to a site; they are transferred to a Provider Group in EHSS.

  2. Do not transfer calls using an Outside line.

  3. Callers must be verbally referred to a 8XX number by the assistor.

Transferring Calls
  1. Each assistor will be provided with at least two extensions.

    • Production extensions are used when actively taking phone calls from the CTIOS.

    • Administrative extensions are used for non-phone activities such as when working software developer testing.

    Note:

    Calls must NEVER be transferred to an assistor's production extension.

  2. If an assistor is handling a call regarding one application, but the caller has a question handled on another application, this phone call can be transferred back to the correct application.

  3. Do not transfer calls between TSO and the e-help Desk toll free lines unless the exception below applies.

    Exception:

    If you receive a call on any e-help application and it concerns the ACA Application for a TCC or ACA Information Return filing issue/question, transfer the call to the ACA product line (See Figure 3.42.7-25 below). If you receive a FATCA (registration or error notification) call in TSO or e-help and it is the wrong phone application, the call must be transferred because the caller is likely an international caller (See Figure 3.42.7-25 below). Provide the customer with the appropriate phone number for future reference, see (8) below.

  4. The chart below shows e-help and TSO applications with corresponding transfer extensions.

    Figure 3.42.7-25

    Application Name Application Number Transfer Extensions
    Customer Survey   5001
    AP_EH_eAuth_EN 704 1704
    AP_EH_eAuth_SP 705 1705
    AP_EH_IMF_EN 711 1711
    AP_EH_IMF_SP 712 1712
    AP_EH_1041_1065_EN 713 1713
    AP_EH_1041_1065_SP 714 1714
    AP_EH_94X_EN 715 1715
    AP_EH_94X_SP 716 1716
    AP_EH_1120_990_EN 717 1717
    AP_EH_1120_990_SP 718 1718
    AP_EH_App_EN 719 1719
    AP_EH_App_SP 720 1720
    AP_EH_Suit_EN 721 1721
    AP_EH_Suit_SP 722 1722
    AP_EH_Reg_EN 723 1723
    AP_EH_Reg_SP 724 1724
    AP_EH_FATCA_EN 725 1725
    AP_EH_FATCA_SP 726 1726
    AP_EH_TDS_DA_EAR_EN 727 1727
    AP_EH_TDS_DA_EAR_SP 728 1728
    AP_EH_CCR_EN 729 1729
    AP_EH_CCR_SP 730 1730
    AP_EH_EFTPS_EN 731 1731
    AP_EH_EFTPS_SP 732 1732
    AP_EH_EXCISE_EN 733 1733
    AP_EH_EXCISE_SP 734 1734
    AP_EH_Acceptance_EN 735 1735
    AP_EH_Acceptance_SP 736 1736
    AP_EH_Level 2_EN 737 1737
    AP_ACA_IR_EN 747 1747
    AP_ACA_IR_SP 748 1748
    AP_ACA_Filing Sup_EN 749 1749
    AP_ACA_eServ_EN 750 1750
    AP_IRB_Info_RT_NT_EN 811 1811
    AP_IRB_Elec_Filing_EN 812 1812
    AP_IRB_Apps_Proc_EN 813 1813
    AP_IRB_Elec_Data_L2_EN 814 1814
    AP_IRB_Cust_Serv_L2_EN 815 1815
    AP_IRB_Spec_Proj_EN 816 1816
    AP_IRB_QCS_Level2_EN 817 1817
  5. To have a customer call back, give the customer your six digit extension. When the customer calls, the call will prompt the normal way. Once the caller reaches an assistor, the assistor will transfer the caller to the appropriate extension.

    Note:

    This process is specifically used for software developer testing.

  6. Take the following steps when transferring calls:

    1. Dial 866-255-0654

    2. Select 1 to continue in English (Listen to the entire message)

    3. Select Prompt 7 and enter the extension of the party you are trying to reach

  7. Software developers are provided with a silent prompt that they can enter after selecting 1 for e-file during the period November 1 through January 15. They are asked to enter the extension of an assistor assigned to their software package. The call will be routed to that number.

  8. Always probe the customer and determine if a transfer is warranted. Do not simply transfer the call when a customer makes a request. Verify that the call must be transferred. Transferred calls should be limited to the situations shown below:

    Figure 3.42.7-26

    If ... Then ...
    A customer has a question handled on another application Transfer the call to the appropriate extension.

    Reminder:

    Always attempt to assist the customer prior to making the transfer.

    A customer is calling back as requested and has the assistor's extension Transfer the call by clicking transfer and selecting the appropriate extension from the drop down menu. A prompt will ask them to enter the extension of the assistor.
    A software developer needs to contact their test team Transfer the call by clicking transfer and entering the extension. A prompt will ask them to enter the extension of the assistor.
  9. Occasionally, assistors will receive phone calls from customers who need assistance with topics supported by different operations in EPSS. Do not transfer calls between toll free numbers.

    Note:

    Both the e-help Desk and TSO staff the ACA/FATCA line (866-937-4130). If an assistor receives a call on this line and the customer has selected the incorrect prompt, do not tell the customer to call back, transfer the call to the appropriate application. See Figure 3.42.7-25 above for appropriate routing.

    1. Provide the customer with the appropriate phone number shown below and document the Interaction with the appropriate business unit, product type, and problem type.

    • (866) 455-7438 TSO toll free number

    • (866) 937-4130 ACA/FATCA Electronic Filing toll free number

    • (866) 255-0654 e-help Desk toll free number

Call Transfer Basics
  1. Always inform the caller that you are transferring their call.

    Note:

    Transfers no longer receive Queue priority.

  2. Use the following steps to transfer softphone calls to another application:

    1. Select the Transfer button (The Transfer drop down box appears).

    2. Enter the appropriate extension or select the extension from the drop down menu.

    3. Select Transfer.

    4. Select the Ready button for the next call.

    Note:

    Outgoing calls cannot be transferred using the above procedures. Document the case appropriately and transfer the case to the correct provider group.

  3. Use the following procedures to receive a transferred call:

    1. Depress OUTSIDE LINE key. Receive the call.

    2. Open an Interaction/Incident.

    3. Follow existing procedures for working/closing/transferring the Interaction/Incident.

Escalating/Transferring Interactions
  1. Follow guidance in IRM 3.42.7.9.1Relate Interactions if an open Whiteboard exists.

  2. Do not open an Interaction if you are transferring a call. Note the guidelines and exceptions to this rule in the figure below. This chart shows various scenarios that illustrate e-help call/case transfer procedures:

    Figure 3.42.7-27

    If ... Then ...
    The caller selected an incorrect menu prompt
    1. Do not open an Interaction.

    2. Explain to the caller that they have selected an incorrect menu prompt.

    3. Ask the caller to wait while you transfer them to the correct application.

    4. Transfer the call to the CTIOS.

    The caller selected the correct menu prompt but needs further assistance on another application
    1. Open an Interaction.

    2. Resolve the customer's issue for that product.

    3. Explain to the caller that you have helped them as much as you are able.

    4. Close the Interaction.

    5. Ask the caller to wait while you transfer them to necessary application.

    6. Transfer the call to the CTIOS.

    The caller needs further assistance from the e-Services Level 2 Provider Group
    1. Open an Interaction.

    2. Ensure the Interaction description follows IRM 3.42.7.6.8.1, Writing Descriptions for Level 2.

    3. Inform the caller that the case has to be escalated for additional technical support and someone from Level 2 will call back no later than the next business day.

    4. Escalate the Interaction to the e-services Technical Level 2 Provider Group.

    5. Provide the caller with the Incident number.

    The caller needs further assistance from a Level 2 Provider Group (other than e-services Level 2)
    1. Open an Interaction.

    2. Explain to the caller that you have helped them as much as you are able.

    3. Tell the caller you must elevate their case to Level 2 and that someone will call them within two hours.

    4. Request that the customer call the help desk again if they do not receive a call from Level 2 within two hours.

    5. Escalate the Interaction to the appropriate Level 2 area by selecting the appropriate Provider (Assignment) Group.

    6. Give the caller the Incident number.

    The caller calls the e-help Desk again because they have not heard from Level 2 (other than e-Services Level 2) within two hours
    1. Retrieve the Incident.

    2. Document the call in the Activities section.

    3. Review the Activity log.

    4. If updated, give the caller the information.

    5. If not updated, inform the caller that you will research the Incident and someone will call them back.

    6. Refer to your manager or lead for resolution.

    The caller calls the e-help Desk again because although they have been contacted by e-services Level 2, their issue is still not resolved and the incident is open.
    1. Retrieve the Incident.

    2. Document the call in the activities section.

    3. Review the Activities log.

    4. If update give the caller the information.

    5. Inform the caller that someone from Level 2 will call them back.

    6. Contact (call or email) the Level 2 employee who is working the Incident and give them an update.

    7. Ask the Level 2 employee to call the customer back.

    8. Update the Incident in the activities section.

    The caller reached you incorrectly but does not want to be transferred
    1. Open an Interaction.

    2. Record the caller's problem thoroughly in the description.

    3. Escalate the Interaction.

    4. Assign to the appropriate group for resolution.

    5. Give the caller the Incident number.

Interaction/Incident Transfer Basics
  1. To ensure Interactions/Incidents populate in the provider group worklist, the process below MUST be followed when an issue needs to be assigned to another provider group to work. Take the following steps when required to transfer the Interaction:

    1. Document the case sufficiently so that the individual receiving the case has the required information.

    2. Escalate/reassign the case.

    3. Select the Provider Group (Assignment) as appropriate.

    4. Click Next.

      Note:

      Your manager or lead will advise you when to assign a case to a particular individual.

  2. To receive the case:

    1. Assign the case within two hours of receipt (this action is performed by leads or managers). If this time frame is not met, the system will automatically escalate the problem by issuing an email to the receiving site manager.

    2. Work the case within two hours of receipt from leads or managers.

    3. Notify the customer of the resolution.

  3. Always provide the case number to the customer in the following instances:

    • The call is not resolved and you must call the customer back or vice versa.

    • You must transfer the case to another Provider Group.

    Note:

    It is not necessary to give the customer an Interaction/Incident number for general information calls or other calls resolved on first contact.

Complaints Regarding Transferred Calls
  1. Use the following procedures if a complaint is received on a Interaction/Incident that has been transferred:

    1. Document the time and type of complaint in the Description Field if the Interaction/Incident is still open.

    2. Escalate the Interaction to the receiving site manager by changing the Provider Group (Assignment).

Business Continuance
  1. Business continuance is defined as any situation that interrupts the normal flow of business and requires a contingency plan. For example, inclement weather at one site may make it difficult for employees to report to work. E-help resources at other sites will have to be redirected to compensate for the unexpected event. Business continuance procedures primarily impact telephone calls. Take the following steps:

    1. Attempt to resolve the customer's issue.

    2. Open an Interaction and document the contact.

    3. If unable to resolve the issue, escalate the Interaction to the appropriate Provider Group (Assignment).

    4. Give the caller the Incident number.

  2. All leads and managers must continually monitor their worklists during business continuance.

Contacting the Customer – Outgoing Calls

  1. Although the e-help Desk generally receives calls, at times outgoing calls must be made to resolve customer problems. Every effort must be made to contact the customer to successfully resolve the issue using the supplied telephone number. It is recommended that you use the following script when initiating or returning phone calls: "Hello, my name is Mr. Don Smith of the IRS e-help Desk. My ID number is 00-34567824. May I speak with Mr. John Doe?" Verify that the person to whom you are speaking is the right customer, and determine that the person is authorized to receive the information using appropriate disclosure guidelines. See IRM 3.42.7.14.5, Authentication and Authorization Guidelines.

    Note:

    IRM 3.42.7.5 requires all contacts with customers to be documented in an Interaction. This includes outgoing calls.

    Note:

    Outgoing calls cannot be transferred/routed to another application. If the caller needs further assistance you must create/transfer the Interaction/Incident per IRM 3.42.7.14.6.2.1, Interaction/Incident Transfer Basics.

  2. Occasionally, assistors will not be able to reach the customer to obtain the required information.

  3. If no answer is received, take the following steps:

    1. Make two attempts per business day for two days.

    2. Document each attempt in the description field of the Interaction/Incident.

    3. Include the date and time the attempt was made.

    4. Include the disposition of that attempt (i.e., ring no answer, busy signal, unable to connect, etc.).

    5. Close the Interaction/Incident after the second unsuccessful attempt on the second business day.

  4. If an answering machine picks up, take the following steps:

    1. Leave the Interaction/Incident number, your name, and a telephone number so the customer can call us back.

    2. Make two attempts, one per business day leaving the same message.

    3. Document the Interaction/Incident with the date and time the message was left.

    4. Close the Interaction/Incident after the second business day.

    5. Refer to IRM 3.42.7.3.1, Office Of Disclosure answering machine and voice mail guidelines are discussed.

      Note:

      Products and Services Support (PSS) employees may close Incident after one attempt in limited instances when the response is generic in nature .

  5. If the caller responds after the Interaction/Incident is closed, a new Interaction must be created. If the case number is not available open a new Interaction.

International Calls

  1. If you need to place an outgoing international call, contact your manager to schedule a time to make the call. The manager will open a ticket with Telecom to arrange for the call to go through during a certain time frame.

Personal Safety and E-help Desk Calls

  1. Although most customers who call the e-help Desk are congenial, there is the possibility that calls of a threatening nature may be received. Note that if the caller is verbally abusive, whether a threat is made or not, the assistor is not required to remain on the phone. Tell the caller that you are terminating the call and then hang up. For additional information, see IRM 21.1.3.10, Accounts Management & Compliance Services Operations, Safety and Security Overview.

  2. If a customer makes a suicide threat over the telephone, follow the procedures in IRM 21.1.3.12, Suicide Threats.

Contact Recording

  1. Contact Recording is a system that records incoming toll-free telephone contacts for the purpose of possible subsequent review. When a customer calls the e-help toll-free number, the customer is notified in both English and Spanish that their call may be monitored or recorded for quality purposes.

  2. Contact Recording is a tool that records incoming calls for required random review (performance and product). The system provides for screen-capture of 10% of all incoming calls. Screen-capture includes case work and any screens that appear on the assistor’s workstation during the completion of that call.

  3. Employees will be able to review the entire conversation and if screens are available, see their on-screen actions during the feedback sessions.

  4. If the caller indicates that they do not wish to be recorded, the assistor can disable the recording by using the "Stop on Demand" button on the computer desktop.

    Note:

    If you must transfer the caller, advise the caller that he/she will need to restate the request not to be recorded when the transfer is complete.

  5. If the caller asks to record the call, 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). All FOIA requests must be submitted in writing to:

    Mailing Address Private Delivery Service (POS) Mailing
    IRS Disclosure Scanning Operation
    Stop 93A
    P.O. Box 621506
    Atlanta, GA 30363-3006
    IRS Disclosure Scanning Operation
    4800 Buford Hwy, Stop 93A,
    Chamblee, GA 39901–0093

    All FOIA requests must include the date, name and identification number of the assistor, and the approximate time of the call. The requests are mailed to the scanning operation in Chamblee, Georgia, a list of the Disclosure Offices are available at http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Disclosure-Offices.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

  1. The e-help Desk Customer Satisfaction Survey is conducted on the telephone through an external automated survey system administered by an outside vendor. A random sampling of customers calling the e-help Desk's toll-free number is used to assess their satisfaction with the services they received. See IRM 21.10.1.9.8, E-help Phones Customer Satisfaction Survey, for detailed procedures.

  2. The survey is optional and anonymous.

Miscellaneous E-help Procedures

  1. The e-help Desk has established a standardization of work processes in order to supply users of the IRS’s electronic products superior customer service. Details of miscellaneous work processes follow.

Change Request Procedures

  1. Change Request (CR) procedures have been established to define the process, roles, responsibilities and approval path required to make changes in EHSS. See IRM 1.4.18.8.6, EHSS Change Control Board, for more information.

Reporting System Problems

  1. When EHSS, e-Services, FIRE or one of the other systems used by the e-help Desk or TSO is experiencing a problem, users must inform the manager or lead of the problem. The manager/lead will issue an email to the appropriate system personnel. Refer to the Reporting System Issues Job Aid http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/portals.dr/epss/jobaids.dr/epss_jobaids_toc.htm located on the EPSS SERP Portal for the required actions.

System Downtime Procedures
  1. When EHSS is down an experienced assistor may be able to address the customer's issue without having access to solutions by researching IRMs and or publications.

    Note:

    During a period of EHSS downtime, you may transfer the call if it came in on the wrong application or if you know the solution requires the transfer (i.e., IFS, FS, CSS, etc.) for resolution. Do not transfer the call because EHSS is down and you cannot assist the caller with their issue.

  2. Regardless of your experience level, in the event that EHSS is down and you cannot help the customer, log the information and advise the customer we will call them back when the systems are back up. Work Interactions/Incident in the following manner during EHSS Downtime:

    1. Manually record data about the call.

    2. EHSS down less than four (4) hours, enter the recorded data into EHSS once available. In the description, notate EHSS was down.

    3. EHSS down for four (4) hours or more do not enter the data into EHSS if the customer's issue has been resolved. If the issue wasn't resolved and needs to be referred to Level 2, escalate the Interaction and assign it to the appropriate provider group. In the description, notate EHSS was down.

    Note:

    Most problems will not last more than four hours. Gaps in the customer history must not occur.

  3. In the event assistors cannot access customer information because a system other than EHSS is unavailable (e.g., EUP), do the following:

    1. Record pertinent customer information in an Interaction.

    2. Explain to the customer that you cannot access the requested data or perform the requested research because of a temporary system outage.

    3. Offer to respond to the customer by email when the system becomes available.

      Exception:

      Do not offer to email customer when Secure Access Authentication system is unavailable.

      If ... Then ...
      The customer would like an email response
      • Verify the correct email address is listed in the Email field of the Interaction and update if needed.

      • Select the "Notify on Close By" button.

      • Level 1 will Escalate Interaction to Incident and provide Incident number to customer.

      • Inform customer they will receive an email once the item closes and the receipt of the email indicates the problem is resolved and they can now access the system.

      • Assign Incident to site’s Lead Provider Group.

      The customer does not want an email response
      • Ask the customer to call back

    4. When only one or two assistors are experiencing downtime with a system, advise the customer to call back. Do not offer to call back or email the customer in this instance.

    5. Apologize for the inconvenience that the outage has caused.

      Note:

      When the system becomes available, the manager or lead will close the incident and an email will automatically be sent to the customer letting them know their case has been closed. A response must be provided within two hours of system availability.

Software Developers Contact Procedures

  1. Each e-help Desk site will assign assistors to contact the software developers on the previous year's Approved Software Developers List. Take the following actions during initial outgoing contact:

    1. Open an Incident.

    2. Inform the software developer that at least two assistors will be assigned to them for their testing process.

    3. Give the software developer the names, tours of duty and administrative extensions of the assistors assigned to them (if known).

    4. Explain the guidelines for using email to the software developer. See IRM 3.42.7.12.2,Email Function.

      Note:

      All subsequent contacts (email or phone) will be updated in the Activities Section of the original Incident.

    Caution:

    Do not use or provide your personal IRS (Outlook) email addresses to external customers.

  2. Refer to Publication 4164, Modernized e-File Guide for Software Developers and Transmitters, and IRM 3.42.5.18.6, for MeF Assurance Testing System (ATS) and Communications Testing process, for IMF procedures. Refer to Publication 5078, Modernized e-File (MeF) Test Package Business Submissions, IRM 3.42.4.12, Receiving and Controlling e-file and MeF Test Transmissions, and IRM 3.42.4.12.2, for BMF procedures.

Secure Access Authentication

  1. The Secure Access Authentication application is a shared service that allows a user to register and create an account to access IRS Online Applications (e.g., Get Transcript ONLINE, Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN), Online Payment Agreement (OPA), e-Services, ePostcard). The information required to register and level of validation varies based on the Online Application being accessed.

  2. Users register for Secure Access by creating an account. By creating an account, the user establishes a Username/password combination which expedites future access to IRS online applications as their authentication information is retained. For more information see "Secure Access: How to Register for Certain Online Self-Help Tools" https://www.irs.gov/individuals/secure-access-how-to-register-for-certain-online-self-help-tools. Additional Secure Access Authentication Information as it relates to e-Services users can be found in IRM 3.42.8.

  3. EPSS provides limited support for the following Secure Access related issues for inquiries received after the initial registration:

    • Login issues (password, Username, locked out)

    • Customer believes they did not create account

    • Customer needs account disabled/enabled

    • Customer is experiencing problems with accessibility (508) software (Dragon, Zoomtext, etc.)

    • Technical difficulties

      Note:

      All other Taxpayer related SAA issues are out of scope. See IRM 21.2.1.58, Secure Access eAuthentication, for more information.

  4. The taxpayer can designate a representative to act for them in enabling or disabling the taxpayer’s Secure Access/Online Services Account by completing Form 2848. On the form, the taxpayer must indicate specific-use and indicate Disable or Enable Online Services Account in the "Matter " column (tax form/years would be marked "N/A" ).

  5. Follow all e-help Desk procedures for Interaction/Incident creation, solutions and authentication found within IRM 3.42.7.

Login Issues
  1. Research IDRS CC INOLES or IMFOLE to determine if the Date of Death (DOD) indicator is preventing access to the online account. If the DOD is preventing access to the online account, refer the caller to the Social Security Administration.

  2. If you cannot determine why the taxpayer is receiving the error message, provide the customer with an alternative online and/or telephone resource depending on the product they need.

Password Problems
  1. Remind the customer that passwords are case sensitive, cannot be the same as their Username, and contain the following:

    • between eight and twenty characters

    • one numeric character

    • one special character

    • one uppercase letter

    • one lowercase letter

  2. If the customer does not remember their password or is unsuccessful after three attempts, have them use the ‘Forgotten Password’ link on the sign-in page. They will need to answer two questions, click continue and then select save. If the customer does not answer the security questions correctly on the fourth try, they must re-register.

    Note:

    If the taxpayer did not create an account, and previously entered as a guest, they will need to create an account.

  3. If the customer receives locked/re-register message, advise the customer to re-register or if they believe they have the correct password, they may re-enter it after waiting 24 hours.

  4. If customer cannot resolve their password issue, provide the customer with an alternative online and/or telephone resource depending on the product they need.

Forgotten Username
  1. The Username is not case sensitive. Users who previously registered using the guest option cannot recover a Username, they must create an account.

  2. If the caller previously created an account and has forgotten their Username, direct them to the ‘Forgot Username’ link on the sign-in page. They will be asked to enter the last four digits of their SSN or ITIN, and the original email address they registered with, in order to get an email with their forgotten Username.

  3. If the caller did not receive an email with their Username after requesting it, their email provider may be blocking the message OR they may have made an error when entering the last four digits of their SSN (or ITIN)/original email address. Direct them back to the Forgot Username link and ask them to try and recover their Username again. If they still don’t receive the email with their Username, direct them to the re-register link on the Forgot Username page and have them click on the link to re-register.

  4. If the caller can no longer access the email address used during initial registration or does not remember their email address, they must re-register by clicking the “Forgot Username” link and then selecting the “reregister” link.

    Note:

    If user believes they may have registered using a different email address than first thought, they can try to recover their Username again by using the other email address.

Re-Registration
  1. Customers may need to re-register on occasion to gain access to online information.

  2. Customers can re-register with the same or different email address.

  3. When the customer re-registers, they will receive an email with a confirmation code, and their previous Username will no longer be valid.

  4. When the customer re-registers, they will receive an email at the email address used for their previous and new account.

  5. The customer must complete the required entries and follow the online guidance.

  6. The customer must completely re-register in one online session to eliminate problems.

  7. If the customer receives a message that they are already registered, direct them back to the Forgotten Username page and click on re-register. The system should allow them to re-register during the second attempt.

Disable Account
  1. Differences in security requirements for the online applications (Get Transcript, Get an IP PIN, OPA) result in different customer experiences. The customer may receive an email or letter (CP301) indicating an account has been created, their profile has changed, or they passed IRS validation but were not eligible for an IP PIN or did not pass additional authentication.

  2. Explain the email/letter they received is related to IRS Online Services. Ask customer if they recall creating or updating an online account (did they self lock their OSA account or register for an online account to request a transcript, request an OPA, or obtain an IP PIN, but forgot)? If customer recalls creating an online account, close Interaction.

  3. If customer does not recall registering or updating their profile, or requests their account be disabled, advise the customer that you will disable the account.

    • If asked about how this account could have been used, explain we do not have the capability to research historical records associated with an online product.

    • If the caller is concerned that they may be a victim of identity theft (IDT) they can consider filing an Identity Theft Affidavit with the IRS (Form 14039/Form 14039SP) which is available online at irs.gov (keyword identity theft). If the customer requests assistance in completing Form 14039, you can help the customer navigate to the form. If asked about mailing address or fax number, advise the caller to follow guidance in Form 14039 instructions. Advise the customer to wait 90 days before contacting the Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU).

  4. Access the Secure Access Authentication System and disable the account using the steps in Figure 3.42.7-28 below:

    Figure 3.42.7-28

    Steps to View/Enable/Disable Online Services Account
    1. Select Enable/Disable User tab
    2. Select SAA Admin Tool
    3. Select Enable/Disable User tab again
    4. Select drop down to search/view user by SSN (no dash 123456789), Name (all upper case FIRST LAST), Login ID or e-mail address
    5. Once user information populates, click on "Select" to proceed.

    Note:

    If no user information populates, inform the customer that the account does not exist.

    6. Select Enable or Disable, add Comments and click on "Submit" .
  5. Enter TC 971 AC 522 using IDRS Command Code REQ77 in customer’s individual account when disabling the OLS account due to possible Identity Theft or customer stating they did not request an Online Services Account. Include the following reason codes in the Miscellaneous field when entering TC 971 or TC 972:

    • WI EPSS Disable - Use when entering TC 971 AC 522.

    • PPDS OPIP IRSERR - Use when entering a TC 972 to reverse a TC 971 entered in error.

    • PPDS OPIP NOIDT - Use when entering a TC 972 to reverse a TC 971 previously input by EPSS and caller is now stating they were not a victim of identity theft.

    Note:

    Use the date of the CP 301 for the secondary date if known, or use the previous day of the account disable.

  6. Before closing the Interaction, you must select the appropriate disable problem type and enter required information on the internal spreadsheet.

  7. The customer may deactivate their IRS account through the ‘Update Security Profile’ link after logging in. The customer can also change their Username, email address, phone number, password, site image, site phrase, and security questions/answers using this link.

  8. First time and returning users who have concerns about identity theft (ID theft) or unauthorized access to their data are able to self-lock or disable their OLS account using the Lock or Disable Your Account link on the OLS sign in screen on irs.gov. Customers will be required to authenticate by answering questions used to establish on OLS account to use this feature. Once an account is disabled, a customer cannot re-register or access any of the associated applications.

Enable Account
  1. To enable an OLS account, follow the steps in Figure 3.42.7-28 .

    Caution:

    The customer must pass HRA before you enable their OLS account.

Previously Disabled Account
  1. Customers who successfully complete authentication and lock/disable their account cannot re-enable access to their OLS account at this time. You will need to enable the customer's account in this situation.

  2. The customer will receive a message to contact us when they attempt to login to an account that was previously manually disabled by EPSS. The account must be manually enabled and the user has to re-register.

  3. Customers who were impacted by the Get Transcript or other IRS Incidents may not be able to establish an IRS Online Services Account (OSA). If the caller indicates they received a letter regarding the Incident, access the Secure Access Authentication System and follow the steps in Figure 3.42.7-28 above to check the status of the account by viewing the comments section. If the comments show a “bulk disable message” do not enable the account. Inform the caller their OSA account was locked for their protection and they are unable to register for an online account at this time. Reassure them their account is protected from any further suspicious activity. Provide the customer with an alternative online and/or telephone resource depending on the product they need.

  4. Taxpayers who previously accessed Get Transcript ONLINE, before it was taken offline in May 2015, will need to verify their identities through the Secure Access Authentication process. They must:

    1. Log in with their existing Username and password.

    2. Provide financial account information for verification, either a credit card, OR mortgage or home equity loan, OR home equity line of credit, OR auto loan.

    3. Enter their mobile phone number to receive a six-digit activation code via text message. Only U.S. based mobile phones may be used. Their name must be associated with the mobile phone account. Landlines, Skype, Google Voice, or similar virtual phone, as well as phones associated with "Pay-As-You-Go" plans, cannot be used.

    4. Enter the activation code.

    5. Create a Username and password, crate a site phrase, and select a site image.

  5. Once taxpayers successfully complete the Secure Access Authentication process, they will be able to access Get Transcript ONLINE in the future by:

    1. Logging in with their existing Username and password.

    2. Receiving a security code via text message to the phone number they provided during registration/verification.

    3. Entering the security code.

Technical Problems
  1. If the customer receives a "Technical Difficulties" message which is preventing them from successfully resetting their password or updating their profile, document which error message the customer is receiving. Advise the customer to try again later and if needed, provide the appropriate referral information based on the product they need.

Problems with Accessibility Software
  1. If customer states they are having trouble with their accessibility (508) software (software designed to enhance access to technology for people with disabilities e.g., Dragon, Text, etc.) interfacing with the Secure Access Authentication application:

    1. Document Interaction with customer’s first and last name, phone number (with time zone), Username, and indicate which software the customer is using and any details the customer can provide.

    2. Escalate Interaction to Incident and assign to e-Services Technical Level 2 Provider Group.

EHSS Level 2

  1. Third party users of e-file, MeF, and e-Services often require more support than can be provided by first level assistors. Various complex issues of external users are elevated to Level 2 assistors, analysts, managers and leads. Level 2 Provider Groups include but not limited to:

    • e-Services Level 2

    • 1120 Waiver Level 2

    • 990 Waiver Level 2

    • MeF Form Type Analysts (e.g., Form 1040, Form 1120, Form 1065, Form 94x and Form 990).

    • FATCA LB&I Analyst

    • Managers and Leads

E-Services Level 2

  1. E-Services Level 2 specialists resolve complex e-Services issues for external customers, work with programmers to fix problems, and conduct testing to ensure system stability. It is important that proper documentation is completed prior to escalating Interactions to Level 2. See IRM 3.42.7.6.8.1, Writing Descriptions for Level 2.

    Reminder:

    The e-Services Technical Level 2 Provider Group does not accept transferred calls.

Working Level 2 Incidents

  1. When analysts work Incidents that have been elevated to their Provider Group, the status will be Open linked.

  2. Level 2 Provider Groups will work the case and update the Activities section with appropriate documentation. A solution must be selected to close the Interaction.

Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) Codes (Phones and email)

Function Program Title (AN, AT, AU, CIN, and OG Programs)
750 42720 1040 PATS /ATS
750 42730 E-help Desk all incoming Telephone calls
750 42731 E-help Desk all outgoing Telephone calls (associated with incoming calls)
750 12760 BMF email
750 42732 EHSS cases (EHSS down)
750 42760 IMF email
750 42761 Free Fillable Forms email
750 42772 Solutions Board
750 33220 FATCA email
750 40010 ID Theft Research
750 42770 Preventive Maintenance; reviewing IRMs, Publications
760 84340 Fingerprint card (FPC) Received
Function Program Title (TSO Programs)
750 12730 Telephone Calls (All telephone calls)
750 12732 FIRE Calls
750 12733 IFS Calls
750 12760 email (FIRE@irs.gov or MCCIRP@irs.gov)
750 12800 Processing - (FIRE/AWAX)
750 12810 Processing - (Paper Waivers) Form 8508
750 12824 NONAUTOE
750 12850 Processing - (Form 4419)
750 12860 Administration (Fax Server)
750 12870 Research (Penalty Research Form, Underreporting, CP 2000, Form 13460, Form 8647, missing Form 4804, and misrouted mail
750 12890 Processing (FIRE/Daily Reports)
750 84381 Paper Form 4423

E-help Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) Codes (Paper)

Function Program Title (AN, AT, AU, CIN, and OG Programs)
710 33100 E-help Desk Form 13551 - ITIN Acceptance Agent application processing
710 33101 E-help Desk Form 13551 - ITIN Acceptance Agent application review
720 33100 Batching form 13551 ITIN Acceptance Agent applications (clerical)
750 11521 Form 1120 MeF Waivers
750 12252 Form 1065 Waivers
750 12260 Form 1120/1065/1041/990/ETEC/BMF ATS
750 12720 94x Business Acceptance Testing (MeF)
750 12910 Form 8453-C/S/I Corporation
750 12920 Form 94x Binary Form 8453-EMP, Form 8879-EMP
750 12930 Form 8453-FE US Estate or Trust Income, Form 8879
750 12940 Form 8453-P/PE/PE-B Partnership
750 13311 990 MeF Waiver
750 13910 Form 8453 EO (990 Binary)
750 42710 Online e-File application EFIN & zip codes, undelivered passwords acceptance & clean up letters.
750 42715 CPA Credentials/Proofs/Fingerprint Cards
750 42717 Terms of Agreement/Application
750 42720 Form 1040 IMF ATS
750 42750 Daily Worklist/Appeals
750 42751 ASAPHIT Transcripts, Periodic Appeals; Recheck, Prisoner Worklist
750 42753 Second Line Review (Suitability letters)
750 42754 FPC ADJ Appeal
750 42755 Compromised EFIN
750 42900 Individual Income Tax Transmittals/Declarations for Electronic Filing (Form 8453-OL)
760 42780 Form 94x On-Line Signature PIN Registration
760 11270 Form 94x LOA (Letter of Application)
760 42711 AEF / Fingerprint Cards

Overhead Programs

FUNCTION PROGRAM TITLE (OVERHEAD PROGRAMS)
800 51080 COURSE DEVELOPMENT (OUTSIDE SUPPORT SERVICE ORG)
990 51090 COURSE DEVELOPMENT (IRM and OUTSIDE SUPPORT SERVICE)
990 57910 PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE RELATED
990 59100 MANAGEMENT and SUPERVISION
990 59110 WORK LEADER/SENIOR/LEAD
990 59120 CLERICAL SUPPORT FOR MANAGEMENT
990 59130 ANALYST
990 59210 INSTRUCTING TRAINING WHICH INCLUDES:
    - PREPARING TO TEACH, INSTRUCTING TECHNICAL TRAINING,
    - TRAINEE COUNSELING/EVAL TECHNICAL TRAINING
    - TECHNICAL COURSE INSTRUCTING
    - TRAINING COORDINATOR, COACHING ON-THE-JOB TRAINING
990 59221 Read Time
990 59222 Recurring Technical Training/Meeting
990 59250 ATTENDING TECHNICAL TRAINING WHICH INCLUDES:
    - ATTENDING TECH CLASSROOM TRAINING
    - INDIVIDUAL TRAINING, RECEIVING ON-THE-JOB TRAINING *
    - MEETINGS CONCERNING HANDBOOK/PROCEDURAL CHANGES
990 59270 ATTENDING SUPERVISORY and INTERFUNCTIONAL TRAINING
990 59300 ADMINISTRATIVE PROGRAM WHICH INCLUDES:
    -Employee Satisfaction Survey
    - PRESENTING AWARD
    - MEETINGS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE ANNOUNCEMENTS
    - CHARITY and HEALTH FUND DRIVES
    - ORIENTATION OF NEW EMPLOYEES
    - EMPLOYEE'S TIME SPENT DURING COUNSELING SESSIONS
    - GENERAL OFFICE MOVES
    - EMPLOYEE TIME UNION RELATED ISSUES
    - SORTING AND DISTRIBUTION OF PAYCHECKS
    - TIME SPENT AT THE HEALTH UNIT
    - JOB INTERVIEWEE TIME INSIDE/OUTSIDE SC
    - TOUR GUIDES
    - TESTIFYING IN COURT CASES REGARDING IRS
990 59310 MACHINE DOWNTIME
990 59316 IDLE TIME DUE TO HAZMAT
990 59320 BREAK TIME
990 59330 Form 3081 PREPARING and INPUTTING
990 59390 ADMINISTERING THE HAZMAT PROGRAM
990 59391 FIT TESTING GLOVES AND MASK
990 59392 HAZMAT SAFETY BRIEFING CONDUCTED BY UNIT MANAGERS
990 59501 ANNUAL LEAVE
990 59502 SICK LEAVE
990 59503 HOLIDAY LEAVE
990 59504 EMERGENCY MILITARY LEAVE (MILITARY PAPERS MUST SPECIFICALLY STATE "EMERGENCY")
990 59505 FECA (ON-THE-JOB INJURY) FOR POSTING CONTINUATION OF PAY (COP) and MISC ADM LEAVE
990 59506 REGULAR MILITARY LEAVE
990 59507 RESTORED ANNUAL LEAVE
990 59508 HOME LEAVE (ANNUAL LEAVE EARNED OVERSEAS)
990 59509 USE OF LEAVE SHARE/LEAVE BANK TIME
990 59511 SC SHUTDOWN INCLEMENT WEATHER
990 59512 SC SHUTDOWN OTHER BUILDING CLOSURE
990 59521 FMLA ANNUAL LEAVE
990 59522 FMLA SICK LEAVE
990 59525 FMLA RESTORED ANNUAL LEAVE
990 59527 SICK LEAVE-GENERAL FAMILY CARE BEREAVEMENT (SLGF BER)
990 59528 SICK LEAVE-GENERAL FAMILY CARE MEDICAL (SLGF MED)
990 59531 OT FOR FLSA EMPLOYEE TRAVEL ON NW DAYS DURING REG WK HRS AND DID NOT PERF WORK
990 59532 OVERTIME FOR FLSA EMPLOYEE TRAVEL TIME WORK PERF OUTSIDE OF REGULAR DUTY HRS
990 59533 OVERTIME FOR NON-FLSA EMPLOYEE PERFORMED WORK OUTSIDE OF REGULAR DUTY HRS
990 59540 TIME OFF AWARD TAKEN
990 59561 ADMIN/ER-CONDUCT BASED DISCIPLINARY OR ADVERSE ACTIONS
990 59562 BENEFITS-INCLUDING HEALTH, RETIREMENT, and FINANCIAL COUNSELING
990 59563 VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES
990 59564 APPROVED INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN/SELF DIRECTED TRAINING
990 59565 JURY DUTY - SUMMONS FOR JURY DUTY ONLY
990 59566 ADM LEAVE MISCELLANEOUS - COVERS ADM LV NOT IDENTIFIED UNDER 5956X AND 5957X
990 59567 VOTING
990 59568 BLOOD DONATION
990 59571 FECA ANNUAL LEAVE (ON-THE-JOB INJURY)
990 59572 FECA SICK LEAVE (ON-THE-JOB INJURY)
990 59573 RELOCATION (WHEN APPROVED BY CONTROLLER)
990 59574 OPM EXAMINATION
990 59575 BONE MARROW/ORGAN DONOR
990 59576 FECA RESTORED ANNUAL LEAVE (ON-THE-JOB INJURY) - CONTACT WCC FOR APPROVAL and PROCEDURES
990 59577 LOCAL HOLIDAY (NOT NATIONAL HOLIDAY)
990 59579 LEAVE SHARE
990 59811 LWOP FOR ON BOARD EMPLOYEES ONLY
990 59812 LWOP FOR FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE CIRCUMSTANCES
990 59813 LWOP AS A RESULT OF ON-THE-JOB INJURY - AFTER CLAIM IS ACCEPTED BY OWCP
990 59815 LWOP FOR SEASONAL EMPLOYEES ON FURLOUGH - ONLY NEEDED UNTIL SF-52 IS POSTED
990 59821 COMP OTHER THAN RELIGIOUS
990 59825 COMP FOR RELIGIOUS PURPOSES
990 59831 FLEXI-TOUR CREDIT HOURS TAKEN
990 59841 UNAPPROVED LEAVE WITHOUT PAY
990 59845 AWOL DUE TO SUSPENSION ACTION
990 84381 Affordable Care Act (ACA)
990 84810 TEPS TRAINING
990 85200 LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT TRAINING
990 85201 CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION
990 85202 EXECUTIVE READINESS
990 85203 FRONTLINE LEADER READINESS
990 85204 EXPANSION MANAGERS' TRAINING
990 85205 SENIOR LEADER READINESS
990 85206 COACHING STRATEGY
990 85207 FUNCTIONAL MANAGEMENT TRAINING
990 85208 SKILLSOFT
990 85240 ALL OTHER MANDATED TRAINING NOT LISTED BELOW
990 85241 UNAX/POSH/ANNUAL ETHICS/SECURITY AWARENESS
990 85242 BALANCED MEASURES TRAINING
990 85243 1203 TRAINING
990 85244 1204 TRAINING
990 85248 FACILITATOR TIME FOR MANDATED TRAINING
990 85249 PREP TIME FOR MANDATED TRAINING
990 85280 ATTENDING SFA BARGAINING
990 85290 ATTENDING SFA NON-BARGAINING
990 85250 Self assessment preparation
*NOTE; WHENEVER LIVE WORK IS USED, TRAINEE TIME WILL BE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATE DIRECT PROGRAM.

Abbreviations

ACRONYM MEANING
AC Area Code
ACKS Acknowledgement
ADD Address
ALT CONT Alternate Contact
AM Accounts Management
AP Automatic Pass
APPL Application
A2A Application to Application
BAL DUE Balance Due
BBS Bulletin Board System
BKPT Bankruptcy
CHNG Change
CIV PEN Civil Penalty
COMP Compare/Miscompare
CONT Contact
CPEO Certification of Professional Employer Organization
CR Credit
CYC Cycle
DB Debt
DD Direct Deposit
ERC Error Reject Code
ERO Electronic Return Originator
F# Form Number
FIRE Filing Information Returns Electronically
FPC Fingerprint Card
HQ Headquarters
HRA High Risk Authentication
ICMM International Compliance Management Module
IFA Internet Filing Application
ILO In Lieu Of
INFO Information
LMTCBW/ Left Message to Call Back With
LTR Letter
MGMT REV Management Review
MLT LTR Multiple Issue Letter
NEG PEN Negligence Penalty
NLW/CO No Longer with Company
OC Owner Control
OPR Office of Personal Responsibility
PC Phone Call
POPS Proof of Professional Status
PROB Problem
PUB Publication
PW Password
PYMT Payment
RECD Received
REF Refer
RFINQ Refund Inquiry
RO Responsible Official
S/B Should Be
SC Service Center
SD Software Developer
SDC Scheme Development Center
SIG Signature
SPK W/ERO Spoke to Electronic Return Originator
STRUC Structure
SUIT Suitability
SUSP Suspended
TCB Transmitter Control Base
TCC Transmitter Control Code
TP Taxpayer
TRANS Transmitter
TST Testing
UPD Update/Updated
UTC Unable to Contact
UTL Unable to Locate File Folder
W/O Without
XFER Transfer
XMIT Transmit/Transmission