4.86.1 Indian Tribal Governments Administration and Policy

Manual Transmittal

June 16, 2020


(1) This transmits revised IRM 4.86.1, Indian Tribal Governments (ITG) Procedures, Indian Tribal Governments Administration and Policy.


While the directions presented in this manual are primarily intended for Indian Tribal Governments employees, the information presented concerning interactions with tribes provides guidance for all IRS employees. All IRS employees are required to contact the office of ITG before making initial contact on Indian tribal government cases.

Material Changes

(1) Incorporates new text, reissues existing information, and reflects editorial and/or numbering changes throughout the subsections. Checked and corrected (where necessary) web addresses, IRM and legal resources. Significant changes to this IRM are listed in the table below:

IRM Reference Description of Change
Throughout IRM Updated manual to change references to certain positions in the ITG function as a result of due to the 2019 TE/GE reorganization. Changed references to the Director, Indian Tribal Governments to Program Manager, Indian Tribal Governments (ITG). References to Manager, ITG/TEB Technical were changed to Manager, ITG Technical. References to ITG/TEB Technical were changed to ITG Technical depending on where the program/process was realigned within TE/GE., Background Added reference in paragraph (1) to 2019 reorganization in which ITG separated from TEB., Indian Tribal Governments Added paragraph (4) regarding duties performed by ITG specialists., Consultation Policy and Other Projects, formerly ITG Responsibilities. Added text to clarify. Moved the Treasury’s official point of contact for tribal consultation from subsecton to, Tax Administration Removed text in paragraph (1) for clarity. Removed paragraph (3)., Customer Assistance Revised text throughout for clarity., Publications for Indian Tribal Governments Added Pub 5343, Helpful Hints for Indian Tribes and Tribal Entities to Avoid Penalties on Federal Tax Deposits and Information Returns., Research and Account Services This section has been removed., Compliance Checks Changed title to BSA Compliance Checks. Removed Title 26 from paragraph (1). Changed to IRM from IRM, Tip Agreements Changed to IRM from IRM, Examination of Returns Changed IRM to IRM in paragraph (3). Changed to IRM from IRM, Fraud Issues, formerly Abuse Detection and Prevention Team (ADAPT) Changed title to Fraud Issues. Reworded narrative to remove reference to ADAPT. Changed to IRM from IRM, Coordinating with Other Operating Divisions and Business Units The IRS Office/Employee section addressing “Coordinated Industry Case Program (CIC) exam agents" IRM reference The title changed from "IRM CIC Program, General Procedures" to "IRM LB&I Examinations - Categories for Excise Tax"., Coordination Concerning Appeals Determinations Revised text to remove reference to Manager, ITG Field Operations., Business Operating Division Codes, Client Codes, Employment Codes and Form 940 Filing Requirements for Indian Tribal Governments Paragraph (8) text removal of the phrase “to send to CP&C for input”., Other Federal Agencies Impacting Indian Tribal Governments Paragraph (1) added to explain the Tribal Social Security Fairness Act of 2018. Also, paragraph (4) Contact Information website has changed from: www.treasury.gov/resource-center/economic-policy/tribal-policy/Pages/Tribal-Policy.aspx to https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/tribal-affairs/tribal-consultations and was moved to subsection, Disclosure and Privacy Principles Paragraph (2) was changed to include IRC 6105., Requests for Information by Tribal Casino on Vendor/Employee Tax Compliance Section removed., Responsible Officials Paragraph (4) has been changed from IRM General Requirements for Disclosure to Designee of Taxpayer to IRM Changed from to, Verbal Consents Paragraph (3) has been updated from IRM General Requirements for Disclosure to Designee to IRM Changed from to, Media Requests Text revised to remove reference to Manager, Field Operations to include Program Manager., Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief This section has been removed., Technical Time Reporting Since IRM has been removed, the previous IRM has been changed to IRM, Delegation Orders Since IRM has been removed, the previous IRM has been changed to IRM

Effect on Other Documents

This revision supersedes IRM 4.86.1, Indian Tribal Governments (ITG) Procedures, Indian Tribal Governments Administration and Policy, dated November 5, 2018.


Tax Exempt and Government Entities
Government Entities
Indian Tribal Governments

Effective Date


Margaret A. Von Lienen
Director, Exempt Organizations and Government Entities
Tax Exempt and Government Entities

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. Purpose. This section introduces the mission and procedures for Indian Tribal Governments administration within the office of Indian Tribal Governments.

  2. Audience. ITG employees and IRS employees interacting with federally recognized Indian tribes.

  3. Policy Owner. Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE).

  4. Program Owner. The Program Manager, Indian Tribal Governments, under TE/GE is responsible for overseeing federal tax administration as it applies to Indian Tribal Governments.

  5. Contact Information. To recommend changes or make any other suggestions related to this IRM section, email the Product Content Owner shown on the Product Catalog Information page for this IRM.


  1. The IRS established the Indian Tribal Governments’ function in 2000 under the TE/GE Division to serve as the primary contact in the IRS for federally recognized Indian tribes. In May 2017, the TE/GE Division reorganized and combined the Indian Tribal Governments (ITG) and Tax Exempt Bonds (TEB) functions. In November 2019, the TE/GE Division reorganized creating a separate function for the Office of Indian Tribal Governments. The scope and mission of ITG remains the same, to assist Indian tribes address their federal tax matters.

  2. ITG provides a single point of contact for assistance and tax help. ITG uses partnership opportunities with Indian tribal governments, tribal associations, and other federal agencies to respectfully and cooperatively meet the needs of both governments and to simplify the tax administration process. All IRS employees are required to contact the office of Indian Tribal Governments before making initial contact on Indian tribal government cases.

  3. This is the sixth revision of IRM 4.86.1, Indian Tribal Governments Administration and Policy.

Program Goals

  1. ITG combines compliance and enforcement initiatives with outreach and educational activities to accomplish its goals. The processes and procedures provided in this IRM are consistent with the objectives and goals for ITG. Refer to IRM 1.1.23, Organization and Staffing, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division.


  1. The ITG Program Manager reports to the Director, Government Entities, Tax Exempt and Government Entities and is responsible for maintaining a functional and interactive government-to-government relationship between the IRS and Indian tribal governments as directed by the President’s Executive Orders (see Executive Order No. 13175, 65 FR 67249, Nov. 6, 2000).

  2. ITG is comprised of three field operations groups and a technical group, all reporting to the ITG Program Manager.

  3. ITG employees must be familiar with and act according to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Every employee must consider these rights in carrying out their duties. See IRC 7803(a)(3). The IRS formally adopted a Taxpayer Bill of Rights in June 2014, which provides the nation’s taxpayers with a better understanding of their rights and helps reinforce the fairness of the tax system. IRS employees must be informed about taxpayer rights and be conscientious in the performance of their duties to honor, respect and effectively communicate those rights which may aid in improving the taxpayer’s experience. See Pub 1, Your Rights As A Taxpayer, for more information.

  4. IRS employees working tax related matters must identify themselves (The Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98) Section 3705(a)).

    1. IRS employees are required to give their name and unique identification number during taxpayer telephone, face-to-face, and written contact.

    2. IRS employees must put a telephone number on all taxpayer correspondence. This gives taxpayers enough information to identify an employee who has previously helped with a tax related matter.

  5. All examinations will be done in accordance with Policy Statement 1-236, Fairness and Integrity in Enforcement Selection. See IRM, Policy Statement 1-236, Fairness and Integrity in Enforcement Selection.


  1. The table lists commonly used acronyms and their definitions:

    Acronym Definition
    ACM Appeals Case Memorandum
    AIMS Audit Information Management System
    BIA Bureau of Indian Affairs
    BOD Business Operating Division
    BSA Bank Secrecy Act
    CC Client Code
    C&L Communications and Liaison
    CIC Coordinated Industry Case
    CI Criminal Investigation
    CP&C Compliance, Planning & Classification
    EC Employment Code
    EO Exempt Organizations
    FinCEN Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
    FO Field Operations
    FOIA Freedom of Information Act
    FR Filing Requirement
    IGRA Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
    ITG Indian Tribal Governments
    LB&I Large Business & International
    MOU Memorandum of Understanding
    NIGC National Indian Gaming Commission
    PGLD Privacy, Governmental Liaison & Disclosure
    POC Point of Contact
    SB/SE Small Business/Self Employed
    TAS Taxpayer Advocate Service
    TE/GE Tax Exempt and Government Entities
    WebETS Web-based Employee Technical Time System

Indian Tribal Governments

  1. ITG provides Indian tribal government customers top quality service by helping them understand and comply with applicable tax laws, and to protect the public interest by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness. The ITG office is guided by principles of respect for Indian tribal self-government and sovereignty.

  2. ITG supports a functional and interactive government-to-government relationship with Indian tribal governments as directed by Presidential Executive Orders and was established to help Indian tribes with their federal tax matters. Indian tribal governments and tribal associations gave valuable input into the design of ITG, which focuses on offering a single point of contact for tax help.

  3. Field groups include specialists trained in ITG protocol. Specialists are supervised by group managers.

  4. Specialists address issues and provide guidance unique to Indian tribes and maintain proper protocol with sovereign tribal governments, including tax fraud and abusive schemes.

Consultation Policy

  1. The IRS is governed by consultation policies that may be adopted by the Department of the Treasury. ITG continues this dialogue to ensure we constantly evolve to reflect tribal, IRS, and stakeholder needs.

  2. The Treasury Department has a consultation process to dialogue with Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis. This allows better understanding and response to their needs on Treasury regulations, legislative comments, proposed legislation and policy statements that have Tribal implications, impacts Tribal economy or preempt Tribal law. The Treasury Department's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Management & Budget is responsible for coordinating consultation between the Indian tribes and Treasury Department bureaus and offices. Please use the e-mail below to contact the Treasury’s official point of contact for tribal consultation if you have any questions, concerns or comments.

    Contact Information:
    Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC)
    U.S. Department of Treasury
    1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20220

Tax Administration

  1. ITG is responsible for any federal tax issues involving federally recognized Indian tribes. ITG provides services and federal tax information to assist tribes in understanding and meeting their federal tax responsibilities. Specialists address unique Indian tribal issues, including:

    • Employment Tax

    • Wagering Excise Tax

    • Occupational Tax on Wagering

    • Information Reporting

    • Voluntary Tip Agreements and Annual Tip Reporting

    • Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) (Title 31)

  2. ITG is responsible for identifying entities subject to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) (Title 31) that are owned by Indian tribal governments. ITG also is responsible for education and outreach on BSA requirements to entities owned by Indian tribal governments. See IRM for MOU Summary.

Customer Assistance

  1. The office of ITG will provide assistance throughout Indian country as needed.

    1. Taxpayers may request assistance after receiving a letter, notice or other contact between the IRS and a tribal entity. For example, penalties, filing requirements, deposit due dates, and information return reporting, correcting a reporting problem or error.

    2. With managerial approval, a specialist may proactively offer assistance to a tribal entity when the need is identified.

    3. Outreach contacts may identify additional opportunities for ITG customer assistance.

  2. The objective of this individualized assistance is to increase voluntary compliance by helping our customers to understand, implement and fulfill their responsibilities. Help may be by phone, correspondence, email, fax, or face-to-face.


    Individual help is distinguished from outreach by its focus on one taxpayer's issue, rather than general information to a group.

  3. If the customer is having difficulty resolving a tax situation, consider whether the situation meets Taxpayer Advocate criteria. See IRM, Taxpayer Advocate Service.

  4. Customers can also get educational materials and answers to questions about federal tax matters by contacting the office of Indian Tribal Governments in the following manner:

    • Visit: ITG website at www.irs.gov/tribes

    • Call: Customer Account Services:
      Toll-free 877-829-5500
      Not Toll-free 202-317-8900

    • Fax: Toll-free 855-243-4024

    • Write:

      Internal Revenue Service
      Indian Tribal Governments
      1111 Constitution Avenue NW
      NCA-6th Floor
      Washington, DC 20224-0002

Outreach Activities

  1. Outreach activities strive to increase compliance by providing guidance on general requirements, rather than reviewing a taxpayer's compliance history. The primary objective of outreach is to increase voluntary compliance by helping customers understand how to accurately and timely file employment tax returns and any other required returns.

  2. Outreach activities focus on the needs of the customer. These include providing:

    • Publications

    • Forms

    • Information

    • Seminars

    • Workshops

    • Telephone conferences

    • Online/virtual presentations

  3. Educational outreach topics may include, but aren’t limited to:

    • Employment Taxes

    • Information Return Reporting

    • Tip Reporting

    • Bank Secrecy Act (Title 31)

    • Gaming Issues

    • Excise Taxes

    • Tax Deposits

    • The Collection Process

    • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

  4. Outreach activities are discussed in IRM 22.41.1, Indian Tribal Governments Outreach.

Publications for Indian Tribal Governments

  1. These publications address Indian tribal governments tax matters.

    • Pub 3908, Gaming Tax Law and Bank Secrecy Act Issues for Indian Tribal Governments.

    • Pub 4268, Employment Tax for Indian Tribal Governments. (This publication can only be downloaded from the ITG website under Educational Products.)

    • Pub 5343, Helpful Hints for Indian Tribes and Tribal Entities to Avoid Penalties on Federal Tax Deposits and Information Returns.

    • Pub 5287, Employment Tax Video Guides for Indian Tribal Governments (CD-ROM). (This free product can be ordered by calling 800-829-3676 or view the lessons online at Indian Tribal Governments Resources.)

    • Tax Tools for Tribes is a CD-ROM with various tools and publications useful in addressing federal tax issues. (This product is free; Request copies from the ITG website under Educational Products.)

BSA Compliance Checks

  1. A BSA compliance check is a review conducted by IRS, under Title 31 of the Internal Revenue Code and is a tool to educate tribal entities about their reporting requirements and increase voluntary compliance. A BSA compliance check doesn’t directly relate to determining a tax liability for any particular period. As such, ITG specialists don’t review an entity’s books and records during a BSA compliance check. A specialized questionnaire is to be used by ITG specialists in conducting the BSA compliance check, which is located in the RCCMS forms repository.

  2. A BSA compliance check isn’t:

    1. An audit or an investigation under section IRC 7605(b).

    2. An audit under section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978, as amended.


      The customer may legally choose not to participate.

Tip Agreements

  1. Voluntary tip agreements enhance compliance by requiring reporting of tipped employees' earnings. ITG works with Indian tribes to:

    • Solicit initial voluntary tip agreements

    • Refresh existing tip agreements

    • Address tip addendum(s), per customer request

    • Answer questions on current agreements

    • Address tip reporting requirements for the employer and the employee

Examination of Returns

  1. As part of administering federal taxes involving federally recognized Indian tribes, ITG conducts audits to determine compliance with federal tax liabilities and filing requirements. Combined with outreach, education and compliance checks, audits support a balanced approach to improving compliance.

  2. ITG has audit authority under IRC 7602(a), which authorizes the IRS to review books and records necessary to determine federal tax liabilities.

  3. All audits are in accordance with Policy Statement 1-236, Fairness and Integrity in Enforcement Selection. See IRM, Policy Statement 1-236, Fairness and Integrity in Enforcement Selection.

Fraud Issues

  1. ITG specialists work on issues/cases where tax schemes or abuses have impact across multiple field group areas, or involve extensive interactions with enforcement functions/agencies inside and outside the IRS. The objective is to stem the growth of these types of activities through a coordinated national strategy that combines partnerships with customers and other regulatory agencies.

  2. Issues include tax fraud, tax shelter activities, Title 31 abuses, and the use of tribal entities to avoid proper reporting and oversight of transactions.

  3. Cases are assigned to ITG specialists based on the potential to be referred to the Criminal Investigation (CI) Division, or where the abusive issue(s) may affect other Indian tribes.

Taxpayer Advocate Service

  1. The IRS Taxpayer Advocate program is designed to alleviate taxpayer hardships arising from systemic problems or the application of the Internal Revenue Code. Additional resources for Taxpayer Advocate Service:

    1. IRM 13.1, Taxpayer Advocate Case Procedures.

    2. Pub 1546, Taxpayer Advocate Service—We Are Here to Help You.

  2. If, during a customer contact, the specialist can’t resolve the issue and one of the situations below applies, prepare or help the taxpayer prepare Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order):

    • There may be a hardship situation per IRM 13.1.7, Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Case Criteria.

    • The customer insists on being referred to the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).

    • The contact meets TAS criteria (IRM 13.1.7).

  3. Confirm the local Taxpayer Advocate's office receives the Form 911 timely and monitor the status with TAS until the issue is resolved.

  4. Refer to the Service Level Agreement between the National Taxpayer Advocate and the Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities for procedures.

Coordinating with Other Operating Divisions and Business Units

  1. ITG specialists trained in tribal protocols are the primary IRS point of contact for all interactions with federally-recognized Indian tribes and are responsible for:

    1. Most IRS compliance activities with tribes.

    2. Ensuring the IRS complies with relevant Presidential Executive Orders that outline the required relationships and protocols in working with tribes.

  2. ITG employees are specially trained in the unique areas of tax law and protocols applicable to Indian tribes.

  3. To alleviate potential problems and ensure that the IRS complies with existing legal requirements, all IRS employees must contact the Office of Indian Tribal Governments before initially contacting any Indian tribal government/enterprise account(s). Sometimes, a tribe may request that all IRS employees get the tribe’s approval before entering tribal lands when conducting IRS business..

  4. Because ITG coordinates all aspects of tax administration impacting tribes, ITG entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with these parts of Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) for the following:

    MOU with SB/SE: MOU states
    Specialty Examination Excise Tax Program, formerly known as Office of Excise Taxes (OET) ITG, formerly known as ITG/TEB:
    • Is responsible for all wagering tax issues related to Indian tribal governments, including any subdivision, subsidiary, or wholly owned business of the Indian tribal government.

    • Is the single point of contact to authorize or to make contacts with Indian tribal governments.

    • Will refer any issues they identify concerning non-wagering excise taxes to an Excise Tax specialist using the Specialist Referral System (SRS).

    • Will coordinate education and outreach sessions with the applicable Excise tax group and Indian tribal governments where potential non-wagering excise tax responsibilities may exist.

    • Will contact appropriate Excise Issue Specialists (EIS) for assistance to answer specific excise tax questions that do not involve wagering.

    Specialty Examination Excise Tax Program:
    • Has jurisdiction over all other excise tax issues relating to Indian tribal governments.

    • Will coordinate with ITG before they initiate any examination or outreach activity with an Indian tribal government, including any subdivision, subsidiary, or wholly owned business of the Indian tribal government.

    Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Program ITG, formerly known as ITG/TEB and BSA share responsibilities for BSA and IRC 6050I notification and education activities for entities owned by Indian tribal governments.
  5. ITG interacts with other IRS offices:

    IRS office/employee Procedures/interactions IRM Section
    Field Collection revenue officers (RO)
    • Becomes involved in collection enforcement on an Indian tribal government/enterprise account.

    • RO must contact the local area ITG group manager before making initial contact on ITG accounts.

    IRM 5.1.12, Field Collecting Procedures, Cases Requiring Special Handling. See IRM, Indian Tribal Government Procedures.
    Criminal Investigations (CI) special agents
    • Sometimes CI is prohibited from disclosing information to ITG employees: Criminal investigations involving sensitive investigative techniques, pending enforcement actions and/or the use of federal grand juries.

    • CI will, to the extent possible, coordinate pertinent tribal activities and interaction with ITG.

    IRM 9.3.1, Criminal Investigation, Disclosure.
    Coordinated Industry Case Program (CIC) exam agents
    • CIC promotes uniform, consistent management of coordinated examination cases.

    • Examination activities in tribal governments may raise concerns which require assigning specific work to multiple agents.

    IRM, LB&I Examinations - Categories for Excise Tax.

Coordination Concerning Appeals Determinations

  1. On all ITG closed cases that are unagreed and considered by the IRS’s Office of Appeals, the Appeals office will provide an Appeals Case Memorandum (ACM) to the ITG Program Manager, who then sends the ACM to the group manager with supervisory authority for the particular case. The group manager may provide the ACM to the field specialist previously assigned to the case. The ACM is usually Appeals’ only feedback vehicle.

  2. Appeals may send feedback in a separate memorandum if they determine some aspect of a closed case warrants special attention in addition to the ACM. Favorable comments by memoranda are encouraged.

  3. Appeals may return cases for ITG to verify new information or further development using an explanatory memorandum.

Business Operating Division Codes, Client Codes, Employment Codes and Form 940 Filing Requirements for Indian Tribal Governments

  1. Use Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) command code INOLES to identify an Indian tribal government/enterprise(s) by these codes:

    • Business Operating Division (BOD)

    • Client code (CC)

    • Employment code (EC)

  2. Entities wholly owned by Indian tribes are under the jurisdiction of Tax Exempt and Government Entities/Indian Tribal Governments. Tribes may be involved in businesses/enterprises that aren’t wholly owned, such as partnerships and joint ventures with other tribes or non-tribal entities. The IRS BOD with jurisdiction (TE/GE, SB/SE or Large Business & International (LB&I)) is generally determined by the level of ownership.


    If an Indian tribal government owns more than 50 percent of a partnership, then the entity is coded as TE/GE who may need to coordinate with other BODs.

  3. If the BOD classification is unclear, then these situations will be resolved at the lowest managerial levels in the IRS units involved. If the group manager(s) can’t agree, the issue is raised to the next level of management until resolved.

  4. ITG entities are identified on IDRS by BOD code "TE" , employment code "I" and client code "I" .

  5. If an ITG entity has issued a tax-exempt bond, the CC could be a "1" instead of an "I" .

  6. If an ITG entity was at one time exempt under IRC 501(c), the EO section may show at the bottom of the INOLES display. This EO section is for historical purposes. If the EO status code (STS-CD) is active, this means the entity's IRC 501(c) exempt status is still in effect, subject to EO oversight and not an ITG entity. If the EO status code is inactive, this means the EO tax exempt status is no longer in effect, and it’s an ITG entity if an Indian tribal government(s) owns more than 50 percent. See Document 6209, IRS Processing Codes and Information, Section 13.10.(3), Status Codes - Master Files and AIMS, for a list of active and inactive status codes.

  7. Verify the Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return, filing requirement (FR) on INOLES is correct. The FR for ITG entities is either "3" (compliant - not required to file) or "4" (non-compliant - required to file). Most of the time, the Form 940 FR is "3" indicating that the organization has elected not to be subject to Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) by participating in the state unemployment system.

  8. Specialists must ensure the Indian tribal governments and related businesses/enterprises’ BOD code is accurate. If the BOD, CC, EC and FR aren’t correct, update the necessary changes using the Tribal/Entity Information Update Form. After completing the form, click on the SUBMIT button to send to CP&C for input.

Other Federal Agencies Impacting Indian Tribal Governments

  1. The Tribal Social Security Fairness Act of 2018, Public Law 115-243, became law on September 20, 2018. This new law amends the Social Security Act by creating Section 218A to allow voluntary Social Security coverage for federally recognized Indian Tribal council members. These tribes may also request retroactive coverage for past periods when the tribe paid FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes but did not request a refund of those taxes from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For more information, see www.ssa.gov/people/aian/.

  2. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has a link to the Federal Register, which publishes the current list of federally-recognized tribes, and Alaskan Native entities. In addition, the BIA maintains a Tribal Leaders Directory on its website. The Tribal Leaders Directory is published semi-annually and lists a tribe's name, address, telephone and fax number (and email or website, if provided) for each federally recognized tribe. The directory also gives information on the BIA regions and agency offices. The BIA website is www.bia.gov.

  3. The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) was established within the Department of the Interior to implement the provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The Commission has field representatives who maintain contact with those tribes that have gaming operations. These representatives are a useful source of information. The website address is www.nigc.gov. Find the MOU between ITG and NIGC.

  4. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The mission of the FinCEN is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities. FinCEN carries out its mission by receiving and maintaining financial transactions data; analyzing and disseminating that data for law enforcement purposes; and building global cooperation with counterpart organizations in other countries and with international bodies. The website address is www.fincen.gov.

  5. USA.gov provides information and services of all federal governmental agencies. Find information about tribal governments and Native American current affairs at www.usa.gov/tribes.

Tribal Sovereignty Overview

  1. The U.S. Government has a unique legal relationship with Indian tribal governments in the Constitution of the United States, treaties, statutes and court decisions. Congress may limit the authority of Indian tribes, but within those limits the tribes retain "attributes of sovereignty over both their members and their territory," U.S. vs. Mazurie, 419 U.S. 544, 557 (1975).

  2. Tribal government powers include the authority to:

    • Establish, within tribal boundaries, the form of the tribal government.

    • Regulate tribal and individual property.

    • Determine tribal membership.

    • Levy taxes.

    • Establish courts.

    • Maintain law and order.

  3. Generally, Indian tribes provide governmental services, such as transportation, education and medical care to Indian tribal members.

  4. Although Congress can limit tribal powers of sovereignty, the states can’t. The general rule in Indian law is that unless there’s specific delegation of authority provided by Congress, state laws generally don’t apply to Indians on tribal land. So, Indian tribes are semi-sovereign entities, or distinct, independent political communities within the borders of the states in which they reside. Their sovereign powers can be limited or defined by an act of Congress or, in some cases, those powers may have been implicitly lost when tribes became subject to the overriding U.S. sovereignty. On the other hand, the laws of any state are limited in the ways they can have any direct effect on Indians residing on tribal land, or on the exercise of tribal sovereign power within tribal boundaries.

  5. Tribal sovereignty is the foundation upon which the government-to-government relationship stands. Sovereignty is neither granted by, nor negated by federal statutes, acts or treaties. It is inherent.

  6. Over the years, Presidential Executive Orders (see Executive Order No. 13175, 65 FR 67249, Nov. 6, 2000) have directed federal government agencies, to the extent permitted by law, to:

    • Respect Indian tribal self-government and sovereignty.

    • Honor tribal treaty and other rights.

    • Strive to meet the responsibilities that arise from the unique legal relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribal governments.


      This relationship isn’t intended to prevent IRS from carrying out official government business.

Protocol for Effective Government-to-Government Relationships

  1. A government-to-government relationship is a bilateral recognition of the respective parties’ sovereignty. The IRS must interact in a way that respects the tribe's position as a sovereign entity. Follow these guidelines when working with tribal governments:

    • Understand each tribe's unique political structure, including the appropriate titles for addressing tribal leaders.

    • Be mindful of tribal preferences in all communication.

    • Be sensitive to cultural diversity.

    • Ensure that appropriate tribal officials are present at initial and necessary follow-up meetings.

    • Negotiate and understand agreed-upon procedures for conducting interactions with tribal governments.

Disclosure and Privacy Principles

  1. ITG is covered by the disclosure and privacy procedures stated in IRM 11.3, Disclosure of Official Information.

  2. The disclosure laws are made up mostly of sections from:

    • IRC 6103, Confidentiality and Disclosure of Returns and Return Information

    • IRC 6104, Publicity of Information Required from Certain Exempt Organizations and Certain Trusts

    • IRC 6105, IRC 6105- Confidentiality of Information Arising under Treaty Obligations

    • IRC 6110, Public Inspection of Written Determinations

    • IRC 7213, Unauthorized Disclosure of Information

    • IRC 7213A, Unauthorized Inspection of Returns or Return Information

    • IRC 7431, Civil Damages for Unauthorized Inspection or Disclosure of Returns and Return Information

    • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 5 USC 552, as amended.

    • Privacy Act 5 USC 552a

  3. Secure confidential information for the case from unauthorized disclosure. Generally, consider information that wouldn’t be disclosed to the taxpayer, if a request were made under provisions of the FOIA, as confidential or sensitive in nature.


    Informant’s claims and fraud referrals.

  4. Secure confidential information in To be Opened by Addressee Only envelopes. Use Form TDF 15-05.11, Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU) Cover Sheet, to alert others to the sensitive nature of the information. Also use Form TDF 15-05.11 as a cover for the case file if it contains any information requiring protection.

  5. All ITG employees must be cautious not to damage the relationship of respect that we have for Indian self-government and sovereignty. This is further stated in the ITG mission statement, "The ITG office is guided by principles of respect for Indian tribal self-government and sovereignty." This relationship can be very complex at times given our responsibility to administer the tax laws in a fair manner to all. It’s very important that the employee knows who the tribe has designated to discuss confidential information with the IRS.

Responsible Officials

  1. In addition to the guidelines for Disclosure of Official Information in IRM 11.3, the following are some specifics as to how these guidelines may be applied with regard to Indian tribal governments.

  2. As with federal, state and local governments, returns and return information of a tribal government may be disclosed to any person legally authorized to act for such government. Generally, verification that the requester is a government official, such as Treasurer or Comptroller, will be sufficient to indicate entitlement to returns and return information.

  3. Requests for returns must be made in writing on appropriate governmental letterhead.

  4. Requests for return information may be verbal or in writing under the guidelines in Background, IRM, General Requirements for Disclosure to Designee of Taxpayer.

  5. If the tribe, in a resolution of the tribal council or other exercise of its powers as a sovereign government, duly designates in accordance with regulatory requirements an individual or individuals as the primary point of contact for the IRS, ITG will honor that designation and contacts should be made through that individual. The designation may be made with regard to specific matters or on an on-going basis.

  6. If the tribe’s designated representative, or responsible official is an outside attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), or other professional who is not a tribal official or employee, the rules governing Conference and Practice as codified in 26 CFR 601.501 to 601.509 and explained in the following publications will apply:

    • Publication 216, Conference and Practice Requirements

    • Publication 947, Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney

    Secure Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. This form allows qualified individuals to represent the tribe in tax matters and to discuss all aspects of an examination or other IRS action.

  7. When the specialist has an on-going relationship with the tribe and is familiar with the official responsible for a particular matter, on-going contacts should be made with that official (provided that official has been duly designated by the tribe to receive returns and return information of that matter, or is otherwise authorized to receive returns and return information of the tribe because he/she is a tribal government official legally authorized to act for the tribe).

  8. When there is any doubt as to the responsible official, the following steps should be followed:

    1. Contact the local Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The BIA Area Office may be contacted to assist in identifying the recognized tribal leadership and the location of the tribal offices. The IRS employee should not advise the BIA of the purpose of the inquiry.

    2. Inquiries should be made to the recognized leaders as to the responsible official(s) with regard to a particular matter.

    3. If the contact is in regard to a specific return and the signer of the return can be identified, that person will be treated as the responsible official provided the individual is still acting in the same capacity as when the return was signed and filed.

    4. If any doubts remain as to whom the responsible official is or who is entitled to return information, written instructions from the tribal government should be requested.

  9. A tribe may have several entities with separate accounting staffs. There may be a different responsible official for each of these entities.


    A tribe may have the tribal government office, a housing authority, a health clinic, a casino, and a smoke shop.

Verbal Consents

  1. 26 CFR 301.6103(c)-1(c)(2) authorizes the IRS to accept a taxpayer’s verbal consent to disclose returns or return information to parties helping the taxpayer resolve a federal tax matter provided that the IRS has:

    1. Obtained from the taxpayer sufficient underlying facts to enable the IRS to determine the nature and extent of the information or assistance requested and the return information to be disclosed to comply with the taxpayer's request.

    2. Confirmed the identity of the taxpayer and the designee.

    3. Confirmed the date, the nature and the extent of the information or assistance requested.

  2. The regulation also clarifies that the taxpayer can verbally approve IRS disclosures to someone accompanying the taxpayer at in-person meetings with the IRS or participating in a phone conversation between the taxpayer and the IRS.

  3. See IRM, Requirements for Oral Authorization, for procedures on verbal authorizations.

Media Requests

  1. IRM 11.1.3, Communications, Contact with the Public and the Media, gives procedures for working and responding to media requests. IRM 7.1.7, TE/GE Administrative Procedures and Programs - Processing Information Requests, provides supplemental information and guidance on how TE/GE employees respond to media requests.

  2. If you receive a media inquiry request that wasn’t submitted as a FOIA request, don’t respond, but, instead, immediately contact ITG Technical.

    1. The field group manager informs the ITG Technical Manager and the ITG Program Manager of the request.

    2. ITG Technical routes the request to the functional TE/GE FOIA Point of Contact (POC).

    3. The functional TE/GE FOIA POC routes the request to IRS Communications and Liaison (C&L).

    4. C&L reviews and assigns it to TE/GE using C&L’s normal procedures.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests

  1. IRM 11.3.13, Disclosure of Official Information, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), gives procedures for working and responding to FOIA requests. IRM 7.1.7, TE/GE Administrative Procedures and Programs - Processing Information Requests, provides supplemental information and guidance on how TE/GE employees respond to FOIA requests.

  2. FOIA requests come to TE/GE from Privacy, Governmental Liaison & Disclosure (PGLD).

    1. Generally, PGLD sends a copy of the TE/GE-related FOIA request to the TE/GE FOIA coordinator in the TE/GE Commissioner’s office for proper tracking. The TE/GE FOIA coordinator then sends a copy of the FOIA request to the appropriate Functional FOIA POC, who sends a copy to the appropriate functional responder.

    2. Sometimes, PGLD may send a copy of a FOIA request directly to a TE/GE employee likely to have responsive documents. If you receive a FOIA request directly from PGLD, notify the TE/GE FOIA coordinator as provided for in IRM 7.1.7. Provide the TE/GE FOIA coordinator a copy of the FOIA request received for proper tracking. Also, provide a copy of the FOIA request to the ITG FOIA POC.

Correspondence Control

  1. Use the correspondence guidelines in IRM 21.3.3, Taxpayer Contacts, Incoming and Outgoing Correspondence/Letters, that all operating divisions and functions who initiate or resolve taxpayer correspondence use. Correspondence with tribal governments helps build trust and respect and reinforces government-to-government relationships.

  2. Reply to tribal governments timely and accurately. A timely response is within 30 days or less of the IRS-received date. If you can’t give a final response within 30 days, send an interim response by this time.

  3. Include on all correspondence the employee’s: name, contact telephone number, employee identification number, and signature.

  4. Get manually composed letters approved by management.

  5. Follow IRM 25.13, Taxpayer Contacts, when creating, revising and approving taxpayer correspondence intended for 10 or more recipients (over the lifetime of the document).

ITG Technical Time Reporting

  1. WebETS is the acronym for the Web-based Employee Technical Time System. WebETS is a web-based application to:

    1. Establish cases.

    2. Maintain inventory.

    3. Report time as it is applied.

  2. ITG uses WebETS. See IRM 4.5.5, TE/GE Reports.

  3. Accurate time and activity reporting is essential to effective ITG planning, budgeting, and evaluation.

  4. For employees who work mixed inventories: charge time to the appropriate activity codes (subject to change each fiscal year). See Document 11308, Government Entities Information Systems Codes, for a current list of codes.

Delegation Orders

  1. Delegations of Authority are the official documents IRS uses to delegate authority. They’re published as Delegation Orders. See IRM 1.2.2, Servicewide Policies and Authorities, Servicewide Delegations of Authority.

  2. TE/GE employees can find TE/GE Delegation Orders on TE/GE Connect under the ITG tab.