6.731.1 Suitability Determinations for Employment


  1. This IRM contains basic requirements for investigating and adjudicating suitability, and designating risk levels for employment or continued employment in the competitive service, outside the civil service register and excepted appointments. The hiring of juveniles and reemployed annuitants are also covered.

  2. Suitability is governed by the following regulations, policy, and guidance:

    1. 5 CFR § 4.2

    2. 5 CFR § 293.105

    3. 5 CFR Part 731

    4. 5 USC § 1302, § 1320.3, § 3301, § 7103a(14), § 7301

    5. Executive Order 10577

    6. Interagency Agreement Number (TREAS-1 Agreement) between the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of the Treasury 2008

    7. IRM 10.23.1, Personnel Security and Investigations

    8. IRM 10.23.3, Personnel Security/Suitability Program

    9. OPM's Delegated Examining Operations Handbook (DEOH)

    10. OPM Suitability Processing Handbook


  1. Applicant – A person who is being considered or has been considered for employment prior to entrance on duty.

  2. Appointee – A person who has entered on duty and is in the first year of a subject-to-investigation appointment (as defined in 5 CFR § 731.104).

  3. Covered position – A position in the competitive service, a position in the excepted service where the incumbent can be noncompetitively converted to the competitive service, and a career appointment to a position in the Senior Executive Service (SES).

  4. Days – Calendar days unless otherwise specified.

  5. Debarment – A prohibition from taking a competitive service examination or from being hired (or retained in) a covered position for a specific period of time.

  6. Employee – A person who has completed the first year of a subject-to-investigation appointment.

  7. Material – A "material" statement is one that is capable of influencing, or has a natural tendency to affect, an official decision.

  8. Nexus - The relationship of the conduct to the position.

  9. Suitability Determination – A decision by OPM or an agency with delegated authority that a person is suitable or is not suitable for employment in covered positions in the Federal Government or a specific Federal Agency. Suitability is a person’s identifiable character traits and conduct sufficient to decide whether an individual’s employment or continued employment would or would not protect the efficiency of the Service.

Criteria for Making Suitability Determinations

  1. Human Capital Office (HCO) Employment, Talent and Security Division (ETS) Employment Offices (EOs) may begin to determine an applicant's suitability at any time during the hiring process. Because suitability issues may not arise until late in the application/appointment process, it is generally more practical and cost-effective to first ensure that the applicant is eligible for the position, is placed on the certificate and is within reach for selection consideration, deemed by OPM or a Delegated Examining Unit (DEU) to be among the best qualified, and/or within reach of selection.

  2. HCO, ETS, EOs must use the specific factors contained in 5 CFR § 731.202(b) when making suitability determinations. The IRS Specific Suitability Standards (SSS) Chart is also to be used in assisting with these determinations; however, any decision must be linked to the specific factors as outlined by OPM. The IRS SSS Chart is a controlled document and cannot be transmitted or disclosed to any person outside of the DEU or HCO, ETS, EO, or placed on an internet or intranet site. The IRS SSS Chart was previously provided to the HCO, ETS, Associate Directors and Employment Chiefs; additional copies may be requested through the HCO, ETS, Policy and Programs Office. The following are the primary, specific factors used in determining whether a person is suitable for Federal employment and will be the basis for finding a person unsuitable and for taking a suitability action. An unsuitable determination must be made when an adverse nexus or connection can be shown between the character and conduct in question and the efficiency of the Service.

    1. Misconduct or negligence in employment;

    2. Criminal or dishonest conduct;

    3. Material, intentional false statement, or deception or fraud in examination or appointment;

    4. Refusal to furnish testimony as required below;

    5. Alcohol abuse, without evidence of substantial rehabilitation, of a nature and duration that suggests that the applicant or appointee would be prevented from performing the duties of the position in question, or would constitute a direct threat to the property or safety of the applicant or appointee or others;

    6. Illegal use of narcotics, drugs, or other controlled substances without evidence of substantial rehabilitation;

    7. Knowing and willful engagement in acts or activities designed to overthrow the U.S. Government by force; and

    8. Any statutory or regulatory bar which prevents the lawful employment of the person involved in the position in question.

  3. As outlined in 5 CFR § 731.202(c), HCO, ETS, EOs must also consider any of the following to the extent they are deemed pertinent to the individual case:

    1. Nature of the position for which the person is applying or in which the person is employed;

    2. Nature and seriousness of the conduct;

    3. Circumstances surrounding the conduct;

    4. Recency of the conduct;

    5. Age of the person involved at the time of the conduct;

    6. Contributing societal conditions; and

    7. Absence or presence of rehabilitation or efforts toward rehabilitation.

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. As outlined in 5 CFR § 731.103, OPM has retained jurisdiction for adjudicating suitability in all competitive service cases involving the issues listed below. OPM has delegated certain aspects of these authorities to agencies, but retains overall responsibility.

    1. Evidence of material, intentional false statements, deception, or fraud in examination or appointment, including SES career appointments;

    2. Refusal to furnish testimony as required in 5 CFR § 5.4;

    3. Statutory or regulatory bar;

    4. Suitability actions once an employee under 5 CFR Part 731 for suitability reasons after first year of employment under original investigation of appointment;

    5. A non-selection, or cancellation of eligibility for a specific position based on an objection to an eligible or pass over of a preference eligible under 5 CFR § 332.406, is not a suitability action even if it is based on reasons set forth in 5 CFR § 731.202. The servicing HCO, ETS, EO will follow procedures contained in the OPM DEOH and in IRM 6.335.1, Promotion and Internal Placement.

    6. Governmentwide debarment.

  2. On July 2, 2007, the Department of Treasury (Treasury), Human Capital Office, delegated to the IRS Human Capital Officer (IRS HCO) the authority to approve and sign objection/pass over requests with the exception of objection/pass over requests for 30% or more disabled veterans; the objection/pass over requests for 30% or more disabled veterans are forwarded by the IRS HCO to OPM for approval.

  3. The servicing HCO, ETS, EO must be fair, impartial, and objective when reviewing and adjudicating, and may not consider the individual’s political affiliation, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, disability, personal preferences, or beliefs. All determinations must show both nexus to the position or to the IRS SSS Chart, and to the appropriate factor contained in 5 CFR § 731.202.

  4. The servicing HCO, ETS, EO must complete the following for all accessions of new appointees:

    1. Identify the risk levels of positions;

    2. Determine that applicants meet all of the eligibility and qualification requirements (including basic suitability) for the position;

    3. Verify that applicants are within reach;

    4. Review and investigate applications for disqualifying behavior or conduct;

    5. Apply the referral standards and meet adjudication referral requirements when potential disqualifying information is identified; and

    6. Initiate required entry investigations.

    Detailed guidance can be found in the Pre-Employment Check User Guide posted on the HCO website under Recruitment & Staffing.

  5. OPM has jurisdiction for investigations on all applicants and appointees serving a one (1) year probationary period and on any case under its authority as deemed necessary (5 CFR § 731.202(b)(3), (4), or (8)).

Appointments Subject to Investigations

  1. All appointments over 180 days are subject to an investigation, the scope of which depends on the risk level. Information on position risk descriptions and associated required investigations is found in IRM 10.23.1, Personnel Security and Investigations.

  2. Public Trust positions, involving a high degree of public trust, require a more thorough investigation than positions requiring only the finding that an applicant or an incumbent has the requisite suitability of character to hold Federal employment. For national security investigations and contractor investigations, please refer to IRM 10.23.1, Personnel Security and Investigations, and IRM 10.23.2, Contractor Investigations.

  3. Reemployments are not exempt from the subject-to-investigation rule. Individuals reemployed in Federal service should complete a new Declaration for Federal Employment (OF 306) and new investigative questionnaires (or update his or her prior form if the public trust or sensitivity level of the new position is the same as the previous one).

Application Requirements

  1. At the time of accepting an application, the following eligibility requirements must be verified:

  2. Citizenship: See IRM 6.731.1.8.1, Eligibility Check - Citizenship.

  3. Date of Birth: The minimum age for Federal employment is age 16. OPM’s Job Qualification Handbook lists occupations with a maximum age limit, such as Law Enforcement Officers. An applicant’s date of birth can be obtained when hired and need not be collected with the application.

  4. Maximum Entry Age for Law Enforcement Officers: The maximum entry age for law enforcement officer positions (Treasury Order 102-05 and Human Resources Issuance System (HRIS) Chapter 338.2), does not apply when determining the qualifications for preference eligible veterans (5 USC § 2108(3)); however, the maximum entry age for law enforcement officer positions does apply to all nonpreference eligibles.

  5. Employment Eligibility: Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9), must be used to document that tentatively selected applicants hired after November 6, 1986 are authorized to work in the United States (citizens and noncitizens). See Exhibit 6.731.1-1 for additional guidance.

    1. An applicant’s employment eligibility must be initiated and verified within three (3) days of his/her tentative selection;

    2. Form I-9 cannot be used as a pre-screening tool and cannot be used to selectively verify the employment eligibility of certain applicants;

    3. All tentatively selected applicants must fully complete Section I of the Form I-9; and

    4. HCO, ETS, EOs are responsible for completing Section II of the Form I-9 by examining evidence of identity.

  6. Veterans' Preference: HCO, ETS, EOs have the discretion to determine when in the hiring process they will require proof of veterans' preference. Proof is required if the preference is used as a basis for acceptance of an application after the closing date; or when positions are restricted to preference eligibles; or prior to final selection if the veteran was selected over other candidates based on their preference.


  1. Only eligible applicants currently within reach of selection and cases involving potentially disqualifying suitability, according to OPM’s suitability referral chart ( See Exhibit 6.731.1-1.), are referred to OPM’s Adjudication Branch if they are a compensable veteran or in instances of Servicewide debarment. Situations involving material intentional falsification are referred to the OPM Suitability Branch. Other cases are processed per 5 CFR § 332.406, TREAS-1 Agreement, and the DEOH for objection to eligibles and for passing over a preference eligible on an OPM or DEU certificate.


  1. At the time of selection and before entering on duty, applicants must be reviewed and approved for appointment through the pre-employment process. Servicing HCO, ETS, EOs must employ every reasonable means available to obtain eligibility (citizenship, tax and Selective Service registration) and suitability (fingerprint and review of documents, resume for past performance) information. Any review or investigation that yields adverse or derogatory information about an applicant, or an employee, requires an eligibility and suitability determination. All material involved in an active suitability adjudication must be either retained in the case file or with the applicant's pre-employment file.

Eligibility Check - Citizenship

  1. Citizenship: 5 CFR Part 338 prohibits noncitizens from both, competing in a civil service examination and from being appointed to a position in the competitive service. Generally, applications from noncitizens should not be accepted or considered.

    1. Certain non-citizens who meet specific employability requirements in the excepted service or the Senior Executive Service can be employed. Several factors determine whether a non-citizen can be employed. They are: the annual appropriations act ban on paying aliens from many countries, and the immigration law ban on employing aliens, unless they are lawfully admitted for permanent residence or otherwise authorized to be employed.

Eligibility Check - Tax Check

  1. Servicing HCO, ETS, EOs must conduct tax checks on all tentatively selected external applicants, including current IRS employees who have applied externally. The tax check must be initiated when an applicant has been determined qualified and within reach for consideration. Form 13362, Consent to Disclosure of Return Information, allows IRS to disclose, where necessary, an applicant’s relevant return information to OPM or the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

  2. Servicing HCO, ETS, EOs will forward the signed Form 13362 to the appropriate Wage & Investment, Submission Processing office for determination of tax compliance; the results will be returned to the submitting servicing HCO, ETS, EO.

  3. If the tax check is unfavorable, the servicing HCO, ETS, EO must notify the applicant in writing, if possible, or by telephone; the telephone notification must be followed by a written notice. The applicant’s case file must document the notification, including the date and name of the person that made the contact.

    1. The notice to the applicant must indicate they have ten (10) work days to correct the tax-related issue(s) identified. This timeframe must be consistent for all external applicants for that vacancy. A vacancy must be held for the applicant in question until the allotted time expires.

  4. If the issue has been resolved within the timeframe allowed, the servicing HCO, ETS, EO may continue the selection process.

  5. If the issue has not been resolved within the allotted timeframe, the applicant should be non-selected, or if appropriate, an objection/pass over request should be processed.

Eligibility Check - Selective Service Registration

  1. Servicing HCO, ETS, EOs are required to determine, as early in the hiring process as possible, that any male applicant born after December 31,1959 is registered with the Selective Service.

  2. HCO, ETS, EOs will follow the guidance provided in 5 CFR § 300.701-707, and the questions in the OF 306, "Declaration for Federal Employment," to help determine if the applicant's non-registration was knowing and willful.

  3. Each Selective Service case file must include:

    1. Form 13294, "Applicant's Statement for Selective Service Registration Status;"

    2. Applicant’s state-issued identification confirming his birth date;

    3. Passport and/or other entry document indicating the date the applicant entered the U.S., if applicable;

    4. Explanation letter prepared and signed by the applicant describing the reason(s) he was not registered for Selective Service prior to his 26th birthday;

    5. Notification letter issued by the servicing HCO, ETS, EO;

    6. Applicant’s written request for a waiver determination that provides a clear explanation of the reason for the failure to register. The request may include any documentation that supports the conclusion that the applicant was not required to register. An applicant may also submit a signed and dated affidavit that further supports his case. This request may not be created or signed by the HCO, ETS, EO;

    7. Application;

    8. OF-306, Declaration for Federal Employment;

    9. Additional supporting documentation (i.e., student visa; DD-214, Certification of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, if appropriate, etc.); and

    10. If the applicant is a current IRS employee, the employee’s service computation date, organization, job title, series, and grade.

  4. Servicing HCO, ETS, EOs must forward to the HCO, ETS, Policy and Programs Office cases where applicants failed to timely register for Selective Service. HCO, ETS, Policy and Programs Office will review all pertinent documentation submitted by the applicants.

  5. The HCO, ETS, Policy and Program Office will approve Selective Service cases where the applicant has submitted official documentation confirming he was not required to register for Selective Service. Written confirmation will be forwarded to the servicing HCO, ETS, EOs confirming that the applicant was not required to register with Selective Service. Upon receipt of this written confirmation, the servicing HCO, ETS, EOs may continue the hiring process.

  6. The HCO, ETS, Policy and Programs Office will forward all cases where applicants fail to submit official documentation confirming that they were not required to register with Selective Service to Treasury for review and submission to OPM for a final determination.

  7. Final determinations on requests for waiver of Selective Service registration are made by OPM.

  8. Applicants are restricted from entering-on-duty until an OPM approval is received.

Suitability Check - Fingerprinting

  1. In all cases, applicants (new hires, contractors, students, etc.) must be fingerprinted and the results received (including disposition information, if applicable) prior to the applicants’ entrance on duty. See IRM 6.731.1.9, Personal Identification Verification (PIV), for guidance on fingerprinting and credentialing.

  2. Fingerprints must be submitted to OPM. OPM will conduct a reimbursable fingerprint search of the FBI-identification Division criminal history records. If the fingerprint check is favorable, the selection process continues. Additional guidance can be found in Personnel Security’s IRM 10.23.3, Personnel Security/Suitability Program.

Suitability Check - Automated Labor/Employee Tracking System (ALERTS)

  1. Servicing HCO, ETS, EOs must conduct a mandatory check for all qualified external applicants using the Automated Labor/Employee Relations Tracking System (ALERTS) Pre-employment Research Tool.

    1. An ALERTS check will be completed prior to issuing a certificate to the selecting official.

    2. Since former employees do not always reveal previous employment with the Service, all qualified external applicants are researched in ALERTS no later than when they are within reach for consideration to determine if the applicant had a conduct or performance case during the last six years.

    3. Each servicing HCO, ETS, EO will designate a primary and alternate staff member to access the ALERTS Pre-employment Research Tool.

  2. The servicing HCO, ETS, EO will use the ALERTS summary of results received from the local Labor Relations Office (LRO) to determine if conduct or performance issues are identified. Requests for additional information or clarification of the summary of results will be made to the same LRO that provided the initial information.

  3. The servicing HCO, ETS, EO must determine whether evidence exists to support the charged conduct and whether the charged conduct falls within the specific suitability factors in 5 CFR § 731.202(b). Appropriate consideration should be given to the additional considerations listed in 5 CFR § 731.202(c). In those situations, the Chief Employment Branch (CEB) should follow procedures outlined in Exhibit 6.731.1-2, Objections and Pass Overs.

  4. The CEB will maintain all case files in accordance with existing records retention schedules and OPM’s DEOH procedures. HCO, ETS, EOs must maintain a hard copy of any derogatory employment information and appropriate paperwork in the applicant’s case file.

Personal Identification Verification (PIV)

  1. The Service is required to verify the identity of all prospective employees. Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) establishes the methodology, which includes a fingerprint check through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). All external applicants, regardless of position, must have their fingerprints cleared through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) before the IRS can extend a final offer of employment. Currently, this process is only available to new hires filling permanent positions. A solution for temporary and seasonal employees is still being researched.

  2. GSA’s USAccess system is the Service’s choice for fingerprinting and credentialing full-time IRS applicants. USAccess fingerprinting and credentialing stations are available at over 150 locations nationwide. These stations meet the requirements for Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12). At USAccess stations, applicants have their fingerprints and photo taken, and their identity is verified.

  3. If a USAccess credentialing (IRS or shared) or IRS Livescan station is not available within 100 miles of the applicant’s location, or the USAccess does not have an available time slot to process the applicant timely, the prospective hire may obtain "non custodial " fingerprint unescorted at a local law enforcement agency. The prospective employee is responsible for any expenses incurred. For locations of Certified USAccess credentialing stations search the GSA website at: http://www.fedidcard.gov/deployoss.aspx .

  4. For "non custodial" fingerprints, HCO, ETS EOs will provide prospective hires with two fingerprint cards (SF87) that contain the office’s Security Office Identifier (SOI) and Submitting Office Number (SON), and Agency Locator Code (ALC).

    1. These cards will be used by the local law enforcement agency to secure fingerprints.

    2. HCO, ETS, EOs will also supply the prospective employee with return UPS shipping materials, including a UPS account number, in order to forward the completed cards directly to OPM.

    3. The HCO, ETS, EO's return mailing address will be provided with the UPS shipping materials to facilitate tracking the package delivery to OPM.

    4. Based on the SOI and SON provided on the fingerprint card, OPM will provide results directly to the HCO, ETS, EO via electronic download usually within 24-48 hours upon receipt.

Designation of Public Trust Positions

  1. Servicing HCO, ETS, EOs are responsible for correctly identifying the position sensitivity risk level for competitive and excepted service positions within the agency based on the documented duties and responsibilities of the position.

  2. The risk level is determined during the classification process. Agencies are responsible for designating each covered position within the agency based on the documented duties and responsibilities of the position. Each position will be designated at the high, moderate or low risk level depending on the position’s potential for adverse impact to the integrity or efficiency of the Service. These positions generally involve the following duties or responsibilities:

    1. Policy making;

    2. Major program responsibility;

    3. Public safety and health;

    4. Law enforcement duties;

    5. Fiduciary responsibilities; and

    6. Other duties demanding a significant degree of public trust.

  3. The four risk designations for national security positions are:

    1. Special Sensitive;

    2. Critical-Sensitive;

    3. Non-Critical Sensitive; and

    4. Non-Sensitive.

Suitability Position Risk Levels

  1. HCO, ETS, EOs are required to correctly verify the suitability position risk levels, as follows (See IRM 10.23.3, Personnel Security/Suitability Program):

    1. High Risk — (Background Investigation) Positions included are those that have the potential for exceptionally serious impact involving duties especially critical to the agency or a program mission with broad scope of policy or program authority, such as: policy development and implementation; higher level management assignments; or independent spokesperson or non-management positions with authority for independent action.

    2. Moderate Risk — (Minimum Background Investigation) Positions included are those which have the potential for moderate to serious impact on delivery of customer services to the public, such as: assistants to policy development and implementation; mid-level management assignments; non-management positions with authority for independent or semi-independent action; or delivery of service positions that demand public confidence or trust. (IRM, Position Sensitivity Risk Designation Levels)

    3. Low Risk — (National Agency Check Inquiries) Positions included are those that have the potential for limited impact on the agency’s mission and program responsibilities.

  2. Except when required because of risk level changes, a person in a covered position who has undergone a suitability investigation need not undergo another investigation simply because the person has been:

    1. Promoted;

    2. Demoted;

    3. Reassigned;

    4. Converted from career-conditional to career tenure;

    5. Appointed (or converted to an appointment) when the employee has been serving with the Service for at least one year in one or more positions under an appointment subject to investigations; or

    6. Transferred, provided the individual has served continuously for at least one year in a position subject-to-investigation.

  3. The code for the position risk level is required. HCO, ETS, EOs should place the code for the position risk level in the Remarks section of the Personnel Action Request (PAR) as follows:

    1. High Risk Level – 6

    2. Moderate Risk Level – 5

    3. Low Risk Level - 1

Suitability Determination Basis

  1. Suitability determinations require careful, objective and sound analysis of all the available, relevant information, both favorable and unfavorable, to determine if the person’s past or present conduct impacts adversely, or indicates a likelihood for adverse impact, on the integrity or efficiency of the Federal Service. All information includes mitigating factors surrounding or contained in the adverse or derogatory information, as well as the extent of rehabilitation in evidence.

  2. Suitability issues admitted on the OF 306 or investigative questionnaire, or if otherwise developed, should be investigated and adjudicated.

  3. If there are no suitability issues, and no break in service of longer than 24 months, a new investigation is not necessary unless it is required under 5 CFR Part 732, or other authority, or because of higher public trust risk level.

  4. A new determination cannot be made for a person who has already been determined suitable or fit based on character or conduct (5 CFR § 731.202(d)) unless a new investigation is required under 5 CFR § 731.104 or 5 CFR § 731.106, or no new investigation is required, but the investigative record on file for this person shows conduct that is incompatible with the core duties of the relevant position.

Suitability Adjudication

  1. The suitability adjudication procedures require that adjudications be made with reference to the person’s:

    1. Basic suitability for Federal employment;

    2. Suitability for employment in a specific position in terms of the position’s sensitivity; and

    3. Suitability for employment in a specific position in terms of the performance requirements of the position.

  2. The suitability adjudicative determination request must be based on criteria listed in the OPM Suitability Referral Chart (Exhibit 6.731.1-3) and include the SF-62, Agency Request to Pass Over a Preference Eligible or Object to an Eligible, and related documentation to support the case.

  3. Servicing HCO, ETS, EOs must establish a nexus when filing an objection based on the efficiency of the Service. For example, a competitive external applicant who will be handling taxpayer remittances in the Remittance Processing functions who has been convicted of theft or similar crimes (e.g., embezzlement, fraud, burglary, shoplifting, larceny etc.).

Suitability Due Process

  1. When an agency initiated suitability action is taken against an applicant or appointee, HCO or OPM prepares a Notice of Proposed Action (5 CFR § 731.402).

    1. Servicing HCO, ETS, EOs must notify the applicant or appointee (hereinafter, the "respondent" ) in writing of the proposed action, the charges against the respondent, and the availability for review, upon request, of the materials relied upon. The notice must set forth the specific reasons for the proposed action and state that the respondent has the right to answer the notice in writing. The notice must further inform the respondent of the time limit for the answer as well as the address to which such answer must be delivered;

    2. Written notification of the proposed suitability action should be issued no later than when the applicant is removed from consideration. A dated copy of the written proposal must be retained in the case file;

    3. The notice must inform the respondent that he or she may be represented by a representative of the respondent's choice and that if the respondent wishes to have such a representative, the respondent must designate the representative in writing;

    4. The agency must serve the notice of proposed action upon the respondent by mail or hand delivery no less than 30 days prior to the effective date of the proposed action to the respondent's last known residence or duty station;

    5. If the respondent is employed in a position covered by this part on the date the notice is served, the respondent is entitled to be retained in a pay status during the notice period; and

    6. HCO, ETS, EOs will coordinate with the servicing LRO prior to issuing any notice in suitability determinations involving a current employee.

  2. When applicants answer the Notice of Proposed Action, the following apply (5 CFR § 731.403):

    1. The applicant may submit a written response, including affidavits up to 30 days from date of notice;

    2. The applicant may be represented by a representative of choice if designated in writing;

    3. If employed, and an oral response is requested, OPM determines time and place; and

    4. IRS will have 30 days from the date of the proposed action to respond.

  3. When a decision is made (5 CFR § 731.404), the following apply:

    1. The decision regarding the final action must be in writing, be dated, and inform the respondent of the reasons for the decision and that an unfavorable decision may be appealed in accordance with 5 CFR Part 731; and

    2. If the decision requires removal, the employing agency must remove the appointee from the rolls within 5 work days of the agency's decision.

Suitability Standards for Hiring Juveniles

  1. All juveniles (at least 16 years old) seeking employment with the Service must complete Form 13094, Recommendation for Juvenile Employment with the IRS (Form 13094).

  2. All juvenile applicants who have met the qualifications for a position must also meet suitability requirements to protect taxpayers’ information and the mission of the Service.

  3. The information included in Form 13094 will be used along with the Juvenile’s application to determine the applicant’s suitability for employment.

  4. Servicing HCO, ETS, EOs must ensure the accuracy of the juvenile applicant’s information contained in a completed Form 13094 that has a positive recommendation.

  5. Servicing HCO, ETS, EOs must contact the individual who provided the recommendation directly and verify the information. This process must be completed prior to the applicant’s enter on duty date.

  6. Any juvenile application that does not include a completed Form 13094 must be treated as an incomplete application package and processed accordingly.

  7. For excepted appointments, each applicant’s case must be evaluated and adjudicated by the CEB and a determination made based upon the merits of the case in accordance with 5 CFR § 302.203. When making a final employment determination, the CEB should determine if the applicant’s character or conduct would have an adverse impact on the efficiency, integrity, and mission of the Service. Suitability determinations must be documented in the case files as either suitable or unsuitable for employment in the Service.

  8. For competitive appointments, the servicing HCO, ETS, EO must use all information contained in the juvenile applicant’s paperwork, including Form 13094, when applying the criteria outlined in 5 CFR § 731.202. The case files must be documented as either suitable or unsuitable for employment in the Service. Suitability disqualification actions taken under 5 CFR § 731.202 are subject to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board.

  9. For outside the register appointments, the CEB must use all information contained in the juvenile applicant’s paperwork, including Form 13094, when making suitability determinations. When making a final employment determination, the CEB should determine if the applicant’s character or conduct would have an adverse impact on the efficiency, integrity, and mission of the Service. Suitability determinations must be documented in the case files as either suitable or unsuitable for employment in the Service.

Appeals to the Merit Systems Protection Board

  1. Suitability decisions taken against an individual are appealable to the Merit Systems Protection Board (hereinafter "Board" ).

  2. If the Board finds that one or more of the charges brought by OPM or an agency against the person is supported by a preponderance of the evidence, regardless of whether all specifications are sustained, it must affirm the suitability determination. The Board must consider the record as a whole and make a finding on each charge and specification in making its decision.

  3. If the Board sustains fewer than all the charges, the Board must remand the case to OPM or the agency to determine whether the suitability action taken is appropriate based on the sustained charge(s). However, the agency must hold in abeyance a decision on remand until the person has exhausted all rights to seek review of the Board's decision, including court review.

  4. Once review is final, OPM or an agency will determine whether the action taken is appropriate based on the sustained charges and the determination will be final without any further appeal to the Board.

  5. Appeal procedures. The procedures for filing an appeal with the Board are outlined in 5 CFR Part 1201.

Suitability Referral Chart

United States Office of Personnel Management
Investigations Service Suitability Referral Chart Referral Requirements

Applications are referred to OPM for suitability determinations as indicated by the following chart:

A. Any evidence of dishonesty or fraud in the competitive examination or appointment process (e.g., falsification of application) Always refer, regardless of the date of occurrence
B. – Any statutory debarment issue
– Any loyalty or terrorism issue
Refer all within 3 years (For patterns, the conduct may begin prior to, but must extend into, the last 3 years)
– Patterns of conduct (alcoholism/drug addiction; financial irresponsibility/major liabilities; dishonesty; unemployability for negligence or misconduct; criminal conduct)
– Other-Than-Honorable military discharge
– Felony offense
– Drug manufacturing/trafficking/sale
– Major honesty issue (e.g., extortion, armed robbery, embezzlement, perjury)
– Serious violent behavior (e.g., rape, aggravated assault, arson, child abuse, manslaughter)
– Criminal sexual misconduct
– Illegal use of firearms/explosives
– Hatch Act violation
– Employment-related misconduct involving dishonesty, criminal or violent behavior
Refer all within 3 years (For patterns, the conduct may begin prior to, but must extend into, the last 3 years)
– Drug-related offenses
– Theft/forgery
– Disorderly conduct/assault/criminal mischief/harassment
Employment-related misconduct involving dishonesty, criminal or violent behavior
– Minor liquor law violation
– Minor traffic violation
– Bad check
– Minor disruptive conduct (trespassing/vagrancy/loitering/disturbing peace)
– Employment-related misconduct involving attitude/personality conflict
Refer for 3 or more occurrences within 3 years (may be a combination of these issues)


Court martial offenses should be referred according to the issues involved and the criteria for the conduct.

Objections and Pass Overs

Objections and Pass Overs
These instructions are for use by an OPM certified DEU when proposing to object or pass over an eligible on a competitive certificate of eligibles issued under delegated examining procedures.
Objection: All adverse determinations of non-preference eligibles (NV) and preference eligibles when the preference eligible is not being passed over in favor of a non-preference eligible. Qualifications IRS
Pass Over: All adverse determinations of 5-point (TP) and 10-point (XP, CP) eligibles who are being passed over in favor of a non-preference eligible. Qualifications IRS
Pass Over: All adverse determinations of 10-point, compensably disabled, 30% or more (CPS) eligibles who are being passed over in favor of a non-preference eligible. Qualifications OPM
Objection: All adverse determinations of non- preference eligibles (NV). Medical IRS
Pass Over: All adverse determinations of preference eligibles (TP, XP, CP, CPS.) Medical OPM
Objection: All adverse determinations of non-preference eligibles (NV) and non compensable preference eligibles (TP, XP). Suitability IRS
Pass Over: All adverse determinations of compensable preference eligibles (CPS). Suitability OPM

Send requests of all suitability determinations to:

Federal Investigations Processing Center
Suitability Adjudication Branch
Director, Staffing & Reinvention Office
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
P.O. Box 618
Boyers, PA 16018-0618

Send request for pass overs based on medical issues to:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
1900 E. Street NW
Washington, DC 20415-0001
Telephone: 202-606-0830

Send requests for pass overs of 30% or more disabled (CPS) veterans based on qualifications issues to OPM via IRS HCO.

Information Requirements for Suitability Referrals to OPM

United States
Office of Personnel Management
Investigations Service
Information Requirements for Suitability Referrals to OPM
Please refer to the following information requirements when submitting requests to OPM for a suitability determination or advisory. Each request must include:
• INV 60, "Request for Determination or Advisory," if known, indicate the position sensitivity in block 11;
• Subject's resume or OF-612;
• OF 306, "Declaration for Federal Employment" signed and dated by the applicant. If an OF 306 was not completed, please note this on the INV 60; and
• Record of contact with the subject or other contacts/investigations made by the agency concerning the issues.
Suitability Objection/Pass Over requests must be based on suitability factors found at 5 CFR § 731.202. In addition to the information required for an Applicant Suitability Determination (above), the objecting agency must complete an SF 62 and provide any supporting documentation. Position sensitivity must be shown on the INV 60.


Objections based on a perceived lack of ability, education, experience, or unsatisfactory performance evaluation should be submitted as Qualification Objection/Pass Over requests and follow DEOH procedures for processing.

If the pass over request involves a preference eligible with a 30% or more compensable disability, include:
• Proof of the disability dated within the past year, and
• Copy of the letter sent to the preference eligible notifying him of the pass over request, the reason for it, and of his right to respond to the office of Personnel Management within fifteen (15) days in accordance with 5 USC § 3318(b)(2).


The objection/pass over cannot be based on confidential information. Case Examining Requests: A Case Examining request, made when there are limited vacancies to be filled with no further appointments anticipated in the near future, requires all information listed for an Applicant Suitability Determination (above). The INV 60 should be prominently marked "CASE EXAMINING – SPECIAL HANDLING." Include the name and telephone number of the requesting official, so that he/she can be notified of OPM’s decision.

Advisory Opinions: Agencies with delegated suitability adjudication authority may request Advisory opinions from OPM. Each request should include the subject’s application, along with any other documentation you would like OPM to consider. Other Reference/Instructional Material: In addition to the above, please refer to the Federal Investigation Notice (FIN 95-01), January 19, 1995.

Please refer all requests to:

Office of Personnel Management
P.O. Box 618
Boyers, PA 16018-0618

If you have questions concerning this information or your requests, please contact the Suitability Adjudications Branch at 724-794-5612.