7.13.1 Determination Letter Applications

Manual Transmittal

April 16, 2021


(1) This transmits revised IRM 7.13.1, Employee Plans Automated Processing Procedures, Determination Letter Applications.

Material Changes

(1) Internal Controls have been added. IRM has been amended and renamed, Program, Scope and Objectives. Added sections, IRM, Background; IRM, Authority; IRM; Responsibility; and IRM, Acronyms.

(2) Updated to meet the requirements of P.L. 111-274 (H.R. 946), the Plain Writing Act of 2010. The Act states writing must be clear, concise, well-organized, and follow other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience.

(3) Updated IRM (4) to switch from referencing an interim guidance memo to the newly published IRM 25.13.2, TE/GE Taxpayer Correspondence Procedures.

Effect on Other Documents

This supersedes IRM 7.13.1 dated November 21, 2016.


Tax Exempt and Government Entities
Employee Plans

Effective Date


Eric D. Slack
Director, Employee Plans
Tax Exempt and Government Entities

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. Purpose: This IRM gives an overview of the systems Employee Plans (EP) uses to process Determination Letter (DL) applications.

  2. Audience: Employee Plans Determinations employees and Cincinnati Service Processing Center (CSPC) employees who process DL applications.

  3. Policy Owner: Director, Employee Plans

  4. Program Owner: Employee Plans

  5. Program Goals: The goal of EP Determinations is to ensure that plans comply with the tax laws. We do this by reviewing applications for determination and opinion letters, and to protect the public interest by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness.


  1. We use the Tax Exempt Determination System (TEDS) as the primary system for processing DL applications, but we continue to use the Employee Plans-Exempt Organizations Determination System (EDS) as our system of record, to close cases and generate DLs.

  2. EDS is a menu-driven system. You can choose functions from a list of available options. When you select a valid option, it will display an input screen or another submenu. When you complete an option, the higher level menu is displayed so you may select another option or exit EDS.

  3. We use the Letter Information Network User Fee System (LINUS) to process the user fee for the DL application. The initial user fee input data is automatically transmitted to TEDS. LINUS generates:

    • Form 2221, Schedule of Collections

    • Acknowledgment letters

    • EP Determination Input Sheet


  1. The authority to issue favorable DLs on the qualified status of pension, profit-sharing, stock bonus, annuity, and employee stock ownership plans under IRC 401, IRC 403(a), IRC 409, and IRC 4975(e)(7) and the status for exemption of any related trusts or custodial accounts under IRC 501(a) is delegated to the Director, Employee Plans, and has been re-delegated to the Director, EP Rulings and Agreements, Delegation Order 7-1a, IRM

  2. Find a complete list of delegation orders and policy statements governing EP Rulings and Agreements at https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/delegation-orders-and-policy-statements-by-process.


  1. The Director, EP supervises and is responsible for:

    1. EP Rulings and Agreements

    2. EP Examination functions

    3. EP Program Management Staff

  2. The Director, EP Examination, supervises and is responsible for:

    1. EP Examinations

    2. EP Examinations, Area Managers


  1. This table shows acronyms used in this IRM

    Acronym Definition
    AES Advanced Encryption Standard
    CSDW Cyber Security Data Warehouse
    DL Determination Letter
    EACS EP/EO Application Control System
    EDS Employee Plans-Exempt Organizations Determination System
    EFTU Electronic File Transfer Utility
    EO Exempt Organizations
    EOBMF Exempt Organizations Business Master File
    EP Employee Plans
    EPMF Employee Plans Master File
    GSS General Support System
    HTTPS Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure
    RICS Returns Inventory Classification System
    SDT Secure Data Transfer
    TEDS Tax Exempt Determination System


  1. EDS is a national system run in a Sun Solaris environment. Retirement plan sponsors submit applications to EP to determine if they meet the Internal Revenue Code law requirements. EDS maintains inventory for cases in the EP and Exempt Organizations (EO) Determination Letter Programs.

  2. EDS receives data from, and sends data to, several remote systems via Electronic File Transfer Utility (EFTU):

    1. EDS uses data it receives from the TEDS to create and update cases in the EDS database.

    2. EDS sends case data to TEDS daily, including case status acknowledgement data, to manage information reports.

    3. LINUS data is taken in and stored to support manual case entry. LINUS transfers data to EDS if TEDS is unavailable.

    4. Data is sent to the Returns Inventory Classification System (RICS) daily and combined with TE/GE compliance data.

    5. Data is sent to the EP/EO Application Control System (EACS) each business day to forward to either the Employee Plans Master File (EPMF) or the Exempt Organizations Business Master File (EOBMF), and EACS sends data to EDS confirming the posting of data from EDS into EACS.

    6. Data is sent to a contractor (ICF Macro) who performs the Customer Satisfaction Survey.

    7. Data is transmitted via EFTU to Secure Data Transfer (SDT), which uses Tumbleweed Secure Transport v4.8.1, a certified Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 cryptographic module. Tumbleweed Secure Transport has an integrated web server based off of Apache that uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption.

    8. SDT is used to provide files to external IRS customers. SDT is managed and maintained by the General Support System (GSS)-17.

  3. EDS sends updates to Business Objects. Business Objects:

    1. Replaces the Cyber Security Data Warehouse (CSDW) which allows users to view, create, and modify inventory and employee reports.

    2. Uses tools to provide a built-in interface to query and analyze data and to build ad hoc and canned reports.

  4. All letters must meet national standards for letter format, content, and style. EP Determinations must request approval from the Office of Taxpayer Correspondence for any letter they develop locally or any change they make to a nationally approved letter. IRM 25.13.2, TE/GE Taxpayer Correspondence Procedures.

  5. Correspondex is used to automatically generate the Acknowledgement Notice 3335.