13.1.15 Customer Complaints/RRA98 §1203 Procedures

Manual Transmittal

September 21, 2021


(1) This transmits revised IRM 13.1.15, Taxpayer Advocate Case Procedures, Customer Complaints/RRA98 §1203 Procedures.

Material Changes

(1) Minor formatting and grammatical changes made throughout the section.

(2) IRM Added new internal controls subsection for Program, Scope and Objectives and all subsequent subsections have been renumbered.

(3) IRM Incorporated IPU 18U0389 - Added Note to clarify how to obtain employee information by entering the 10-digit Personal Identification (PID) Number from Smart ID badge in lieu of the SEID in Discovery Directory.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 13.1.15 dated August 8, 2016 is superseded. IPU 18U0389 dated March 5, 2018, has been incorporated.


Taxpayer Advocate Service employees.

Effective Date


Bonnie Fuentes
Executive Director Case Advocacy, Intake and Technical Support

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. Purpose: The section provides employees with guidance on customer complaint procedures regarding the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA98) § 1203 procedures.

  2. Audience: These procedures apply to TAS Case Advocacy employees working TAS cases.

  3. Policy Owner: The Executive Director Case Advocacy, Intake & Technical Support (EDCA-ITS), who reports to the Deputy National Taxpayer Advocate (DNTA).

  4. Program Owner: The Director, Technical Analysis and Guidance (TAG), who reports to the EDCA-ITS.


  1. Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA98) §1203.


  1. All TAS employees are responsible for following the procedures set forth in this IRM regarding customer complaints and employee misconduct.


  1. The following table contains a list of acronyms and their definitions used throughout this IRM.

    Acronyms Definitions
    ECCO Employee Conduct and Compliance Office
    PID Personal Identification Number
    RRA98 Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998
    TIGTA Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Related Resources

  1. This is a list of relevant documents TAS employees will use in conjunction with this IRM:

    • Document 11043, RRA '98 Section 1203 All Employee Guide;

    • Document 11325, Don't Let It Happen to You, Section 1203 Tax Compliance Violations Brochure;

Introduction to Customer Complaints/RRA98 Section 1203 Procedures

  1. Section 1203 of RRA98 requires termination of IRS employment for misconduct.

  2. Complaints about IRS employee conduct should be evaluated and acted upon according to the procedures described in Document 11043, RRA '98 §1203 All Employee Guide.

    • Allegations determined to be potential section 1203 violations will be sent to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) for processing and investigation, if required. See IRM, RRA98 Section 1203 - Employee Responsibilities.

    • Allegations determined to contain no section 1203 violations will be handled using administrative procedures. See IRM, Customer Complaints (Non - Section 1203 Violations).

Elements of Misconduct

  1. The IRS is required to annually report to Congress on taxpayer complaints about IRS misconduct. The IRS has defined misconduct for this purpose as:

    • An employee violated a law, regulation, or rule of conduct (these cases are worked and reported by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA);

    • An IRS system failed to function properly or within proper time frames (these cases are worked as TAS cases); or

    • An IRS employee treated a taxpayer inappropriately in the course of official business. For example, rudeness, over zealousness, excessive aggressiveness, discriminatory treatment, and intimidation. (These cases will be worked/handled by management within the employee's function.)

RRA98 Section 1203 – Employee Responsibilities

  1. Employees should have a basic understanding of the conduct provisions of section 1203 as outlined in Document 11043, RRA98 § 1203 All Employee Guide. Employees are also responsible for reporting allegations involving potential section 1203 violations to their manager for forwarding to the appropriate officials. Depending on the nature of the allegations, these officials may be management or TIGTA.

  2. The employee's manager is required to complete Form 12217, Section 1203 Allegation Referral Form, and determine if the case should be referred to TIGTA or management. Except for EEO and tax related issues, allegations relating to all Executives, Senior Level Managers (paybanded and supervisory GS-15s) and Criminal Investigation Employees must be directly and immediately referred to TIGTA.

  3. If you wish to report a Section 1203 violation, you may do so by telephoning the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). The toll free telephone number is 1-800-366-4484. The TIGTA toll-free TTY number for the hearing impaired is 1-800-877-8339.

  4. The following types of employee misconduct cases require referral to the manager for section 1203 consideration:

    • False statements under oath;

    • Falsification of documents;

    • Assault or battery;

    • Misuse of IRC 6103 (Disclosure);

    • Threat of Audit;

    • Seizure violations;

    • Infringement of taxpayer's constitutional rights;

    • Harassment/Retaliation;

    • Discrimination;

    • Failure to file; or

    • Understatement of liability.

Customer Complaints (Non - Section 1203 Allegations)

  1. Information regarding inappropriate behavior may be brought to the Case Advocate's attention through internal sources, taxpayers or third parties. All cases alleging inappropriate conduct or handling by an IRS employee or IRS manager, must be referred to the employee's manager. However, allegations relating to the manager should be referred to that manager's immediate manager. Obtain the taxpayer's name, address, telephone number, and specifics of the alleged inappropriate behavior and complaint. Also obtain the name, identification number, function, and location of the IRS employee. Submit the information, as indicated above, to the manager for appropriate action.


    If the taxpayer cannot provide all of this information but does provide the employee’s name, use Outlook or Discovery Directory to research the name to secure the remaining information. If the taxpayer cannot provide the employee’s name, but provides the employee’s 10-digit Smart ID badge number, use Discovery Directory and enter the 10-digit Smart ID badge number in the SEID section to secure the name and contact information (see Personal Identification (PID) Number for more information).

  2. Issues or concerns involving IRS policy, procedure, or practice may be referred to the Human Capital Office, Employee Conduct and Compliance Office (ECCO). ECCO ensures employee and taxpayer concerns about IRS employee conduct are addressed in a fair, objective and timely manner. For additional information see Document 11325, Don't Let it Happen to You, Section 1203 Tax Compliance Violations Brochure.