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Electronic Filing Automated Report System

Privacy Impact Assessment – Electronic Filing Automated Report System

EARS System Overview:

The EARS system is designed to store, retrieve and display e-filed tax return information such as acknowledgements and cumulative report data. The EARS system receives data transferred from these Unisys programs: ELF15, PAT15, ETD68 and PAT68 program output data and stores it in database and/or text file format on the EARS server local hard disk drives. This is accomplished by using the EARS server program (RET1544) which loads and retrieves EARS data. The RET1544 program runs continuously on the EARS Server. It alternates between polling for retrieval requests and for loading of new data files.

The EARS programs, ELF1544 and RPT15, are executed from an icon on the user workstation.  Requests for data are entered through ELF1544 and RPT15 programs. These programs place an entry into a database for each request. The requesting program goes into a “wait” state until a retrieved file is created by the EARS server program (RET1544) and written into the EARS “share” directory.  Once a file appears in the directory, the retrieval program formats data from the returned data file and displays the data to screen with an option to print and/or download to disk.

System of Records Number(s) (SORN) : 

Treasury/IRS 34.037 IRS Audit Trail and Security Records System

Data in the System

1. Describe the information (data elements and fields) available in the system in the following categories:
A. Taxpayer
B. Employee
C. Audit Trail Information (including employee log-in info)
D. Other (Describe)

B. None other than logon and password.
C. Activity performed and information used to obtain it.
D. Aggregated tax practitioner information and electronic return information.  This information collectively does not allow for individuals to be identified. 

2. Describe/identify which data elements are obtained from files, databases, individuals, or any other sources.
B. Taxpayer
C. Employee
D. Other Federal Agencies (List agency)
E. State and Local Agencies (List agency)
F. Other third party sources (Describe)

A. IRS data derived from tax return processing
B. Only through front-end e-file processes
C. None
D. None
E. None
F. Extract from other system (TPDS) which contains statistics, etc. about EFIN owners (electronic filer ID number --required for transmitters of electronic tax return).

3.  Is each data item required for the business purpose of the system?  Explain.

Yes, to ascertain problems, discrepancies, or other electronic filing processing issues during the filing season.

4. How will each data item be verified for accuracy, timeliness, and completeness?

Data is derived from processed tax returns and must be considered authoritative. 

5. Is there another source for the data?  Explain how that source is or is not used.  No.

6. Generally, how will data be retrieved by the user? 

Through menu-driven executable programs that create preformatted reports.

7. Is the data retrievable by a personal identifier such as name, SSN, or other unique identifier?  No.

Access to the Data

8. Who will have access to the data in the system (Users, Managers, System Administrators, Developers, Others)?

Users at submission processing centers who are authorized by their managers to be responsible to obtain and interpret these reports.

9. How is access to the data by a user determined and by whom? 

Managers determine who is required to have access.  In general, at least one employee at each site will be the individual in charge of reports.

10. Do other IRS systems provide, receive, or share data in the system?  If YES, list the system(s) and describe which data is shared.  If NO, continue to Question 12.  No.

11. Have the IRS systems described in Item 10 received an approved Security Certification and Privacy Impact Assessment?  n/a

12.  Will other agencies provide, receive, or share data in any form with this system?  No.

Administrative Controls of Data

13.  What are the procedures for eliminating the data at the end of the retention period?

Computer Programmer Book (CPB) states that the previous year and current year data is retained for comparison and verification purposes.  When the next year’s processing begins, the previous year’s data is deleted. 

14.  Will this system use technology in a new way?  If "YES" describe.  If "NO" go to Question 15. No.

15.  Will this system be used to identify or locate individuals or groups?  If so, describe the business purpose for this capability. No.

16. Will this system provide the capability to monitor individuals or groups? If yes, describe the business purpose for this capability and the controls established to prevent unauthorized monitoring.

The system can monitor access via an audit trail, which is the only monitoring capability available.

17. Can use of the system allow IRS to treat taxpayers, employees, or others, differently?  Explain.  n/a

18.  Does the system ensure "due process" by allowing affected parties to respond to any negative determination, prior to final action?  n/a

19.  If the system is web-based, does it use persistent cookies or other tracking devices to identify web visitors?

Not web-based.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 10-Dec-2015