9.4.11 Investigative Services

Manual Transmittal

December 18, 2018


(1) This transmits revised IRM 9.4.11, Investigative Services.

Material Changes

(1) Subsections through reflect the IRS requirement that IR manuals address Internal Controls (ICs). The ICs mandate is outlined in The Heightened Awareness, Sensitivity, and Understanding of Internal Controls memo dated September 14, 2016. Internal Controls are the program manuals policies and procedures. The ICs describe the program manual’s objectives, and officials charged with management and oversight. The ICs ensure the:

  1. Mission and program objectives are clearly delineated and key terms are defined; and

  2. Program operations are in conformance with applicable laws and regulations.

(2) To conform to the new Internal Controls standards:

  1. Former subsection, Overview, is retitled to Program Scope and Objectives to properly reflect the information communicated in the subsection. The subsection clearly delineates the program manual’s: mission, objectives, and goals. The subsection provides special agents assistance in conducting criminal investigations and associated litigation activities.

  2. New subsection is added to provide the legal authorities for the program manual 9.4.11.

  3. New subsection is added as a compiled list of the terms and acronyms used within the program manual 9.4.11.

(3) The IRM is further revised throughout to briefly describe the individual teams within the National Forensic Laboratory (NFL). The separate and distinct teams offer services relating to evidence gathered in the course of an investigation.

(4) Subsection through is revised to:

  • include the Data Processing Center as part of the National Forensic Laboratory.

  • rename the Electronics Unit to the Digital Information and Analysis Team; and

  • rename the Trial Illustration Group to the Trial Graphics and Design Team.

(5) Subsections through are obsolete and therefore deleted.

(6) Subsections through are obsolete and therefore deleted.

(7) Subsection is obsolete and therefore deleted.

(8) Additional revisions, deletions, and grammatical changes were made throughout the section, which did not result in substantive changes but contributed to procedural clarity of the subject matter.

Effect on Other Documents

This IRM supersedes IRM 9.4.11, dated September 16, 2011. This IRM also incorporates procedures implemented by the IRS Deputy Commissioners memorandum dated September 14, 2016, [Subject: Heightened Awareness, Sensitivity, and Understanding of Internal Controls].



Effective Date


Denise Rocawich FOR Don Fort
Chief, Criminal Investigation

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. This section relates to the investigative services available within Criminal Investigation (CI) to provide special agents assistance in conducting criminal investigations and associated litigation activities. The sources providing investigative services include the following:

    1. National Forensic Laboratory

    2. Electronics Crimes

    3. Field Office Resources, including: Investigative Analyst; Tax Fraud Investigative Assistant; and Compliance Support Assistant

    4. Lead Development Centers


  1. See IRM 9.1.2, Authority for the delegated authority relating to 9.4.11, Investigative Services.


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

    Acronyms Definition
    CPE Continuing Professional Education
    FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation
    NADDIS Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs Information System
    NFL National Forensic Laboratory
    NCIC National Crime Information Center
    TFIA Tax Fraud Investigative Assistant
    CSA Compliance Support Assistant
    IA Investigative Analyst
    SAC Special Agent In Charge
    TECS Treasury Enforcement Communication System

National Forensic Laboratory

  1. The NFL commonly known as the “Forensic Lab” is a section under the office of Operations, Policy and Support, Criminal Investigation. The NFL is comprised of separate and distinct teams, each of which offers services relating to evidence gathered in the course of an investigation:

    1. The NFL is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with additional examiners located in a few other cities across the nation.

    2. The Trial Graphics and Design, and the Data Processing Center teams are each headquartered in Florence, Kentucky.

  2. Each of these groups offers distinct services relating to evidence gathered in the course of an investigation. The NFL maintains up-to-date contact information and forensic reference material on CI Connections on the NFL and CASE Web pages. The NFL and the CASE Web pages should be reviewed for additional information that may be utilized during investigations. The following subsections will briefly describe the individual teams within the NFL and the services provided by each team. The subsections also detail how to request and obtain services provided by the NFL.

National Forensic Laboratory Teams

  1. There are seven teams, which make up the NFL. There is useful information on the NFL and Case Web pages that should be reviewed early on in an investigation to determine if the NFL may be useful. The teams within the NFL are listed below:

    1. Digital Information and Analysis Team

    2. Latent Print Team

    3. Questioned Document and Chemistry Team

    4. Polygraph Team

    5. Trial Graphics and Design Team

    6. Data Processing Center

    7. Evidence Control Team

Digital Information and Analysis Team
  1. The Digital Information and Analysis Team provides intelligibility enhancement of audio recordings and enhancements to the video and audio quality of video recordings. The team is also capable of converting analog recordings to digital format.

Latent Print Team
  1. The Latent Print Team processes evidence and compares latent finger and palm prints found on evidence to fingerprint and palm print cards of known subjects. The use of new techniques has enabled the development of previously undetectable prints. The Latent Print Team can search unidentified latent prints through computerized fingerprint and palm print databases throughout the country. Review the Forensic Lab and CASE Web pages for additional technical information.

  2. When a subject is required to provide handwriting exemplars and/or to be photographed, special agents should also obtain fingerprints and palm prints of the subject, and submit them with the evidence to be examined.

    1. A full set of known prints consists of clearly and completely recorded fingerprints and palm prints, including the area referred to as the ″writer’s palm”. The writer’s palm is that area on the side of the palm which normally rests on the paper when writing.

    2. Fingerprints should be recorded on Form FD-249, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Form FD-249, with the Field Office’s Originating Agency Identifying (ORI) Number, may be obtained directly from the FBI.

    3. Fingerprints and palm prints are also taken by a method called live-scan or direct electronic fingerprinting/palm printing. This method records prints digitally into a computer database after fingerprints/palm prints are rolled/recorded on a piece of glass of a computer-driven scanner.

    4. If an agent is unable to roll/record the subject’s prints, fingerprints and palm prints may be obtained from the FBI Identification Division, which contains civilian and criminal records. The FBI number of an individual with a criminal history may be found in the NCIC. This number is necessary for ordering purposes. When using the services of the Latent Print Team to obtain a set of prints, special agents must provide the person’s FBI number.

    5. Although a set of recorded fingerprints/palm prints might be considered classifiable, that does not mean they are fully comparable or identifiable to latent fingerprints/palm prints.

    6. The utmost care must be utilized to ensure that subjects do not handle any original documents relating to the investigation during interviews, etc. This would negate any subsequent examination for latent prints on those documents. If it is appropriate to preserve the evidence for examination, the evidence should be placed in document protectors before it is shown to the subjects.

Questioned Document and Chemistry Team
  1. The Questioned Document and Chemistry Team conduct examinations and comparisons of questioned and known documentary evidence. This includes handwriting, hand printing, numerals, mechanical impressions, and ink and paper. The team also deciphers obliterations and alterations, and develops indented writing on documents. Burned or torn/shredded documents may be submitted; however, special agents should contact the library for specific instructions and guidance before handling and/or submitting burned of torn/shredded documents.


    It is very important not to add any indentations to the questioned documents during their collection, handling, or shipping. The documents should be put in plastic sleeves or document protectors for handling. Never place other papers on top of the evidence and then write on them. The transmittal envelope should be addressed before the documents are placed inside.

  2. Exemplars should be obtained whenever special agents become aware that the authenticity or origin of a document may be questioned. It is critical that special agents obtain original known exemplars before submitting a request. The results of the examinations performed by the NFL depend largely on the quality of the known writing that is submitted for comparison.

Types of Exemplars
  1. There are two types of exemplars: requested and collected. Whenever possible, both types should be submitted.

Requested Exemplars (Known Writing Exemplars)
  1. Requested exemplars contain repetitions of all of the letters and letter combinations that are present in the text of the questioned documents.

  2. Requested exemplars are gathered during the course of an investigation as a result of a request, summons, or subpoena of the suspected writer.

  3. A summons or a subpoena may be issued to a subject for the purpose of providing handwriting exemplars. Compulsion of handwriting exemplars is neither a search nor seizure subject to Fourth Amendment protections, nor testimonial evidence protected by the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Serving a summons on a subject for the purpose of taking exemplars is within the authority of 26 USC §7602. This action does not violate the Fifth Amendment rights of a subject, or policies established by Congress because handwriting exemplars are deemed identifying physical characteristics. The CASE Web page under Forensic Lab/Questioned Docs/Ink (“Best Practice”) should be reviewed.

Collected Exemplars
  1. Collected exemplars consist of normal course-of-business records such as personal papers, canceled checks, rent applications, receipts, school documents, etc. Collected exemplars are naturally written (no disguise) and they are an excellent source of known writing when comparing writings.

Comparisons of Handwriting, Printing and Numeral Exemplars
  1. Special agents should contact the Questioned Document and Chemistry Team prior to obtaining exemplars. Special agents should use the following guidelines when obtaining exemplars:

    1. Exemplars should be original documents known to have been written by the person suspected of writing the questioned document.

    2. Exemplars should contain repetitions of all of the letters and letter combinations that are present in the text of the questioned documents.

    3. Exemplars should approximate the questioned writing conditions (i.e., if handwritten, get known handwriting; if upper-case hand printed, get known upper-case hand printing, etc.).

    4. Exemplars should be made with a similar writing instrument, on similar paper, and should include, as nearly as possible, the full text of the questioned document.

  2. In addition to getting exemplars containing comparable repetitions of the questioned text, special agents should use Form 6540 (EN-SP), (see Document Manager or the Media and Publication Services catalog page) to obtain a general sample of an individual’s writing.

Mechanical Impression Comparisons
  1. Examinations and comparisons of mechanical impressions, including typewriter impressions and rubber stamp impressions can be conducted. Identifications are based on individual defects usually caused by wear or damage.

Typewriter Exemplars
  1. If a known typewriter is located, the Questioned Document and Chemistry Team should be contacted to determine if the typewriter should be submitted to the laboratory or if exemplars should be taken from it.

    1. If the machine is equipped with a readable carbon ribbon, the ribbon should be removed, protected, and submitted. The team has the capability of transcribing the text found on readable carbon ribbons.

Printer Exemplars
  1. If a printer is located, the Questioned Document and Chemistry Team should be contacted before submitting it or exemplars from it to the laboratory.

Rubber Stamp Exemplars
  1. If available, the known rubber stamp should be submitted along with the questioned documents bearing rubber stamp impressions. The document examiner will examine the rubber stamp before producing exemplars. No attempt should be made to clean the rubber stamp before submitting it to the laboratory.

Charred Documents
  1. Charred or burned documents may be examined and imaged with the aid of various light sources. Many times what is not visible under ordinary light may be deciphered and recorded using specialized light sources. Charred or burned documents should be placed in protective packaging and submitted, as soon as possible to the laboratory. Special agents should contact the laboratory for specific instructions and guidance before handling charred or burned paper evidence.

Torn/Shredded Paper
  1. Torn/shredded paper evidence should not be taped or glued together prior to submission to the laboratory. The examiner will evaluate the characteristics of the torn/shredded edges to reconstruct the documents. If the torn/shredded documents are found in the garbage or a shredder, the special agent should attempt to maintain the integrity of the torn/shredded documents by handling them as little as possible.

Polygraph Team
  1. The Polygraph Team conducts examinations to test credibility issues which may arise before, during, or after the completion of an investigation.

  2. The Polygraph Team also evaluates examinations conducted by operators outside the IRS.

Suitability of a Polygraph Examination
  1. A polygraph examination may be used to determine the reliability of information provided by informants, subjects, witnesses, and cooperating defendants. A polygraph examination may also be conducted pursuant to a plea agreement in order to determine if the defendant is cooperating fully with the government.

  2. A polygraph examination should be used selectively as an investigative tool. A qualified polygraph examiner should be directly consulted by the special agent whenever a polygraph is being considered. A qualified examiner is trained to evaluate the suitability of the polygraph technique as requested by the special agent.

Legal Admissibility of the Results of a Polygraph
  1. The legal admissibility of the results of a test (deception indicated, no deception indicated, inconclusive, or no opinion) varies by jurisdiction. However, statements, admissions, and confessions obtained during the examination process are generally admissible in court.

Services Provided by the Trial Graphics and Design Team
  1. The Trial Graphics and Design Team provides graphics for trials involving criminal tax, money laundering, and other violations over which IRS has jurisdiction. Visuals provided are available in varying formats which include: electronic (JPEG, PNG, PDF, etc.), large scale prints (up to 40” x 60”), handouts, overhead transparencies and transitional or static electronic presentations.

  2. Summarized graphics are prepared and designed based on supporting evidence and various statistical information provided to the Visual Information Specialist. Methods used in the creation and design of graphics include consultations and correspondence, review of evidence and charges, determination of the format necessary based on requirements and technology utilized in the courtroom and discussion of the particulars of the case. The types of graphic vary from basic graphs such as bar charts, line, pie and scatter to maps and timeliness. Other graphics include link analysis, computations and element of the offense charts. Various graphic examples are available via the CI Connections page under CASE/Forensic Lab/Trial Illustration.

  3. A cost of prosecution may be provided from the Trial Graphics and Design Team as the hours and supplies expended are considered non-investigative and therefore billable to the defense. A request should be made to the manager via e-mail including the defendant name, special agent name and contact information. A written statement will be sent to the special agent once the request is received.

  4. Form 13437, IRS National Forensic Laboratory Request for Services, should be submitted a minimum of 45-60 days before trial to allow for any on site consultation that may be needed and to provide sufficient time to discuss the evidence and documentation that will assist in the preparation of the graphics. Form 13437, IRS National Forensic Laboratory Request for Services, can be located on the CI Connections page under Operations Policy and Support/Forensic Lab/Documents or at the Media and Publication Services catalog page.

Evidence Control
  1. Evidence Control receives all requests for the NFL and tracks these requests as they move through the various teams. Evidence Control is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the evidence when it comes in and leaves the laboratory.

How to Request Services of the National Forensic Laboratory

  1. Special agents should initiate requests for any service offered by the NFL using Form 13437, National Forensic Laboratory Request for Services (see Document Manager or the Media and Publication Services catalog page). Information required on the form includes the investigation name and number, type of request, type of investigation, investigation synopsis, description of the submitted evidence, and the submitter’s contact information.

  2. Whenever possible, original evidence should be submitted for examination. If copies are the only available evidence they can be submitted; however, the examination may be limited. Special agents should keep copies of the original evidence submitted to the NFL.

  3. Form 13437, National Forensic Laboratory Request for Services, includes instructions on how to fill out the form and how to package, seal and ship the evidence. If an expedited examination is needed, the special agent should indicate the reason and/or pending court or grand jury date. Special agents should call and advise the team in advance of an exigent request.


    All evidence should be secured from the time the evidence is obtained through the course of the investigation. Before submitting evidence to the laboratory, it is recommended that special agents call the laboratory and/or review the CASE web page under Forensic Lab/Evidence Control.

  4. Requests for services and evidence for any of the NFL teams should be sent to the following address:

    Evidence Control, National Forensic Laboratory
    Internal Revenue Service
    Criminal Investigation Division
    525 W. Van Buren St., Suite 400
    Chicago, Illinois 60607
  5. Special agents should submit the request for services and the evidence, as soon as they realize their investigation may benefit from the services offered by the NFL.

Use of a Non-IRS Laboratory
  1. In situations where the use of a non-IRS laboratory is being considered, the SAC of the requesting field office may contact the NFL Director, CI:OPS:F for recommendations and guidance based on services needed and/or turn-around-time.

Role of the Examiners

  1. Examiners prepare reports based on their examinations and conclusions. They are available to testify in court or other judicial proceedings regarding their conclusions.

Travel by the Examiners
  1. In situations where it is necessary for examiners to travel to a field office to perform on-site examinations and/or consultations, travel must be coordinated with the specific team in the NFL. The examiners are also available to travel to the field offices for CPE presentations.

  2. Requests for travel by NFL examiners to perform on-site examinations should be submitted on Form 13437 as specified (see subsection Requests for examiners to participate in CPE presentations should be made in writing (either memorandum or e-mail) by the SAC to the Laboratory Director, CI:OPS:F.

  3. The cost of the services provided by the NFL is not charged to the requesting field office as the cost is paid using the NFL’s budget. The cost of NFL services may be charged to the defendant if the judge orders the defendant to pay court costs.

Evaluation of Services

  1. At the completion of a case, special agents will receive and are asked to complete Form 13436, IRS National Forensic Laboratory Evaluation of Services. The evaluation will enable the NFL to maintain quality services and keep apprised of the field offices’ needs.

Electronic Crimes Program


Investigative Analyst

  1. The IA assists in the identification of noncompliance with tax laws and supports ongoing criminal investigations by researching, collecting, analyzing, and evaluating raw data. The IA is available to support any investigation in the field office. For additional information pertaining to IA assistance go to CI Connections-CASE-Communities of Practice (CoPs)-Investigative Assistance for SAs.

Tax Fraud Investigative Assistant

  1. A TFIA provides technical support to special agents. The TFIA regularly operates various types of communications equipment and serves as the central communications point for the field office and subordinate offices. For additional information pertaining to TFIA assistance go to CI Connections-CASE-Communities of Practice (CoPs)-Specialized Responsibilities-IA/TFIA.

Compliance Support Assistant

  1. The CSA provides clerical and program assistance, to a work group of special agents in a CI field office.

Group Resource

  1. The CSAs may be centrally managed by the SAC or an ASAC, or may be assigned to a specific work group in a field office. Each CSA provides support to more than one group.

  2. The CSA duties and support are normally limited to the office environment. A CSA is not authorized to perform field investigation work typically performed by TFIAs.

When to Request

  1. Special agents may request the assistance of a CSA anytime during an investigation or when help is needed. Special agents should consider requesting the services of a CSA whenever the services will result in more efficient use of CI's resources.

Services Provided by a Compliance Support Assistant

  1. A CSA provides a variety of services. The list of possible services performed by a CSA includes, but is not limited to, the following functions:

    1. Performs complex research in support of ongoing investigations and gathers, extracts, and compiles information from a variety of sources. These sources include internal and external investigative databases and the internet.

    2. Assists as directed in verifying accounting records; extracting information from books and records; interviewing informants or witnesses; administering handwriting and handprinting exemplars; preparing related reports, correspondence, and other documents; and serves as corroborator/witness during interviews with principals or third parties.

    3. Selects and uses small computer applications for presentation of word processing, database, and spreadsheet tools to meet users' needs.

    4. Assembles investigation files and reports into prescribed formats, ensuring that all required or related materials have been included.

    5. Inputs CIMIS updates; assists in the maintenance of Criminal Investigation Equipment Control System (CIECS); requisitions tax returns using IDRS; maintains the tax return inventory; and oversees the maintenance of office files.

Request for Compliance Support Assistant Assistance

  1. To request the services of a CSA, special agents should coordinate the assistance of the CSA through their CSA’s immediate supervisor.