Tribal IRS Safeguarding Guidance
DATE: March 8, 2010
TO: ALL TRIBAL IV-D DIRECTORS
RE: Tribal IRS Safeguarding Guidance
We recently received questions from several tribal IV-D directors concerning IRS security and safeguarding requirements, and the appropriate steps needed to ensure the proper handling of federal tax information (FTI). The purpose of this letter is to provide guidance to tribal IV-D agencies currently receiving FTI and those that may seek access to tax data in the future.
The IRS Office of Safeguards and OCSE are committed to assisting tribal IV-D agencies in understanding and implementing the IRS safeguarding requirements, and are extending support by providing informal on-site outreach visits. IRS and OCSE will meet first with those tribal IV-D agencies identified as participating in the tax refund offset program. These visits are expected to begin in May or June 2010. The purpose of these visits is solely intended to provide information and assistance to the tribal IV-D community regarding the safeguarding and security of FTI. These visits will also assist IRS Office of Safeguards in eventually integrating tribal IV-D agencies into the IRS review and reporting process that state IV-D agencies currently undergo.
It is critically important for state and tribal IV-D agencies to be cognizant of the IRS safeguarding requirements in order to protect an individual’s personal tax information. Safeguarding requirements are outlined in IRS Publication 1075 and any entity receiving IRS data is required under law to comply with such regulations. Several years ago, in collaboration with tribal leaders, we developed prerequisites regarding the safeguarding of FTI. Below are the prerequisites to accessing federal tax refund offset and Federal Parent Locator Service data:
- If an approved tribal IV-D plan or plan amendment indicates that the tribe has entered into a cooperative agreement with the state IV-D agency under 45 CFR 309.60(b), the tribe must submit as part of its tribal IV-D plan or plan amendment, copies of the agreement.
- The regulations governing tribal IV-D programs at §309.35(d) require that after approval of the original tribal IV-D program application, all relevant changes required by new federal statutes, rules, regulations, and department interpretations are required to be submitted so that the Secretary may determine whether the plan continues to meet federal requirements and policies.
- The cooperative agreement between the tribe and state must include a statement that the tribal IV-D program will comply with all safeguarding requirements with respect to federal tax refund offset in accordance with §309.80, section 454(26) of the Social Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code 26 USC 6103, which prohibits the release of IRS information outside of the IV-D program.
- A tribal IV-D plan must provide evidence that the tribe’s application for IV-D services under §309.65(a)(2) includes a statement that the applicant is applying for state IV-D services for purposes of submitting arrearages for federal tax refund offset.
In collaboration with OCSE, the IRS Office of the Safeguards will provide teleconference briefings in the near future to discuss safeguard review issues and address any concerns you may have about this process. We will provide further correspondence as more details are known.
Our common goal is to protect the personal data of the individuals that we all serve and we greatly appreciate your cooperation and efforts in this endeavor. If you have questions about this outreach process or would like additional information, please contact Scott Hale at (202) 401-5745.
Office of Child Support Enforcement
cc: Tribal Leaders
ACF/OCSE Regional Program Managers
State IV-D Directors