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FOIA

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How to Make a FOIA Request

*Important Notice to Requesters*


TIGTA’s Disclosure Branch is continuing to process FOIA and Privacy Act requests to the best of its ability during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there will be delays in processing requests submitted to TIGTA via the U.S. mail and commercial carrier. Therefore, we encourage you to submit requests and follow-up correspondence to us by electronic means, as we continue to have access to e-mail, Internet, and faxes. This will help us respond to your inquiry more timely. Your electronic request may be sent via e-mail to FOIA.Reading.Room@tigta.treas.gov, the National FOIA Portal at https://www.foia.gov/request/agency-component/c4f4e60b-7494-4d3c-8bf2-996bf6bf7701/, or fax to (202) 622-3339.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding. Please know that we are doing everything possible to mitigate delays.




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HOW TO MAKE A FOIA REQUEST

If you are interested in making a FOIA request to TIGTA, your request must be made in writing and include all of the following information for it to be valid for processing.
  • Specifically state you are making a FOIA request.

  • Sign the FOIA request.

  • Reasonably describe the records being requested as specifically as possible (e.g., subject matter, location, and time period). You may attach copies of any correspondence pertaining to the documents you are requesting to assist us in locating the records.

  • Establish your right to receive the requested records if you are requesting records about you (also see Privacy Act Resources). To protect the confidentiality of tax information and/or prevent an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, you must establish your right to receive the requested documents by:

    • Providing a photocopy of an identifying document bearing your signature (such as a driver's license, identification badge, or passport), or a notarized statement swearing to or affirming your identity, or a signed and dated sworn statement as to your identity, under penalty of perjury (Example: I declare under penalty of perjury of the laws of the United States that the foregoing is true and correct. Date Executed:_____ Signature:_____), or

    • Providing an official document showing proof of entitlement as the sole proprietor, member of partnership, corporate officer, shareholder, etc., if requesting the records of a business, or

    • Obtaining the following documentation from your client:

      • A photocopy of an identifying document bearing his/her signature (driver's license, identification badge, or passport), or a notarized statement from your client swearing to or affirming his/her identity, or a signed and dated sworn statement from your client as to his/her identity, under penalty of perjury (see example above).

      • A signed statement from your client authorizing you to receive copies of specific TIGTA records on his/her behalf pursuant to the FOIA.

  • Cite your firm agreement to pay FOIA processing fees for search, copy, and review as applicable to your requester category. You may state the upper limit you are willing to pay, but the amount cannot be less than $25. For most categories of requesters, there is no charge if duplication is less than 100 pages and the search time is less than 2 hours.

If you do not provide the required information listed above, TIGTA will not process your request but will advise you what additional information is required.

WHERE TO SEND YOUR REQUEST:
Office of Chief Counsel Disclosure Branch
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
1401 H Street, NW, Suite 469
Washington, DC 20005
Alternatively, the request may be sent via e-mail FOIA.Reading.Room@tigta.treas.gov, the National FOIA Portal https://www.foia.gov/request/agency-component/c4f4e60b-7494-4d3c-8bf2-996bf6bf7701/, or fax (202) 622-3339.

Any request received after 5:00 p.m. will be marked as received on the next business day.

NOTE: If you are requesting IRS records, go to IRS Disclosure.


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FEES

TIGTA may charge fees for the processing of requests under the FOIA in accordance with the U.S. Department of the Treasury FOIA Regulations at 31 CFR Part 1, Subpart A § 1.7.

No fees will be assessed unless the total cost of processing your request exceeds $25.00. For purposes of fees only, the FOIA divides requesters into the following categories:
1. Commercial Use Requester: Is defined as one who seeks records for a use or purpose that furthers the commercial, trade, or profit interests of the requester or the person on whose behalf the request is being made, which can include furthering those interests through litigation.

2. Educational Institutions, Noncommercial Scientific Institutions, and News Media: Is defined as one who seeks records for a noncommercial use and who qualifies as belonging to one of the three distinct subcategories of requesters: those who are affiliated with an educational institution, those who are part of a noncommercial scientific institution, and those who are representatives of the news media.

3. All Other Requester: Is defined as one who does not fall within either of the other two categories.
Commercial requesters may be charged fees for records search, processing, and photocopying the records. Educational or noncommercial scientific institutions and representatives of the news media are charged only for photocopying after the first 100 pages of copies. All other requesters are charged for record searches which take more than 2 hours and photocopying after the first 100 pages of documents.

TIGTA currently charges $.15 per page for photocopying. For each quarter hour spent by personnel searching for requested records, including electronic searches that do not require new programming, the fees shall be as follows: executive— $21; professional—$16.50; and administrative—$13.00. Review fees will be charged at the same rates as those charged for a search.

You may include in your request letter a specific statement limiting the amount that you are willing to pay in fees.

You will be notified by TIGTA if we determine that you will incur fees during the processing of your FOIA request. At that time, TIGTA will request that you pay the amount of the estimated fees before we continue processing your request. You may choose to modify the scope of your request to reduce the amount of the fees.

FEE WAIVER REQUIREMENTS:

Fee waivers are limited to situations in which a requester can show that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the Government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. Requests for fee waivers from individuals who are seeking records pertaining to themselves usually are denied under this standard because such disclosures usually will not result in any increase of the public's understanding of Government operations and activities. In addition, a requester's inability to pay fees is not a legal basis for granting a fee waiver.

To request a fee waiver, you will need to provide a written statement demonstrating how disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest as explained above. Our decision to grant or deny your fee waiver request will be made in writing before we process your request for documents.

MAIL OR DELIVER FEE WAIVER REQUESTS TO:

Office of Chief Counsel – Disclosure Branch
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
1401 H Street, NW, Suite 469
Washington, DC 20005

Fax: (202) 622-3339
E-mail: FOIA.Reading.Room@tigta.treas.gov

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EXPEDITED PROCESSING REQUIREMENTS

To request expedited processing, the U.S. Department of the Treasury FOIA Regulations at 31 CFR Part 1, Subpart A § 1.4(e) state that your request must involve:

1. Circumstances in which the lack of expedited processing could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual;

2. An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal government activity, if made by a person who is primarily engaged in disseminating information. The standard of “urgency to inform” requires that the records requested pertain to a matter of current exigency to the public and that delaying a response to a request for records would compromise a significant recognized interest to and throughout the general public; or

3. The loss of substantial due process rights.

The Regulations also require that the “requester who seeks expedited processing must submit a statement, certified to be true and correct, explaining in detail the basis for making the request for expedited processing.”

Example: “I declare under penalty of perjury of the laws of the United States that the foregoing is true and correct. Date Executed: _____ Signature: _____.”

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FOIA REQUEST ASSISTANCE AND FOIA PUBLIC LIAISON CONTACT INFORMATION

When an agency responds to a FOIA request, they must provide information on how to contact the FOIA Public Liaison, how to request mediation services through the Office of Government Information Services, and how to file an administrative appeal. Please see the following sections for information regarding these services.

If you have any questions regarding your request, you may contact TIGTA’s FOIA Public Liaison at (202) 622-4068 or via e-mail at amy.jones@tigta.treas.gov to discuss any aspect of your request.

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MEDIATION SERVICES

As part of the 2007 FOIA amendments, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) was created to offer mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. Using OGIS services does not affect your right to pursue litigation. You may contact OGIS at the following:

Office of Government Information Services
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

E-mail: ogis@nara.gov
Telephone: (202) 741-5770
Fax: (202) 741-5769
Toll-free: 1 (877) 684-6448

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HOW TO APPEAL

If your request is denied in whole or in part, TIGTA will advise you in writing of the basis for the withholding and inform you of your right to appeal the release determinations. You may file an administrative appeal to TIGTA's Office of Chief Counsel within 90 days of the agency's final response to your request. No particular form or language is needed to file an administrative appeal. You may, however, explain the reasons why you disagree with the agency's release determinations. In addition, if you believe additional responsive records exist, which were not processed in response to your request, you should indicate where you believe these records are located.

Appeals must be made in writing and sent to the following:
Office of Chief Counsel
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
Freedom Of Information Act Appeal
1401 H Street, NW, Suite 469
Washington, DC 20005

Fax: (202) 622-3339
E-mail: FOIA.Reading.Room@tigta.treas.gov

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JUDICIAL REVIEW

The FOIA also provides a requester the right to bring a civil lawsuit against the agency in an appropriate Federal district court (either in Washington, DC or where the requester resides or does business) if on administrative appeal the request is denied in whole or in part by the agency.


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