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Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Policy

Regulations and Guidance

Note: The following is an html version of the TIN Policy Directive issued in 2000 by the Financial Management Service (FMS).

In October 2012, FMS consolidated with Bureau of the Public Debt to become the Bureau of the Fiscal Service. Since this directive was issued in 2000, the references are all to FMS.

Download Printable version of entire Policy Statement (Including Preamble)


Section 31001 (d)(2) of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (DCIA), codified at 31 U.S.C. 3716 (c), requires federal disbursing officials to offset an eligible payment to a payee to satisfy a delinquent non-tax debt owed by the payee to the Government, a process known as offset. Under regulations implementing this statute, a federal disbursing official should conduct such an offset when the name and Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) of a payee match the name and TIN of a delinquent debtor. Section 31001(y) of the DCIA, codified at 31 U.S.C. 3325(d), requires agencies to include the TIN of each payee on certified payment vouchers that are submitted to a disbursing official. Providing TINs on payment vouchers is necessary to carry out offset and vendor income reporting.

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, enacted subsequent to the DCIA, included a provision that provides for the continuous levy of federal non-tax payments to collect delinquent tax debts. Continuous levy will be implemented by the Financial Management Service (FMS) through a process similar to that of offset, and, accordingly, TINs on payment certifications are also required to implement this program.

Pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3325(a), FMS is responsible for determining that payment vouchers certified to Treasury are in correct form. To ensure that agencies submit payment vouchers in a proper form that includes TINs, FMS issued a Policy Statement in the Federal Register on October 9, 1998, requiring agencies to prepare and submit implementation reports to FMS documenting compliance with the TIN requirement and identifying barriers to providing TINs.

FMS required these reports to determine compliance, evaluate the effectiveness of proposed agency compliance strategies, identify barriers to TIN collection, determine if any circumstances prohibited use of TINs on payment vouchers, and formulate guidance to assist agencies in overcoming barriers impeding the collection and provision of TINs.

Last modified 08/30/19