IRS Logo
Print - Click this link to Print this page

Post Examination Critique

The objectives of the post examination critique are:

  • Determine the effectiveness of the present examinations
  • Develop recommendations for improving the subsequent examination
  • Obtain data that will be useful to the subsequent examination team
  • Bring to the taxpayer’s attention problems encountered and discuss possible solutions
  • Give the taxpayer an opportunity to present problems caused by the examination
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of computer programs.

The critique should be provided in the examination plan. It should identify persons who will participate in the critique and the specific areas each will cover. Each team member should maintain a folder containing summaries of topics and related background material to be used in preparation for the post examination critique. Since recollections diminish as time goes on, the folder should be kept up-to-date throughout the course of the examination. It should contain any subject matter which might be helpful in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the subsequent examination such as:

  • Recommendations that certain probes, accounts, or issue development be eliminated or expanded
  • Suggestions that different audit procedures or methods be adapted (Form 4764B, block C, should be used for this purpose)
  • Identification of special computer programs which should be employed and any additional records which should be included in the retention agreement
  • Recommendations regarding time requirements
  • Identification of potential issues based on information obtained during the current examination
  • Suggested adjustments to the scope or depth of the examination and cycle changes

The critique should be held during the final stages of the examination or within thirty days after the case is closed from the field. Critiques should be held even though there is an over-lapping of examinations.

Because the critique’s emphasis is on improving subsequent examinations, combining it with the next cycle’s opening conferences may be a useful tool. The similarities in the objectives of the two meetings make the critique an important source of information for the next cycle’s team members. Where applicable, consideration can be given to combining the two meetings or portions of them whether or not the same team manager is assigned to the subsequent examination.

The primary objective is to establish the groundwork for the next examination. To accomplish this, the recent examination must thoroughly be evaluated with emphasis on how subsequent examinations can be improved. Some important topics to be discussed during the critique are as follows:

  • Were results commensurate with the time spent?
  • Were examination procedures efficient and effective? This appraisal should also be in sufficient detail to provide the team manager of the subsequent examination a basis for adopting new examination techniques and planning new, specialized computer programs.
  • Did the examination plan effectively monitor and control the examination, provide adequate guidelines to team members, facilitate a more orderly examination, and adequately serve as a vehicle for coordination?
  • How were taxpayer/team member relationships? This discussion should be approached from the standpoint of identifying corrective actions the next team manager can take in solving or avoiding problem areas.
  • Were responses to information document requests timely? Problems in this area are a major concern of team managers. Servicing the information needs on a timely basis is necessary to effectively utilize personnel resources and to complete the examination within the planned time frame. The next team manager will welcome suggestions of how improvement can be achieved.
  • How effective was the support district participation? If the support district did not participate, should the next examination provide for participation? This discussion should involve analysis of time vs. results, the need for improved communication, cooperation or commitment; and expected or resulting benefits of support district participation.
  • What estimate of time is suggested for the next examination? This subject is best left until last since some of the discussions and resulting recommendations will involve expenditures of more or less time than spent on the completed examination. The case manager will need this estimate for advance planning and program planning purposes.

IRM - Post Examination Critique

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 13-Feb-2014