1.7.4  Role of Research in IRS

1.7.4.1  (11-01-2007)
The Research Community in IRS

  1. The collection and analysis of tax administration data are essential to planning, management, and evaluation of Service programs and activities. Over the years, the IRS "research community" provided data and analyses to support more effective and efficient decision making in the Service. Policy Statement 1-3 governs research activities in IRS. See IRM 1.2.10

  2. Research projects, studies, and tests yield results that are integral to the Service’s decision-making processes and help improve performance on strategic goals. The Research Community is composed of the Office of Research, Analysis, and Statistics (RAS), and research and analysis offices contained in each of the four operating divisions (Large and Mid-Size Business, Small Business/Self-Employed, Tax Exempt/Government Entities, and Wage & Investment), as well as research functions embedded in Criminal Investigation and the Taxpayer Advocate Service. See IRM 1.1.18 for more information about the Office of Research, Analysis, and Statistics. There are also sections in IRM 1.1 regarding the research organizations in each division.

1.7.4.2  (11-01-2007)
Servicewide Research Council

  1. Because the Research Community consists of a complex set of networks, the Servicewide Research Council was created as a forum to share information, coordinate cross-functional actions, and resolve procedural issues that affect research and analysis units across the Service. Decisions regarding the use of common assets across the Research Community are reached via the Servicewide Research Council. See IRM 1.7.1 for more information regarding the Servicewide Research Council.

1.7.4.3  (11-01-2007)
Roles and Responsibilities of Research Community

  1. Projects, responsibilities, and focus differ among the segments of the Research Community. Research units embedded in the operating divisions, along with the Criminal Investigation Division and the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, generally focus on issues relevant to their respective customer bases and taxpayer segments. The goal of the Research Community is to positively impact business results and taxpayer satisfaction. Customers for these research projects, studies, and tests typically include the operating division commissioners and functional directors and chiefs. Projects, studies, and tests completed within the Research, Analysis, and Statistics Division tend to focus on sets of taxpayer segments covering two or more of the Operating Divisions, have longer timeframes, or support initiatives having a Servicewide impact.

  2. There are several commonalities among the research methodologies and tools used within the community. These include:

    • The use of surveys and focus groups;

    • Analyses of taxpayer characteristics;

    • Forecasting of data to identify emerging trends and issues;

    • Behavioral research;

    • The creation of models using internal and external data;

    • The use of workload selection models; and

    • Analysis of programs for taxpayer education, outreach, and compliance.

  3. Projects, studies, and tests are encouraged throughout the Research Community to support data-driven decisions. As changes in tax administration occur, research efforts shift to continue providing high quality information to enhance the Service’s goals and needs.

  4. Additional information about the IRS Research Community can be found in the organizational websites shown below:

    Organization Website Address
    Research, Analysis, and Statistics (RAS) http://ras.web.irs.gov/
    LMSB Research http://lmsb.irs.gov/hq/srp/researchmain.asp
    SB/SE Research http://sbse.web.irs.gov/Research/
    TE/GE Research http://tege.web.irs.gov/templates/RAhome.asp
    W&I Research http://win.web.irs.gov/research.htm

1.7.4.4  (11-01-2007)
Evolution of Research in IRS

  1. Until the 1990s, research in IRS consisted of a headquarters Research Division and several smaller research offices serving functional Assistant Commissioners. The functional research units supported the field operations of those functions, and the Research Division focused on Servicewide issues, emerging technologies, and supporting the functional research units. An Analysis and Studies Division, operating under the Chief of Management and Administration, focused on human resources studies.

  2. By the mid-1990s, all research units merged with the Research Division to become Compliance Research. District Offices of Research and Analysis (DORAs) were created to facilitate research of local compliance issues. Headquarters Compliance Research was split; part became the National Office Research and Analysis (NORA) Branch (which guided and coordinated the DORAs), another part became the Applied Research Branch, and the remainder became a Planning and Budget Branch. Although the DORAs reported to the District Directors, they received much direction from NORA.

  3. When IRS was reorganized in 2000 into four major operating divisions (ODs) and other additional functions, the DORAs were assigned to the various ODs, and NORA reverted to the NHQ Office of Research. After the reorganization, NHQ Research, the Office of Program Evaluation and Risk Analysis, the Statistics of Income Division, the National Research Program, and Servicewide Policy, Directives, and Electronic Research were grouped together in the new Research, Analysis, and Statistics (RAS) organization.


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