1.25.2  Practitioner Enrollment (Cont. 1)

1.25.2.4 
Form 8554 and Form 8554-EP Processing

1.25.2.4.5  (06-01-2010)
Systems Research Form 8554/Form 8554-EP

  1. Research on Form 8554 is performed on three systems:

    1. The EUP is used to locate ERO suitability information.

    2. IDRS is used to check for tax compliance with individuals or business tax return during the 3-year enrollment cycle.

    3. I-Trak is used to check for a record of OPR activity during the 3-year enrollment cycle.

  2. A failed ERO suitability record or an I-Trak activity that occurred within the three year enrollment cycle will result in a referral to OPR CD&L for further review.

    Note:

    If the /ERPA was suspended or disbarred by OPR during the three-year renewal cycle and he or she checked the Suspended or Disbarred status box at the top of the form, no referral to OPR CD&L is needed.

  3. A failed tax compliance check will result in a referral to OPE after enrollment cards are issued.

1.25.2.4.6  (06-01-2010)
Basic Eligibility Determination Form 8554/8554-EP

  1. An applicant must have completed the required CPE to be eligible for renewal. The CPE Hour Requirements are as follows:

    1. The CPE cycle starts January 1 and runs through December 31 of the calendar year.

    2. Each calendar year an EA/ERPA must take a minimum of 16 hours of CPE, including at least 2 hours of Ethics training. An EA/ERPA must complete at least 72 hours of CPE during the three-year enrollment cycle.

    3. The month of enrollment begins the CPE requirement for newly enrolled agents. They must complete 2 hours of CPE for each month enrolled.

      Note:

      Enrollment for any part of a month is considered enrollment for the entire month.

    4. An EA/ERPA who passed the SEE since their last renewal cycle is only required to take 16 hours of CPE during the last year of the renewal cycle.

  2. If the applicant reports the required CPE on Form 8554, proceed with the suitability determination.

  3. If the applicant has not reported the required CPE hours, take the following actions:

    1. Update EPPS with Action Code 511 (CPE needed).

    2. Update EPPS with Action Code 516 (Missing information sent).

    3. Generate two copies of the Missing CPE Letter. Place one copy in a window envelope for mailing, and place the other in the case folder.

    4. If no response is received within 30 days, issue the Unprocessable Letter and suspend for another 45 days.

    5. If still no response, the EA/ERPA will move into "Inactive Status" on April 1st.

    6. Forward the closed case for filing. See IRM 1.25.2.3.3 for telephone contact procedures.

1.25.2.5  (06-01-2010)
CPE Waivers

  1. Circular 230 allows for a waiver of CPE for a given period of time if the EA/ERPA requests the waiver and provides supporting documentation.

  2. The authority to approve these requests is delegated to the Chief, OPE, who will review and approve all CPE waiver requests.

1.25.2.5.1  (06-01-2010)
Processing a CPE Waiver Request

  1. A request for waiver must be filed no later than the last day of the renewal application period. Review the correspondence to determine if the request is timely.

    1. Verify if a related Form 8554 has been received and associate with the request, if possible.

    2. If the request is not timely, issue a CPE Waiver Denial Letter.

    3. If the request is timely, review the reasons outlined in the request and look for supporting documentation.

      Note:

      Supporting documentation is a medical certificate or military orders, may be requested, if necessary.

  2. The following are conditions for granting waivers:

    1. A health condition which prevented compliance with the CPE requirements.

    2. Extended active military duty.

    3. Absence from the United States due to employment or other reasons.

    4. Any other compelling reason, to be determined on a case by case basis.

  3. If the explanation and documentation provided supports a waiver of CPE credits, prepare a CPE Waiver Approved Letter.

  4. If the explanation does not support a waiver of CPE credits, prepare a CPE Waiver Denial Letter.

    1. Forward to the Chief, OPE for review and signature.

    2. Once the Chief, OPE approves the request, issue the letter to the EA/ERPA.

  5. If Form 8554/Form8554-EP was submitted with the CPE Waiver request, associate the letter to the form and continue processing the form.

1.25.2.5.2  (06-01-2010)
Suitability Determination

  1. OPE staff will review the Form 8554 and Form 8554-EP and all related research to determine if the EA/ERPA passes the suitability review. An EA or ERPA will pass suitability and the enrollment will be renewed if the only suitability issue is a tax compliance issue that has arisen since the date of the last renewal.

    Note:

    The case will be referred to OPR CD&L after the Form 8554 is processed and renewal cards are issued.

  2. An EA/ERPA will not pass suitability if there is:

    1. A failed ERO suitability finding.

    2. An I-Trak finding which shows OPR took an action against the EA or ERPA since the date of their last renewal.

    3. A "Yes" response to question 6, 7, or 8 on Form 8554 / Form 8554-EP.

    IF the EA/ERPA- THEN
    Passes suitability review, Proceed with issuing new enrollment cards.
    Does not pass the suitability review due to an EUP or I-Trak finding, Mark the Case Checklist for referral to OPR CD&L and suspend the renewal request.

1.25.2.5.3  (06-01-2010)
Generating and Issuing New Enrollment Cards

  1. Generally, all cards for the renewal cycle are generated in bulk on a daily basis throughout the renewal cycle. When preparing to generate the enrollment cards, generate one "Renewal" letter and photocopy the letter for enclosure with the enrollment cards for each EA/ERPA in the batch.

  2. To generate the cards, take the following actions:

    1. Go into EPPS between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm

    2. Access "Printed Matters."

    3. Call up "Enrollment Cards" and select the group to be printed (Example: 4, 5 or 6).

    4. Hit the "submit " button in EPPS. The system will tell you how many cards will be generated and it will ask you if you want to print them. Answer "yes" .

    5. The system will ask if you want to apply Action Code 505. Answer "yes" again. The cards should begin printing in the file room on the designated printer, on perforated paper.

    6. Generate a "New Card Renewal" listing on EPPS.

    7. Retrieve the prints and separate the cards.

  3. Perform a quality review of all cards against the "New Card Renewal" listing.

  4. Update the EPPS record for each EA/ERPA listed with:

    1. Action Code 505 (Enrollment Card Printed).

    2. Action Code 506 (Renewal Letter printed).

  5. Fold the letter and enclose the card so the address shows in a window envelope.

  6. Take the letters to the mailroom. The mail room will stamp and seal the envelopes for mailing.

1.25.2.5.4  (06-01-2010)
Form 8554/Form 8554-EP Renewal Referrals to OPR Case Development & Licensure (CD&L)

  1. If an applicant fails the EA/ERPA suitability review:

    Due to Then Update EPPS with Action Code
    Tax compliance issues
    • A failed ERO suitability, or
    • An I-Trak finding
    110 (Miscellaneous) 540 (Renewal case sent to legal for review)
     
    Answering "yes" to question 6 or 7 on Form 8554 533 (Disciplined)  
    Answering "yes" to question 8 on Form 8554 530 (Convicted of a law violation)  

  2. Set a 60 day follow-up date and place the case in a suspense file.

  3. Prepare two copies of Form 3210 for referring the case to OPR CD&L.

    1. Send one copy with the case and place one copy in your case file.

    2. Return one copy to OPE as an acknowledgment.

  4. Photocopy the case file, including the Form 8554, any related correspondence and the EUP screens showing the derogatory information on the applicant.

    Note:

    Do not copy IDRS print-outs as OPR CD&L will request current IDRS research.

  5. Send, via Overnight Mail, to OPR CD&L. OPR CD&L will review the case and advise as to whether to process the renewal.

  6. Once a response is received from OPR CD&L, take the following action:

    IF the renewal is- THEN OPR will-
    Approved,
    • Send an electronic copy of an approval memo to OPE.

    • Update EPPS with Action Code 541 (Legal approved renewal).

    Denied,
    • Send an electronic copy of a denial memo to OPE.

  7. If a response is not received from OPR CD&L within 60 days from the date of the referral, check I-Trak to determine the status of the case.

    IF THEN
    I-Trak shows OPR CD&L activity, Extend the follow-up date for another 60 days.
    No update is listed on I-Trak, Follow-up with the assigned CD&L employee by telephone or secure e-mail.
    Make two attempts over 5 business days to secure an update from the assigned employee.
    No response is received from the CD&L employee after two attempted contacts, Elevate the issue to OPE management.

1.25.2.6  (06-01-2010)
Correspondence and Customer Service Guidelines

  1. OPE receives various requests for assistance, by telephone and by mail, on a regular basis.

    1. Telephone inquiries come in through the 313-234-1280 number.

    2. Written inquiries are received by mail, fax and the EPP@irs.gov mailbox.

  2. Telephone contact is an appropriate method of resolving written correspondence and should be attempted whenever appropriate based on the type of request and the availability of a telephone number.

  3. The process for handling inquiries is as follows:

    1. All written correspondence is worked in OPE received date order.

    2. All correspondence is worked and the taxpayer contacted, by telephone or letter, within 30 days or less of the OPE received date.

  4. Types of requests for assistance include the following:

    1. Reprint enrollment card

    2. Help in applying for EA/ERPA status

    3. Update on application or renewal status

    4. Help in resolving an issue related to the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE)

    5. Name change

    6. Address change

    7. Verification of enrollment status (EA/ERPA status check)

    8. Make a complaint against a practitioner

    9. OPE case file information

    10. Request to terminate enrollment

    11. EA/ERPA is deceased

    12. Blank forms

    13. Refund of EA/ERPA fee

    14. EA/ERPA listing

    15. Determination to suspend or terminate EA/ERPA status

    16. General questions about practicing before the service

    17. General tax questions or requests for tax forms

1.25.2.6.1  (06-01-2010)
EPPS Mailbox Guidelines

  1. Taxpayer inquiries are received in the OPE mailbox at EPP@irs.gov.

  2. Work all e-mails in order, within five days of receipt.

    1. Barring extenuating circumstances, respond to all mail box inquiries within 48 hours of receipt

    2. If more than 48 hours have passed, send an acknowledgment e-mail to the requestor.

    IF THEN advise the sender
    A misdirected e-mail is received, OPE cannot assist .
    Direct the sender to the appropriate IRS area for assistance.
    A copy of a tax form is received in the mailbox, To re-submit the form to the address on the form.
    The issue concerns a tax bill or notice, To call customer service at 1-800-829-8815 for further assistance.
    The issue is a general tax question, To call customer service at 1-800-829-1040 for further assistance.
    The inquiry is from an International taxpayer who cannot call the toll-free number, To refer to www.irs.gov for further assistance.

  3. Delete the e-mail from the inbox after responding to the sender.

  4. In general, OPE employees should not be communicating with taxpayer’s via e-mail. There may be limited circumstances, however, when it is permissible to communicate with taxpayers via e-mail. For example, if a taxpayer merely needs a copy of a form or a publication, nothing in the IRS’s e-mail policy would prohibit sending the form or publication to the taxpayer via e-mail.

  5. Follow these principles when deciding whether e-mail is an appropriate method of response:

    1. When replying via e-mail, ensure the message does not contain "Personally Identifiable Information" (PII).

    2. For general OPE questions and issues, reply to the sender by e-mail, following all PII guidelines.

    3. For case specific OPE questions, secure the sender’s telephone number and reply back via telephone contact.

1.25.2.6.2  (06-01-2010)
Handling Incoming Telephone Calls

  1. OPE publicizes a telephone number for the public who have questions about the EA/ERPA process. The OPE telephone number is 313-234-1280 and is posted on www.irs.gov .

  2. Generally, one designated OPE employee is assigned to staff this line each day of the week. Back-up coverage is assigned at lunch time to ensure coverage between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm daily.

  3. The designated employee(s) will handle telephone calls as follows:

    1. Answer incoming calls.

    2. Check for messages every two hours during each workday, as callers may leave a message when the line is busy.

    3. Return telephone messages the same day or within 24 hours of receipt.

  4. Professional telephone etiquette is expected. OPE staff will:

    • Greet the caller with "Good morning/afternoon, Office of Practitioner Enrollment" .

    • State his or her name and badge number.

    • State "How may I help you?"

1.25.2.6.2.1  (06-01-2010)
Disclosure Verification for Telephone Inquiries

  1. For purposes of identification and to prevent unauthorized disclosures of tax information, the OPE employee must know with whom he or she is speaking and the purpose of the call or contact. General Disclosure information can be found in IRM 11.3, Disclosure of Official Information.

    Caution:

    Inadequate authentication of the identity of a caller could result in an "unauthorized disclosure" of return or return information. If an IRS employee makes a knowing or negligent unauthorized disclosure, the United States may be liable for damages in a civil cause of action. If an IRS employee makes a voluntary, intentional disclosure, the employee may be subject to criminal penalties including a fine, imprisonment, and loss of employment. See IRC sections 7213, 7213A, and 7431.

  2. While OPE does not generally get involved in tax matters, it is still important to follow appropriate disclosure probes upon receiving an inquiry from a taxpayer. For general questions, no disclosure probes are necessary.

  3. If the caller requests assistance or details regarding a specific application filed with OPE, follow these disclosure probes by asking the caller for the following information and check EPPS for a match:

    • Full name and address

    • SSN or ITIN.

    • Enrollment number, if they are enrolled.

      Note:

      If the caller is unenrolled, the enrollment number does not apply.

    IF THEN
    The caller provides the requested information Continue with the call.
    The address does not match, Ask the caller to update their address.
    The caller does not have the information requested, Advise them to call back with the requested information.

1.25.2.6.3  (06-01-2010)
Request to Reprint Enrollment Cards or Certificates

  1. If an EA/ERPA changes their name or loses their card, they may request a new enrollment card or a new certificate. In response to this type of request, follow the procedures for generating and issuing new enrollment cards.

    1. After the card is generated, update EPPS with Action code 505 (Enrollment Card Printed) and input a note "New card issued."

    2. After the certificate is printed, update EPPS with Action code 110 (Miscellaneous) and input a note "New certificate issued."

1.25.2.6.4  (06-01-2010)
Request for Help in Applying for EA/ERPA Status

  1. In response to a request for help in applying for EA/ERPA status, take the following actions:

    1. Provide the http://www.irs.gov/taxpros/content/0,,id=175435,00.html Web site as a resource for obtaining additional information on the EA/ERPA application process.

    2. Provide general guidance on the testing process.

    3. Provide general guidance on the application process.

    4. Provide your contact telephone number in the event the taxpayer has additional questions.

1.25.2.6.5  (06-01-2010)
Request to Update the Application or Renewal Status

  1. In response to a request for an update on a Form 23 or Form 8554 application, take the following actions:

    1. Check EPPS and/or I-Trak to determine if the case is assigned to an OPE employee.

      IF AND THEN advise the applicant
      Form 8554 is assigned on EPPS, the last status update is current, (indicating we are still processing the request), their application is under review, and
      inform them (approximately) when to expect a decision.
      the last status update is not current or is overdue for action, the inquiry will require additional research and that the assigned employee will return their call within 48 hours.

      Note:

      If the assigned employee is on leave and will not return in 48 hours, refer the inquiry to your lead for handling.

      Form 8554 is received on EPPS but unassigned, the form has been in OPE for more than 25 days, we are still processing the form and elevate the case to OPE management to expedite case assignment.
      the form has been in OPE for less than 25 days, we have received it and are forwarding it for processing.
      There is no record of receipt on EPPS, there is no record of the form in the batch control logs to fax or mail-in a new form and apologize that we have not received it..

  2. During the telephone conversation with the applicant:

    1. Provide the name and telephone number of the assigned employee.

    2. Provide your name and telephone number before ending the call.

    3. Follow-up with the assigned employee to discuss the inquiry.

1.25.2.6.6  (06-01-2010)
Resolving Issues Related to the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE)

  1. If the requestor makes a complaint about the testing process or Prometric:

    1. Gather details on the complaint or issue.

    2. Summarize the issues in a draft e-mail.

    3. Send the e-mail to the OPE lead, via secure messaging. The OPE lead will review the e-mail to ensure enough facts were gathered from the complainant and log the complaint onto the appropriate excel spreadsheet.

    4. The lead will contact the designated vendor representative to elevate the customer’s complaint and follow-up to ensure a response is received. The resolution will be documented in the spreadsheet.

1.25.2.6.7  (06-01-2010)
Request for a Name Change

  1. An EA/ERPA may request to change his or her name at any time. Typically, this happens when an EA/ERPA gets married or divorced. OPE will:

    1. Accept written or verbal requests for name changes. Legal documentation is not required to make the name change.

    2. Issue a letter or contact the EA/ERPA by telephone to confirm that a name change was made in response to a request.

  2. Upon receipt of a name change request, take the following actions:

    1. Go to EPPS and print the screen showing the EA/ERPA’s former name.

    2. Attach the print-out to any correspondence received.

    3. Update EPPS with Action Code 110 (Miscellaneous).

    4. Update EPPS with a note "Name change requested due to _." Fill-in the blank with the reason for the request.

    5. Print a new enrollment card.

    6. Generate a "Name Change" letter.

    7. Place the letter and new enrollment card in an envelope for mailing. Print-out the old name.

1.25.2.6.8  (06-01-2010)
Request for an Address Change

  1. An EA/ERPA may request an address change by fax, e-mail, or written correspondence. Upon receipt of a written request for an address change, take the following actions:

    1. Go to EPPS and print the current screen showing the "old" address

    2. Update EPPS to show the new address.

    3. Generate Letter 4246C, Change of Address Letter.

      Note:

      The system will send the letter to the new address and systemically apply Action Code 120 (Change of address letter) to the record.

    4. Highlight the enrollment number on the EPPS print-out.

    5. Staple the print-out to any correspondence and place it in the File drawer.

1.25.2.6.9  (06-01-2010)
Request for EA/ERPA Status Check

  1. If an IRS employee, TIGTA agent or a third party calls or writes and requests to know the status of an EA/ERPA, the OPE must not disclose the EA/ERPA's street number, suite, apartment, or unit number.

  2. Upon request for an EA/ERPA status check, take the following actions:

    1. Ask for the full name of the EA/ERPA.

    2. Check EPPS to determine the status of the EA/ERPA.

    3. Provide only the information necessary to satisfy the inquiry, following the above guidelines.

      Example:

      If the caller asks is the person enrolled to practice, the response would be: "I have checked our files and [name of EA/ERPA is currently enrolled to practice."

  3. The OPE staff can disclose the following information:

    1. Any part of an EA/ERPA’s name the requester did not supply, for example, a middle initial or Junior suffix.

    2. The fact that an EA/ERPA is in Active, Inactive, or Inactive Retirement status, and the effective date, which is the date of enrollment, the last date of renewal, or the date the EA/ERPA became inactive).

    3. The fact that an individual is a former EA/ERPA whose enrollment has been terminated or who resigned for reasons other than to settle a disciplinary proceeding (without disclosing such reasons) and the effective date, which is the date of enrollment, the last date of renewal, or and the date of resignation.

    4. Discipline imposed (if any) as reflected in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB).

    5. Only as many of the following as is necessary to distinguish between identical or similar names:

  4. The OPE staff may disclose as many of the following as is necessary to distinguish between identical or similar names:

    • State of residence (if this is sufficient to distinguish, stop).

    • City of residence (if this is sufficient to distinguish, stop).

    • ZIP or postal code (if this is sufficient to distinguish, stop).

    • Street (if this is sufficient to distinguish, stop).

    • Post office box number (stop, there is nothing else you can disclose).

1.25.2.6.10  (06-01-2010)
Handling Complaints Against Practitioners

  1. In response to a request for assistance in making a formal complaint against a practitioner, provide:

    1. The OPR intranet site as a reference tool for IRS employees who want to make a referral to OPR.

    2. The OPR web address on www.irs.gov for additional information on how to make a complaint.

    3. The OPR@irs.gov e-mail address to anyone who wants to e-mail their complaint to OPR.

    4. The OPR general fax number 202-622-2207 to anyone who wants to fax a complaint to OPR.

1.25.2.6.11  (06-01-2010)
Request for OPE Case File Information

  1. If an IRS employee or a TIGTA agent requests a copy of case file information, take the following actions:

    1. Ask the requestor to submit a written request (via e-mail, fax, or memorandum) to the attention of the Chief, OPE. The requestor must state when the records are needed by and why the records are needed to perform his or her official duties.

    2. Review the request to ensure the business need is appropriate. (2) (3) (4)

  2. If the request is appropriate, service the request as a priority.

  3. If the request is inappropriate or questionable, see your manager or the OPR disclosure expert for further guidance.

  4. Input a note to EPPS to show the name of the requestor and a brief description of the information that was provided.

1.25.2.6.12  (06-01-2010)
Request to Terminate Enrollment

  1. The OPE staff will process all written requests to terminate EA/ERPA status. In response to a verbal request to terminate enrollment status, the OPE staff will request confirmation by e-mail, fax or letter.

  2. Upon receipt of a written request to terminate enrollment status, take the following actions:

    1. If the requestor is in the enrollment process and has submitted a Form 23/23-EP, update EPPS with Action Code 392 (Form 23 application process terminated).

    2. Update EPPS with Action Code 575 - Voluntary Resignation.

    3. Update EPPS with Action Code 600 (Agent Record Archived).

    4. Generate two copies of the Resignation Request Letter.

    5. Place one copy of the letter in the outgoing mail bin.

    6. Pull the file from the active file drawer.

    7. Place the second copy of the Resignation Letter in the case file.

    8. Forward the closed case for filing.

1.25.2.6.13  (06-01-2010)
Request to Terminate EA/ERPA Status When EA/ERPA is Deceased

  1. Based upon notification from a third party that an EA/ERPA is deceased, OPE will proceed in terminating the EA/ERPA from the system.

    Note:

    A copy of the death certificate should be requested.

  2. If a third party made the request by telephone, research IDRS to check for TC 540 to verify the EA/ERPA is deceased. If no TC 540 is found on IDRS:

    1. Advise the third party we will take action, as appropriate, and

    2. Input a note to EPPS stating "Third Party (list name of caller) called to report EA/ERPA is deceased."

  3. Upon receipt of correspondence that indicates an EA/ERPA is deceased, take the following actions:

    1. Update EPPS with Action Code 577 (Deceased agent status assigned)

    2. Pull the file from the active file drawer

    3. Place the correspondence inside the file

    4. Place the file in the "Deceased Case" file drawer.

1.25.2.6.14  (06-01-2010)
Freedom of Information Act Request

  1. OPE occasionally receives a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from OPR CD&L or directly from a taxpayer. Process FOIA requests within 20 days or less of receipt in OPE..

  2. Upon receipt of a FOIA request, contact the OPR FOIA coordinator immediately for guidance. After receiving direction on servicing the request, take the following actions:

    1. Photocopy the requested information

    2. Prepare two copies of Form 3210, Document Transmittal, for mailing.

    3. Mail the requested information to the OPR FOIA coordinator, via Overnight mail.

    4. Input a note to EPPS to show a FOIA request was made.

    5. Return the file to the assigned employee or closed file cabinet.

1.25.2.6.15  (06-01-2010)
Request for Blank Forms

  1. In response to a telephone call, letter, e-mail or fax request for a blank Form 23 (Form 23-EP) or Form 8554 (Form 8554-EP), take the following actions:

    1. If the request is received by telephone, ask the taxpayer if they have access to a computer, and if so, direct them to www.irs.gov to retrieve the form.

    2. If the taxpayer does not have access to a computer, or if the request is received by mail, place a copy of the requested form in an envelope and mail it to the requestor.

  2. If the taxpayer requests any non-OPR forms such as tax forms, provide the www.irs.gov address and the 1-800-TaxForm number.

1.25.2.6.16  (06-01-2010)
Refund of EA/ERPA Fee

  1. OPE may receive a request for refunds of EA/ERPA fees. This typically occurs when an EA/ERPA:

    1. Pays the fee twice by mistake.

    2. Pays the fee and applies for EA/ERPA status before passing the SEE.

    3. Decides to withdraw his/her Form 23 or Form 23-EP application.

  2. Review any refund request to determine the facts of the case.

    1. Conduct research on EPPS to review the status and fees paid. If no fees are listed on EPPS, check the Electronic Check Processing system to review the fees paid.

    2. Determine if the individual is entitled to a refund.

  3. Issue a refund under the following circumstances:

    1. The form has not been processed.

    2. The fee was overpaid.

    3. A payment was sent to OPE in error.

  4. Do not issue refunds to applicants under the following circumstances:

    1. Their request (Forms 23 or Forms 8554) was fully processed,

    2. To individuals who are found ineligible for enrollment due to lack of qualifying experience or who failed the suitability check.

  5. If the individual is entitled to a refund:

    1. Generate a "Refund" letter to advise the requestor that OPE will process a refund of the fee paid.

    2. Prepare a refund memo subject "Refund of Fee for Application (23) or (8554)" depending on which form requires a refund, for the Chief, OPE, for approval using secure messaging. If the request is approved, Chief, OPE sends the memo to Beckley Finance Center using secure messaging.

    3. Update EPPS with Action Code 110 (Miscellaneous).

    4. Input a note to EPPS to state: "Refund sent out - memo sent to Beckley and letter to the applicant."

    5. Suspend a copy of the memo to monitor the response back from Beckley Finance Center.

    6. If the applicant is an EA/ERPA who sent a duplicate payment, write the Enrollment number on the correspondence and place it in the file drawer.

    7. If an applicant withdraws a Form 23 place the memo to Beckley and the correspondence in the case folder and forward the case for filing.

    8. If the applicant sent a payment in error, place the memo to Beckley and correspondence in the case folder and forward the case for filing.

  6. If the individual is not entitled to the refund:

    1. Generate a "Refund" letter to advise of the decision.

    2. If there is a record on EPPS, input the following remarks – "No refund granted - letter sent."

    3. Place the letter in the outgoing mail bin.

1.25.2.6.17  (06-01-2010)
Other Refunds

  1. OPE may receive money from a practitioner- taxpayer that was inadvertently applied to an EA/ERPA account. Take the following actions when it is necessary to issue a refund:

    1. Call the taxpayer and inform them we received their tax payment in error and will forward it to the proper business unit. Confirm the conversation regarding the disposition of the tax payment in writing.

    2. Prepare a letter from the Chief, OPE to Beckley Finance Center. Attach correspondence from the taxpayer.

    3. Direct Beckley to debit the Enrolled Practitioner Program account with the specified amount of the tax payment and forward onto the proper business unit.

1.25.2.6.18  (06-01-2010)
Request for EA/ERPA Listing

  1. OPE occasionally receives requests for EA/ERPA listings from various stakeholder groups. OPE will only service listing requests that are received in writing and from authorized requestors. OPE will service EA/ERPA listing requests as follows:

    1. Before April 1, 2010, OPE will release a partial listing over a three-year period until three full renewal cycles pass.

    2. Effective April 1, 2010. OPE will release a complete EA/ERPA listing to a requestor, provided the required fee is paid with the request.

  2. The procedure for fulfilling the request for an EA/ERPA listing is as follows:

    1. Ensure the full $15 fee is enclosed before proceeding. If the fee is not paid upon receipt, notify the requestor by telephone or in writing.

    2. Number the request, beginning with #1, at the start of each new calendar year.

    3. Submit to the Chief, OPE, for approval before processing.

  3. Generate the listing as follows:

    1. Run an Ad Hoc query on EPPS requesting Name, address, city, state, zip, and status, and query all active EAs.

    2. Save it to a file.

    3. Print one copy of the listing.

    4. Mail one copy of the listing to the requestor with a letter of transmittal, via regular mail.

    5. Attach a copy of the transmittal letter to the original letter to show the request was completed and file it in the "EA/ERPA Listing" file.

  4. Run a query of all active EA/ERPAs, as follows:

    1. Between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010, query EAs/ERPAs that have completed the last 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 0 renewal cycle.

    2. On or after April 1, 2010, query all active EAs/ERPAs on the system.

1.25.2.6.19  (06-01-2010)
Request for Suspensions or Terminations from OPR CD&L

  1. (OPE will receive notification from OPR CD&L when an EA/ERPA is sanctioned. Notification is typically sent, via e-mail, to the employee assigned the case, or to the lead.

  2. It is critical to update EPPS within 24 hours of receipt to show that a practitioner has been sanctioned.

  3. Upon receipt of enforcement information, take the following actions:

    1. Update EPPS with Action Code 573 (Suspended agent status assigned).

    2. Update EPPS with a note to state "OPR Sanction" . Include the type of sanction and effective date if the information is available.

    3. Write the enrollment number on the e-mail, or correspondence associated with the request.

    4. Forward the correspondence for filing in the case file.

    5. Move the case file to Terminated cabinet for retention. See IRM 1.15.11, Records Management, Records Control Schedule for Tax Administration.

1.25.2.6.20  (06-01-2010)
General Questions About Practicing Before the Service Tax or Tax Questions

  1. For questions about practicing before the Service:

    1. Request the caller’s contact information (name and best daytime telephone number).

    2. Summarize the caller’s question or issue.

    3. Compose an e-mail and send the details to OPR@irs.gov.

    4. Advise the taxpayer they should receive a call back from someone in OPR within 48 hours.

  2. For questions about the status of a tax refund, advise the taxpayer to check www.irs.gov Where’s my Refund link.

  3. For all other general tax questions, refer taxpayers to www.irs.gov for further assistance.

1.25.2.7  (06-01-2010)
Inactive EA/ERPA

  1. At the end of a renewal cycle, the OPE staff will check to ensure all EAs who were due for renewal have renewed timely. If an EA/ERPA misses one renewal cycle, he or she is moved into "inactive" status on EPPS.

  2. Each year on April 1, or the next business day, the OPE staff will advise the EA/ERPA in writing that they have been moved to Inactive status because he or she has failed to renew timely.

  3. To generate the Inactive Agent Notice, go into the print queue and highlight the "Inactive Agent Notice." Letter 4321CInactive Agent Notice, will generate systemically.

  4. To be eligible for renewal after missing one full enrollment cycle, the EA/ERPA must:

    1. Pay the fee for the prior and the current renewal cycle, and

    2. Verify the required CPE hours have been taken.

1.25.2.7.1  (06-01-2010)
Terminated EA/ERPA

  1. At the end of a renewal cycle, the OPE staff will check to ensure all EAs/ERPAs who were due for renewal have renewed timely. Each year on April 1, or the next business day, the OPE staff issues letters to all EAs/ERPAs who have missed two renewal cycles to advise them their EA/ERPA status is terminated.

  2. OPE will perform the following actions:

    1. Update EPPS to move the EA/ERPA into "Terminated" status.

    2. Notify the EA/ERPA of their terminated status.

  3. To generate the Inactive Terminated Notice, go into the print queue and highlight the "Inactive terminated notices." Letter 4323-C,Enrolled Agent/ERPA Termination Letter will generate systemically.

1.25.2.7.2  (06-01-2010)
Responses to Inactive Terminated Notices

  1. OPE may reconsider terminating an EA/ERPA under the following circumstances:

    1. OPE receives a response to a Terminated Notice within 30 days of the date of the notice, and

    2. The applicant provides a valid reason for not enrolling timely.

  2. A valid reason for not enrolling timely includes, but is not limited to:

    1. Illness of a nature which affected the practitioner’s ability to attend to his/her business affairs.

    2. Extended travel out of the country (in excess of 6 months).

      Note:

      The EA or ERPA must complete Form 8554/8554-EP, pay the renewal fee, meet basic eligibility and pass all suitability tests to be eligible for reinstatement.

  3. If the applicant responds to the Termination Notice after:

    1. 30 days with a valid reason for not renewing timely, refer the case to the OPE lead for review (and possible referral to OPR CD&L.

    2. 60 days, refer to OPR CD&L.

1.25.2.8  (06-01-2010)
Undeliverable Mail (UD)

  1. Undeliverable mail (UD) results when the United States Post Office (USPS) is unable to deliver a notice or letter to an EA/ERPA or applicant. Typically, UD that is returned from the USPS will either have a label with a current or better address listed, or it will indicate the delivery was attempted and not possible.

  2. Under normal mailing procedures, use first class mail to send enrollment cards and manually generated letters. If UD:

    1. Check all Correspondex (CRX) letters against the National Change of Address (NCOA) database.

    2. Process all UD mail within 2 weeks of receipt.

    3. Re-send the original letter or notice if a current/better address is found within 2 weeks of receipt in OPE.

  3. If UD mail is not worked within two weeks of receipt in OPE, generate a new letter or notice for mailing.

  4. Sort UD mail into the following categories upon receipt in OPE:

    a. CRX generated • Better address
    • Unable to forward
    b. EPPS generated • Better address
    • Returned to sender/unable to forward
    c. Enrollment cards • Better address
    • Returned to sender/unable to forward
    d. Manually generated letters • Better address
    • Returned to sender/unable to forward

  5. If a better address is provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS), take the following actions:

    1. From EPPS, print the screen showing the "old" address.

    2. Highlight the enrollment number on the EPPS print-out.

    3. Update EPPS to show the new address.

    4. Update EPPS in the remarks screen to read: "Better Address from USPS."

    5. Go into the print menu and select the "change of address" option.

    6. Select "submit" and a pop-up will appear saying "saving for print consolidation."

      Note:

      The system will generate Action Code 120 issue a Change of Address letter.

    7. Staple the print-out to the UD mail and forward for filing.

  6. If enrollment cards are returned undelivered, take the following action:

    1. STEP ACTION
      1. Check the address on Form 8554/8554-EP against the address on EPPS. Correct EPPS, if needed, and re-mail the cards if sent to the wrong address.
      2. Pull the enrollment file and look for a telephone number or e-mail address.
      3. Call or e-mail the EA/ERPA and advise them their cards were returned undelivered (UD) and ask for a better mailing address.
      4. If unable to reach the EA/ERPA by phone or e-mail, go to IDRS and research command code INOLE with definer S to locate another address for the EA/ERPA. Mail out a "Need your New Address" letter and suspend the case pending a response. Note: Do not change the address on EPPS. Suspend for 30 days. If the EA/ERPA provides a new address, mail the cards and update EPPS.
      5. If no better address is located on IDRS or 30 days after mailing the "Need your New Address" letter, file the UD mail and the returned cards in the enrollment file.
      6. If a better address is obtained from the EA/ERPA: Re-mail the enrollment cards and: Uncheck the Undeliverable box on EPPS; and Update EPPS with the new address and input Action Code:
      • 121 (Form 23) if the Congratulatory Letter was returned as UD mail, or
      • 122 (Form 8554) if the renewal cards were returned as UD mail.

  7. If a letter or notice is returned from the USPS with no forwarding address, take the following actions:

    1. STEP ACTION IF THEN
      1. Verify the address on EPPS against the address on the letter or notice. A typographical error is found on the letter or notice, Uncheck the Undeliverable box on EPPS.
      Update EPPS with Action Code 110 (Miscellaneous)
      Input a note to EPPS stating "letter returned due to address in error." Re-mail the letter or notice to the correct address.
      The EPPS address matches the letter or notice and no typographical error is found, Go to step 2
      2. Pull the enrollment file to determine if the letter or notice was mailed to the most current address provided by the EA/ERPA, The address on the letter or notice matches the most current address in the file Go to IDRS and research command code INOLE with definer S to locate another address for the EA/ERPA
      The address on the letter or notice does not match the most current address in the file Go to IDRS and research command code INOLE with definer S to locate another address for the EA/ERPA
      3. Re-mail the letter or notice to a new address Form 23 (Congratulatory letter returned), input Action Code 121 (Undeliverable mail – Form 23) Un-check the Undeliverable box on EPPS.
      Update EPPS with Action Code 110 (Miscellaneous)
      Input note stating" letter/notice re-mailed to IDRS address of record"
      Re-mail the letter to the EA/ERPA at the new address with the "Need your new address " stuffer.
      Form 8554 (renewal cards returned, input Action Code 122 (Undeliverable mail – Form 8554)
      Miscellaneous correspondence, input Action Code 123 (Undeliverable mail (other correspondence)
      4. File UD mail in enrollment file if no better address is located.    

  8. If a letter or notice is returned as undelivered for a second time:

    1. Pull the enrollment file.

    2. Input a note to EPPS stating "Second attempt to re-mail letter/notice was returned on [date]."


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