1.25.2  Practitioner Enrollment

1.25.2.1  (06-01-2010)
Responsibilities of the Office of Practitioner Enrollment (OPE)

  1. The Office of Practitioner Enrollment (OPE), located at the Detroit Computing Center (DCC), is an office within the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) that administers the enrolled practitioner program and processes applications for those seeking enrolled agent (EA) status and enrolled retirement plan agent (ERPA) status.

  2. OPE processes Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service, and Form 23-EP, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service as an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent. OPE performs suitability checks and issues enrollment cards to all applicants who qualify for EA/ERPA status.

  3. OPE also processes Form 8554, Application for Renewal to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service, for all eligible EAs and Form 8554-EP, Application for Renewal of Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service as an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent. Renewal of enrollment for Enrolled Agents is required every three years or sooner, depending on the last digit of the EA’s Social Security Number (SSN). ERPAs are required to renew every three years based on their social security number.

  4. To process applications for enrollment and renewal, OPE interacts with taxpayers, IRS stakeholders, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), and OPR Case Development & Licensure staff.

1.25.2.1.1  (06-01-2010)
Background

  1. Treasury Department Circular No. 230 provides the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) with the authority to regulate specific segments of tax practitioners. See IRM 1.25.1, Rules Governing Practice Before the Service. These practitioners include:

    1. Enrolled Agents (EA)

    2. Certified Public Accountants

    3. Attorneys

    4. Enrolled Actuaries

    5. Appraisers

    6. Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents (ERPAs)

    7. Individuals granted special appearances

  2. To become an Enrolled Agent, an individual must:

    1. Pass all three parts of the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) and apply for EA status within one year from the date passed by filing a Form 23;

    2. Pass the Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent Special Enrollment Examination and apply for ERPA status within one year from the date passed by filing a Form 23EP; or

    3. Be a former IRS employee who held a qualifying position with the Service and apply for EA/ERPA status by filing the Form 23 or 23EP as applicable.

      Note:

      The applicant must also pay an application fee and pass a suitability investigation, which includes a full tax compliance check, before becoming an EA or ERPA.

  3. An IRS contractor administers the SEE between May and February.

  4. An IRS contractor administers the SEE for ERPAs during two separate schedules:

    1. July 6 through August 31, and

    2. January 6 through February 17.

  5. To take the SEE both EAs and ERPAs must:

    1. Obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) to register for the SEE. The PTIN is the Candidate Number for the SEE.

    2. Complete Form 2587, Application for Special Enrollment Examination, or the ERPA-SEE Registration Form.

      Note:

      Foreign based applicants or those without SSN’s who do not have a PTIN on their Form 2587 are assigned a Candidate Number.

  6. Former IRS employees may not be required to take the SEE in order to become an EA or ERPA. However, they must:

    1. Apply within 3 years of their IRS separation date,

    2. Demonstrate qualifying work experience within 5 years of separation date,

    3. Submit Form 23 or Form 23-EP,

    4. Pay the application fee, and

    5. Pass the suitability check.

  7. New EAs and ERPAs are generally required to take two hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) for each month enrolled, beginning with the month they are first enrolled. This must include at least two hours of ethics training per year. The CPE cycle runs from January 1 to December 31.

  8. EAs and ERPAs are required to renew their enrollment status with the IRS. Enrollment renewal cycles are determined by the last digit of an EA’s or ERPA’s SSN. To remain in "Active" enrollment status an EA or ERPA must:

    1. File Form 8554 or Form 8554 EP, as applicable.

    2. Pay a $125 application fee.

    3. Document completion of the required CPE for the enrollment cycle.

  9. CPE hours earned prior to becoming an EA/ERPA do not count as credit towards the requirement of 72 hours of CPE after enrollment. Refer to Treasury Department Circular No. 230, Section 10.6(e)(2).

1.25.2.1.2  (06-01-2010)
Work Priorities and Systems

  1. Work priorities are set by management and will vary depending on the time of year. Generally, priorities are as follows:

    1. Lockbox mail and remittances are processed within 24 hours of receipt in OPE.

    2. Forms 23 and Forms 8554 are processed within 60 days of receipt in OPE, unless derogatory information is found during the suitability check.

    3. Correspondence is processed within 30 days of receipt in OPE.

    4. Undelivered mail is processed within 2 weeks of receipt in OPE.

      Note:

      During the months of December, January, February and March, mail returned as undelivered is worked as lower priority and is generally completed within 30 days of receipt.

  2. The systems used to process receipts and track correspondence in OPE include:

    1. The Enrolled Practitioner Program System (EPPS), which processes Forms 23 and Forms 8554 received in OPE.

    2. The Information Tracking System (I-Trak), which is used to track correspondence received in OPE.

1.25.2.2  (06-01-2010)
Receipt and Control of Incoming Mail

  1. The process for handling incoming mail is as follows:

    1. Mail is generally picked up twice a day at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm from the mailroom.

    2. Mail is opened and date-stamped to show receipt in OPE within 24 hours of pick-up from the mailroom.

    3. Correspondence is sorted for input into I-Trak and entered to the system within 48 hours of receipt in OPE.

    4. After an I-Trak record is created, the correspondence is placed in a designated mail bin in the file room.

    5. All Forms 23 and Forms 8554 are entered in EPPS within 48 hours of receipt in OPE.

  2. Types of mail include:

    1. Correspondence.

    2. Lock Box mail, which includes Forms 23, Forms 8554, checks and money orders.

    3. Undeliverable mail (UD mail).

    4. Misrouted mail.

  3. Other types of inquiries include:

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

    2. OPE case file information

    3. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests

    4. EA/ERPA listing

    5. Report from OPR CD&L to suspend or terminate EA/ERPA status

    6. Re-print enrollment card or certificate

    7. Help in applying for EA/ERPA status

    8. Update on application or renewal status

    9. Questions or assistance in resolving an issue related to the SEE

    10. Name change

    11. Address change

    12. Report a deceased EA/ERPA

    13. Blank forms

    14. Refund

    15. General questions about practicing before the IRS

    16. Termination of enrollment

    17. CPE Waiver

    18. General tax questions or requests for tax forms

    19. Requests for refunds

  4. The protocol for distributing mail is as follows:

    1. Mail addressed to an OPE manager is distributed to that manager for review.

    2. Mail addressed to the Director, OPR is forwarded to the Chief, OPE for review.

    3. Mail addressed to a specific OPE employee is given to the employee’s manager for distribution.

1.25.2.2.1  (06-01-2010)
Processing Lockbox Mail

  1. On a daily basis, OPE receives a Batch and Deposit Total Lockbox Report from the Lockbox contractor. This listing must be reviewed as top priority to ensure that all EA/ERPA fees and deposits match the applications that are attached.

  2. If documents are received from the Lockbox but no transmittal is attached, report the situation to the OPE program analyst who will initiate contact with the Lockbox contractor to resolve the situation.

  3. Upon receipt of a Lockbox transmittal, take the following actions:

    1. Using a red pen, work from the top of the list to verify each payment.

    2. Place a check mark on the Batch and Deposit Total Lockbox Report on the far right side to show the application and payment were correctly received and applied.

    3. If a payment is listed and correspondence is attached which does not relate to EA/ERPA processing, route this correspondence to the program analyst for handling. Conduct research on www.irs.gov, if necessary, to determine where to route misdirected forms or correspondence.

    4. After all transactions on the Batch and Deposit Total Lockbox Report have been verified, signed and dated, mark the transmittal in red ink as "complete."

    5. Detach the Forms 23 and Forms 8554 and place them in designated area for batching.

    6. Place a copy of the completed Batch and Deposit Totals Lockbox Report in the appropriate binder.

  4. The Program Analyst is responsible for taking the following actions with respect to misdirected mail/payments:

    1. Contact the taxpayer by letter and telephone and advise that the OPE received the payment in error.

    2. Send a memo to Beckley Finance Center with a copy of the correspondence to move the money to correct appropriation.

    3. Forward the original document to the appropriate IRS area for handling

1.25.2.2.2  (06-01-2010)
Check Processing

  1. Applicants occasionally mail their application and payment directly to the OPE. These items are classified as "Discovered Remittances." When this occurs, OPE is responsible for depositing checks within 24 hours of receipt:

    1. Send checks or money orders drawn from US funds to the lockbox.

    2. Send checks or money orders drawn from International funds to the Beckley Finance Center (Beckley).

  2. Checks not deposited the day of receipt must be locked overnight in an immovable container, with access limited to designated OPE staff.

  3. OPE uses Form 3210, Document Transmittal, to track all checks or money orders sent to the lockbox or Beckley for deposit.

  4. OPE is required to submit a monthly report due to Beckley the first week of each month, to show the prior month’s deposits. OPE uses a spreadsheet to track all deposits.

1.25.2.2.2.1  (06-01-2010)
Discovered Remittances

  1. If an unprocessed check is found, take the following actions.

    1. Review the check or money order to ensure it is a negotiable instrument.

    2. Ensure the check contains the required information (date, signature and dollar amount) for processing.

    3. Prepare two copies of Form 3210 - one copy for the lockbox or Beckley Finance Center (Beckley), and the other copy for the "Discovered Remittance" binder.

    4. List multiple checks on one Form 3210.

    5. Enter the full name (last name, first name) of the applicant, the check amount, and the applicant’s PTIN number (if listed on the form or located through researching EPPS) on Form 3210.

    6. Add the check information to the OPE Discovered Check excel spreadsheet.

    7. Place a copy of the Form 3210 in the "Discovered Remittance" binder.

  2. Mail remittances according to the following guidelines.

    1. Mail US negotiable checks, via Overnight mail, to:
      Overnight Lockbox Remittance
      Box 4191 5860
      Uplander Way
      Culver City, CA 90230.

    2. Mail all International Money Orders and checks not drawn from US funds to:
      Department of the Treasury
      IRS Beckley Finance Center
      Beckley, WV 25802
      Attn: OF:CFO:I:BFC

  3. If an unprocessed check is non-negotiable, return the check to the applicant along with a letter, and take the following actions:

    1. Mark the check "VOID."

    2. Generate a Bad Check/Missing Payment Letter to the applicant.

    3. Update EPPS with Action Code 451 (Bad Check/Insufficient Funds) and input a note "Live check received/form unprocessable."

    4. Photocopy the Form 23 (Form 23-EP) or Form 8554 (Form 8554-EP).

    5. Enclose a copy of the Form 23 (Form 23-EP) or Form 8554 (Form 8554-EP) with your letter to the applicant.

    6. Mail the letter and suspend a copy of the letter and the original application for 30 days, pending a response.

    7. If no response is received after 30 days, the form is unprocessable.

    8. If a response is received and a new check is submitted, continue processing the form.

1.25.2.2.2.2  (06-01-2010)
Insufficient Funds (Bounced Checks)

  1. Checks with insufficient funds may be received from the Lockbox with a copy of the application.

    1. Upon receipt, research EPPS to determine if it is a duplicate application.

    2. If so, locate the original application to ensure the fee is paid. Then annotate the Lockbox listing.

    3. If not, generate a Bad Check/Missing Payment Letter to advise the applicant of the situation.

  2. Update EPPS with:

    1. Action Code 426 (Bad check/insufficient funds) if relating to Form 23 or Form 23-EP.

    2. Action Code 451 (Bad check/insufficient funds) if relating to Form 8554 or Form 8554-EP.

  3. Check EPPS for case assignment.

    1. If assigned on EPPS, forward a copy of the Lockbox correspondence and all related documents to the assigned employee.

    2. If not assigned on EPPS, locate the related Form 23 (Form 23-EP) or Form 8554 (Form 8554-EP) and give the form and Lockbox correspondence to the OPE lead for handling.

1.25.2.2.3  (06-01-2010)
Batching and Controlling Work

  1. All Forms 23 and Forms 8554 are batched and controlled on EPPS. EPPS has a systemic inventory assignment feature for batching and assigning work. EPPS automatically assigns a batch of cases to an employee based on the inventory assignments set by management.

  2. The standard volume for batching is 25 documents to a batch, volume permitting. During low volume times, work may be batched in smaller quantities.

  3. All correspondence and UD mail is sorted and batched daily by type and controlled manually.

    1. Complete Form 3210 and place it on top of each batch.

    2. List the total volume in the top center of the transmittal and list the earliest OPE received date on the Form 3210.

    3. Sign and initial at the bottom.

    4. Copy for filing in the batch suspense file.

    5. Upon completion of the batch, pull the suspense copy and associate with the original 3210 for filing.

    6. Completed batches are forwarded to the OPE manager for review and assignment to employees. Management monitors employee inventory levels and reserves the right to change inventory assignments on EPPS at any time.

1.25.2.2.3.1  (06-01-2010)
Receiving Form 23 in EPPS

  1. A record showing a new applicant has passed the SEE is typically found on EPPS. This record is created through a tape exchange from the IRS contractor. The tape is downloaded after the applicant passes all three parts of the examination.

  2. Applicants who pass the SEE are referred to as "Candidates. "

  3. Within 48 hours of receipt in OPE, take the following actions to process Form 23 or Form 23-EP in EPPS:

    1. Log the form into EPPS by selecting the "Receive Form" sub menu.

    2. Select Eligibility code ‘2’ for "SEE Candidate."

    3. Type in the Candidate Number located on the application. If an examination record exists in EPPS, the name field will auto-fill.

    4. Type in the SSN on the application. The system will confirm whether a record already exists. If there is no SSN listed on the form, research Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) to locate an SSN for the applicant. If an SSN cannot be located, refer the case to the OPE lead.

    5. EPPS will auto search for a passing examination record associated with the Candidate Number.

    6. Select "Receive Form," which will associate the Form 23 or Form 23-EP with the examination record. EPPS will then perform a check to determine if a duplicate SSN is in the system. If no duplicate SSN exists, EPPS will assign the applicant a Personal Identification Number (PIN).

    7. EPPS will assign a unique PIN and systemically generate Action Code 199 (Examination Results Received), 140 (Assigned person to Legal Instrument Examiner (LIE), and Action Code 307 (Form 23 received – Examinee). If EPPS does not assign a PIN, refer the case to the OPE Lead.

  4. If no record is found on EPPS, review Form 23 to determine if the applicant is a former employee.

    1. Check Form 23 to see if the applicant checked the Former IRS Employee box on the top of the form. If the applicant checked the former employee box, update EPPS to show the applicant’s eligibility as ‘1’ for Former Employee.

    2. Type in the applicant’s name and SSN, then select "Receive Form."

    3. EPPS will take you to the Exam Record Screen which will be Blank. Select "Add New."

    4. EPPS will then perform a check to determine if a duplicate SSN exists. If no duplicate SSN condition exists, EPPS will systemically assign the applicant a PIN.

    5. Using a red pen, write the PIN in the top right corner of the form (in the box marked ("For IRS Use Only" ) .

    6. EPPS will assign a unique PIN and systemically generate Action Code 140 (Assigned person to LIE), and Action Code 308 (Form 23 received – Former Employee).

    Note:

    If EPPS does not assign a PIN, refer the case to the OPE lead.

  5. The system will generate a pop-up message when a batch is complete, meaning it has systemically assigned all the cases in a batch to a specific employee.

    1. Print two batch lists from EPPS when a batch is complete.

    2. Update all cases in a batch, via the EPPS "Person Screen, " with the applicant’s address, telephone number and e-mail address.

  6. Create a case folder for each application in the batch.

    1. If the applicant is a Former Employee, use a purple folder. For all other cases, use a manila folder.

    2. Staple a Case Checklist to the outside front of the folder.

    3. Complete the Checklist for the following: Clerk initials, LIE initials, Date of Receipt, PIN and applicants Name (last, first, middle initial).

    4. Using a black marker, write the applicant’s PIN on a white label. Place the label on the tab of the folder.

    5. Write the applicant’s full name (last, first, middle initial) below the tab on the front of the folder.

    6. Staple the application along with the copy of the payment to the inside left of the folder.

    7. Place one copy of the batch listing on top of the cases associated with the list and give the cases to the manager for review and assignment.

    8. Place the other copy of the batch listing in the OPE "New Receipt" binder.

1.25.2.3  (06-01-2010)
Form 23 and Form 23EP Processing

  1. Applicants use Form 23 and Form 23-EP to request EA and ERPA status respectively.

  2. Form 23 or Form 23-EP is generally processed within 60 days of receipt in OPE, unless derogatory information is listed on the form or identified during the suitability review.

    Note:

    Derogatory information, for purposes of Practitioner Enrollment process, includes the applicant disclosing a matter of misconduct on Form 23 or Form 23-EP that could affect his or her eligibility, or the OPE finding information regarding misconduct or tax compliance issues through research of various IRS and TIGTA systems.

  3. When an IRS employee submits a Form 23/23-EP for enrollment and it is received 45 days prior to separation, continue to follow regulations for processing Form 23 (see IRM 1.25.2.3.6.1) and referral to OPR Case Development & Licensure Branch (CD&L) (see IRM 1.25.2.3.6.2).

  4. If the applicant meets all suitability checks and receives approval from CD&L for enrollment, but has not separated, place the case in suspense until verification of separation can be made.

    Note:

    Do not issue enrollment cards to any IRS employee until confirmation of separation can be made.

  5. If the former employee submits an application prior to 45 days of separation from the Service, process as follows:

    1. Apply action code 340 (ineligible).

    2. Apply action code 341 (ineligible letter sent).

    3. Generate two copies of the ineligible letter, keep one copy in the case folder and send the original letter to the applicant.

    4. Apply action code 392 (application process terminated).

    5. Apply action code 393 (application archived).

  6. Monitor suspense cases weekly by researching the Automated Labor Employee Relations Tracking System (ALERTS) and the Treasury Integrated Management Information System (TIMIS).

    Note:

    ALERTS/TIMIS is updated weekly.

  7. Once separation is confirmed and verified, issue Enrollment Card/Certificate.

  8. Limited Enrollment: Continue to honor requests of CPE hours from former IRS employees that previously received a letter advising them that they can receive full enrollment if they meet the 36 hour CPE criteria. Any future former employees with limited enrollment will no longer be offered this option.

  9. Within 14 days of receipt of the enrollment application, conduct the completeness check as outlined in IRM 1.25.2.3.2. Update EPPS with action code 110 and annotate remarks "Document Reviewed" and date of review.

1.25.2.3.1  (06-01-2010)
Acknowledgement Letter Form 23 and Form 23-EP

  1. Acknowledgment letters are sent to all former employee applicants upon receipt of Form 23 and Form 23-EP.

  2. An acknowledgment letter is only sent to candidates if the applicant answers to question 6,7,8 or 9 is "yes," or if derogatory information is found during the suitability check.

  3. To generate an acknowledgement letter:

    1. Update EPPS with Action Code 311 (Form 23 / Form 23-EP in process).

    2. Update EPPS with Action Code 310 (Acknowledgment letter).

    3. Go into the print menu and select "Acknowledgement Letter."

    4. The letter will be generated by print consolidation. No file copy is required.

1.25.2.3.2  (06-01-2010)
Completeness Check Form 23 and Form 23-EP

  1. All Forms 23/Forms 23-EP are reviewed for completeness before they are processed. To process an application it must include the following items:

    1. A copy of the $125 payment from the Lockbox .

    2. The applicant’s SSN listed (if applicable).

    3. Name and address.

    4. Candidate number.

    5. Questions 6-9 answered.

    6. The applicant’s signature.

    IF AND THEN
    The $125 fee has been paid,   Update EPPS with Action Code 428 (Funds received for F23 -$125).
    The $125 fee has not been paid,   Update EPPS with Action Code 426 (Bad Check/insufficient Funds),
    Issue a Bad Check/Payment Missing Letter (Update EPPS with Action code 355 (Form 23 Missing Information letter Sent) and
    Suspend the form for 30 days.
    payment is received after issuance of the Missing Information Letter, Continue processing.
    no response after issuance of the Missing Information Letter, The form is unprocessable.

1.25.2.3.3  (06-01-2010)
Obtaining Missing Information Form 23 and Form 23-EP

  1. If a key item is missing (see IRM 1.25.2.3.2) on the Form 23/Form 23-EP, the OPE will initiate telephone contact with the applicant within 14 days of receipt in OPE to request the missing information.

    1. If a telephone number is listed on Form 23/Form 23-EP, attempt two telephone contacts before initiating a letter.

    2. If missing information cannot be obtained through research or telephone contact, issue a Missing Information Letter. Applicants have 14 days to respond.

  2. Place Forms 23/Form 23-EP with missing information in suspense for 30 days to allow the applicant sufficient time to respond to the request for information.

    1. If a response is received, pull the form, attach the correspondence to the application and continue with Form 23/Form 23-EP processing.

    2. If the missing information is not received within 30 days of the date of the letter, the Form 23/Form 23-EP is unprocessable.

  3. Research missing information as follows:

    STEP Form 23 is missing the THEN NOTE
    1. SSN a. Locate the SSN by researching:
    • The Employee User Portal (EUP) PTIN database, using the Candidate Number provided, or
    • IDRS command code NAME with definer S.
    b. Ensure the SSN found on the EUP or IDRS belongs to the applicant. (Match it against other entity data, such as the name, address, or EIN.)
    Refer to the OPE lead if no SSN is found.
    2. Name or address Research IDRS to locate the applicant’s name or address
    Contact the applicant by phone to verify the information obtained.
    Note any information in red found in IDRS on Form 23.
    3. Candidate Number Locate the Candidate Number by using the SSN listed by researching the EUP database. The Candidate Number can be a PTIN or a number assigned by the vendor if the applicant does not have one. Refer to the lead if no findings.
    4. Employer Identification Number Research IDRS to look for a cross-reference EIN. Note any EIN located on the Form 23.
    5. Answers to Question 6,7, 8 or 9, Contact the applicant by phone, or if necessary, by letter to request the information.  
    6. An attachment to explain answers to question(s) 6,7,8, or 9 Contact the applicant by phone, or if necessary, by letter to request the information Mark the case for referral to OPR CD&L.
    7. Signature Contact the applicant by phone to request a signed copy of the application.
    Provide a fax number to expedite receipt of the missing signature
    If unable to contact the applicant, generate a Missing Information Letter.
    Update EPPS with Action Code 355, Missing Information Letter Sent.

  4. If it is necessary to send a Missing Information Letter:

    1. Update EPPS with Action Code 344 (Missing info on Form 23/Form 23-EP). A pop-up sub-menu will appear.

    2. Select the missing item on EPPS. This will generate a Missing Information Letter.

    3. Print the letter.

    4. Update EPPS with Action Code 355 (Form 23/Form 23-EP missing info letter sent).

    5. Update EPPS with Action Code 390 (Form 23/Form 23-EP application on hold)

    6. Mark the case for follow-up in 30 days and file in the 30-Day Suspense Bin.

1.25.2.3.3.1  (06-01-2010)
Telephone Contact Procedures for Requesting Missing Information

  1. OPE staff will use the following procedure to request missing information needed to process Form 23/Form 23-EP, Form 8554/Form 8554-EP or any other type of correspondence.

  2. When calling an applicant to obtain missing information, identify yourself by stating your name and IRS badge number.

    1. When calling an applicant to obtain missing information, identify yourself by stating your name and IRS badge number.

    2. If an applicant cannot be reached by phone, leave a message stating your name and phone number and request a call back.

    3. Wait 3 additional business days for the applicant to call back.

    4. Wait 2 business days for an applicant to call you back. If the applicant does not return your call after 2 business days, attempt a second call.

    5. If the applicant does not respond to two telephone messages, issue a Missing Information Letter.

    6. When information is secured by phone, write it on the form using a red pen and place your initials next to the entry on the form.

1.25.2.3.4  (06-01-2010)
Unprocessable Form 23

  1. The Unprocessable Application Letter is issued as a follow-up to the Missing Information Letter to advise the applicant that the OPE cannot process their form. Send the Unprocessable Application Letter if no response is received within 30 days of the date of a Missing Information Letter request.

    Reminder:

    Missing information on Form 23 includes the fee is not paid or any key item that cannot be perfected is missing.

  2. Input a note on EPPS to show an Unprocessable Application Letter was sent.

  3. Suspend the case for an additional 45 days to allow the applicant time to respond.

  4. If a response is received, continue processing the form.

  5. If no response is received within 45 days of the date of this letter:

    1. Update EPPS with Action code 391 (Form 23 application abandoned).

    2. Update EPPS with Action code 392 (Form 23 application process terminated)

    3. Update EPPS with Action code 393 (Form 23 application record archived)

    4. Forward the closed case for filing.

1.25.2.3.5  (06-01-2010)
Systems Research Form 23 and Form 23-EP

  1. Several systems are used to conduct research and to determine the suitability of an EA/ERPA applicant.

    1. The Automated Labor Employee Relations Tracking System ( ALERTS) system is used to check conduct or performance problems of a former IRS employee applicant.

    2. The Employee User Portal (EUP) is used to locate Electronic Return Originator (ERO) suitability information.

    3. The Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) is used to check for tax compliance with individual or business tax return filings.

    4. The Information Tracking System (I-Trak) is used to check for a history of OPR CD&L activity.

    5. The Treasury Integrated Management Information Systems ( TIMIS) is used to check the job qualifications of a former IRS employee applicant.

1.25.2.3.5.1  (06-01-2010)
ALERTS Checks

  1. If an applicant checks the current or former employee box at the top of Form 23, check ALERTS to determine if there is any evidence of a conduct or performance issue.

  2. To check ALERTS, go into the ALERTS system and input the applicant's SSN.

    1. If no record is found, check the box on the Case Checklist.

    2. If ALERTS displays the message "Call Labor Relations (LR)," print the screen and refer the case to your lead for further research. Note the finding on the Case Checklist.

  3. Refer all cases with Alerts findings to OPR CD&L for further review.

1.25.2.3.5.2  (06-01-2010)
EUP Research

  1. All Forms 23 are checked against the EUP to determine if the applicant is an ERO, and if so, whether they passed ERO suitability.

  2. To check for ERO suitability information, go into the EUP and input the applicant's SSN.

    IF AND THEN
    (1) No record is found,   Check the 'no' box on the Case Checklist
    (2) A record is found,   Check the Personal Suitability tab to see if the applicant passed ERO suitability.
    the applicant passed suitability, Note the ‘yes’ box on the Case Checklist.
    the applicant failed suitability, Go to the ASAP results tab and print the screen.
    Check the Comments screen. If any information is listed, print that screen.
    Note the ‘no’ box on the Case Checklist.

  3. Refer cases with failed ERO suitability findings to OPR CD&L for further review.

1.25.2.3.5.3  (06-01-2010)
IDRS Research

  1. Perform IDRS research on all Form 23 and Form 8554 applicants.

  2. Conduct tax compliance checks on all SSNs, I-TINs or EINs provided.

  3. Perform additional research to locate cross-reference (x-ref) Taxpayer Identification numbers (TINs) that the applicant did not disclose on Form 23 or Form 8554.

    1. Use IDRS command code INOLE with definer S or X to locate x-ref TINS.

    2. Use IDRS command codes IMFOL and BMFOL to research the applicant’s account.

  4. Maintain print-outs of all IDRS findings in the OPE case file.

  5. After researching IDRS and taking screen prints, take the following actions:

    1. Update EPPS with Action Code 316 (Tax transcript requested)

    2. If no tax compliance issue is found, update EPPS with Action Code 380 (applicant has no tax information issues). Place the IDRS prints in the case file and note the Case Checklist.

    3. If a tax compliance issue is found, note the findings on the Case Checklist.

  6. Refer all cases with tax compliance findings to OPR CD&L for further review.

1.25.2.3.5.4  (06-01-2010)
I-Trak Research

  1. I-Trak is the system OPR CD&L uses to track actions against practitioners.

  2. Check I-Trak to ensure there is no history of OPR complaints against the applicant.

  3. To check I-Trak, go into I-Trak and query the applicant using their first and last name.

    IF THEN
    (1) No record is found, Check the box on the Case Checklist.
    (2) A record is found, Print the information and review it to determine if the complaint was worked and OPR took action.
    Note the findings on the Case Checklist.

  4. Refer the case to the OPE lead for further research or review, if necessary.

  5. If I-Trak shows a prior complaint was received and worked by OPR, refer the case to OPR CD&L.

1.25.2.3.5.5  (06-01-2010)
TIGTA Checks

  1. Request a TIGTA records check via secure e-mail on all former IRS employee applicants who submit Form 23 to the OPE.

  2. Request a TIGTA records check within 72 hours of the Form 23 received date.

  3. To request a TIGTA record check:

    1. Prepare a "TIGTA Memo" for each record check requested.

    2. List the full name and SSN of the applicant and the current date on the memo.

    3. Update EPPS with Action Code 318. (TIGTA request sent -former IRS employee).

    4. E-mail the memo, via Secure Messaging, to the designated TIGTA representative.

    5. Print a copy of the memo and place in suspense pending TIGTA’s response.

    6. Update the Case Checklist to show the date sent.

  4. If a response is not received from TIGTA within 10 business days of issuing the memo, elevate the issue to management for contact with TIGTA.

  5. When a response is received, print out the memo and place it in the case file.

    1. If there is a TIGTA finding, update the Case Checklist and mark the case for referral to OPR CD&L, and update EPPS with Action Code 348 (TIGTA response derogatory).

    2. If there is no finding, update EPPS with Action Code 319 (TIGTA response non-derogatory) and note the Case Checklist.

    3. Place a copy of the memo in the case file.

  6. TIGTA will retrieve the Report of Investigation and send it directly to OPR CD&L in Washington, DC.

1.25.2.3.6  (06-01-2010)
TIMIS Checks

  1. Perform a TIMIS check of all Form 23 applications for former employees.

  2. Research an applicant by opening the Secure OPR report link, and type in the SSN. The applicant’s job history will appear.

  3. Print the history and review it for eligible qualifications.

    1. Qualifying positions and time in grade will determine eligibility for enrollment (full or limited).

    2. f a former employee does not qualify, update EPPS to "ineligible" Action Code 340 (Form 23 Received Applicant Ineligible). An applicant can be ineligible if he or she has qualifying experience, but applies more than 3 years after their separation from the Service.

    3. An applicant can be eligible only for limited practice if the qualifying experience in some but not all practice areas is inadequate. For example, a former employee with experience only in collection functions will be restricted to practice before the collection division.

1.25.2.3.7  (06-01-2010)
Basic Eligibility Determination Form 23 and Form 23-EP

  1. An applicant is ineligible for EA/ERPA status if he or she:

    1. Has not passed all parts of the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE).

    2. Has passed all parts of the SEE, but did not apply for status within the required time frame.

    3. Is a former IRS employee who lacks qualifying experience, or did not apply for status within the required time frame.

    4. Has not paid the $125 fee.

      Note:

      The examination for ERPA applicants is the ERPA Special Enrollment Exam (ERPA-SEE).

  2. Former IRS employees may qualify for EA/ERPA status without taking the SEE if they:

    1. Apply for enrollment within 3 years of their separation date from the service.

    2. Have a minimum of 5 years of technical qualifying experience.

    3. Reached the appropriate level in their qualifying position.

      Note:

      Use information from TIMIS to determine if the employee has technical qualifying experience based on the position he or she held with the Service and to determine if restrictions should be imposed on the practice eligibility.

  3. Qualifying positions are as follows:

    1. Revenue Officer (GS-1169) – GS-9 and above.

    2. Tax specialist (GS-526) – GS-9 and above.

    3. Internal Revenue Agent (GS-512) – GS-11 and above.

    4. Customer Service Representative (GS-962) – GS-8 and above.

    5. Tax Law Specialist (GS-987) - GS-11 and above.

    6. Criminal Investigator (GS-1811) – GS 11 and above.

    7. Appeals Officer (GS-930) – GS-11 and above.

    8. Senior Manager (IR level) who held one of the qualifying positioned listed above for five years.

    9. IRS Executive who held one of the qualifying positions listed above for five years.

  4. A former IRS employee applicant’s job history is reviewed to determine if they have technical qualifying experience.

    1. If the applicant held a qualifying position with the IRS, he or she is eligible for enrollment.

    2. If the applicant did not hold a qualifying position with the IRS, he or she is not eligible for enrollment.

  5. If a former employee is not eligible for enrollment, update the EPPS Eligibility code to 4 and note the reason in remarks section.

    1. Update EPPS with the appropriate Action Code 341 (Ineligible letter sent).

    2. Update EPPS with Action Code 392 (Form 23 application process terminated).

    3. Update EPPS with Action Code 393 (Form 23 Applicant record archived).

    4. Generate the Ineligibility Letter on Microsoft Word and place it in the outgoing mail bin.

    5. Forward the closed case for filing. Has not passed all parts of the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE).

1.25.2.3.7.1  (06-01-2010)
Suitability Determination

  1. Applications/Renewals may be delayed as part of the suitability process when derogatory information is identified or disclosed. These cases are sent to the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), Case Development & Licensure Branch, for review and final enrollment determination.

  2. OPE staff will perform a review of the Form 23/Form 23-EP and all related research to determine if an applicant passes the suitability check. If any derogatory information is found or listed on Form 23, the OPE will refer the case to OPR CD&L for further review and a decision on enrollment.

  3. Derogatory information includes:

    1. An ALERTS finding showing a record of misconduct or poor performance.

    2. A TIGTA finding of derogatory information.

    3. A failed ERO suitability finding in EUP.

    4. A TIMIS review showing applicant does not qualify, or applied after the 3 year requirement.

    5. An I-Trak finding showing OPR took an action against an applicant.

    6. A tax compliance finding on IDRS.

    7. The applicant’s "yes" response to question 6,7,8 or 9 on Form 23.

      Exception:

      If a DUI is reported and the EA/ERPA has paid the fine and attended the required classes, no referral to CD&L is required. Process Form 23. Only refer a DUI case where the applicant is currently on probation or was sentenced to jail time for the offense.

  4. If no derogatory information is found or listed on Form 23:

    1. Update EPPS with Action Code 350 (applicant has no professional practice/other issues), and

    2. Proceed with enrollment.

1.25.2.3.7.2  (06-01-2010)
Referrals to OPR CD&L

  1. If the applicant fails the EA suitability check, update EPPS as follows.

    Due to Update EPPS with Action Code
    1. Tax compliance issues 381 (Applicant has tax information issues)
    347 Tax compliance issue
    360 (Form 23 application record sent to legal/enforcement)
    2. A TIGTA finding 348 (TIGTA response derogatory)
    110 (Miscellaneous) and note remarks
    3. An Alerts finding 351 Applicant has professional practice/other issues
    110 (Miscellaneous) and note remarks
    4. A failed ERO suitability
    110 (Miscellaneous) and note remarks
    5. An I-Trak finding
    110 (Miscellaneous) and note remarks
    6. Answered "yes" to questions 6,7,8 or 9, of Form 23
    110 (Miscellaneous) and note remarks

  2. Cases forwarded to CD&L should be coded in EPPS with Action Code 110 (miscellaneous) with the following statement in remarks "Case given to Analyst." The analyst will perform the following actions:

    1. Review the folder contents.

    2. Apply code 360 (Case sent to CD&L).

    3. Forward case for shipping to OPR, Washington, DC.

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

  4. Prepare two copies of Form 3210.

    1. Place one copy in the case file.

    2. Return one copy from OPR CD&L as an acknowledgment.

  5. Photocopy the case file, including Form 23 and related correspondence, and the screens showing the derogatory information on the applicant.

    Note:

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

  6. Send, via Overnight Mail to OPR CD&L.

  7. OPR CD&L will decide whether to enroll or deny the applicant EA/ERPA status. CD&L will provide an Enrollment Memo and e-mail it to the OPE using secure messaging, when the enrollment decision is made, along with a copy of any tax compliance letter issued to the applicant.

  8. Once a response is received from OPR CD&L, take action as directed.

    IF And Update EPPS THEN
    Enrollment is approved, Action Code 361 (CD&L approves Form 23 application for full enrollment) Proceed with enrollment.
    Enrollment is denied, Action Code 367 (CD&L denies Form 23 application) Close the case.

  9. If no response is received from OPR CD&L , take the following actions.

    IF no response is received THEN AND
    (1) 60 days after the date referred to OPR, Check I-Trak to determine the case status and assignment information If I-Trak shows OPR is considering denying enrollment, mark the case for follow-up in another 30 days and note EPPS.
    If no update is listed on I-Trak, contact the assigned Paralegal by telephone or secure e-mail.

    Note:

    Make two attempts over 5 business days to secure an update from the paralegal.

    (2) From the OPR employee after two attempted contacts, Elevate the matter to OPR management.  

1.25.2.3.7.3  (06-01-2010)
Processing Enrollment

  1. The case is ready for enrollment if the applicant passes the suitability test. All successful EA/ERPA applicants receive enrollment cards, a one-time certificate and a congratulatory letter.

  2. Between October 1 and October 31, check the last digit of the applicant’s SSN to determine if he or she is due for renewal in the upcoming renewal cycle.

    1. If the applicant is due for renewal in the upcoming cycle, delay final processing until November 1st to avoid the applicant from having to apply for renewal in the upcoming cycle.

      Note:

      If the applicant is not due for renewal in the upcoming cycle, continue with enrollment processing.

    2. Update EPPS with a note stating "Hold due to closed renewal cycle."

    3. Place the case in a suspense file until November 1.

    4. Pull the case on the first business day after November 1 and proceed with enrollment.

      Example:

      It is October 15th and you are ready to process enrollment on a Form 23 applicant whose SSN ends in a six. The upcoming renewal cycle is for SSN group ending in 4, 5 and 6. Delay the enrollment for 2 weeks and continue processing the enrollment on November 1.

  3. To complete enrollment processing, take the following actions:

    Step Action
    1. Update EPPS with Action code:
    • 570 (Active agent assigned (A))
    • 505 (Enrollment Card Printed)
    • 331 (Assign roster "R" (enrolled agent) current status)
    • 333 (Certificate to Practice Sent)
    • 335 (Congratulatory letter for qualifying/becoming agent sent)
    2. Go into Tools on EPPS
    • Select Printers Matters
    • Select Enrollment Card
    • Print the card.
    3. Generate the Congratulatory Letter.

    Note:

    For former IRS employees, generate the Former Employee Congratulatory Letter.

    Create the certificate using the Microsoft Word template. Insert::
    • The candidates full name
    • The enrollment number assigned by EPPS and the enrollment date.

    Note:

    The enrollment date is the current date and should match the date of the 570 Action Code.

    4. Print the certificate and apply the gold seal.  
    5. Place the letter, the certificate and the enrollment card in a folder to prevent bending.  
    6. Place in a large envelope, address the envelope and place in the outgoing mail bin.  
    7. Write the enrollment number and date enrolled in the top right corner of Form 23.  
    8. Forward the case for filing in the "Active /ERPA" file.  

1.25.2.4  (06-01-2010)
Form 8554 and Form 8554-EP Processing

  1. Form 8554/Form 8554-EP is used for the renewal of enrollment. EPPS should have a record for all renewal applicants.

1.25.2.4.1  (06-01-2010)
Receiving Form 8554/Form 8554-EP, Application for Renewal of Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service, on EPPS

  1. Within 48 hours of receipt of Form 8554/Form 8554-EP in OPE, take the following actions:

    1. Log the Form 8554/Form 8554-EP in EPPS by selecting the "Receive Form" , sub menu.

    2. Select Form 8554/Form 8554-EP from the pop up menu, and type in the enrollment number. Name and SSN (if found in EPPS) will auto fill.

    3. If no SSN is available, continue to process using the name.

      Note:

      If neither the name nor SSN auto fill, refer the case to the OPE lead.

    4. Write the SSN in red on the Form 8554/Form 8554-EP, near the PIN.

    5. Select the "Receive Form" button. A pop-up confirmation will acknowledge receipt and identify workload assignment. EPPS will systemically input Action Code 500 (Form 8554 received).

    6. Follow Form 23 batch listing procedures, but do not create a case folder.

    7. Forward the completed batch to the manager for review and assignment.

  2. Form 8554/8554-EP is required for an EA/ERPA to renew enrollment status. If an EA/ERPA is in Inactive Retirement status or does not renew timely s/he cannot continue to practice before the IRS.

    1. The renewal application period begins on November 1 and ends on January 31.

    2. The enrollment period runs through March 31st of the third year following renewal.

    3. The issue date listed on new enrollment cards is April 1st of the year of renewal.

  3. On October 15th of each year, or the next business day, OPE generates a bulk mail-out of Letter 3937C, Enrolled Agent Renewal Notice , to all EAs who are due for renewal. OPE generally completes the processing of all renewal forms by March 31.

  4. The last digit of an Enrolled Agent’s SSN determines the year of renewal.

    IF the SSN ends in Renew between
    0, 1, 2 or 3 November 1, 2009 and January 31, 2010, 2013
    4, 5 or 6 November 1, 2010 and January 31, 2011, 2014
    7, 8, 9 or No SSN November 1, 2011 and January 31, 2012, 2015

  5. An /ERPA can request to remain in "Active" status, or request to be placed into "Inactive Retirement" status by checking a box in Part 1 of Form 8554. If Inactive Retirement Status is requested update EPPS with Action Codes:

    1. 503 (Waive CPE).

    2. 504 (Renewal Approved).

    3. 572 (Retired Agent status assigned).

    4. 596 (Retirement letter sent). This code systemically generates Letter 4240C, Retirement Letter for Enrolled Agents. No cards are issued to the /ERPA for this status.

      Note:

      Do not accept inactive retirement status requests from /ERPA’s with active discipline investigations.

  6. To maintain status, an EA/ERPA in "Inactive Retirement" is:

    1. Required to complete the Form 8554/8554-EP and pay the renewal fee.

    2. Not required to maintain CPE while in inactive status.

  7. An EA/ERPA who has been suspended or disbarred must apply for renewal to retain EA/ERPA status until the disciplinary action, such as a suspension, has been completed. These EAs/ERPAs are required to maintain their CPE for the duration of time they are suspended or disbarred.

  8. On April 1 (or the next business day), OPE generates a bulk mail-out of:

    1. Letter 4321C , Inactive Agent Notice, to an EA who has not submitted a Form 8554 to OPE for the renewal cycle.

    2. Letter 4323C ,Enrolled Agent Termination Letter, to an EA who has missed two enrollment cycles.

1.25.2.4.2  (06-01-2010)
Completeness Check Form 8554

  1. Review Form 8554/Form 8554-EP for completeness before processing it. Check for the following key items.

    1. A copy of the $125 application fee from the Lockbox.

    2. The applicant’s PTIN.

    3. Name and address.

    4. Candidate number.

    5. Questions 6-8 answered.

    6. EA’s or ERPA's signature.

    IF THEN
    Any of the key items are missing, Contact the applicant by telephone.
    You are unable to secure the information through telephone contact, Send the Missing Information Letter.
    No response to the Missing Information Letter, The form is unprocessable.
    An EA or ERPA indicates he or she owns a business but does not list the EIN of the business on the form, Research IDRS to locate any cross-referenced EIN.

  2. Also review Form 8554/Form 8554-EP to determine if any information on EPPS should be updated. Review EPPS data against the Form 8554/Form 8554-EP and update as follows:

    IF the THEN Update EPPS to show the
    • New address box is checked, or
    • Address listed on the form is different from the address shown on EPPS,
    Address listed on the form.
    /ERPA’s last name has changed but other entity information shows a match Last name listed on the form.
    Telephone number on the form is new, Telephone number listed on the form.

    Note:

    Input to the "work telephone" field on EPPS.

    E-mail address is new, New e-mail address.
    CAF number on the form is different from the number listed on EPPS, New CAF number.
  3. If the $125 fee has not been paid, update EPPS with Action Code 451 (Bad Check/insufficient funds for Form 8554) and issue a Bad Check/Missing Payment Letter.

    1. If no response, the form is unprocessable.

    2. If payment is received, continue processing the form.

  4. If the $125 fee has been paid, update EPPS with Action Code 454 (Funds received for Form 8554 - $125).

1.25.2.4.3  (06-01-2010)
Obtaining Missing Information Form 8554/Form 8554-EP

  1. Take the following steps to obtain missing information from a Form 8554/Form 8554-EP:

    IF THEN
    A key item is missing on the Form 8554, Research IDRS and/or contact the applicant by telephone to obtain the missing information.
    A telephone number is listed on Form 8554/Form 8554-EP, Attempt two telephone contacts before issuing a Missing Information Letter.
    Missing information cannot be obtained through research or telephone contact, Issue a Missing Information Letter.

  2. Allow applicants 14 days to respond to a missing information request.

    1. Suspend processing of Form 8554/Form 8554-EP with missing information for 30 days to allow the applicant sufficient time to respond back to the request for information.

    2. If the missing information is not received within 30 days of the date of the OPE letter, the Form 8554/Form 8554-EP is unprocessable.

  3. If the missing information is obtained through IDRS research or telephone contact, write the information on the Form 8554/Form 8554-EP in red ink. Research missing information as follows:

    STEP Check if the /ERPA If No
    1. Verified the type of enrollment status they want.
    Contact the EA or ERPA by telephone and request the fee.
    2. Listed the required number of CPE credits,

    Note:

    Applies to those applying for Active status, or those applying while suspended or disbarred from practice


    Contact the EA or ERPA by telephone to secure the missing information.
    3. Listed the enrollment number, Retrieve the number from EPPS and write it on the form in red ink.
    4. Listed his or her name and address, • Research EPPS to determine if you can make a name or address match and enter the information on the form.
    • If EPPS name or address data is different, telephone to secure the missing information.
    5. Listed a CAF number Check IDRS for a matching CAF number and input to EPPS if found.
    6. Indicated they have an EIN, Research IDRS for a X-ref EIN and input to EPPS if found.
    7. Answered Questions 6, 7 and 8 Contact the /ERPA by telephone to request the information.
    8. Signed the form, Contact the /ERPA, by phone to request a the missing signature by fax or mail.

  4. If a key item is missing on Form 8554, or the $125 fee has not been paid, the form cannot be processed. If a missing information letter is needed, select the missing item on EPPS to generate a Missing Information Letter.

    IF missing THEN Update EPPS with Action Code
    CPE credits 511 (Missing info: more CPE’s needed) 516 (Missing info letter sent)
    Signature 512 (Missing info: signature)
    Answer to Question 8 513 (Missing info: question 8, convicted of a law violation)
    Answer to Question 6 or 7 515 (Missing info: question 6, professional misconduct)

  5. Finally, take the following actions:

    1. Update EPPS to show the type of information that is missing.

    2. Mark the case for follow-up in 30 days.

    3. If a response is received, pull the form, attach the correspondence to the application and continue with Form 8554 processing.

    4. If no response is received within 30 days of the date of the letter, the application is unprocessable.

1.25.2.4.4  (06-01-2010)
Unprocessable Form 8554

  1. The "Unprocessable Letter" is issued as a follow-up to the Missing Information Letter to advise the applicant that the OPE cannot process his or her form. The applicant will move to "Inactive" status on EPPS on April 1 of the calendar year of the renewal cycle.

  2. Generate the "Unprocessable Letter" if no response is received within 30 days of the date of a Missing Letter request.

  3. Input a note on EPPS to show an Unprocessable Letter was sent and suspend the case for an additional 45 days to allow the applicant time to respond.

  4. If no response is received within 45 days of the date of the letter:

    1. Action code 110 (Miscellaneous).

    2. Action code 571 (Inactive).

    3. A Note to EPPS stating "Form 8554 processing ceased due to missing information."

  5. Forward the closed case for filing.

  6. On April 1, or the next business day any Form 8554/Form 8554-EP that has not been processed because of missing information and has an Action Code 500, take the following action:

    1. Apply Action Code 110 (miscellaneous).

    2. Annotate remarks: "Missing information – unprocessable. "

    3. Generate an unprocessable letter and mail.

    4. Apply action code 571 (inactive letter assigned).

    5. Generate an inactive letter from printed matters, which will apply an action code 595.


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