1.25.3  Case Development & Licensure (CD&L)

1.25.3.1  (06-01-2010)
Overview of the Case Development & Licensure (CD&L) Process

  1. The Case Development & Licensure (CD&L) Branch within the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) consists of a staff of paralegals and management analysts who perform vital functions for OPR.

  2. The CD&L Branch:

    1. Screens all correspondence and referrals received in OPR.

    2. Assists with developing enforcement cases.

    3. Reviews and makes enrollment determinations in response to referrals received from the Office of Practitioner Enrollment (OPE).

    4. Processes all Expedited Suspension (XP) cases.

    5. Coordinates all Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB) Postings of disciplinary actions.

    6. Receives and processes all Electronic Return Originator (ERO) failed suitability referrals from the Electronic Tax Administration (ETA) office.

    7. Receives and responds to all OPR@irs.gov mailbox inquiries.

    8. Manages the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Sponsor program.

    9. Processes all requests to practice from students participating in a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) or Student Tax Clinic Program (STCP).

  3. Referrals are sent to CD&L when an applicant fails the suitability check for:

    • Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice before the Internal Revenue Service.

    • Form 8554, Application for Renewal of Enrollment to Practice before the Internal Revenue Service.

    • Form 23-EP, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service as an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA).

    • Form 8554-EP, Application for Renewal of Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service as an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA).

  4. The IRS systems used by CD&L staff include:

    • I-TRAK

    • Enrolled Practitioner Program System (EPPS)

    • Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS)

    • The Employee User Portal (EUP)

    • Automated Labor Employee Relations Tracking (ALERTS) System

    • The Treasury Integrated Management Information System (TIMIS)

  5. CD&L staff also has access to servicewide corporate research tools that permit them to retrieve public records, news, business and legal sources.

1.25.3.2  (06-01-2010)
Processing OPR Referrals

  1. OPR attorneys are responsible for reviewing, investigating and resolving alleged violations of the professional standards of competence, conduct and integrity by tax practitioners who represent taxpayers before the IRS, and to identify and resolve alleged violations of the applicable professional standards enumerated by Circular 230. These allegations are submitted to OPR by taxpayers, tax return preparers, other tax practitioners, IRS employees, state licensing authorities and others. OPR has jurisdiction if the practitioner is "practicing" before the IRS. Evidence of a person practicing before the IRS include:

    1. A valid Power of Attorney (POA) listed on the CAF.

    2. A copy of a POA provided by the complainant or TIGTA.

    3. Evidence of written advice provided to a taxpayer.

    4. Evidence or observations from an IRS employee that the practitioner was representing clients before the Service.

  2. The OPR "Triage Team" is comprised of at least one manager, one CD&L analyst and one Enforcement Attorney.

    1. A Triage Team reviews questionable referrals received in OPR within 30 days of receipt to determine if the case meets OPR jurisdictional and threshold criteria.

    2. The Triage Team Review process is an pre-enforcement screening and analysis of the referral to expedite case assignments in OPR, and routing non-OPR cases to the appropriate IRS office.

1.25.3.2.1  (06-01-2010)
Sorting, Controlling and Researching Incoming Mail

  1. Open and date stamp all mail received in OPR within 24 hours of receipt.

    1. Date stamp all mail addressed to the Joint Board on the outside of the envelope and forward it to the Chief, Enforcement II.

    2. Staple the original envelope to the back of the correspondence.

  2. Acknowledge all Forms 3210, Document Transmittal, received by signing for receipt and mailing one copy back to the originator.

    1. File the original Form 3210 in the OPR receipt binder.

    2. For all correspondence received from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), fax the signed Form 3210 to 859-647-3492.

      Note:

      This fax line is dedicated to the TIGTA Internal Management staff.

  3. Sort all unassigned correspondence into the following categories:

    1. New enrollment referrals (from the OPE staff)

    2. Renewal referrals (from the OPE staff)

    3. Potential XP cases (correspondence from State Bar Associations, State Accountancy Boards, State Taxing Authorities, or any other regulatory bodies)

    4. Taxpayer referrals

    5. IRS employee referrals

    6. TIGTA referrals

    7. Requests for reinstatement

    8. Requests for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) waiver

    9. Requests to terminate Enrolled Agent (EA) status

  4. Review and screen all mail within 24 hours of receipt to determine if it belongs in OPR.

  5. Route any misdirected (non-OPR) to the appropriate IRS functional area, via Form 3210.

  6. Route all Potential XP cases to the designated OPR analyst for further research.

  7. Review all mail addressed to a specific OPR employee or to the Director, OPR to determine how to proceed.

    IF the case is- AND the correspondence- THEN
    open and assigned on I-TRAK   Input a history item to show the correspondence was received, and forward the correspondence to the assigned employee.
    closed on I-TRAK,   Review the correspondence to determine if the issue is similar to the I-TRAK case.
      relates to the prior case on I-TRAK Re-open the control and forward the correspondence to the employee who worked the case.
      does not relate to the prior case on I-TRAK, Treat the case as unassigned correspondence.

  8. Research all unassigned correspondence on I-TRAK within 48 hours of receipt to determine if a new control is needed or if a related case exists.

    Note:

    Do not open a new control on I-TRAK if the correspondence pertains to an open case.

    IF THEN
    1. A case is not open on I-TRAK, Create a new control on I-TRAK.
    2. A case is open on I-TRAK, Forward the correspondence to the OPR employee who is assigned the case.
    3. A record of a previously closed I-TRAK control on the subject of the complaint ,
    • Create a new control on I-TRAK.

    • Pull the closed file.

    • Associate it with the correspondence.

    4. The correspondence is a petition for reinstatement,
    • Open a new I-TRAK control.

    • Pull the closed file.

    • Assign it to the attorney or paralegal who worked the case.

    5. Multiple practitioners are listed in a referral, Open an I-TRAK control for each Circular 230 practitioner listed in the referral.

  9. Assign the case on I-TRAK as follows:

    IF the case is a- THEN refer to-
    New enrollment referral CD&L
      Triage Team
    • Renewal referral

    • Taxpayer referral

    • IRS employee referral

    • TIGTA referral

    • Request for reinstatement or CPE waiver

    • CI referral

    OPE
    Request to terminate EA/ERPA status (with no open case) Scan in the correspondence and send it via secure e-mail to the OPE staff in Detroit.

1.25.3.2.2  (06-01-2010)
Triage Team Reviews

  1. The Triage Analysis is performed within 14 days of receipt of the referral in OPR.

  2. The Triage Analysis includes:

    1. Preparing a brief summary of the facts.

    2. Contacting the referring party, if needed, to obtain additional information regarding the complaint or referral.

    3. Verifying or determining OPR jurisdiction f. Making a recommendation for case assignment or routing.

    4. Completing Part 3 of the Triage Sheet.

  3. On a weekly basis, questionable cases that have been through the Triage Analysis are brought to the Triage Team for review, discussion and a final decision on case assignment or routing.

    1. If OPR has jurisdiction of a case and alternative discipline measures do not apply, the Triage Team assigns it to one of the Enforcement Branches or to CDL to be worked.

    2. If OPR has no jurisdiction of a case, the Triage Team determines if other action or routing is needed.

1.25.3.2.3  (06-01-2010)
Researching Triage Team Case

  1. Complete a Triage Sheet for each case assigned to the Triage Team.

  2. Conduct preliminary research and issue an acknowledgment letter or e-mail to the complainant.

    Step ACTION THEN AND
    1. Check EPPS to determine if the subject of the complaint is an EA/ERPA. Complete the Triage sheet to show your findings. Conduct a compliance check.
    2. If the subject of the complaint is an Attorney, Check the State Bar web site for the state in which the subject resides or works to locate his or her licensing information.

    Note:

    If no web link, call to obtain the information.

    • Print the results and attach to the case.

    • Check IDRS command code RPINK for a Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number.

    • If a match is found, print the RPINQ screen and complete the Triage Sheet.

    • If no match, check "no" on the Triage Sheet.

    3. If the subject of the complaint is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Check the Accountancy Board web site for the State in which the subject resides or works to locate his or her licensing information.
    4. Conduct an IDRS check on the Social Security Number (SSN) and/or Employer Identification Number (EIN) that belongs to the subject of the complaint. If no SSN or EIN is listed in the complaint or referral, research IDRS Command Code NAMES to locate a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
    • Print the IMFOLI or BMFOLI screens pertaining to alleged subject.

    • Attach to the Triage Sheet.

    5. Send an OPR acknowledgment:
    • By letter, if the complaint is from a taxpayer, or

    • By encrypted e-mail, if the complaint or referral is from an IRS employee.

    Note:

    No acknowledgement letter is needed for TIGTA referrals.

    Print a copy of the OPR acknowledgement letter or e-mail and attach it to the case. Forward the case to the Triage Team.

1.25.3.2.4  (06-01-2010)
Routing Triage Cases

  1. Route cases as follows when OPR has no jurisdiction over the practitioner:

    IF the complaint alleges-- THEN send to AND Close I-TRAK with
    • Physically abusive behavior

    • Criminal behavior

    • Forgery

    • The tax preparer diverted a refund (Electronic or paper)

    • Impersonation of IRS employee

    • Misuse of Treasury logo

    • TIGTA Hotline

    • Lack of Jurisdiction (LOJ), Non Circular 230 practitioner

    • LOJ, Circular 230 practitioner, pending TIGTA Report of Investigation

    • Closed Without Sanction (CWOS) if OPR has jurisdiction

    • Alternative Discipline Type

    • A tax or refund scam

    • Identify Theft

    • PTIN stolen

    • Received someone else’s tax information

    Office of Privacy and Information Protection
    • LOJ, Non Circular 230 practitioner

    Tax Fraud and there is evidence of a criminal investigation, Criminal Investigation, Financial Crimes Division
    • LOJ, Non Circular 230 practitioner, or

    • LOJ, Circular 230 practitioner pending receipt of CI RAR

    • The tax preparer kept the complainant’s tax records

    • Fraudulent deductions were taken on the return

    • Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) issues

    • Electronic Return Originator (ERO) issues

    • Quality of service issues

    • Fee disputes

    • Firm or company is conducting itself inappropriately

    • Small Business/Self-Employed Division, Area Return Preparer Coordinator

    LOJ, Non Circular 230 practitioner
    • Free File complaint

    • Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) Fees charged by an Accounting firm

    W&I, ETA
    Tax evasion and an award is requested The Whistleblower Office
    Individual tax account issues such as:
    • Liens and levies

    • Penalty abatement requests

    • Missing 1099, W-2

    W&I

  2. For TIGTA referrals, fax a copy of the referral to TIGTA and retain a copy of the referral in the CD&L closed case file.

  3. For all other referrals, use Form 3210 to route the case to the appropriate functional area for handling.

    1. List each case on Form 3210 by last name and first name of the subject of each referral.

    2. Make one copy of the completed Form 3210 for filing in the CD&L Form 3210 binder.

    3. Send the original Form 3210 and the cases by internal mail or Overnight mail, as appropriate.

    4. Ensure Form 3210 is acknowledged and a copy is returned within 10 business days.

    5. Follow-up, as needed, to ensure all Form 3210 receipts are acknowledged.

1.25.3.2.5  (06-01-2010)
Triage Review of Renewal Referrals (Forms 8554 and 8554-EP) from OPE

  1. Forms 8554 are referred to CD&L from the OPE when:

    1. An EA requests to remain in active status but fails the suitability check.

    2. The suitability check includes a check for tax compliance issues that may have occurred during the renewal cycle, and it also includes a review of information provided on the Form 8554.

    3. An EA answers yes to question 6, 7 or 8 on Form 8554.

    4. A tax compliance issue occurred during the renewal cycle and there is no other suitability finding,

  2. If an EA answers yes to question 6, 7 or 8 on Form 8554, the case is generally referred to CD&L for review and the renewal is placed on hold.

  3. In cases where a tax compliance issue occurred during the renewal cycle and there is no other suitability finding, the OPE will issue the EA new enrollment cards before making a referral to CD&L.

  4. Follow the steps below to process Form 8554 referrals from OPE:

    IF the EA/ERPA-- THEN If so If not
    • Has a single tax compliance issue (late filing/late payment) that occurred since the date of enrollment or since the date of the last renewal, and

    • All modules are in status 12.

    Check to see if a tax compliance letter was sent when the EA/ERPA was enrolled. Send appropriate Alternative Discipline Letter (Soft 60). Issue a Tax Compliance Warning Letter.
    Has multiple tax compliance issues (a pattern of late filings, balances due or an open Taxpayer Return Delinquency (TDI) that occurred since the date of enrollment or since the date of the last renewal Check to see if Alternative Discipline Letter was sent since date of enrollment/renewal. Refer the case to OPE. Send appropriate Alternative Discipline Letter.
    Answered yes to question 6, 7, or 8, Check to see if the conduct was a misdemeanor. Issue a Misdemeanor Warning Letter. Forward the case to OPE.

  5. If the case requires referral to OPR Enforcement:

    1. Prepare a history sheet and succinctly summarize the issues.

    2. Forward the case for review by the Triage Team.

    3. Update the I-TRAK control and reassign the case to OPR Enforcement.

  6. If the case requires a Tax Compliance Warning Letter, an Alternative Discipline Letter or a Misdemeanor Warning Letter:

    1. Prepare the letter and forward to the Chief, CD&L for review and signature.

    2. Make a copy of the letter for the reader file.

    3. Scan a copy of the letter into Word and e-mail to OPE via Secure Messaging.

    4. Close the case on I-Trak as "renewal granted."

    5. Mail the letter to the EA.

1.25.3.3  (06-01-2010)
Enrollment Referrals from OPE

  1. OPE makes enrollment referrals to CD&L when:

    1. A tax compliance issue is identified b. Derogatory information is listed on Form 23 (Form 23-EP) or Form 8554 (Form 8554-EP).

    2. The Automated Labor Relations Tracking System (ALERTS) contains a record of a performance or conduct issue relating to a former employee applicant.

    3. TIGTA has a Report of Investigation (ROI) with allegations that were substantiated against a former IRS employee applicant.

    4. Research of the EUP reveals a failed ERO suitability record.

    5. A former IRS employee’s job qualifications are questionable or warrant limitations on practice.

  2. OPE should include the following information with all referrals to CD&L:

    1. A photocopy of Form 23 or Form 8554 and any attachments.

    2. A copy of the ALERTS print-out (Form 23 only).

    3. A copy of a TIMIS print-out (Form 23 - former employees only).

    4. A copy of a TIGTA memo showing an ROI has been requested (Form 23 - former employees only).

      Note:

      TIGTA will forward ROIs directly to CD&L for association with the case; CD&L will hold the referral in a pending file until the ROI is received from TIGTA.

      .

    5. A copy of the OPE Case Checklist.

  3. Upon receipt in CD&L, the case is controlled on I-TRAK and assigned to a Paralegal Specialist for review.

  4. A management analyst will perform an IDRS check for tax compliance issues and assemble the case file before the case is given to the paralegal.

1.25.3.3.1  (06-01-2010)
Critical Time Frames

  1. Enrollment referrals are generally completed within 120 days or less from the date of receipt in CD&L.

  2. An I-TRAK control is generally created and the case assigned to a Paralegal Specialist within 48 hours of receipt in CD&L.

  3. Paralegal Specialists should perform a review of the case file and take the initial action on a case within 30 days of the case assignment on I-TRAK.

1.25.3.3.2  (06-01-2010)
Enrollment Case File Organization

  1. Uniform guidelines exist for how enrollment cases are filed.

    1. Use a manila folder with dividers to create the case file.

    2. Staple the OPE checklist to the outside front of the folder.

    3. Write the I-TRAK case number at the top of the checklist.

    4. Create a case file label listing: Last name, First name Middle Initial.

  2. Assemble and tie down Former Employee Enrollment Cases from top to bottom, as follows:

    Left Front Inside Cover- Enrollment Application Front Middle Section – CD&L Correspondence Back Middle Section – CD&L research Back Inside Cover – Materials received from Detroit
    Case History Sheet (required for cases where Notice of Proposed Denial (NOPD) is issued) Copy of memo transmitting the appeal to Chief Counsel’s office Any e-mail, in chronological order, with the latest on top Detroit case action sheet
    Form 23, with any attachments Request for appeal from Notice of Denial (NOD) Any faxes, in chronological order, with the latest on top ALERTS Inquiry Sheet and ALERTS report, if any
      NOD, if any IDRS analysis worksheet (optional paralegal job aid) TIGTA inquiry sheet and TIGTA REPORT, if any
      Response to NOPD, if any IDRS research, if any, IMF followed by BMF, in chronological order for each TIN, latest tax period on top ERO status check and ERO suitability report, if any
      NOPD, if any Any legal research, e.g., court documents I-TRAK record, if any
      CD&L enrollment memorandum, if enrollment is deemed appropriate without further inquiry   IDRS transcripts, in order, with latest period on top for each TIN, IMF followed by BMF
          TIMIS data
          Position Description (If included)
          Detroit Form 23 acknowledgement letter (If sent)

  3. Assemble and tie down Candidate Enrollment Cases from top to bottom as follows:

    Left Front Inside Cover- Enrollment Application Front Middle Section – CD&L Correspondence Back Middle Section – CD&L research Back Inside Cover – Materials received from Detroit
    Case History Sheet (required for cases where Notice of Proposed Denial (NOPD) is issued) Copy of memo transmitting the appeal to Chief Counsel’s office Any e-mail, in chronological order, with the latest on top Detroit case action sheet
    Form 23, with any attachments Request for appeal from Notice of Denial (NOD) Any faxes, in chronological order, with the latest on top ERO status check and ERO suitability report, if any
      NOD, if any IDRS analysis worksheet (optional paralegal job aid) Any other background investigation documents
      Response(s) to NOPD, if any IDRS research, if any, IMF followed by BMF, in chronological order for each TIN, latest tax period on top I-TRAK record, if any
      NOPD, if any Any legal research, e.g., court documents IDRS transcripts, in order with latest period on top for each TIN, IMF followed by BMF
      CD&L enrollment memorandum, if enrollment is deemed appropriate without further inquiry Any other research materials, as appropriate Detroit Form 23 acknowledgement letter (If sent)
          Vendor test data (If included)

1.25.3.3.3  (06-01-2010)
Enrollment Case Processing – New EA/ERPA Applicants (Form 23 & Form 23-EP)

  1. Review the referral upon receipt from OPE for completeness. Contact the OPE staff or TIGTA to request any key information that is missing from the file.

  2. Check for disqualifying misconduct. Examples would include:

    1. Convictions for a felony, financial crime or tax crime.

    2. Any conduct that would justify the censure, suspension or disbarment of any practitioner under the provisions of Treasury Circular No. 230.

  3. Check the application for timeliness if the applicant is a former IRS employee.

  4. Check to ensure job qualifications have been met for former IRS employee applicants. Refer to IRM 1.25.2.3.6 for job qualification criteria.

  5. Check the applicant’s SSN and any related EINs for tax compliance issues. Refer to IRM 1.25.2.3.5.3 for tax compliance criteria.

  6. Perform an analysis of all research.

    Step Action IF THEN
    1. Review ALERTS to determine if there is evidence of a conduct issue or a performance issue which would disqualify the applicant under Circular 230.  
    • Evaluate conduct issues that occurred within the last 10 years to determine the seriousness and penalties imposed on the employee.

    • Evaluate any performance issues that occurred while the employee was holding a qualifying position and determine whether the employee demonstrated fully successful performance in the qualifying position.

    2. Review TIGTA reports to determine if the allegation was substantiated or if the allegation is relevant under Circular 230 guidelines. a. The allegation was substantiated and is relevant to a Circular 230, Issue an NOPD.
    b. The allegation was not substantiated or does not contain a Circular 230-type violation, Continue.
    3. Review ERO suitability history to determine if it impacts the applicant’s eligibility to practice.    
    4. Review prior I-TRAK cases to determine if OPR Enforcement action was taken against the applicant in the past.    
    5. Review information self-disclosed by the applicant in response to Form 23 questions 6, 7, 8, or 9 to determine if the misconduct rises to the level of a Circular 230 violation. Generally: a. A felony is disclosed on the form which supports an unfitness to practice determination. (To qualify for enrollment, the applicant must have served his or her entire sentence for the felony.) Issue an NOPD.
        b. A misdemeanor is disclosed, Determine if the applicant provided enough information about the incident for you to make an enrollment fitness decision.
        c. More information is needed, Issue an NOPD.

  7. Determine if there is a tax compliance issue that would require an NOPD.

    IF IDRS shows-- THEN AND
    One or two late filed IMF or BMF returns (filed 31 or more days after the return due date) with all modules in status 12. Issue Compliance Letter #1 Continue processing enrollment.
    A consistent pattern (three or more years or tax quarters) of late filed IMF or BMF returns and/or a history of late paid taxes, with all modules in status 12. Issue Compliance letter #2 Continue processing enrollment.
    • A pattern of late filed returns (three or more) with an outstanding balance due in active collection or Currently Not Collectible status.

    • One or more IMF or BMF modules with an open, unresolved TDI or balance due condition.

    • A history of civil tax penalties, e.g., preparer penalty, the fraud penalty and the accuracy-related penalty.

    Issue an NOPD Allow the applicant 60 days to file any delinquent returns, pay any outstanding balances due, or enter into an installment agreement.

    Note:

    Request proof of payment or filing from the applicant.

  8. Determine if a former IRS employee is eligible for enrollment.

    IF IDRS shows-- THEN
    Has qualifying work experience (former employee) with no disqualifying misconduct or tax compliance issues
    • Prepare an enrollment memo

    • Update I-TRAK

    • Lacks qualifying work experience (former employee),

    • Has a history of disqualifying misconduct, or

    • Has tax compliance issues

    • Issue an NOPD

    • Update I-TRAK

  9. Draft an NOPD letter to advise the applicant we are considering denying their application.

    1. Summarize the conduct, tax compliance or job qualification issues that could result in the denial or limitation of enrollment.

    2. Allow the applicant 30 days from the date of the NOPD to respond if no outstanding tax compliance issues.

    3. Allow the applicant 60 days from the date of the NOPD to respond and resolve any compliance issues if there are outstanding balances due or TDI conditions.

    4. Print a copy of the NOPD and attach to the file.

    5. Prepare a routing slip and forward the case to the CD&L reviewer.

    6. Upon approval by the reviewer and the CD&L manager, mail the letter by First Class mail to the applicant and place a copy in the OPR reader file.

    7. Update I-TRAK to reflect the date of the NOPD mailing and suspend the case for 30 or 60 days, whichever applies, to allow the applicant time to respond.

      IF THEN
      No response is received in the time frame specified, Proceed with an NOD.
      A response is received, Review the information provided and any mitigating factors, and make a determination on granting or denying enrollment.

  10. Make a decision on enrollment:

    IF THEN AND
    Granting enrollment Prepare an Enrollment memo and Compliance Letter, if required Route the case to the CD&L reviewer using a routing slip.
    Denying enrollment Prepare a Notice of Denial (NOD).
    Summarize the facts of the case and the basis for the decision.

  11. Once the proposed enrollment or denial is approved by the CD&L reviewer, the case is forwarded to the Chief, CD&L for final review and signature.

  12. Once signed by the CD&L manager, scan the signed enrollment memo or NOD into Microsoft Word and e-mail it, via Secure Messaging, to the designated OPE staff members.

  13. Mail the NOD and any Compliance Letter to the applicant.

  14. Close the case on I-TRAK showing enrollment was "denied" and input a history Item showing "NOD mailed."

1.25.3.3.4  (06-01-2010)
Appeals on Enrollment Decisions

  1. The applicant has 30 days from the date of the NOD to submit an appeal. Keep in mind that written submissions for appeal do not need to be extensive, lengthy documents—though it is preferably that they address all relevant issues adequately.

  2. With respect to requests for an extension beyond 30 days (or with respect to multiple requests for extensions) appellants are to be encouraged to make the written submission in the time allotted to the best of their ability at present, describing in the written submission the reasons why the applicant needs more time. For example, if the applicant is waiting for a response to a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request, the applicant should submit the appeal, explaining the need for further documents.

  3. Advise applicants that, to preserve their rights in the appeal, they can file a very short statement, referencing earlier documents (response to NOPD, for example) and explain any problems that they are encountering. In these circumstances, the Secretary of the Treasury’s appellate authority can manage the request for further time along with the other issues in the appeal itself.

  4. To process an appeal on an enrollment decision, perform the following actions.

    IF the applicant THEN
    Requests an appeal in writing and timely, Grant the request
    Requests additional time to file an appeal within the 30 day deadline,
    1. Discuss the case with the Chief, CD&L and secure managerial approval before granting any extension.

      Note:

      A first, 30-day extension (to either accommodate alleged personal difficulties or provide more time for a response) should generally be granted, absent unusual circumstances involving the applicant’s bad faith.
      If the appeal of the enrollment decision is denied, forward the file to the Secretary of the Treasury’s delegated appellate authority as if the appeal were timely, in order to allow a review of the denial of the extension as well as the other facts and circumstances.

    2. Issue a letter to the applicant to confirm the approval of the extension and the new deadline for filing the appeal.

    3. Update I-Trak to reflect the decision made.

    Requests an extension beyond 30 days, Discuss the request with CD&L for an evaluation to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
    Appeals the NOD,
    1. Date stamp the incoming Appeal to show the date OPR received the correspondence.

    2. Re-open the control on I-TRAK.

    3. Prepare a cover memo to the Office of Chief Counsel.

    4. Prepare the appeal file.

  5. To prepare the appeals file:

    Step Action
    1. Photocopy the case file documents and assemble them in chronological order, using tabs to separate each type of document or letter.
    2. On the left side of the file, place a copy of Form 23 and any attachments.
    3. On the right side of the file, place a copy of:
    • The applicant’s letter of appeal.

    • The Notice of Denial (NOD).

    • The applicant’s response to the NOD.

    • The NOPD.

    • The applicant’s response to the NOPD

    4. Make two copies of the cover memo and forward to the reviewer.
    5. After the reviewer concurs, forward the case to the CD&L manager.
    6.
    • After the CD&L manager concurs with the referral, date both copies of the memo.

    • Place the original memo on top of the Appeal file.

    • Place a copy of the memo in the original OPR case file.

    7. Prepare two copies of Form 3210 for routing the case to the Office of Chief Counsel.
    8. Hand-carry the appeal case to the Office of Chief Counsel and obtain a Form 3210 receipt for the case.
    9. Update I-TRAK to show the date the case was delivered to the Office of Chief Counsel and set a 60 day suspense period for the response.

  6. The Office of Chief Counsel will respond directly to the applicant and send a copy of the decision on appeal to OPR Upon receipt of the decision:

    1. Date stamp it received in OPR

    2. Provide one copy to the Chief, CD&L.

    3. Give the original to the Paralegal Specialist assigned the case.

    4. If the Office of Chief Counsel upholds the decision, close the I-TRAK control to show "appeal denied" and file the decision in the case file.

    5. If the Office of Chief Counsel recommends that OPR grant enrollment, either identify a basis for reconsideration; or prepare an enrollment memo and advise the OPE of the decision.

1.25.3.4  (06-01-2010)
Disciplinary Actions from Regulatory Bodies (Fed/State Correspondence)

  1. If a Circular 230 practitioner is convicted of certain crimes, suspended by a State Bar Association or State Accountancy Board, or enjoined for tax conduct, OPR processes an Expedited Suspension under § 10.82. These cases, also known as "XPs," allow for a more streamlined disciplinary process while ensuring due process for all practitioners.

  2. OPR receives third party notification of disciplinary information, by mail, fax and e-mail, from:

    1. IRS employees

    2. TIGTA

    3. Department of Justice

    4. State Bar Associations

    5. State Accountancy Boards

    6. State Tax Authorities

    7. State Licensing authorities

    8. The general public

  3. CD&L employees also search the Department of Justice, State Bar and State Accountancy Board web sites to retrieve information on disciplinary actions taken against Circular 230 practitioners.

  4. All e-mail or web retrievals must be printed and date stamped "OPR received" on the date received or retrieved, or within 24 hours of receipt in OPR.

  5. Forward all incoming Fed/State Correspondence to the OPR Management Analyst for research to determine OPR jurisdiction.

1.25.3.4.1  (06-01-2010)
Research for OPR Jurisdiction

  1. Review the Fed/State correspondence to determine what disciplinary action was taken against the practitioner.

  2. Print any court documentation attached to an e-mail received in OPR.

  3. A potential XP case is one where the practitioner has:

    1. Been disbarred.

    2. Had his or her license revoked.

    3. Been suspended by a regulatory body for other than failing to pay a licensing fee.

    4. Been convicted of a crime under Title 26 or of a nature which renders the person unfit to practice.

    5. Been sanctioned by a court (including injunctions) relating to any taxpayer’s tax liability or to the practitioners own tax liability for delay, frivolous arguments or failing to pursue available administrative opportunities.

  4. CD&L does not initiate XP cases on:

    • Censures

    • Reprimands

    • Reinstatements

    • Presentments

    • Inactive status

    • Disabilities

  5. If the practitioner is an EA, check EPPS to see if the practitioner is in active status.

    1. If so, OPR has jurisdiction to proceed with an XP case.

    2. If not, continue checking practitioner status.

  6. Check the CAF using IDRS command code RPINK to determine if the practitioner is practicing before the IRS.

    1. The CAF check will show whether the practitioner has ever filed a POA (Form 2848) on a taxpayer’s behalf.

    2. A valid POA is only one method to establish proof of practice before the IRS.

    3. Make sure the name and address shown on IDRS match the name and address shown on the correspondence or document showing the disciplinary action.

      IF IDRS shows-- THEN AND
      There is a record on the CAF and an Identity match is made,
      • Print the RPINQ screen

      • Create an XP case file

      Create a new case on I-TRAK. Note it is a "potential" XP case in the history.
      Identity match is not made but there is a CAF record with a similar name or address to that of the practitioner, Refer the correspondence to a Paralegal Specialist for further research. Do not create a control on I-TRAK.
      There is no CAF record for the subject of the discipline, Conduct further research to determine practice activity (e.g., written opinions Forms 706, OIC’s)  

1.25.3.4.2  (06-01-2010)
XP Case File Organization

  1. Uniform procedures exist for how XP cases are assembled.

  2. The complaint package consists of the Notice of Expedited Proceeding, the Complaint with attachments, and the Certificate of Mailing.

  3. Staple the certified mail return receipt, if received, over the certified mail receipt attached to the front of the Notice of Expedited Proceeding.

  4. Use a double-pronged, green folder to create the case file.

  5. Create a label containing the subject’s: Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial, and practitioner designation, e.g., Attorney, CPA, EA, or ERPA.

  6. Place the label along the inside edge of the back cover.

  7. Place documents inside the folder on the left or right side in the order below:

    Left side (Bottom to Top) Right side (Bottom to Top)
    Faxes Source Document (Basis for the XP action). For example, the Order of Suspensions, Disbarment, or License Revocation documentation.
    E-Mails CAF and other search (to establish jurisdiction)
    Investigative History Results from the asset locator search that confirms ID and SSN
      Sheet of blue paper to separate research from Complaint and ensuing correspondence
    Complaint package and Answer to complaint, if any, with attachments.
    Other correspondence, if any, related to the complaint.
    Conference Memorandum, if a conference is held.
    Correspondence re Decision, if Decision is negotiated Decision.

1.25.3.4.3  (06-01-2010)
Processing XP Cases

  1. Perform the following action when processing XP cases.

    STEP ACTION IF THEN
    1. To ensure a positive identity match:  
    • Check the practitioner's background using the asset locator tool or Google.™

    • Check IDRS using command code NAMES.

    • Check the Employee User Portal (EUP).

    2. Search for:  
    • Birth date

    • Social security number

    • Address and/or business address

    • Identical professional license numbers.

    3. Review the order to determine cause under §10.82 of Circular 230.    
    4. Draft the XP Notice, the Complaint and the Certificate of Service and issue to the most current IDRS address on record.  
    • Update I-TRAK with a history item.

    • Forward the case to the CD&L reviewer.

    • After review, the CD&L reviewer will forward the case to the Chief, CD&L.

    5. After the CD&L Branch chief signs the Notice and Complaint:  
    • Update I-TRAK to show date mailed and a 30 day due date.

    • Make three copies of the XP Notice, the complaint and the Certificate of Service.

    • Mail the original notice, the original complaint and the original certificate of service via Certified Mail to the practitioner.

    • Mail copies of the notice, complaint and certificate of service to the practitioner via First Class mail.

    • File one copy of all documents in the case file.

    • File one copy of all documents in the OPR reading file.

    • Hand-carry the package to the mailroom before 2:00 pm.

    • Return the case file to the Paralegal Specialist.

    6. Suspend the case for 30 days pending an answer.

    Note:

    Consider granting extensions to answer upon request. Apply judgment in making the decision to allow the respondent additional time to answer.

    • The certified or regular mail is returned as undeliverable,

    • Another address is located,

    • A better address is not found,

    • No answer is received after 30 days,

    • Update I-TRAK to show the complaint was returned and research IDRS for a more current address.

    • Re-issue the complaint and set a new 30 day suspense date.

    • Issue a Decision by Default to the last known address.

    • Issue a Decision by Default.

    7. If an informal conference is desired, it must be requested in the Answer to the complaint.
    • Requested in the Answer,

    • Contact the practitioner or the practitioner’s representative to schedule the conference.

    • Attempt to schedule the conference within 2 weeks, if possible.

    • Insure an OPR Attorney is present at the conference.

    • Upon conclusion of the conference, consider the facts presented during the conference, prepare a memo to the file and make a decision.

    Not requested in the Answer, issue the Decision for suspension and address why the conference was not held in the Decision.
    The answer is a concession, issue the Decision for immediate suspension.
    The respondent provides mitigating circumstances which obviate the XP action, issue a letter to withdraw the complaint.
    8. When a Decision is issued,  
    • Make two copies of the Decision letter.

    • File one copy in the OPR reader file

    • File one copy in the case file.

    • Close the case on I-TRAK.

    • If a TIGTA Form OI 2076, Referral Memorandum, is included, scan in the signed form, WIN ZIP 9 the file and e-mail it via Secure Messaging to *AWSS PSI Investigations Management.

    • Forward the closed case file to the OPR IRB coordinator.

1.25.3.5  (06-01-2010)
E-Services/ERO Failed Suitability Report

  1. If a Circular 230 practitioner applies for E-Services or Electronic Return Originator (ERO) status and fails the Electronic Tax Administration (ETA) suitability check, an electronic referral to OPR is generated in the Employee Users Portal (EUP).

    1. Check the EUP once a week for referrals from ETA.

    2. To access the EUP, go to the following link and register for access: https://eup.eps.irs.gov/EUP/welcome .

  2. Prepare an on-line Form 5081 to gain access to the e-file application roles:

    1. AVEA – to view e-file application (you will be able to view but not edit)

    2. ACER – to access/query reports

    3. AGER – to generate e-file report

  3. Once you obtain access to all applications, perform the following actions:

    1. Log into the EUP database and enter your SEID and Password.

    2. On left hand side, click on: Esrv-appl-efile; E-file; Reports; and Ad HOC Reports.

    3. When the screen appears, type "Circular" inside box provided and hit search

    4. Click on "Run" and input dates.

  4. Run the report from Sunday to Saturday of the prior week.

    1. Click view results.

    2. Click on Excel 2K spreadsheet.

    3. Click "open" and print report.

    4. Click on "search e-file application."

    5. Input Inquiry Tracking # from report and go to bottom and hit search.

    6. Click on the blue link (name of ERO).

    7. Click application summary.

    8. Under "Business type" look for "Sole Proprietorship" to establish jurisdiction.

      Note:

      Professional status should always show "passed" in order to confirm disposition.

    9. Go to bottom and click on "e-file application menu."

    10. Click on "Application comments."

    11. View comments to determine the reason the applicant failed suitability.

  5. Request a tax transcript of the applicant’s account for the years listed in the comments.

    Note:

    If an EIN is listed, request a transcript of the business and individual accounts.

    1. Check for tax compliance issues or evidence of a criminal investigation.

    2. Check the CAF using IDRS command code RPINK for a valid POA or research for other evidence of practice.

    3. If a POA is on file, prepare a summary of the issues and forward the case to the Triage Team for review.

    4. If no POA or other evidence of practice is found, notate the EUP listing to show "no action," the current date and your initials, and file the listing in the ETA Referral file.

1.25.3.6  (06-01-2010)
Request For CPE Waivers

  1. CD&L and the OPE occasionally receive requests from EA’s who seek a waiver of CPE credits they are lacking to qualify for renewal of active enrollment status. This situation typically occurs when an EA has missed some or all of the required CPE due to a personal hardship or family crisis. These requests are known in OPR as "CPE Waivers."

  2. To be considered, requests for a CPE waiver must be received no later than the last day of the renewal application period.

  3. Upon receipt of correspondence requesting a CPE waiver:

    1. Review the correspondence to determine if the request is timely.

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

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

  4. Supporting documentation such as a medical certificate or military orders may be requested if not provided with the request. 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 in excess of 6 months due to employment or other reasons.

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

    IF THEN
    The explanation and documentation provided supports a waiver of CPE credits, Issue a CPE Waiver Granted Letter to the EA.
    The explanation does not support a waiver, Issue a CPE Waiver Denied Letter and include an explanation of why the request was denied.

  5. Provide a copy of any letter sent to the OPE staff, via Secure e-mail, so they will have a record for their enrollment file.

  6. File the correspondence and letter with the closed CD&L files.

1.25.3.6.1  (06-01-2010)
Continuing Professional Education Sponsor Program for EA/ERPAs

  1. Circular 230, section 10.6(g), discusses CPE sponsors for EAs and ERPAs. Sponsors are those responsible for presenting continuing education programs.

    1. Sponsor files are maintained in OPR, in alphabetical order.

    2. New Sponsor applications are generally processed in one week or less from receipt in OPR.

  2. Form 8498, Program Sponsor Agreement for Continuing Education for Enrolled Agents, must be submitted for entrance into the program. A copy of an outline of course material must be attached to the form of all new applicants.

  3. CDL will conduct a review of the Sponsor application and their outline to ensure it meets Circular 230 criteria. If the form is approved:

    1. Prepare an "Approval Letter."

    2. Enter Sponsor data to EPPS. EPPS will assign a Sponsor number after the data is saved.

    3. Write the Sponsor number in the top right hand corner of the form.

    4. Date and sign in the spaces provided at the bottom of the form.

    5. Copy the updated form.

    6. Mail the original form with the Approval Letter to the applicant.

    7. Create a Sponsor File using a blue file folder.

    8. Create a label listing the name and Sponsor number of the applicant.

  4. If the form is disapproved, follow all the steps above and issue a "Disapproval Letter."

1.25.3.6.2  (06-01-2010)
Sponsor Renewals–Enrolled Agents & Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents

  1. Sponsors renew every three years during the months of May, June, and July.

  2. Form 8498 and Form 8498-EP are used for requesting Sponsor Renewals.

    1. Upon receipt of either Form 8498, check for completeness.

    2. If any data is missing, initiate telephone contact with the Sponsor to obtain the missing information.

  3. Assuming the form is complete, CD&L will perform the following actions:

    1. Update I-Trak to show the Sponsor is "Active."

    2. Write the Sponsor number in the top right hand corner of the Form.

    3. Date and sign the bottom of the Form.

    4. Copy the updated Form.

    5. Mail the original Form with the "Renewal Approval Letter" to the applicant (follow the same process for an initial application).

    6. File a copy of the Form and the letter in the respective Sponsor File.

  4. Occasionally, a Sponsor will withdraw its application. Withdrawal Letters are issued upon request.

  5. If CD&L denies an application, send a Denial Letter.

1.25.3.6.3  (06-01-2010)
OPR@IRS.GOV Mailbox

  1. OPR has a mailbox at OPR@irs.gov that is used by internal and external stakeholders.

  2. The OPR mailbox is checked several times a day to ensure that all e-mail is processed in a timely manner. Generally, a response to e-mail is made within 24 hours of receipt in the OPR mailbox.

  3. Mailbox inquiries are routed according to the Triage Case procedures outlined in IRM 1.25.3.2.4.

  4. Forward any e-mail alleging spam to *spam@irs.gov.

  5. At the end of each month, all e-mail inquiries received during that month, are archived to an electronic folder maintained by CD&L

1.25.3.7  (06-01-2010)
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics And Student Tax Clinic Program Special Order Requests

  1. Under IRC section 7526, the IRS awards matching grants to qualifying organizations that provide representation for free or for a nominal fee to low income taxpayers involved in tax controversies with the IRS. Clinical programs at accredited law, business or accounting schools, whose students represent low income taxpayers in tax controversies within the IRS, are eligible for a matching grant. Organizations receiving a matching grant from the IRS are known as low income taxpayer clinics (LITCs).

  2. The IRS has another program, similar to the LITC program, known as the Student Tax Clinic Program (STCP), which is also designed to provide free tax assistance to taxpayers who need representation before the IRS on a federal tax matter. An organization participating in the STCP is staffed by law, business, or accounting students representing taxpayers before the IRS. The key difference between the LITC Program and the STCP is that the LITC Program is a federal grant program established by section 7526, while the STCP does not involve grants and was established by the IRS.

  3. Pursuant to Section 10.7(d) of Circular 230, OPR can authorize an individual who is not otherwise eligible to practice before the IRS to represent another person in a particular matter. That authorization takes the form of a special order pursuant to section 10.92 of Circular 230. Schools traditionally apply for a special order prior to the beginning of each semester or term.

    1. Law, business, and accounting students participating in an LITC or STCP may represent taxpayers under a special order issued by OPR.

    2. Special orders authorize students to represent taxpayers before the IRS, with appropriate supervision and oversight.

  4. OPR's sole responsibility with respect to the LITC Program or the STCP is to issue the special order letters. OPR requires the following information for a special order to be issued:

    1. The names of all participating students.

    2. All tax courses completed or in process of being completed for each student.

    3. The name and resume of the clinic or program director.

  5. If all required information is submitted, issue the special order letter to the clinic or program director.

    1. Mail the letter to the clinic or program director

    2. Place a copy in the binder for that particular term or semester.

  6. Correspond by phone or in writing, as needed, to resolve any issues with special order requests.

1.25.3.8  (06-01-2010)
EA/ERPA Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Audits

  1. Circular 230, Section 10.6(i), requires that individuals applying for enrollment renewal must retain supporting documentation which evidences completion of CPE. Non-compliance with Circular 230 requirements is grounds for rejection of the application.

  2. Each year, in conjunction with the renewal cycle, OPR will conduct a CPE audit on a statistically valid sampling of all applicants who were granted renewal. The audit will be conducted over a 90 day period, during the months of September, October, and November of each calendar year. The purpose of this audit is to ensure that EAs are compliant with Circular 230 and its record-keeping requirements.

  3. A statistically valid sample of EAs will be selected for the audit.

  4. All EAs selected for audit are notified about the audit and asked to provide the necessary documentation to support and validate the educational substance and number of CPE hours they claimed on their Forms 8554.

  5. At the conclusion of each audit, EA/ERPA's will receive a closing letter advising them of the finding.

1.25.3.9  (06-01-2010)
Internal Revenue Bulletin Postings

  1. OPR announces disciplinary actions involving attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, enrolled actuaries, enrolled retirement plan agents and appraisers in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB). The disciplinary sanctions imposed for violation of the regulations are:

    1. Disbarred from practice before the IRS.

    2. Suspended from practice before the IRS.

    3. Censured in practice before the IRS.

    4. Monetary Penalty.

    5. Disqualification of Appraiser.

  2. OPR generally publishes its sanction information on a weekly basis. OPR sanctions are included in the cumulative IRB, which is published by Tax Forms & Publications every 6 months.

  3. All closed case files with sanctions are forwarded to the designated OPR IRB coordinator for review and compilation in the weekly IRB. In preparing for the IRB posting:

    1. Pull the sanction date, court orders and background documentation from each closed file.

    2. Photocopy the relevant information and maintain it as supporting documentation for the IRB posting.

    3. Using the information from the case file, complete the IRB format for each case where OPR sanctioned a practitioner.

    4. Once a week, forward the proposed listing to the OPR Disclosure coordinator for review and approval.

    5. Once approved, forward the listing to Tax Forms & Publications for inclusion in the weekly IRB posting.

  4. Following Personally Identifiable Information (PII) guidelines, mail courtesy copies of all signed Consent Agreements to the appropriate state agency:

    1. State Accountancy Boards.

    2. State Bar Licensing Authority.

1.25.3.9.1  (06-01-2010)
Closed OPR Files

  1. OPR retains its closed files in a centralized file room. To ensure proper control of the files, a sign-out process is used. A "Files Sign-Out" sheet is kept in the OPR front office.

    1. Use the sign-out sheet when retrieving a file from the room.

    2. Sign and date the sheet for all files taken out of the room.

    3. Sign the date the sheet to show all files returned to the room.

  2. Completed sign-out sheets are kept in a binder in the CD&L office.


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