13.1.19  TAS Operations Assistance Request (OAR) Process.

Manual Transmittal

April 25, 2013

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 13.1.19, Taxpayer Advocate Service, Taxpayer Advocate Case Procedures, Operations Assistance Request (OAR) Process.

Material Changes

(1) 13.1.19.5.4(2) Incorporated guidance from Interim Guidance Memo, TAS 13.1.13-1212-014 on Timeframes for Following up on Expired Operations Assistance Requests up.

(2) Editorial changes made throughout.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 13.1.19 dated March 18, 2011 is superseded.

Audience

Primarily Taxpayer Advocate Service

Effective Date

(04-25-2013)

Nina E. Olson
National Taxpayer Advocate

13.1.19.1  (02-01-2011)
TAS OAR Process

  1. A Form 12412, Operations Assistance Request (OAR), is used by TAS to request assistance from an Operating Division or Functional Unit (OD/Function) to complete an action on a TAS case when TAS does not have the authority to take the required action(s). The OAR provides an audit trail of TAS requests to the OD/Functions and also their responses to TAS. Using TAMIS to generate the OAR and track the responses, the OD/Functions, as well as TAS, can also create reports that identify units, issues and time spent on correcting the taxpayer accounts. For guidance on when to issue a Taxpayer Assistance Order (TAO) in lieu of an OAR, see IRM 13.1.20, Taxpayer Assistance Orders.

  2. Exhibit 13.1.4-3, Guide to Delegation of Authorities with IRM References in IRM 13.1.4, Taxpayer Advocate Case Procedures, TAS Authorities, outlines TAS's authorities and provides guidance when an OAR is necessary.

  3. For cases where an expedite processing determination has been made, the Case Advocate (CA) will generate Form 12412 within one (1) workday of the determination by the most expeditious process, usually fax.

  4. For all other cases, the CA will submit Form 12412, if required, at the earliest possible date.

    Note:

    Fax is the preferred method of routing an OAR to another geographic location.

  5. To request action(s) from, and to document actions taken by, the OD/Functions, CAs will use the TAMIS OAR screens to document the actions taken in creating, processing, and closing the OAR. The information added to the OAR screens is used to generate a TAMIS version of Form 12412 and will become a permanent record within each case. Multiple OAR records may be added. See IRM 13.4.5, Creating and Working a Case on TAMIS.

  6. The issuance of Form 12412 is not required in instances where an action can be requested and completed over the telephone. Although Form 12412 is not required in this situation, the request is considered an OAR and must be documented on the TAMIS History Screen.

  7. In some situations, you may have the authority to make a determination concerning a problem, but will need to refer the case to Operations to take additional required actions for which TAS does not have the authority.

    Example:

    A taxpayer in notice status comes to TAS for assistance with a Federal Payment Levy Program (FPLP) levy and a request for an installment agreement (IA). The taxpayer's financial situation does not allow him to meet the criteria for a streamlined IA. Because the account is in notice status and not assigned to another OD/Function, TAS has the authority to input the codes to temporarily prevent future FPLP actions. However, TAS does not have the authority to put the taxpayer onto a regular IA, so an OAR to Compliance Services to do an IA would be required.

13.1.19.2  (04-25-2013)
TAS Service Level Agreements (SLA)

  1. TAS has negotiated national agreements with each Operating Division, known as Service Level Agreements (SLA). These agreements outline the procedures and responsibilities for processing TAS casework when the responsibility to resolve case issues rests outside of TAS's authority.

  2. The purpose of the procedures is to establish uniform standards for processing of work when TAS does not have the statutory or delegated authority to completely resolve the taxpayer's problem.

  3. Refer to the TAS web page on the Intranet under "Service Level Agreements " http://tas.web.irs.gov/policy/sla/default.aspx to obtain the SLA Memoranda and Addenda.

13.1.19.3  (02-01-2011)
Expedite Processing of OARs

  1. The facts and circumstances particular to a taxpayer’s case may necessitate that the case be worked more quickly than normal case processing time. TAS will generally request expedite processing of an OAR in those cases in which the failure to take the specific action requested will cause the taxpayer economic harm or burden, extended delays have occurred, repeated IRS failures to resolve the problem have taken place, the taxpayer is suffering significant health issues which may improve with earlier resolution, or when time frames or statute considerations necessitate that case issues be worked sooner.

  2. No OAR will automatically receive expedite processing. Requests for expedite processing of an OAR will be made on a case-by-case basis, and will be based on the facts and circumstances of the taxpayer's case.

    Example:

    In January 2004, the Examination Division audited a taxpayer’s 2001 tax return for unreported income. The taxpayer paid the assessment in full and then filed a claim for refund in May 2004. The taxpayer contacts TAS in April 2006 because he has not heard from the IRS concerning the status of his claim since the IRS acknowledged its receipt, despite repeated calls to the IRS. Research on IDRS or other systems support this assertion. As the taxpayer has attempted for almost two years to get resolution, the OAR on this TAS case should receive expedite processing.

  3. To request expedite processing of an OAR select the Expedite Check Box and document in the TAMIS History Screen why expedite processing of the OAR is needed. Refer to the SLA to determine the time frames that each office should follow.

    1. If the Expedite Check Box is selected, the word "Expedite" will display on the Form 12412 in the Criteria Code box under the actual Criteria Code. The Expedite Check Box is not automatically populated based on the criteria code of the case..

      Note:

      OARs should only be expedited if the facts and circumstances at that time warrant the expedite. If the economic burden issue has been resolved and an OAR is now needed for an audit reconsideration, for example, the OAR for the audit reconsideration may not need to be expedited.

    2. Once the OAR is sent to Operations, the Expedite Check Box can not be changed.

    3. On saved OARs, once the field titled, "Date OAR sent to OD/Function," is completed, the Expedite Check Box can not be edited.

    4. Based on whether the Expedite Check Box is checked, the field titled, "Expected Acknowledge Date," is adjusted to reflect the time frames for response by the OD/Function.

  4. Submit Form 12412 to the appropriate OD/Function within one (1) workday of the determination when expedite processing is required.

13.1.19.4  (04-25-2013)
Operations Assistance Request (OAR) -- Preparation

  1. The CA is responsible for building the case and making an IRC § 7811 Significant Hardship Determination. The CA will need to determine if an OAR on this TAS case is needed and should receive expedite processing. Refer to IRM 13.1.18.4, Making an IRC § 7811 Determination, prior to forwarding the OAR to an OD/Function.

    Reminder:

    For each OAR issued on the case, the CA makes a determination on whether that OAR receives or does not receive expedite processing. For each OAR that receives expedite processing, the CA must document why expedite processing of that OAR is needed.

  2. The CA will conduct all appropriate IDRS research and identify the issues based on case analysis.

  3. The CA will request all pertinent internal and external documents (i.e., copies of returns, audit reports, adjustment documents, documentation from the taxpayer, etc.).

  4. The CA will make a recommendation, and where appropriate, outline the account adjustments that need to be effected to implement the CA's recommendation. Do not provide a breakdown of adjustments with transaction codes and dollar amounts.

    Example:

    Include statements similar to "If, after your review, you determine the taxpayer is entitled to these adjustments, please prepare the documentation to input the adjustments to 1) adjust the tax liability, 2) adjust the penalty and interest accordingly, 3) remove any freeze codes or audit indicators, and 4) return the completed documentation to TAS."

  5. The CA will not include any source documents (i.e., Form 3870, Request for Adjustment) as supporting documentation.

    Note:

    TAMIS history should never be attached to an OAR.

  6. The CA will use OAR Screen 1 for the creation and generation of an OAR. Once OAR Screen 1 is complete, the CA will use TAMIS to generate and print Form 12412 to initiate the OAR process. The CA will ensure the following information is documented on OAR Screen 1. See IRM 13.4.5, Creating and Working a Case on TAMIS, for information on how to enter this information on TAMIS:

    1. The OAR Issue Code;

    2. The tax modules;

    3. The action(s) requested;

    4. A detailed description of supporting documentation attached;

    5. A Check or No Check in the Expedite Check Box;

    6. The Requested Completion Date;

    7. The BOD or Function responsible for taking the recommended action on the OAR;

    8. The Organizational Unit within the BOD or Function;

    9. The Area within the Organizational Unit;

    10. The Location within the Area;

    11. The Unit within the Location, if applicable;

    12. The name, telephone number, and fax number of the OD/Function Liaison responsible (Each BOD and Function provides TAS with updated SLA Addenda or web page links with this information, which TAS posts to its web page); and

    13. The Date the OAR was forwarded to the OD/Function Liaison.

    Note:

    The balance of the information needed to complete Form 12412 is systemically generated by TAMIS when the CA generates Form 12412 on TAMIS.

  7. The CA will forward the completed OAR package to the TAS Liaison for submission to the OD/Function. See http://tas.web.irs.gov/policy/sla/default.aspx for a complete list of TAS Liaisons.

13.1.19.5  (02-01-2011)
Operations Assistance Request (OAR)

  1. The following sections provide a general explanation about the responsibilities of the TAS Liaison, the OD/Function (Liaison, the OD/Function employee assigned the OAR, and the CA in the OAR process. For specific guidance related to each BOD and Function, refer to the unit's SLA on the TAS SLA Website. http://tas.web.irs.gov/policy/sla/default.aspx

13.1.19.5.1  (02-01-2011)
TAS Liaison OAR Responsibilities

  1. A TAS Liaison will be designated at each TAS office.

  2. The TAS Liaison is responsible for ensuring the OAR is routed to the correct place.

  3. The TAS Liaisons will forward OARs from their respective office to the appropriate OD/Function Liaison via Form 3210, Document Transmittal, using the established SLA Addenda. See http://tas.web.irs.gov/policy/sla/default.aspx for copies of the SLAs.

  4. The TAS liaison will insure the OAR is properly completed, including whether expedite processing is warranted, and all necessary documents are attached. Any high profile or imminent statute cases will be prominently identified.

  5. The TAS liaison will also be the contact point for the Operational Liaisons on administrative and procedural matters that are not specific to the substance of a particular case. Substantive case issues are the responsibility of the Case Advocate.

13.1.19.5.2  (02-01-2011)
Business Operating Division (BOD)/Function Liaison OAR Responsibilities

  1. The OD/Functions will designate a OD/Function Liaison in each office that receives OARs from TAS.

  2. The OD/Function Liaisons will use Form 3210, Document Transmittal, to both acknowledge receipt and to provide the name and phone number of the IRS employee assigned to work the case within one (1) workday of receipt of the OAR involving any TAS case that has "EXPEDITE" notated under the actual Criteria Code in the Criteria Code box on the Form 12412.

  3. For an OAR involving Expedite Processing, the OD/Function Liaisons (for LMSB, the employee working the case), will provide, within three (3) workdays of acknowledging receipt of the OAR, a decision on whether or not they will provide the relief requested. The decision will be in writing, via facsimile, or hand delivery to the TAS Case Advocate.

  4. The OD/Function Liaisons (for LMSB, the employee working the case), will use Form 3210 to both acknowledge receipt and to provide the name and phone number of the IRS employee assigned to work the case within three (3) workdays of receipt of a non-expedited TAS OAR.

  5. The OD/Function Liaisons may have responsibilities specific to their individual SLA. See the SLAs and Addenda at http://tas.web.irs.gov/policy/sla/default.aspxfor more information.

  6. The OD/Function Liaison will provide the CA with the name and phone number of the manager of the IRS employee assigned the OAR.

13.1.19.5.3  (02-01-2011)
Responsibilities of the OD/Function Employee Assigned the OAR

  1. The OD/Function employee assigned the OAR will discuss and reach agreement with the CA on the recommended action plan, substantive case issues, and the proposed follow-up and completion dates.

  2. While the assigned TAS CA will be responsible for keeping the taxpayer or practitioner apprised of the progress of his or her case, this does not prohibit the OD/Function employee assigned the OAR from making necessary contacts with the taxpayer or practitioner.

  3. The OD/Function employee assigned the OAR will discuss his or her findings and recommendations on the final disposition of the OAR with the CA.

  4. If the OD/Function employee needs additional time to complete the actions and cannot meet the completion date requested by the CA, the OD/Function employee will contact the CA to establish, by mutual agreement, a negotiated completion date.

    Note:

    Before agreeing to a revised completion date, consider the taxpayer's needs, and the facts and circumstances of the case. In some cases it may be important to hold the IRS to the original date, so elevate the discussion to the manager.

  5. If the CA and the OD/Function employee assigned the OAR cannot agree upon the resolution to the taxpayer's problem, both the TAS employee and the OD/Function employee will elevate this disagreement to their respective managers.

  6. If actions requested on the OAR cannot be completed by the requested completion date, or by any negotiated extension date, the OD/Function employee will elevate the matter through the management chain.

  7. Upon completing the actions requested on the OAR, the OD/Function employee assigned the OAR will complete section VI of Form 12412 and return it to the CA assigned the case. This will provide necessary information for accurate reporting and tracking the progress of the case. The Form 12412 will be returned within 3 workdays from the date all actions have been completed.

  8. The OD/Function employee assigned the OAR has the responsibility for providing official closing documents to the taxpayer and copies to the CA. The CA is responsible for communicating the final decision on the OAR to the taxpayer.

    Note:

    A completed OAR assures accurate information is collected , and the taxpayer’s problem is resolved. Generally, an OAR is not considered closed until the completed Form 12412 is received by TAS. See the Exception under IRM 13.1.19.5.4 paragraph (6) for instructions when the completed OAR is not returned by the OD/Function.

  9. If an OAR is routed by TAS to the incorrect office or campus location, the OD/Function liaison will reject and return the OAR to TAS within three (3) workdays of receipt.

    • Upon rejecting an OAR, the OD/Function employee assigned the OAR will complete section VI of Form 12412, Box 2a, Reject/Return, Operations Assistance Request, and provide detailed explanation of the rejection/return in Box 2b.

    • On cases where the CA requested expedite processing, the OD/Function liaison will notify the TAS liaison within one (1) workday of the reason for the OAR return.

    • If the OAR was routed to the incorrect liaison, office or campus location because the routing information in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) addendum has changed but was not updated by the OD/Function, the OD/Function liaison will route the OAR to the new liaison, office or campus location and provide the assigned CA with the new routing information.

  10. If the OD/Function determines additional research or documentation is required on an OAR, the OD/Function liaison or assigned employee will contact the assigned CA within one (1) workday of the determination to obtain information and to negotiate the requested completion date.

    1. If the assigned CA cannot provide the information within three (3) workdays of the request, the OD/Function will return the OAR to TAS. The OD/Function liaison will complete Section VI of Form 12412 indicating the reason(s) for the rejection, including that the CA did not timely provide necessary documentation upon request, and citing the IRM references (when applicable).

    2. On cases where the CA has requested expedite processing, the OD/Function liaison will notify the TAS liaison within one (1) workday of receipt of the reason for the OAR's rejection.

  11. If the OD/Function believes TAS has the authority to take the action(s) requested on the OAR, the OD/Function liaison will contact the TAS liaison within one (1) workday of the determination to discuss his or her recommendation prior to return the OAR.

    • If the TAS liaison agrees with the OD/Function liaison's recommendation, the OD/Function will return the OAR to TAS and the case will be closed out of the unit's inventory. The OD/Function liaison will complete Section VI of Form 12412 indicating the reason for the rejection citing IRM references.

    • If the OD/Function liaison and the TAS liaison cannot reach agreement, the disagreement will be elevated to their respective immediate managers.

  12. The OD/Function employees assigned OARs may have responsibilities specific to the particular SLA. See the SLAs and Addenda at http://tasnew.web.irs.gov/index.asp?pid=865 for more information.

13.1.19.5.4  (04-25-2013)
Case Advocate OAR Responsibilities

  1. Upon receipt of the name and phone number of the OD/Function employee assigned to the OAR, the CA will update TAMIS OAR Screen 2 with the negotiated completion date (if applicable) and the assigned employee's contact information, including the employee's manager information. The TAMIS History Screen will be used to record information not captured in the two OAR screens.

    Reminder:

    Per IRM 13.4.5, Creating and Working a Case on TAMIS, when the fields for"Expected Date Acknowledged" , "Expected Relief Determination" "Date (Expedite Requests Only), Requested Completion Date" or "Negotiated Completion Date" are entered and saved, those dates plus one workday will automatically be added to the Case Actions Screen as follow up dates.

  2. If the CA has not received a response or completed OAR by the requested or negotiated completion date, the CA will follow up with the assigned OD/Function employee within five workdays to determine the status and document TAMIS accordingly.

    Note:

    Because TAMIS systems do not differentiate between OAR follow-up dates and other non-OAR follow-up dates, the timeframe for following up on expired OARs is temporarily extended from three workdays to five workdays, to be consistent with established timeframes for meeting follow-up dates.

    1. If actions were not completed by the agreed date, and the OD/Function has been working the case, the CA will contact the OD/Function employee and establish a negotiated completion date, if the taxpayer will not be harmed.

    2. If the OD/Function has not been working the case, or if the taxpayer will be harmed due to the delay, the CA will elevate to the LTA to consider issuing a TAO.

  3. The CA is responsible for keeping the taxpayer or practitioner apprised of the status of his or her case, any delays, changes to the estimated completion date (ECD), and providing a next contact date (NCD). This does not prohibit the OD/Function employee assigned the OAR from making necessary contacts with the taxpayer or practitioner.

  4. If there are problems with the timeliness of the completion of the OAR, the CA will elevate this problem to his or her manager. The TAS manager will contact the appropriate OD/Function Liaison.

  5. The CA must monitor each OAR until all actions are completed. Any related issues must be addressed (if applicable), and the taxpayer must be notified of all actions taken prior to closing the case.

    Note:

    The CA is responsible for ensuring the adjustments/actions taken by an OD/Function are correct and complete.

  6. An OAR is considered closed only when the completed Form 12412 is received from the OD/Function. IRS must return all OARs, whether completed or rejected. If IRS does not return the OAR timely, make one contact to the OD/Function to get the OAR. Give the OD/Function one more day to return the OAR. Notate on TAMIS history that contact was made, provide the name, number, method of contact and deadline given.

    Exception:

    The CA may close an OAR if they can verify that all actions on the OAR were taken and posted, but only after making one attempt by phone to secure the completed OAR and if no response is received from the OD/Function within three (3) workdays of the request.

    • In all cases when the completed OAR is not returned, whether the OAR was completed or rejected, notate on OAR Screen 2, Section VI, OD/Functions Actions Taken as follows: ★★OAR not returned★★. This will allow TAS to track these issues through TAMIS reports and provide valuable feedback to the OD/Functions.

    • Notify the manager and the TAS liaison of the non-receipt of the OAR.

    • The TAS OAR Liaison in each local office and Campus must run a report weekly to identify cases that had unreturned OARs. Provide the report to the Area TAS OAR Liaison each week.

    • The Area OAR Liaison will provide the information to the Area Director for the scheduled briefings with the OD/Functions.

  7. Upon receipt of the returned, rejected or completed Form 12412 from the OD/Function, the CA will update OAR Screen 2, Sections VI, OD/Functions Actions Taken, and VII, Closing Information. This will include information about:

    1. The actions taken;

    2. The date those actions were completed by the OD/Function;

    3. The date the OAR was rejected or returned, if applicable;

    4. The date the completed OAR was received;

    5. Whether all recommended actions were completed by the OD/Function; and

    6. If the OAR was rejected, the correct reason the OAR was rejected or returned.

    Note:

    If the OAR was rejected, the CA will review the comments and select the appropriate rejection box. Although a OD/Function Employee may select the ‘Other’ Box, the CA will determine if another box is appropriate and update if necessary or give a written description if ‘Other’ is appropriate.

    Note:

    The CA must enter a date in the "Date Completed OAR Received" field on OAR screen 2 in order for the OAR to close in TAMIS.

    Example:

    On March 1st, Exam inputs a direct deposit refund based on an OAR from TAS. The CA never receives the completed OAR form back from Exam. On April 30th, the CA researches IDRS and finds the March 7th manual refund posted in the April 15th cycle. A phone call is made to the Liaison requesting the completed OAR on April 30th. On May 2nd, if the CA still has not received a completed OAR, the OAR can be closed on TAMIS using a closing date of May 2nd.

  8. When the OD/Function returns the Form 12412 indicating that all the actions were taken but a valid posting code is not on the module (i.e. not AP/EP, PN or UP) then contact the OD/Function to advise them the action has not posted and the OAR is still open. Request that the OD/Function correct the action and advise TAS when completed.

  9. The CA must document TAMIS throughout the OAR process. For those items that cannot be recorded or updated on the two OAR Screens, the CA will use the appropriate TAMIS screens.

    Example:

    The taxpayer wants all subsequent contacts made through a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and provides the CA with a completed Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. The CA contacts the OD/Function employee assigned to the OAR and provides the POA to that employee. This information cannot be captured on the OAR Screens and would be documented on the TAMIS POA and History Screens.

  10. The CA must be alert to issues that are causing unnecessary delays and harming the taxpayer during the OAR process, and elevate to the LTA to consider issuing a TAO.

    Example:

    A taxpayer contacts TAS to expedite an SFR reconsideration because a Federal Tax Lien has been filed against the taxpayer for the liability. The taxpayer is scheduled to close on the sale of his home, and does not have sufficient equity to full pay the lien. If the SFR reconsideration is accepted and an adjustment input, the liability will be eliminated, and the Federal Tax Lien can then be released. An OAR was sent for the SFR reconsideration 5 weeks ago, and still no action has been taken on the account, even though the requested completion date has expired, and the managers of the CA and the OD/Function employee have had a discussion. The taxpayer is scheduled to close on the sale of the home in 2 weeks, and needs the proceeds from the sale of the home to pay moving expenses for a job he is scheduled to start in another state. The Lien Unit will not issue a Release of Lien until the adjustment has been made on IDRS. The delay in working the reconsideration will cause economic harm to the taxpayer, and the delay by the OD/Function in working the OAR is unreasonable. After discussing the circumstances with the LTA, a TAO is issued to the manager of the unit.

13.1.19.6  (02-01-2011)
OARs - Operating Division or Functional Unit Disagrees - Action Not Taken

  1. If the agreed upon action is not completed by the agreed upon date or an agreement with the OD/Function cannot be reached, the CA will elevate the issue to his or her manager. The CA will ensure the case is well documented for review.

  2. The CA will document the OD/Function employee's basis for denying the action requested on the OAR (e.g., under what provision of the IRC, IRM, procedural memoranda, etc.). The CA will update the OAR Screens with the name and contact information of both the OD/Function employee assigned to the OAR and that employee's manager.

  3. The CA’s manager will review the case to determine whether the OD/Function action requested is appropriate. The LTA or manager will negotiate with OD/Function management. If the OD/Function agrees to take the action by the designated date, the case will be returned to the assigned CA who will :

    1. Inform the taxpayer (preferably by telephone) of the agreed upon action and anticipated closing date;

    2. Monitor the case actions;

    3. Address any related issues (if applicable); and

    4. Close the case if the actions are completed and the OAR is returned by the designated date.

  4. If agreement is not reached by the manager/LTA on the appropriate course of action, or the actions are not completed timely and a negotiated completion date cannot be agreed upon or the taxpayer would be harmed by a delay, the case will be elevated to the LTA and steps taken to issue a TAO if the taxpayer meets the definition of significant hardship in IRC § 7811. See IRM 13.1.20, Taxpayer Assistance Order (TAO) Process.

  5. If the CA’s manager disagrees with the proposal for a TAO to be issued, the manager will work with the CA to develop a different proposal to the OD/Function. If the OD/Function agrees to take the revised action by the indicated date, follow the above outlined course of action. If the OD/Function does not agree, consider issuing a TAO if the taxpayer meets the significant hardship definition in IRC § 7811. Refer to IRM 13.1.18.4, Making an IRC § 7811 Determination.

  6. After all actions have been taken by the OD/Function, the CA will determine if there are any other issues to resolve. If so, the CA will take all actions necessary to resolve the case and contact the taxpayer to explain the actions taken.


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