4.8.1  Organization and Responsibilities

Manual Transmittal

July 11, 2012

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 4.8.1, Technical Services, Organization and Responsibilities.

Background

This section provides an overview of the purpose and organizational structure of Technical Services, and the responsibilities of reviewers.

Material Changes

(1) This transmittal reissues existing procedures. Minor editorial changes have been made throughout this IRM to reflect organizational changes within Technical Services (e.g., Technical Services Operations group was removed and duties realigned).

(2) Removed restriction to use multiple second segment codes in conjunction with Activity Code 587 on the same day. See IRM 4.8.1.6.3.

(3) Minor editorial changes have been made throughout this IRM. Website addresses, legal references, and IRM references were reviewed and updated as necessary.

Effect on Other Documents

This transmittal replaces IRM 4.8.1, dated 08-20-2010.

Audience

Small Business Self-Employed (SB/SE), Technical Services employees

Effective Date

(07-11-2012)

Rodney M. Kobayashi
Director, Technical Services SE:S:E:TS
Small Business/Self-Employed Division

4.8.1.1  (07-11-2012)
Introduction

  1. Technical Services is responsible for the administration and oversight of various technical programs. Technical Services also provides technical assistance, feedback, guidance through case reviews, presentations to examination groups in SB/SE and Large Business and International (LB&I), and program analysis.

  2. This chapter provides an overview of the responsibilities and the organizational structure of Technical Services.

4.8.1.1.1  (07-11-2012)
Mission Statement

  1. The mission of Technical Service is to provide top quality customer service by:

    1. Aligning strategies, objectives, and goals to support delivery of the enterprise-wide examination plan;

    2. Providing technical and procedural support and guidance for field and office examination and area management in both SB/SE and LB&I;

    3. Assisting in the development of alternative resolution implementation strategies; and

    4. Performing technical case reviews to improve the quality of examinations and ensure the tax law is applied with integrity and fairness to all.

4.8.1.1.2  (07-11-2012)
Purpose and Objectives

  1. Technical Services supports Examination's objective to conduct timely, quality examinations of each selected tax return to determine the correct tax liability by:

    1. Providing technical and procedural assistance to management and examiners;

    2. Providing area management case quality information to identify opportunities for improvement and possible training needs;

    3. Completing post-examination case requirements;

    4. Supporting quality improvement initiatives;

    5. Coordinating with issue management teams, Counsel, and Appeals in the implementation of settlement strategies; and

    6. Providing Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) technical and procedural support and guidance to examination groups.

  2. Technical Services provides various tools and programs to support Examination's mission to conduct timely, quality examinations and apply the tax law with integrity and fairness.

  3. Technical Services supports SB/SE and LB&I managers and examiners by providing current technical and procedural guidance through presentations, job aids and publications, which include:

    1. Technical Digest, a monthly newsletter published by Technical Services in cooperation with Advisory, Insolvency and Quality (Collection);

    2. Fraud Digest, a quarterly newsletter published by Technical Services in cooperation with Collection, Examination, Fraud/BSA, Criminal Investigation, Chief Counsel, and Communications & Liaison; and

    3. Keys to Success, published by Technical Services three times during the year.

  4. The job aids and publications are accessible by Technical Services employees through the SB/SE Exam Technical Services SharePoint website on the Home page in the Links section at: http://wsep.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/co/dcse/sbse/exam/ts/default.aspx. Examination employees in the field can access the same documents at the MySB/SE, Examination, Home page in the Newsletters section at http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/exam/default.aspx website.

  5. Group managers and examiners may informally request information and guidance through our Technical Services program coordinators. Areas of technical and procedural assistance include:

    • Abusive Transaction Project Resolution Procedures

    • Accumulated Earnings Tax

    • Bankruptcy

    • Barred Statutes

    • Claims and Audit Reconsiderations

    • Closing Agreements

    • Conditions of Probation

    • Employee Audits

    • Fraud/Grand Jury Suspense

    • Imprest Fund Audits

    • Innocent Spouse

    • International Case Review

    • Interest and Penalty Abatement

    • IRC 183 (Hobby Loss) Suspense

    • IRC 1033 (Involuntary Conversion) Suspense

    • Jeopardy/Termination Assessments

    • National Quality Review System (NQRS) Quality Attributes and Measures

    • Offers in Compromise (Doubt as to Liability)

    • Personal Holding Company/Deficiency Dividends

    • Presentations at group meetings and workshops

    • Protective Claim Suspense

    • Restricted Interest

    • Rev. Proc. 92-29

    • Statute of Limitations

    • Statutory Notices of Deficiency

    • Substitute for Return/Delinquent Return Procedures

    • TEFRA

    • Third Party Contacts

    • Technical Correspondence
      - Technical Advice (Technical Advice Memorandum (TAM) and Technical Expedited Advice Memorandum (TEAM)))
      - Determination Letters
      - Private Letter Rulings
      - Field Service Advice
      - Technical Coordination Reports

    • Transferee/Transferor Liability

    • Unagreed Protested Cases

    • Notices of Determination of Worker Classification IRC 7436

    • Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI)

    • IRC 1254 (Litigation Suspense)

    • IRC 1260 (Awaiting Headquarters) Suspense

  6. A full listing of programs and a directory of coordinators and other case related guidance links for Technical Services employees may be found on the SB/SE Exam Technical Services SharePoint Home page in the Links section at http://wsep.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/co/dcse/sbse/exam/ts/default.aspx. Examination employees in the field can access this information by accessing the My SB/SE Home page in the Compliance Favorites section at the Find An Expert link at http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/exam/default.aspx

4.8.1.2  (07-11-2012)
Organizational Structure

  1. Technical Services is composed of seven territories that align with the seven SB/SE Examination Areas, plus an Examination Quality Measurement Staff (EQMS), and an Alternative Resolution Implementation (ARI) Program, all of which provide technical and procedural guidance and support to the Examination areas.

  2. ARI and EQMS are composed of technical advisors, analysts, and NQRS reviewers.

  3. Each territory is led by a territory manager who reports directly to the Director of Technical Services. The number of groups within each territory varies according to the volume of work, size of the area, and other responsibilities.

  4. Groups are composed of a manager, revenue agent reviewers, tax compliance officer reviewers, tax auditors, tax examiners, and supporting clerical staff.

  5. Work may be "brokered" from one Technical Services group/territory to other Technical Services groups/territories to more effectively balance workload and existing resources.

  6. At the Technical Services Director's discretion, a specific Technical Services territory or group may perform functions for a specified program or project for all of Technical Services or for all groups in a territory.

  7. Specialty groups have been created within Technical Services to work highly specialized programs to better serve the internal and external customers (e.g, TEFRA and International groups).

4.8.1.2.1  (07-11-2012)
Examination Quality Measurement Staff (EQMS)

  1. The primary purpose of Examination Quality Measurement Staff (EQMS) is to support SB/SE's quality improvement program. EQMS is SB/SE's mechanism for the collection of information, measurement of examination quality, and assessment of long term trends of system performance in keeping with the balanced measures. Quality data is used to establish baselines and provide an understanding of how the current system is operating, to analyze causes for failures and assess the feasibility of possible solutions, and to measure the success of quality improvement efforts.

  2. EQMS reviews a statistically valid sample of closed and open SB/SE cases against the quality attributes. Case reviews are conducted to collect information from individual audits. The data collected from the reviews is input into the NQRS, which is a web based system that provides the basis for analysis at the territory, area, and national level. Quality scores are derived from the data and are included as a component of the "Business Results" measurement for SB/SE.

    Note:

    Open SB/SE cases selected for EQMS Reviews typically consist of protested cases closed through Technical Services to be processed to Appeals.

4.8.1.2.2  (07-11-2012)
Alternative Resolution Implementation (ARI)

  1. ARI is a program in Technical Services that provides technical and procedural guidance and support to the Examination Areas.

  2. ARI is composed of technical advisors and analysts.

  3. ARI supports Examination by:

    • Assisting in the implementation of approved settlement strategies, such as Commissioner's Initiatives, Global Settlement Initiatives (GSI), Appeals Settlement Guidelines, and other alternative resolutions,

    • Participating with issue management teams (IMT) to develop technical and procedural guidance for implementation in the field (SB/SE and LB&I), Technical Services, and Centralized Case Processing (CCP),

    • Coordinating the closing process with IMTs, Counsel, and Appeals,

    • Ensuring consistency of Technical Services groups as it relates to specific abusive transactions (AT) and,

    • Providing guidance with respect to the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI).

4.8.1.2.3  (07-11-2012)
TEFRA

  1. The Technical Services TEFRA function is comprised of three separate review groups. These groups are responsible for 100% review of all TEFRA examinations conducted in SB/SE and LB&I.

  2. The reviewer groups are comprised of revenue agent reviewers/coordinators who must possess a broad range of technical knowledge of the TEFRA process.

  3. The reviewer/coordinator responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following:

    1. Serving as the main contact for LB&I and SB/SE field agents and their managers to explain and clarify the TEFRA unified audit procedures.

    2. Giving advice on the preparation and signing of statute extensions.

    3. Preparing 60 day and Final Partnership Administrative Adjustment (FPAA) packages for issuance on key cases.

    4. Serving as the liaison with the Campus TEFRA functions (CTF) on:
      - PCS linkage and any related linkage problems
      - Issuance of applicable closing letters (Letter 1864(DO), TEFRA Entity No Change Letter, 60 day letters, FPAAs, Letter 2621(DO), No Adjustments Letter)
      - Processing agreed key cases (tax matters partner (TMP) and all partners have signed agreements)
      - Verifying that the coordinated industry case (CIC) groups timely write the RARs and request removal of PCS controls by completing Form 8339, PCS Change, for CIC TEFRA investors (See IRM 4.29.2, Partnership Control System (PCS) - Maintaining the PCS Database)

    5. Coordinating with Area Counsel on key case technical questions involving TEFRA code sections.

    6. Coordinating with Campus TEFRA Function (CTF) PCS coordinator on processing Form 8339, PCS Change, and other PCS related issues.

    7. Monitoring field controlled investor statutes using the PSC 4-4, Statute Reports, extract provided by the campuses.

    8. Distributing the PCS 4-4 reports that are received from the campus to the appropriate field group.

    9. Ensuring Form 8339 is included in the closing package.

    10. Reviewing Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, to ensure the form is completed correctly with the required TEFRA language.

  4. Although the TEFRA coordinator is responsible for reviewing and issuing the notices to the TMP, the revenue agent (RA) and manager are responsible for preparing and coordinating the issuance of the notices when the key case has a short statute.

  5. See IRM 4.31.2, TEFRA Examinations - Field Office Procedures, for a full explanation of the reviewer/coordinator duties and responsibilities.

4.8.1.3  (07-11-2012)
Area Review Management Responsibilities

  1. Technical Services management is responsible for the quality of services provided to the area’s examination function. Managers must properly allocate resources and identify and respond to needs for technical assistance. The EQMS territory manager supports, analyzes, and provides management with information regarding case quality and the examination process in SB/SE nationwide. Management also supports and participates in quality improvement initiatives.

4.8.1.3.1  (07-11-2012)
Management References

  1. Refer to IRM 1.4.40, Resource Guide for Managers - SB/SE Compliance Field Examination Group Manager, for additional guidance.

4.8.1.4  (07-11-2012)
Reviewer Responsibilities

  1. Reviewers are responsible for the review of mandatory review cases, and post-examination processing of certain special feature cases. Assignments also include preparing analyses for management, preparing statutory notices of deficiency, and assigned program coordination.

4.8.1.4.1  (07-11-2012)
Case Reviews

  1. Case reviews are conducted to evaluate case quality and examination processing requirements. Some areas utilize reviewers to conduct reviews of both in-process and closed cases. Case reviews include:

    1. Determining the scope of the examination, evaluating case documents to support the examiner’s conclusions, determining if technical conclusions are correct, and ensuring proper completion of internal procedures;

    2. Interpreting and evaluating the application of the quality attributes;

    3. Processing the case;

    4. Documenting the review results; and

    5. Providing feedback to both examiners and management to improve case quality and to recognize exceptional accomplishments with commendatory memoranda.

4.8.1.4.2  (07-11-2012)
EQMS Case Reviews

  1. Refer to IRM 4.8.3, Examination Quality Measurement Staff, for a detailed explanation of the EQMS case review process.

4.8.1.5  (07-11-2012)
Reviewer Qualifications

  1. To accomplish Technical Services objectives, reviewers are revenue agents, tax auditors, and tax compliance officers who have demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge of accounting and auditing principles, tax law, IRS policies, and internal procedures. Reviewers must be objective and exercise independent judgment and individual initiative in the performance of their duties.

4.8.1.5.1  (07-11-2012)
Maintain Skills

  1. Reviewers are expected to acquire and maintain the technical and procedural knowledge necessary to effectively complete their assignments.

  2. Technical Services self study courses are available on a previously issued CD and on the Electronic Publishing Services web site at http://publish.no.irs.gov/ephome.html (Catalog number 49077T). The courses available include the following:

    1. Training 11699-001, Technical Services Revenue Agent Reviewers,

    2. Training 11701-001, Technical Services TEFRA Reviewers,

    3. Training 11700-001, Technical Services Tax Compliance Officer Reviewers, and

    4. Training 16638-001, Technical Services Tax Examining Technicians.

  3. Refresher courses are also available for reviewers when they rotate to an area examination group:

    1. Training 11702-001, Revenue Agent Refresher Training

    2. Training 11703-001, Tax Compliance Officer Refresher Training

  4. Technical Services managers may approve lessons (cafeteria style) in these courses for the particular needs of the reviewers to acquire skills in a specific area.

4.8.1.5.2  (07-11-2012)
Communication Skills

  1. Reviewers are expected to effectively communicate with other technical personnel, management, taxpayers, and external customers when providing or obtaining information to timely resolve issues in the completion of their assignments.

4.8.1.5.3  (07-11-2012)
Position Description

  1. The standard position descriptions and associated reviewer critical elements include complete descriptions of expectations for reviewers.

    1. SB/SE - Tax Specialist Reviewer (GS–526–9), SPD No. 93763

    2. SB/SE - Tax Auditor Reviewer (GS-526-9), SPD No. 91584

    3. SB/SE - Tax Compliance Officer Reviewer (GS-0526-11), SPD 95496

    4. SB/SE - Revenue Agent Reviewer (GS-512-11), SPD No. 90294

    5. SB/SE - Revenue Agent Reviewer (GS-512-11), SPD No. 91585

    6. SB/SE - Revenue Agent Reviewer (GS-512-12), SPD No. 90295

    7. SB/SE - Revenue Agent Reviewer (GS-512-12), SPD No.91586

    8. SB/SE - Revenue Agent Reviewer (GS-512-12), SPD No. 96144

    9. SB/SE and LB&I - Revenue Agent Reviewer (GS–512–13), SPD No. 91587

    10. SB/SE - Revenue Agent Reviewer (GS-512-13), SPD No. 90296

4.8.1.5.4  (07-11-2012)
Rotational Assignment

  1. Generally, the revenue agent, tax auditor, and tax compliance officer positions are rotational assignments for reviewers who enter Technical Services after June 13, 2005, per the SB/SE Rotational Positions Agreement Letter of Understanding (LOU), dated June 13, 2005. The initial rotational assignment is between 24-36 months and may be extended up to a year beyond this period. Any extensions of the rotational assignment beyond the additional year will require the mutual consent of management and the employee.

4.8.1.6  (07-11-2012)
Time Reporting

  1. Technical Services accomplishments are separately identified in Table 37, Examination Program Monitoring. The accuracy of this report is dependent upon the proper identification of time charges and the direct examination time, second segment code, on the agent input document.

4.8.1.6.1  (07-11-2012)
Case Review (641)

  1. CASE REVIEW (641) — Time spent reviewing certain examination cases. This includes reviews of EQMS sample cases, mandatory case reviews, and completion of post-examination procedures. In general, time expenditures associated with a specific examination case closed from a field group are charged to this code. The only exceptions are cases for which other codes are identified.

  2. Reviewers should complete Form 9984, Examining Officer's Activity Record, or equivalent, whether or not actual time was charged. The activity record should be documented for all activity and included in the case file. The record could be useful under a variety of circumstances, e.g., cases are reassigned to another reviewer or interest abatement claims.

4.8.1.6.2  (07-11-2012)
Notice of Deficiency (643)

  1. NOTICE OF DEFICIENCY 90 DAY (643) — Time spent preparing, reviewing, and signing notices of deficiency. This code also includes charges for the preliminary review of the case file, coordination with Area Counsel, and response to taxpayer inquiries.

4.8.1.6.3  (07-11-2012)
Coordinator Activity - Non-TEFRA (587)

  1. COORDINATOR ACTIVITY (587) — Use Activity Code 587 with a second segment code to break down coordinator activity between the different programs worked, other than TEFRA coordination or specific programs identified in IRM 4.8.1.6.9 below. Coordinator duties include:

    1. Performing duties associated with assigned programs in which a specific closed case cannot be identified. Examples include attending coordination meetings, preparing reports, completing analyses, and any activity required for the proper management of the program.

    2. Preparing/presenting technical advice and assistance.

    3. Performing in-process evaluations of open examination cases. This includes the actual review time and any time expended for activities that can be associated with the case review process.

    4. Preparing technical or procedural material for publication or distribution.

    5. Assisting management with specific studies or analyses.

    6. Reviewing a number of cases within an hour, for instance, reviewing statutes on a group of suspense cases.

  2. A review second segment code must be input with Activity Code 587. The ERCS review type for the program, preceded by a single zero, is used as a second segment code. For example, "010" is used as a second segment code for coordinator activity associated with an offer in compromise review, ERCS Review Type 10.

  3. All time charged to Activity Code 587 will have a "Q" in the P of RB column.

  4. TEFRA Coordinator activity will not be charged to Activity Code 587.

4.8.1.6.4  (07-11-2012)
Coordinator Activity - TEFRA (644)

  1. COORDINATOR ACTIVITY (644) — Time spent performing the following activities associated with TEFRA:

    1. Completing duties associated with assigned programs in which a specific closed case cannot be identified. Examples include attending coordination meetings, preparing reports, completing analysis, and performing any activity required for the proper management of the program.

    2. Performing in-process evaluations of open examination cases. This includes the actual review time and any time expenditures for activities that can be associated with the case review process.

  2. No review type is required to be used with Activity Code 644.

4.8.1.6.5  (07-11-2012)
Interest Abatement (648)

  1. ABATEMENT OF INTEREST (648) — Time spent to coordinate or work claims with respect to IRC 6404.

4.8.1.6.6  (07-11-2012)
Technical Services Management (649)

  1. REVIEW MANAGEMENT (649) — Time spent performing management duties as the Technical Services Territory manager, or first-line Technical Services manager, including persons acting in such capacities.

4.8.1.6.7  (07-11-2012)
Indirect (610)

  1. INDIRECT (610) — Time spent performing technical responsibilities that cannot be associated with a specific case or program responsibility. Examples include attendance at group meetings or technical conferences (other than training) or reading technical material. Managers will not charge time to this code.

4.8.1.6.8  (07-11-2012)
Administrative Duties (730)

  1. ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES (730) — Time spent by technical personnel performing non-technical duties, such as coordinating the savings bonds campaign, preparing time reports, preparing travel vouchers, and general housekeeping (moving, ordering supplies, etc.).

4.8.1.6.9  (07-11-2012)
Specific Programs

  1. SEPARATELY IDENTIFIED PROGRAM ACTIVITIES — Time spent by technical personnel on programs separately monitored on Table 37. Examples include:

    • Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) coordination (671)

    • Offers in Compromise (720)

    • Innocent Spouse reviews (732)

    • Trial Assistance (821)


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