4.8.7  Technical Field Support

Manual Transmittal

April 17, 2014

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 4.8.7, Technical Services, Technical Field Support.

Scope

This section outlines responsibilities and methodologies for providing examination personnel with technical assistance and support.

Material Changes

(1) Minor editorial changes have been made throughout this IRM for grammar, websites, and references.

(2) IRM 4.8.7.2.2 (2) was revised to include a reference to Find an Expert on the SB/SE website to identify points of contacts for programs in Technical Services. Also changed the phrase "local Technical Services" to "area Technical Services."

(3) IRM 4.8.7.3 title was modified to define the acronym EQMS. It changed from "EQMS Responsibilities" to "Examination Quality Measurement Staff (EQMS) Responsibilities."

Effect on Other Documents

This material supersedes IRM 4.8.7, dated 06/20/2012.

Audience

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

Effective Date

(04-17-2014)

Mary L. Coleman
Director, Technical Services SE:S:E:TS
Small Business/Self-Employed

4.8.7.1  (06-20-2012)
Overview

  1. This section outlines responsibilities and methodologies for providing examination personnel with technical assistance and support.

4.8.7.2  (06-20-2012)
Technical Services Territory Responsibilities

  1. Technical Services identifies items of interest to examination personnel. These include procedural problems, unique or unusual technical issues, and innovative audit or investigative techniques.

4.8.7.2.1  (06-20-2012)
Technical Alerts

  1. The preparation and distribution of area technical "alerts" to technical personnel is encouraged to timely focus attention on areas of interest.

4.8.7.2.2  (04-17-2014)
Technical and Procedural Inquiries

  1. Technical Services reviewers are experienced examiners who possess technical and procedural knowledge and accounting and auditing skills that can be shared with field personnel. Requests for technical assistance should be viewed as an opportunity to transfer skills, as well as facilitate proper development of an open case. However, examiners should conduct a reasonable level of research independently before requesting technical assistance.

  2. Examiners (or group managers) may request assistance from their area Technical Services office. Contact can be made via telephone, e-mail, or through a formal memorandum. Reviewers should encourage open communication and resolution of a problem with minimum involvement of management. Examiners can use the Find An Expert page on the MySB/SE website to identify the appropriate Technical Services contact for each respective program area.

4.8.7.2.3  (06-20-2012)
In-Process Case Reviews

  1. Technical Services conducts in-process case reviews at the request of management.

4.8.7.2.3.1  (06-20-2012)
Criteria

  1. In-process case reviews may be conducted for individual cases, for cases with common features, or cases randomly selected to provide systemic information regarding case quality.

4.8.7.2.3.2  (04-17-2014)
Procedures

  1. The examination areas may request reviewers to conduct in-process reviews to accommodate area needs and available resources. However, consideration should be given to the following concepts:

    1. Development of a plan to structure the review.

    2. Adherence to the quality attributes as the criteria for case evaluation.

    3. One-on-one discussions with the examiner and/or group manager.

    4. Immediate, case-oriented feedback to the examiner and manager with specific examples and identification of actions needed to properly complete the case.

    5. Methodology for analyzing information gathered during the review.

    6. The mechanism to measure the impact of the in-process review upon the case and/or future cases.

4.8.7.2.3.3  (06-20-2012)
Use of Results

  1. Under no circumstances should the results of in-process case reviews be used for evaluative purposes.

4.8.7.2.4  (06-20-2012)
Other Opportunities

  1. The examination area office may also identify other opportunities to provide technical assistance, such as discussions at group meetings, participation in area examination specialization (ES) activities, presentations at continuing professional education (CPE), etc.

4.8.7.3  (06-20-2012)
Examination Quality Measurement Staff (EQMS) Responsibilities

  1. EQMS is responsible for data analysis:

    1. EQMS is responsible for the collection of information, measurement of examination quality, and assessment of long term trends of system performance, in keeping with the balanced measures for SB/SE Examination.

    2. EQMS reviews a statistically valid sample of closed SB/SE cases against the quality attributes.

      Note:

      SB/SE cases selected for EQMS reviews include protested cases closed through Technical Services to be processed to Appeals.

    3. The data collected from EQMS reviews is input in the National Quality Review System (NQRS), which is a web-based system that provides quality reports at the territory, area, and national level. The primary purpose of EQMS is to gather data for management's use regarding case quality. NQRS data is utilized to identify opportunities for improvements and possible training needs. In addition, Technical Services EQMS and the areas work in collaboration to identify quality improvement opportunities, provide support for improvement actions, and share best practices. Refer to IRM 4.8.3, Examination Quality Measurement Staff (EQMS), for additional information regarding EQMS and NQRS.

  2. EQMS other duties include the following:

    1. Coordinating and disseminating information on trends and issues identified at the area level that may have nationwide impact.

    2. Preparing and distributing the national newsletters (i.e., Technical Digest, Keys To Success, Fraud Digest).

    3. The current and archived national newsletters are located on the SB/SE Exam Technical Services' SharePoint site at http://wsep.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/co/dcse/sbse/exam/ts/default.aspx. Employees outside of Technical Services can access the national newsletters at http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/AboutSBSE/Exam/ts/default.aspx.

    4. Other areas of interest can also be found on the SB/SE Exam Technical Services’ SharePoint site. It has information on specific programs, subject matter experts assigned to various programs, contact information for a variety of functions, and a great deal of other information for Technical Services employees and managers.

4.8.7.4  (06-20-2012)
Alternative Resolution Implementation

  1. The mission of the Alternative Resolution Implementation (ARI) component of Technical Services is to provide guidance on the implementation of resolution strategies for SB/SE issue management teams and teams in other divisions and Commissioner's initiatives.

  2. To accomplish the mission, ARI takes the following actions:

    1. Coordinates, develops, and implements various resolution implementation strategies unique to each issue management team.

    2. Develops internal Technical Services procedures and training for each settlement initiative.

    3. Assists with the development of external procedures and provides technical guidance for each settlement initiative.

    4. Monitors adherence to established internal and external procedures for each settlement initiative by performing conformance reviews.

    5. Researches and identifies new projects and issue management teams.

    6. Acts as a liaison between field Examination and Technical Services.

    7. Participates as an issue management team member.

    8. Assists and provides guidance to Technical Services on issues and statutory notice language.

    9. Assists in drafting closing procedures that affect field Examination and Technical Services.


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