4.71.13  Technical Assistance and Technical Advice Requests

Manual Transmittal

September 25, 2012

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 4.71.13, Employee Plans Examination of Returns, Technical Assistance and Technical Advice Requests.

Background

IRM 4.71.13 provides guidance and procedures for EP agents in obtaining technical assistance from EP Rulings and Agreements, Area Counsel, EP Examinations Mandatory Review (Mandatory Review) and EP Examinations Special Review (Special Review), as well as in obtaining technical advice.

IRM 4.71.13 is designed to complement IRM 7.1.5 which covers technical advice.

Material Changes

(1) No material changes have been made to this IRM. Only minor editorial changes have been made.

Effect on Other Documents

This supersedes IRM 4.71.13 dated April 19, 2011.

Audience

TE/GE Employee Plans

Effective Date

(09-25-2012)


Robert Choi
Director, Employee Plans
Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division

4.71.13.1  (09-25-2012)
Requesting Technical Assistance and Technical Advice

  1. Agents may secure technical assistance when the need arises. As provided below in IRM 4.71.13.1 through IRM 4.71.13.4, assistance can be secured from:

    1. Employee Plans Rulings and Agreements (Rulings and Agreements).

    2. Area Counsel.

    3. EP Examinations Special Review (Special Review).

    4. EP Examinations Mandatory Review (Mandatory Review).

  2. Agents may also secure technical advice related to EP examinations from Rulings and Agreements.

    1. Guidance is provided in IRM 7.1.5, IRM 4.71.13.5, and in Rev. Proc. 2012-5 (as updated annually).

    2. These requests are routed through Special Review.

  3. Except as provided for in IRM 4.71.13.4(2), requests for technical assistance and technical advice related to examination issues are routed through Special Review at the following address:

    Internal Revenue Service

    Attn: Manager, Special Review

    31 Hopkins Plaza

    Room 1550

    Baltimore, MD 21201

  4. Technical assistance related to the determination letter process will be routed through EP Quality Assurance at the following address:

    Internal Revenue Service

    Attn: EP Rulings and Agreements, Quality Assurance

    550 Main Street

    Room 7008 (T:EP:RA:QA)

    Cincinnati, OH 45202

4.71.13.2  (09-25-2012)
Assistance from Rulings and Agreements

  1. Technical assistance is provided by Rulings and Agreements under the following conditions:

    1. The matter is not related to an examination of a return.

    2. The matter is not related to a request for a determination letter.

    3. The matter does not relate to a specific case under consideration by an Examination Area or an Appeals Office.

  2. When technical advice is required on an issue that is case related, agents must follow the procedures for technical advice provided in IRM 4.71.13.5, IRM 7.1.5, Employee Plans Technical Advice Procedures, and Rev. Proc. 2012-5 (as updated annually).

  3. Technical assistance may involve any tax matter, but is generally requested when:

    1. A potential problem is recognized from a newspaper or magazine article.

    2. State or local law or ordinance is recently enacted.

    3. Uncertainty exists regarding the interpretation of internal revenue laws, related statutes and regulations, published revenue rulings, revenue procedures, or any other published precedent.

  4. A request for technical assistance from Rulings and Agreements, that is not related to procedural matters related to determination submissions, should be prepared in memorandum form.

    1. Address the memorandum to the Director, EP Rulings and Agreements (SE:T:EP:RA).

    2. Explain the facts and relevant information needed to evaluate the request.

    3. Ensure the memorandum is signed by the group manager.

    4. Route the request through Special Review.

  5. Following are special instructions for submitting a request for technical assistance to the Director, EP Rulings and Agreements.

    Responsible Party Action
    a. Agent •Prepare memo requesting technical assistance.
    b. Manager, Special Review •Review for appropriateness.
    •Forward request to Rulings and Agreements.
    c. Special Review Staff •Log-in all requests for technical assistance.
    d. Rulings and Agreements •Prepare written response to each request for technical assistance.
    •Return response to Manager, Special Review, who will forward the response to the requesting group manager.
  6. When an inquiry is necessary on the status of a request for technical assistance, the group manager will contact the Manager, Special Review, who will:

    1. Forward the inquiry to Rulings and Agreements.

    2. Update the group manager on the status of the request as provided by Rulings and Agreements.

  7. The guidance that is provided by Rulings and Agreements on requests for technical assistance will be shared with the EP agents and managers as permitted by applicable disclosure restrictions.

  8. While the sharing of technical assistance from Rulings and Agreements with plan sponsors is not encouraged, a specific request for disclosure should be honored.

4.71.13.3  (09-25-2012)
Assistance from Area Counsel

  1. Agents are encouraged to make informal, and if necessary, written requests for assistance to Area Counsel on issues that require the interpretation of law, or for assistance on the development of cases that may be litigated in Tax Court or sent to Appeals.

  2. The agent will make the request for assistance to Area Counsel through their group manager.

    Note:

    Area Counsel has requested that the initial contact be made by the group manager.

  3. Special Review is available to assist the agent in the preparation of a request for assistance to Area Counsel.

  4. When a written response is received from Area Counsel, a sanitized copy will be sent by the group manager to the Manager, Special Review, who will determine if the guidance that is provided has an impact beyond the immediate case.

  5. When the Manager, Special Review determines that there is an impact beyond the immediate case, the Manager, Special Review will prepare a generic memorandum, containing the guidance, that will be distributed to EP Exam agents and their managers.

    Note:

    Area Counsel is available to work closely with EP Special Review on drafting and reviewing this document.

  6. The Office of Chief Counsel will establish an EP support network consisting of Area Counsel attorneys who are available to provide necessary support to the EP Examination Areas.

  7. The following is a list of Area Counsel offices that may be contacted by EP agents for assistance.

    1. Northeast Area Counsel covers the states of Maine, Vermont, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island. The address and contact phone number is as follows:
      TE/GE Area Counsel
      1600 Stewart Avenue
      Suite 601
      Westbury, New York 11590
      (516) 688-1701

    2. Mid-Atlantic Area Counsel covers the states of Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The address and contact phone number is as follows:
      TE/GE Area Counsel
      31 Hopkins Plaza
      Suite 1300
      Baltimore, Maryland 21201
      (410) 962-3109

    3. Great Lakes Area Counsel covers the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. The address and contact phone number is as follows:
      TE/GE Area Counsel
      200 West Adams Street
      Suite 2300
      Chicago, Illinois 60606
      (312) 368-8531

    4. Gulf Coast Area Counsel covers the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. The address and contact phone number is as follows:
      TE/GE Area Counsel
      4050 Alpha Road
      13th Floor
      MC 2000 NDAL
      Dallas, Texas 75244-4203
      (972) 308-7435

    5. Pacific Coast Area Counsel covers the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska and Hawaii. The address and contact phone number is as follows:
      TE/GE Area Counsel
      300 N. Los Angeles Street
      Stop 2000
      Room 3018
      Los Angeles, California 90012
      (213) 894-3027

    6. Central Mountain Area Counsel covers the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Arizona and New Mexico. The address and contact phone number is as follows:
      TE/GE Area Counsel
      600 17th St.
      Suite 300N
      Denver, CO 80202
      (720) 956-4506

  8. Generally, an opinion from Area Counsel is confined to the specific facts and circumstances of a case and should not be interpreted as a statement of law that can be applied to other cases.

  9. Technical assistance from Area Counsel is advisory only and may not be cited as authority. Copies of technical assistance originating in Area Counsel may be protected from disclosure by privileges and should not be shared with plan sponsors or practitioners.

  10. Whenever an agent is utilizing the 6-year statute of limitations (SOL) for a case, legal advice must be secured from Counsel for their opinion as to whether a 6-year SOL can be sustained. A copy of the written response must be made a part of the case file.

4.71.13.4  (09-25-2012)
Assistance from Mandatory Review and Special Review

  1. Reviewers in Mandatory Review and Special Review are available to assist agents and managers on technical and procedural issues, and to provide other guidance. This entails assistance both by telephone and in writing.

  2. Guidance may be obtained from Mandatory Review for the following:

    1. The agent needs help on an exam issue on a case that is expected to be closed "unagreed."

    2. The agent or manager has a question about a procedure covered in IRM 4.71 (EP Examination Procedures).

    3. The agent or manager has a question that pertains to a special exam project that is being coordinated by a reviewer in Mandatory Review.

  3. Guidance on all other exam related issues should be obtained from Special Review.

  4. Agents should attempt to resolve technical and procedural issues at the group level before requesting assistance. This will include requesting assistance from senior agents and the group manager prior to contacting Mandatory Review or Special Review.

  5. Reviewers in either review function may be solicited to give presentations of specific topics of interest at group meetings. Group managers, should contact the Manager, Mandatory Review or the Manager, Special Review to request a reviewer to make a presentation.

4.71.13.5  (09-25-2012)
Technical Advice

  1. This section sets forth the applicable procedures that supplement the general technical advice procedures contained in Rev. Proc. 2012-5 (as updated annually) and the general procedures contained in IRM 7.1.5.

  2. Technical advice requests related to EP examinations, along with related materials, should be forwarded to Special Review at the address noted in IRM 4.71.13.1(3).

  3. Special Review will review the request and obtain the approval of the Manager, EP Examinations Programs and Review.

  4. After it is approved, the request will be forwarded to EP Rulings and Agreements in Washington, D.C.

  5. Upon resolution, the completed technical advice request will be returned to the group through EP Special Review.

  6. In addition to the procedures contained in Rev. Proc. 2012-5 (as updated annually) and the general procedures contained in IRM 7.1.5, the examining agent will:

    1. Retain all original documents associated with the examination (including the original power of attorney).

      Note:

      Only copies of documents will accompany the technical advice request.

    2. Update the examination status to 38 on AIMS and RCCMS.

      Note:

      The group number (group organization code) should not be updated. The group number and specialist number on AIMS should always be that of the agent and group retaining physical possession of the original case file(s).

    3. Maintain and ensure that the statute of limitations is protected on the lead case and any related case.

    4. Ensure that the case continues to be depicted on their TE/GE Technical Time Report, Form 6490 (webETS).

  7. If the agent receives any additional information that relates to an issue that is pending technical advice, the agent will route the information to EP Rulings and Agreements through the EP Examination Technical Advice Coordinator in Special Review.


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