5.13.2  Embedded Quality Attribute Definitions

5.13.2.1  (05-21-2010)
Attributes overview

  1. This section describes Embedded Quality Review System (EQRS) and National Quality Review System (NQRS) documentation guidelines for revenue officers. Collection personnel must carefully and thoroughly document all activities undertaken and decisions made throughout the course of their investigations. Many parties access case files to obtain a clear picture of case issues and actions that have been taken or planned. NQRS reviewers are among these parties. These reviewers rely exclusively upon the case file and history documentation to determine adherence to NQRS attributes.

  2. The Embedded Quality (EQ) attributes are based on the Internal Revenue Manual, handbooks, and other official procedural guidelines.

  3. This section is intended as an aid to effective case documentation as it relates to EQ attributes. It is not a substitute for the IRMs and handbooks that outline required actions tracked by EQ reviews. Employees must not cite this section as an authority for official actions; those can be based only on official procedural guidelines.

  4. There are seven categories of attributes that are used in the EQ process; they are Planning, Initial Contact, Investigative/Audit Techniques, Timeliness, Customer Relations/Professionalism, Documentation/Reports, and Customer Accuracy. Three attributes (417"Managerial Approvals for Enforcement" , 701 "Appropriate Case Disposition" , and 709 " Case File Folder" ) are measured only at the NQRS level.

  5. Managers use six attributes not rated by NQRS. These are 110 " Inventory Management" , 401 "Field Visitation," , 507 "Planning and Scheduling" , 603 "Problem Solving and Analytical Skills" , 604 "Meet and Deal" , and 611 "Statute Procedures/CSED/ASED" .

  6. Each attribute in the section reflects an Operational Definition and Job Aid Definition. The Operational Definition applies to case actions throughout all Compliance functions. The Job Aid Definition further describes considerations for evaluation of performance within a Collection-specific context.

  7. Definitions and further explanation can be found at the Embedded Quality web site at http://sbse.web.irs.gov/eq/.

5.13.2.2  (10-31-2009)
Planning

  1. Three attributes fall within the Planning category.

5.13.2.2.1  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 105: Pre-Contact Analysis

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee reviewed the case file information, prior case history (if available), and internal sources prior to initial contact to determine the next step or plan of action.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to determine if review and analysis appropriate to the facts and circumstances of the case were conducted before contact was initiated.

5.13.2.2.2  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 109: Complete Research

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee properly researched internal/external and/or third party sources.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to determine if the employee made appropriate use of internal/external and/or third party sources to investigate or substantiate the taxpayer's location or financial condition. This applies throughout the investigation and at disposition. This attribute does not measure the act of securing financial information from the TP/POA (Attribute 203) or the verification of asset, income, expenses, and encumbrances of financial information secured from the TP/POA.

5.13.2.2.3  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 110: Inventory Management (Manager Review Only)

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to determine if the employee considered and resolved inventory management issues within established guidelines.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The employee should manage inventory in an efficient and effective manner and should notify the manager of inventory problems and ensure inventory information is current and accurate.

5.13.2.3  (05-21-2010)
Initial Contact

  1. There are five attributes in the Initial Contact category.

5.13.2.3.1  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 200: Timely Initial Contact

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee attempted initial contact timely.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to determine if initial contact was made or attempted within the established time frame.

5.13.2.3.2  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 201: Request for Payment and/or Returns

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee requested full/part payment and/or delinquent returns during initial contact.

  2. Job Aid Definition - Upon initial contact with a taxpayer the revenue officer must make a request for full payment of all delinquent accounts and/or for all delinquent returns. If the taxpayer is unable to make immediate full payment, a request for partial payment should be made for the maximum amount payable that day. If necessary, the revenue officer should secure the necessary information to compute the tax liability for any unfiled returns.

5.13.2.3.3  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 202: Compliance on Initial Contact

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to determine if the employee addressed all filing and/or paying requirements during initial contact as established by IRM guidelines.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to determine if the revenue officer, as part of the initial contact, identified all filing and payment requirements, determined the taxpayer's status in relation to those requirements, and communicated expectations that the taxpayer become and remain current.

5.13.2.3.4  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 203: Requested/Secured Financial Information

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee requested and secured financial information when required (i.e.., installment agreement above streamline, CNC hardship, OIC).

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to assess whether or not the employee took action to secure financial information upon initial contact with the taxpayer/POA. The reviewer should determine if financial information indicated by the facts and circumstances of the case was requested from the taxpayer/POA during the initial contact. This attribute does not rate the acquisition of financial information from internal/external and/or third party sources (Attribute 109), the verification of financial information or the subsequent analysis of the information (Attribute 432).

5.13.2.3.5  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 204: Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (TFRP) Process

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to determine if the employee began the TFRP investigative process during initial contact within established IRM guidelines.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to determine if required preliminary TFRP actions were taken upon first contact of an applicable taxpayer entity (corporation, LLC, LLP, etc.) when trust fund taxes were owed and immediate full payment was not collected regardless of the dollar amount. Do not rate the timeliness of completing the TFRP determination and investigation; this is rated under Attribute 505.

5.13.2.4  (05-21-2010)
Investigative/Audit Techniques

  1. There are six attributes in the Investigative/Audit Techniques category.

5.13.2.4.1  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 401: Field Visitations (Manager Review Only)

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee conducted work at the appropriate location.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to determine if the revenue officer pursued the investigation in the field as dictated by the facts and circumstances of the case.

5.13.2.4.2  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 410: Lien Determination/Filing

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee followed appropriate Lien Determination/Filing procedures.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of the attribute is to determine if a lien filing decision was made within established time frames, whether the decision was appropriate, and was documented as required.

5.13.2.4.3  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 432: Verify/Analyze Ability to Pay

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee properly evaluated the thoroughness and accuracy of the financial information secured and determined the taxpayer's ability to pay.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to determine if the revenue officer verified the financial information provided by the taxpayer/POA, any supplemental information dictated by the circumstances of the case and analyzed that information, applying existing guidelines, to make an accurate payment and/or collectibility determination. Researching internal/external and/or third party sources is rated under Attribute 109 - Complete Research. Securing financial information upon initial contact is rated under Attribute 203 - Requested/Secured Financial Information.

5.13.2.4.4  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 416: Appropriate Enforcement Tools

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to determine if the employee considered and, when applicable, used the appropriate enforcement tools.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to determine if the revenue officer used the appropriate enforcement tool at the appropriate time in the case progression and secured proper approval(s) when necessary.

5.13.2.4.5  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 417: Managerial Approvals for Enforcement ( National Review Only)

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to determine if the required approval was secured for enforcement actions.

  2. Job Aid Definition - Certain enforcement actions initiated by employees require approval by management. The approval requirement may be established either by law or by policy.

5.13.2.4.6  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 422: Ongoing Compliance

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee, after initial contact, monitored the taxpayer's full compliance with all filing and paying obligations.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to rate whether or not the revenue officer verified and monitored compliance during the life of the case and at resolution. Do not rate compliance on initial contact under this attribute (refer to Attribute 202 - Compliance on Initial Contact).

5.13.2.5  (05-21-2010)
Timeliness

  1. There are four attributes in the Timeliness category.

5.13.2.5.1  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 504: Timely Follow-Up Actions

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee took timely follow-up actions when the taxpayer failed to meet established deadlines.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to assess whether or not the revenue officer took timely follow-up action(s). Throughout the investigation follow-up actions are required within ten calendar days after a deadline has elapsed. This attribute only measures the timeliness of the action, not the effectiveness of the action taken. The action itself is rated under the appropriate attribute; for example, if enforcement action was taken Attribute 416; lien filing Attribute 410; securing financial information Attribute 203, etc.

5.13.2.5.2  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 505: Timely Employee Actions

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify whether the employee took timely actions.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to rate whether or not the employee took timely case actions without undue delay. This attribute only rates the timeliness of the employee's actions. Rate the timeliness of follow-up actions after a taxpayer/POA fails to meet a deadline under Attribute 504 (Timely Follow-Up Actions); the timeliness of initial contact under Attribute 200 (Timely Initial Contact); the timeliness of lien determinations/filings under Attribute 410 (Lien Determination/Filing); and the timeliness of closing actions under Attribute 506 (Timely Closing Actions). Do not rate whether or not the employee informed the taxpayer and/or representative of the case status at appropriate times throughout the investigation. This is rated under Attribute 606 (TP/POA Kept Apprised).

5.13.2.5.3  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 506: Timely Closing Actions

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the case was closed timely after all necessary actions were taken and case information secured.

  2. Job Aid Definition - This attribute's purpose is to rate only if the employee closed the case within the appropriate time frame once closure is the next step. At the point all necessary actions have been taken and all required documentation has been secured, the employee should close the case promptly, normally within 15 calendar days. Do not rate whether or not the closure method was correct (see Attribute 701 - Appropriate Case Disposition (National Review Only).

5.13.2.5.4  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 507: Planning and Scheduling (Manager Review Only)

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to determine if the employee effectively planned and scheduled work with the focus on moving the case toward resolution.

  2. Job Aid Definition - This attribute's purpose is to rate if the employee utilized effective tme and workload management techniques, utilized a calendar system to record activities, scheduled time in a manner that allowed for both business priority and routine cases to be worked in a timely manner. Do not rate if the employee conducted work at the appropriate location; this is rated under Attribute 401 (Field Visitation).

5.13.2.6  (05-21-2010)
Customer Relations/Professionalism

  1. There are nine attributes in the Customer Relations/Professionalism category.

5.13.2.6.1  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 616: Clear Action Dates and Expectations

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to determine if the employee clearly communicated to the taxpayer a specific action date(s) and expectation(s).

  2. Job Aid Definition - the purpose of this attribute is to rate whether or not the revenue officer established and communicated clear action dates and expectations to the taxpayer during the course of the investigation.

5.13.2.6.2  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 602: Advised of Consequences

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to determine if the employee clearly communicated the possible consequences if the taxpayer should fail to comply with the employee request.

  2. Job Aid Definition - This attribute rates whether or not specific enforcement consequences were communicated to the taxpayer /POA as part of establishing action dates and expectations. When the taxpayer/POA is required to take an action, the specific examples of enforcement actions that will result from the failure to comply must be communicated every time a new deadline is given.

5.13.2.6.3  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 603: Problem Solving and Analytical Skills (Manager Review Only)

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to determine if problem solving and analytical skills were used, taking into consideration the customer's point of view when attempting to reach successful resolution to issues/case.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to assess whether or not the revenue officer developed a logical approach to working the case by considering the customer's point of view while balancing the interests of the government, anticipating potential problems, taking actions to avoid those problems, weighing the different options available and selecting the one(s) that produce(s) the desired results.

5.13.2.6.4  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 604: Meet and Deal (Manager Review Only)

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to determine if oral communication with customers was firm, businesslike, and professional.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to rate the employee's observed interactions with internal or external customers. This may occur during a field visit, office observation or any situation when the manager observes employee interactions with internal or external customers.

5.13.2.6.5  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 605: Clear/Professional Written Communication

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if all correspondence/documentation is businesslike and professional in tone, appearance and content.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to assess whether correspondence and other documents created by the revenue officer for the taxpayer or representative are businesslike, professional, and responsive to their needs. Also, this attribute assesses whether internal documents are prepared accurately and completely.

5.13.2.6.6  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 606: TP/POA Kept Apprised

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to determine if the employee kept the TP/POA informed throughout the process.

  2. Job Aid Definition- the purpose of this attribute is to rate whether or not the revenue officer informed the taxpayer and/or representative of the case status at appropriate times throughout the case investigation, including case resolution determinations. Additionally, this attribute is used to rate whether or not the revenue officer supplied all required material to the authorized representative.

5.13.2.6.7  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 609: Confidentiality

  1. Operational/Job Aid Definition - Use this field to determine if the employee protected the confidentiality of the taxpayer and/or taxpayer information.

5.13.2.6.8  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 610: Identified/Provided Taxpayer Rights or Statutory Letters

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee appropriately identified, addressed, and/or provided appeal rights or statutory letters.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to rate whether or not the revenue officer followed regulatory/statutory guidelines to ensure that taxpayer rights are protected throughout the collection process. This includes the delivery of Pub. 1 on initial contact, the proper reporting of third party contacts and the explanation of additional appeal rights that may arise during the case. As case circumstances warrant, the revenue officer must advise the taxpayer of appeal rights under CAP and CDP, as well as the right to appeal certain decisions such as denial of penalty abatement or IA requests, assessment of the TFRP, and issuance of jeopardy levies.

5.13.2.6.9  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 611: Statute Procedures/ASED/CSED (Manager Review Only)

  1. Operational/Job Aid Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee addressed statute issues (ASED/CSED) and followed statute procedures.

5.13.2.7  (05-21-2010)
Documentation/Reports

  1. There are three attributes used in the Documentation/Reports category.

5.13.2.7.1  (09-07-2007)
Attribute 701: Appropriate Case Disposition (National Review Only)

  1. Operational/Job Aid Definition - Use this field to identify if the method of case disposition was consistent with the facts and circumstances of the case as reflected in the case file.

5.13.2.7.2  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 702: Employee Case History/Documentation

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee completed the required case history/case documentation per IRM guidelines including accurate, clear, and concise preparation of internal documents.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to rate whether or not the case history and related case documentation have been properly maintained by the revenue officer.

5.13.2.7.3  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 709: Case File Folder (National Review Only)

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to determine if the employee properly prepared and assembled the case file.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to ensure that documentation necessary to support the method of disposition is included with the closed case file.

5.13.2.8  (05-21-2010)
Customer Accuracy

  1. There is one attribute in the Customer Accuracy category.

5.13.2.8.1  (05-21-2010)
Attribute 800: Customer Impact

  1. Operational Definition - Use this field to identify if the employee took the appropriate action to arrive at a correct and complete tax/case resolution with no material adverse impact on the customer.

  2. Job Aid Definition - The purpose of this attribute is to rate whether or not the revenue officer took the appropriate actions throughout the life of the case to arrive at a correct and complete case resolution with no material adverse impact on the customer. This attribute considers errors already rated on the case from the customer perspective only.


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