1.1.28 Return Preparer Office

Manual Transmittal

October 16, 2017

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.1.28, Organization and Staffing, Return Preparer Office.

Material Changes

(1) The following changes were made throughout this section:

  • Revised the titles of certain departments and positions.

  • Revised the mission statement for several of the departments.

  • Redefined the responsibilities of several of the departments.

  • Removed references to enforcement activities.

Effect on Other Documents

None

Audience

All IRS Business Divisions

Effective Date

(10-16-2017)

Carol A. Campbell
Director, Return Preparer Office

Introduction to the Return Preparer Office

  1. The Return Preparer Office is responsible for matters relating to the registration, renewal and compliance of return preparers who prepare tax returns for compensation. Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

    • Issuing and renewing Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs),

    • Managing the enrolled practitioner program,

    • Administering the Annual Filing Season Program,

    • Making suitability determinations,

    • Processing complaints against return preparers,

    • Ensuring programmatic compliance by return preparers,

    • Coordinating with other business units regarding identified noncompliance, and

    • Researching the effectiveness of return preparer treatments on overall compliance.

  2. The mission of the Return Preparer Office is to improve taxpayer compliance by ensuring minimum standards for tax professionals and providing them with ongoing support.

  3. The vision of the Return Preparer Office is a community of tax professionals working with the IRS to improve tax administration.

  4. The Return Preparer Office is comprised of an Office of the Director and the following nine departments:

    • Strategy & Finance

    • Vendor Processes and Business Requirements

    • Communications

    • Competency and Standards

    • Continuing Education Management

    • Compliance

    • Return Preparer Suitability

    • Enrolled Agent Policy & Management

    • Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries

Return Preparer Office Strategic Goals

  1. Register and promote a qualified tax professional community.

  2. Improve the compliance and accuracy of tax returns prepared by paid return preparers.

  3. Engage stakeholders to create an environment that fosters compliance and program improvement.

Return Preparer Office Continuity Plan

  1. The Return Preparer Office maintains an updated Continuity Plan to ensure its operations are performed efficiently with minimal disruption.

  2. If normal communications are disrupted, the Return Preparer Office will activate its order of succession in a non-impacted area.

  3. If an incumbent is incapable or unavailable to fulfill essential duties, the successors shown in IRM 1.1.28.3 (4) will have the right to make decisions on behalf of the Return Preparer Office.

  4. The order of succession for the Director, Return Preparer Office, is as follows:

    1. 1st successor: Deputy Director, Return Preparer Office

    2. 2nd successor: Director, Return Preparer Office, Strategy and Finance

    3. 3rd successor: Director, Return Preparer Office, Communications

Office of the Director

  1. The mission of the Office of the Director is to provide executive leadership, strategic direction and policy oversight to the Return Preparer Office departments.

  2. The Director of the Return Preparer Office reports to the Deputy Commissioner, Services and Enforcement. The Deputy Director of the Return Preparer Office reports to the Director, Return Preparer Office. The Director and Deputy Director are responsible for:

    1. Supervising and coordinating Return Preparer Office activities in accordance with its strategic goals.

    2. Establishing operational policies for the Return Preparer Office.

    3. Supporting the departments in defining and delivering current program responsibilities; engaging and developing personnel; and ensuring prospective program planning.

    4. Strengthening partnerships with the tax professional community and stakeholders to ensure effective tax administration.

Strategy & Finance

  1. The mission of the Strategy & Finance department is to develop and execute the Return Preparer Office staffing plan, manage its funding model and budgets, and administer its policies and procedures.

  2. The Director, Strategy & Finance, reports to the Director, Return Preparer Office, and is responsible for:

    1. Strategic planning.

    2. Budgeting.

    3. Financial forecasting.

    4. Organizing spending plans.

    5. Providing and coordinating training.

    6. Supporting personnel and labor relations.

    7. Measuring departmental and operational performance.

    8. Responding to external auditors.

    9. Responding to requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

    10. Resolving issues identified via Commissioner and Congressional correspondence.

    11. Performing quality and operational reviews.

Vendor Processes and Business Requirements

  1. The mission of the Vendor Processes and Business Requirements department is to provide oversight of all Return Preparer Office activities outsourced to third-party vendors, manage the office’s information technology needs, oversee security, and provide contract management oversight through the Contracting Officer Representatives.

  2. The Director, Vendor Processes and Business Requirements, reports to the Director, Return Preparer Office, and is responsible for:

    1. Overseeing third-party vendor contracts.

    2. Developing and maintaining systems used by the Return Preparer Office.

    3. Planning and managing business systems requirements.

    4. Administering PTIN registration and renewal.

    5. Overseeing the Return Preparer Office’s Case Management Program.

    6. Overseeing the security posture for information systems, training, and physical security.

Communications

  1. The mission of the Communications department is to develop, oversee, and implement all Return Preparer Office communications in a strategic manner, ensuring that internal staff and external taxpayers and preparers understand the requirements of the return preparer program.

  2. The Director, Communications, reports to the Director, Return Preparer Office, and is responsible for:

    1. Creating and reviewing all news releases and other outreach messages.

    2. Maintaining all web pages related to the Return Preparer Office.

    3. Maintaining the Return Preparer Office social networking sites.

    4. Reviewing all Return Preparer Office correspondence.

    5. Managing external stakeholder interactions.

    6. Developing and writing speeches for the Director.

Competency and Standards

  1. The mission of the Competency and Standards department is to provide program oversight and guidance for the development and administration of the Enrolled Agent - Special Enrollment Exam and to monitor the quality of customer service provided on the toll-free telephone lines managed by the Return Preparer Office.

  2. The Director, Competency and Standards, reports to the Director, Return Preparer Office, and is responsible for:

    1. Overseeing the Enrolled Agent - Special Enrollment Examination.

    2. Developing the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course outline and test parameters for the Annual Filing Season Program.

    3. Performing quality reviews of calls placed to the toll-free telephone lines managed by the Return Preparer Office.

    4. Addressing the appeals of practitioners denied participation in the Annual Filing Season Program.

Continuing Education Management

  1. The mission of the Continuing Education Management department is to design and manage a quality continuing education (CE) program that focuses on federal tax law, qualified retirement plan matters, and associated ethical issues encountered by Enrolled Agents, Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents, and unenrolled preparers.

  2. The Director, Continuing Education Management, reports to the Director, Return Preparer Office, and is responsible for:

    1. Ensuring the availability of an electronic system for the reporting of return preparer CE through approved CE providers.

    2. Revising, updating and maintaining CE program standards, requirements and processes.

    3. Overseeing the CE provider application approval and renewal processes.

    4. Completing compliance reviews for new and established CE programs.

    5. Maintaining regular communication and collaboration with the CE provider community regarding program developments and related issues.

Compliance

  1. The mission of the Compliance department is to address return preparer program and PTIN noncompliance, and process complaints involving compensated return preparers. Compliance identifies and develops treatments and referral criteria for varying types of return preparer noncompliance.

  2. The Director, Compliance, reports to the Director, Return Preparer Office, and is responsible for:

    1. Evaluating and treating program noncompliance.

    2. Identifying and treating questionable preparers.

    3. Detecting and treating ghost preparers.

    4. Developing referrals to other IRS business units.

    5. Evaluating and processing complaints against return preparers.

    6. Supporting return preparer programs in other IRS business units.

Return Preparer Suitability

  1. The mission of the Suitability department is to monitor and regulate programmatic compliance with established PTIN requirements and to support other departments in the Return Preparer Office by determining individuals’ eligibility to be return preparers or enrolled practitioners.

  2. The Director, Return Preparer Suitability, reports to the Director, Return Preparer Office, and is responsible for:

    1. Conducting personal tax compliance checks.

    2. Reviewing reported professional designations.

    3. Conducting criminal background checks.

    4. Ensuring prisoner compliance.

    5. Performing the review of Specially Designated Nationals.

Enrolled Agent Policy & Management

  1. The mission of the Enrolled Agent Policy & Management department is to provide oversight, management and subject matter expertise for the enrolled practitioner program.

  2. The Director, Enrolled Agent Policy & Management, reports to the Director, Return Preparer Office, and is responsible for:

    1. Processing applications and renewals for Enrolled Agents and Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents.

    2. Supporting and maintaining toll-free telephone service for practitioners.

    3. Establishing, revising and maintaining currency of documents and procedures in support of PTIN registration, renewal and call center assistance.

Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries

  1. The mission of the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries department is to provide administrative and legal services to the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries, which is responsible for establishing reasonable standards and qualifications for persons performing actuarial services for plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

  2. The Executive Director, Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries, reports to the Director, Return Preparer Office, and is responsible for:

    1. Ensuring procedures and systems are in place to timely process applications for enrolled actuary status, renewal of enrolled actuary status, and recognition as a qualifying CE sponsor.

    2. Maintaining records for each enrolled actuary and qualifying CE sponsor.

    3. Providing administrative support to the Joint Board’s Advisory Committee on Actuarial Examinations, which is responsible for preparing the examinations administered by the Joint Board.

    4. Ensuring that the Joint Board’s Advisory Committee complies with the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

    5. Monitoring the conduct of enrolled actuaries and initiating disciplinary cases before an administrative law judge when necessary.

Return Preparer Office Organizational Chart

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