1.4.13 TAS Guide for Managers

Manual Transmittal

September 17, 2019

Purpose

(1) This transmits new IRM 1.4.13, Resource Guide for Managers, TAS Guide for Managers.

Material Changes

(1) This section supplements, IRM 1.4, Resource Guide for Managers, and provides TAS managers with TAS specific guidelines, methods, and techniques for managing TAS employees.

(2) This IRM is intended for all TAS managers.

(3) Interim Guidance Memorandum (IGM) TAS-13-0416-003, Interim Guidance on Case Inventory When a Case Advocate Relocates to Another TAS Office, has been incorporated into this IRM.

Effect on Other Documents

None.

Audience

Taxpayer Advocate Service employees

Effective Date

(09-17-2019)

Bridget Roberts
Acting National Taxpayer Advocate

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. Purpose: This section supplements IRM 1.4 , Resource Guide for Managers, and provides TAS managers with TAS specific guidelines, methods, and techniques for managing TAS employees.

  2. Audience: These procedures apply to all TAS managers.

  3. Policy Owner: The Deputy National Taxpayer Advocate, who is under the National Taxpayer Advocate.

  4. Program Owner: The Executive Director Case Advocacy, Intake & Technical Support (EDCA-ITS), who is under the Deputy National Taxpayer Advocate.

Authority

  1. Under IRC § 7803(c)(2), TAS’s statutory mission is to:

    1. Assist taxpayers in resolving problems with the Internal Revenue Service;

    2. Identify areas in which taxpayers have problems in dealings with the Internal Revenue Service;

    3. To the extent possible, propose changes in the administrative practices of the Internal Revenue Service to mitigate problems identified; and

    4. Identify potential legislative changes which may be appropriate to mitigate such problems.

  2. The TAS Program Letter (issued annually) supports IRM 1.4.13.

Responsibilities

  1. TAS managers should be aware and should educate their employees about TAS’s goals, mission, and organizational priorities.

  2. TAS managers are committed to improving the workplace for employees, including:

    1. Securing equipment and supplies necessary for employees (including remote employees co-located with the manager) to work;

    2. Identifying employee training opportunities;

    3. Developing employees to enhance their career;

    4. Encouraging employees to empathize with their customers;

    5. Helping employees to balance work and family life;

    6. Listening to employee suggestions and, when appropriate, working to implement these suggestions;

    7. Ensuring employees have the tools necessary to conduct day-to-day operations. For example, managers should ensure employees (who may not travel frequently) are prepared to travel, have the information necessary to travel safely, and know who to contact if something unexpected happens while travelling. For additional information concerning official IRS travel, see Travel Resources; and

    8. Encouraging an atmosphere that fosters inclusion and is free from discrimination.

Program Management and Review

  1. TAS managers will integrate advocacy in all aspects of their position and when working with their employees.

  2. TAS managers follow program review guidelines set forth in IRM 1.4.13.4.9, Managerial Reviews.

  3. TAS managers follow the Performance Agreement Responsibilities and Commitments contained in Form 12450-A, IRS Performance Management System – Manager Performance Agreement.

Terms

  1. Exhibit 1.4.13-1 contains a list of terms used throughout this IRM.

Acronyms

  1. Exhibit 1.4.13-2 contains a list of acronyms used throughout this IRM.

Related Resources

  1. TAS managers will use the following resources in conjunction with this IRM:

    1. The TAS Leadership Development site provides TAS leaders with the necessary resources to help them enhance their knowledge and skills, achieve personal goals, improve the productivity of the organization, and provide leadership and service.

    2. The TAS Manager Handbook of Quick Reference Links is designed to provide all TAS managers with one centralized online access to critical administrative, leadership and employee topics, simplifying the research process in a prompt and appropriate manner. This one-stop quick reference tool connects managers directly to essential topics. The tool further serves as a handy reference link to TAS related online systems, organizational charts, policies and procedures to help new managers acclimate to both TAS and IRS culture.

    3. iManage is a virtual community accessible only by IRS managers. It provides information on the actual work managers perform, along with handy bits of advice such as performance evaluation tips and leave approval.

    4. The TAS Managers Handbook which provides detailed information on a variety of topics to assist TAS managers in their day-to-day duties.

    5. The National Taxpayer Advocate’s Reports to Congress issued on June 30 (Objectives Report) and December 31 (Annual Report) each fiscal year.

    6. TAS Program Letter, issued annually, provides a concise road map of the actions TAS will take in the upcoming fiscal year.

Taxpayer Bill of Rights

  1. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights groups the existing rights in the tax code into ten fundamental rights, and makes them clear, understandable, and accessible. Here are the Rights:

    1. The Right to Be Informed.

    2. The Right to Quality Service.

    3. The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax.

    4. The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard.

    5. The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum.

    6. The Right to Finality.

    7. The Right to Privacy.

    8. The Right to Confidentiality.

    9. The Right to Retain Representation.

    10. The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System.

  2. Taxpayers have always had these Rights but often were not aware of them. These Rights are now part of Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer and codified in IRC § 7803(a)(3). Title IV, Section 401 of Pub. L. No. 114-113 requires the Commissioner of the IRS to ensure IRS employees are familiar with and act in accordance with the TBOR.

  3. Managers are responsible for ensuring employees are aware of taxpayer rights, understand how taxpayer rights apply to their day-to-day work, and protect taxpayers through their advocacy efforts.

  4. For more information on how these rights might apply to specific situations see Learn What This Means for You.

  5. See IRM 1.2.10.37, Policy Statement 1-236, for information concerning Fairness and Integrity in Enforcement Selection.

TAS Guiding Principles

  1. TAS Guiding Principles govern the way TAS does business, and represent the essence of what the customer needs, wants, and expects. These principles reflect how the customer expects to be engaged. The principles should inspire, focus, and help promote the TAS mission. They help anchor and drive the organization’s performance and should be reinforced at all times and levels throughout the organization. These seven principles will guide TAS in advocating for customers.

  2. Advocacy is the willingness and ability to see the situation from a taxpayer’s perspective, advocate for the taxpayer’s rights, and assist IRS leadership in integrating the taxpayer’s perspective into tax administration.

    1. Advocacy is best achieved by adhering to three interrelated concepts that are fundamental to the operation of TAS — independence, impartiality, and confidentiality. The role of TAS employees is to advocate on behalf of individual and business taxpayers. The TAS employee’s job is not done when he or she resolves a taxpayer’s current problem; the TAS employee educates the taxpayer to help prevent any future problems or misunderstandings. TAS has a responsibility to think systemically about each case and recommend changes to mitigate those problems for taxpayers in the future. The vast majority of U.S. taxpayers, year after year, try to get things right with the IRS. It is a privilege to speak up for them, to the best of our abilities, and to make sure that the IRS treats them fairly.

    2. Advocacy is also achieved by providing training, guidance, tools, etc., that support our individual and systemic advocacy efforts along with means of communicating key messages to TAS employees.

  3. Independence is the ability to objectively advocate for the taxpayer separately from the IRS.

    1. Each Local Taxpayer Advocate (LTA) must have a phone, fax, electronic communication, separate office space, and mailing address separate from those of the IRS. See IRC § 7803(c)(4)(B). See also IRM 13.6.1, Internal and External Communications.

    2. The LTA must advise taxpayers at their first contact of the fact that “the Taxpayer Advocate offices operate independently of any other Internal Revenue Service office and report directly to Congress through the National Taxpayer Advocate.” See IRC § 7803(c)(4)(A)(iii). See also IRM 13.1.18.3(1), Initial Contact.

    3. Each year, the National Taxpayer Advocate submits two reports to Congress: an Annual Report, delivered in January, and an Objectives Report, delivered in June. The National Taxpayer Advocate delivers these reports to the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Ways and Means with no prior review or comment from the Commissioner, the IRS Oversight Board, the Secretary of the Treasury, any other Treasury officer or employee, or the Office of Management and Budget. See IRC § 7803(c)(2)(B)(iii).

    4. Congress also granted the LTAs discretion to not disclose the fact the taxpayer contacted the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate or any information provided by the taxpayer to that office. See IRC § 7803(c)(4)(a)(iv). See also IRM 13.1.5, Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Confidentiality.

    5. TAS employees must constantly remind the IRS that we bring an independent point of view.

  4. Confidentiality is the discretion in disclosing information to the IRS. See IRM 13.1.5, Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Confidentiality.

  5. Competence is the knowledge and ability to understand the taxpayer’s issue and how to resolve it.

  6. Empathy is the understanding of and compassion for the taxpayer’s situation and feelings.

  7. Communications is the commitment to engage in clear and open communications, listen to taxpayers and stakeholders, understand their perspectives and issues, educate them about the tax system, and effect changes.

  8. Improvement is the pursuit of opportunities to improve tax administration for the benefit of taxpayers.

Empathy in Action

  1. To advocate fully, TAS must seek to understand the people we serve. Our employees must understand the challenges facing different taxpayers and groups, recognize how a taxpayer’s emotions may affect the taxpayer’s behavior, and appreciate how to connect with taxpayers in a way that builds mutual trust and respect.

  2. Empathy goes beyond advocating for taxpayers. TAS managers will also use empathy to improve how they address employee life skills.

  3. TAS managers will help employees enhance their skills and use them to advocate for taxpayers. Offices will create a plan to develop empathy skills by practicing empathy throughout the year.

  4. The Empathy in Action site is a source for information that TAS managers can use to help employees practice empathy. The site is searchable by skill or special focus and encourages users to try their own approaches and contribute activities to increase the library of ideas.

Maintaining Internal Controls

  1. The IRS and TAS are required to maintain an effective internal control program that complies with legislative requirements and related regulations and directives, such as the Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, commonly known as the "Green Book."

  2. Internal controls are the programs, policies, and procedures established to ensure:

    1. Mission and program objectives are efficiently and effectively accomplished;

    2. Program and resources are protected from waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and misappropriation of funds;

    3. Laws and regulations are followed;

    4. Financial reporting is reliable; and

    5. Reliable information is obtained and used for decision making.

  3. This guidance applies to all TAS managers. TAS managers are expected to understand the risks associated with their operations, to ensure controls are in place and operating effectively to mitigate known risks, and to provide candid, reliable, and supportable annual reports on the status of those controls. For more information, see IRM 1.4.2, Resource Guide for Managers, Monitoring and Improving Internal Control.

Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act

  1. The Budget and Accounting Procedures Act of 1950 requires the head of each Federal department and agency to establish and maintain adequate systems of management controls. Further, the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act of 1982, Public Law 97-255, Title VIII (31 USC 3512 note) (hereinafter "FMFIA"), requires each executive agency to establish internal accounting and administrative controls in accordance with standards prescribed by the Comptroller General. See IRM 1.4.2.1.2, Authorities, for more information.

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. The National Taxpayer Advocate is responsible for:

    1. Establishing adequate and effective controls for all operations and activities in TAS’s area of mission responsibility;

    2. Ensuring established controls are followed throughout the organization;

    3. Conducting a self-assessment and reporting on the status of internal controls in the organization to the Management Controls Executive Steering Committee (MC ESC) annually. Managers throughout the IRS are responsible for participating in this annual assessment in accordance with the annual guidance issued;

    4. Evaluating reports of significant deficiencies and providing comments to the MC ESC;

    5. Providing adequate resources to correct identified material weaknesses and significant deficiencies;

    6. Designating an Internal Control Coordinator to serve as a single point of contact for the assurance process and for FMFIA corrective actions and audit follow-up for their organization; and

    7. Preparing executive summaries for agenda topics at MC ESC meetings.

  2. All TAS managers are responsible for:

    1. Providing a positive control environment;

    2. Identifying potential risk areas;

    3. Ensuring adequate and effective controls are in place;

    4. Reporting results of reviews to the next level of management;

    5. Ensuring reports are supportable, accurate, and candid;

    6. Providing adequate resources to correct identified problems;

    7. Implementing corrective actions timely; and

    8. Validating outcomes.

Annual Assurance Review

  1. The Annual Assurance Review Process focuses on the adequacy of internal controls within each organization. Managers assess risks (i.e., the probability of a negative, unanticipated occurrence) of operations, determine if controls mitigate those risks, and certify those controls are effective. If not, managers will identify significant deficiencies found in the internal control procedures. See IRM 1.4.2.11, Annual Assurance Review Process, for more information.

  2. All managers conduct an annual self-assessment whereby they must review the effectiveness of controls within their own area of responsibility. Managers document these self-assessments by completing individual online FMFIA assessments.

  3. Managers generally receive personalized links for the FMFIA assessment from the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), but those who do not are provided “open links” by the TAS AAR Program Leader in Business Assessment. In addition to the questions all IRS managers are required to answer as part of the online assessment, TAS managers answer TAS-specific questions to ensure that all necessary controls are addressed.

  4. The assurance memorandum, which is drafted by Business Assessment for review and approval by the Deputy National Taxpayer Advocate (DNTA), is a certification containing a specific statement on the status of TAS’s internal control.

  5. Corrective action plans for newly identified significant deficiencies should be included with the assurance memorandum (see IRM 1.4.2.10.6, Document, Report, and Correct Significant Deficiencies).

  6. See the Annual Assurance Reviews site for additional information.

Internal Control Resources

  1. The following statutes and regulations are the most significant congressional acts that affect the management controls program at the IRS:

    1. Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) of 1982;

    2. Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996;

    3. Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990;

    4. OMB Circular A-123, Management Accountability and Control;

    5. Treasury Directive 40-04, issued January 4, 2001;

    6. Inspector General Act 1978, as amended;

    7. OMB Circular A-127, Financial Management Systems, revised January 9, 2009;

    8. Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government;

    9. Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Modernization Act of 2010;

    10. IRM 1.4.30, Monitoring Internal Control Planned Corrective Actions;

    11. IRM 1.4.3, IRS Guidance for Implementing OMB Circular A-123, Management's Responsibility for Internal Control, Appendix A: Internal Control Over Financial Reporting;

    12. IRM 1.5.1, Managing Statistics in a Balanced Measurement System, The IRS Balanced Performance Measurement System; and

    13. IRM 13.5.1, TAS Balanced Measure System.

Manual Refunds

  1. The purpose of issuing a manual refund is to provide the taxpayer quick access to overpayments and credits. See IRM 21.4.4.3, Why Would a Manual Refund be Needed?, for details about when a manual refund may be necessary. A manual refund is not generated through normal computer processing. It requires special preparation to allow the refund's release under unusual circumstances. This preparation includes suppressing the normal computer processes that automatically refund overpayments, to prevent the taxpayer from receiving two refunds for the same overpayment. Management is responsible for ensuring all actions are taken to avoid the issuance of a duplicate erroneous refund.

  2. Initiators of manual refunds are required to research for potential duplicate refunds. See IRM 21.4.4.5, Preparation of Manual Refund Forms.

    1. In situations where documentation of the taxpayer’s hardship cannot be obtained, initiators of manual refunds should have a discussion with the LTA. The LTA can substitute a signed statement which must contain a description of the hardship and the actions taken to verify the hardship. See IRM 3.17.79.3.3(2) , Issuing Hardship Refunds.

  3. Only LTAs (or LTAs acting 60 days or more) may approve manual refunds.

    1. LTAs (or LTAs acting sixty days or more) must have a designation on file in the Campus Branch to approve a manual refund. See IRM 3.17.79.3.5, Employees Authorized to Sign Requests for Refunds.

    2. LTAs approving manual refunds automatically have their IDRS profile restricted. See IRM 10.8.34.6.2., Access Control.

    3. LTAs must verify that proper research was conducted. This includes, but is not limited to, consideration of statute expiration dates.

    4. LTAs must ensure the manual refund is within the TAS Authorities and the circumstances of the case warrant such action. Make an Account Technical Advisor (ATA) referral if you have questions or issues.

    5. After the LTA reviews and approves the manual refund request, the LTA will ensure it is appropriately reviewed. If an LTA in another office approved and signed the manual refund, the initiator’s manager is still responsible for this review. See the TAS Manager Handbook, Manual Refund Review section, for details on how to conduct a manual refund review.

  4. In the event an erroneous and duplicate manual refunds occurs, LTAs will follow the procedures found in IRM 21.4.4.6.1, Monitoring Manual Refunds, and IRM 21.4.5, Erroneous Refunds.

  5. Area Offices will retain both the quarterly MR Tracking Tool and Managers Monitoring Confirmation Logs from each office for 12 months. Area Offices are responsible for conducing Area Analyst Manual Refund Reviews and reviews of manual refund processing during Operational Reviews. See the TAS Manager Handbook, Manual Refund section.

Manual Refund Training
  1. TAS employees must complete the manual refund training before they can initiate, approve, or monitor a manual refund. Training must also be completed annually. IDRS authority to issue or approve a manual refund will be removed from any employee who has not completed the training by the anniversary date of their last training. Managers should encourage their employees to complete the training in November or December. This ensures the training is completed close to the time most manual refunds are issued. The required training courses in ELMS are as follows:

    If the employee... And ... Then the employee...
    Initiates, reviews, signs, or monitors manual refunds HAS NOT previously completed ELMS Course 30914, Manual Refunds. MUST complete ELMS Course 30914, Manual Refunds.
    Initiates, reviews, signs, or monitors manual refunds. Has completed ELMS Course 30914, Manual Refunds, previously Must complete ELMS Courses 30914a, Manual Refunds Recertification and 42841, Monitoring Manual Refund, annually.
    Only monitors manual refunds using the Erroneous Manual Refund Tool (EMT) does not initiate, review,or sign. Has completed ELMS Course 30914, Manual Refunds previously. Must complete ELMS Course 42841, Monitoring Manual Refund annually.

Payment Processing

  1. Generally, TAS does not accept non-cash remittances. However, if TAS mistakenly receives non-cash remittances, refer to IRM 21.1.7.9.20, Discovered Remittance, and IRM 3.8.46, Discovered Remittance. Guidance on remittance issues change frequently and an awareness of procedures for remittance allows TAS to accurately and timely assist taxpayers. Keep in mind:

    1. TAS cannot accept cash payments. Instead, TAS should refer the taxpayer to the local Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) for payment processing. See IRM 21.3.4.7, Remittance Processing, for additional information.

    2. Procedures are in place to ensure non-cash remittances are handled appropriately and timely within one day.

    3. Form 3244, Payment Posting Voucher, is prepared for all remittances.

    4. Form 3210, Document Transmittal, is used to send payments to the Campus for posting.

    5. If a critical error is observed by the Teller, the manager will be informed via e-Trak. See IRM 3.8.47.7.1, Critical Errors.

Return Processing

  1. Situations in which TAS employees should accept an unprocessed original return are extremely rare. If TAS receives a return that is time-sensitive (e.g., received on the due date for filing or on the last day a taxpayer can claim a refund), and it is not possible to get the original document to the appropriate campus that same day, then TAS may accept the return for processing. A hardship alone is not reason to accept an original tax return. For additional guidance on receiving original returns refer to IRM 13.1.18.6.3, Taxpayers Delivering Returns to TAS and TAS Date Stamp.

  2. See also IRM 13.1.24.6.2, Advocating for Taxpayers Seeking Offset Bypass Refunds.

IDRS Responsibilities

  1. It is the policy of the IRS to protect its information resources and allow the use, access, and disclosure of information in accordance with applicable laws, policies, federal regulations, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars, Treasury Directives, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Publications, and other regulatory guidance. All Information Technology (IT) resources belonging to, or used by the IRS, shall be protected at a level commensurate with the risk and magnitude of harm that could result from loss, misuse, or unauthorized access to that IT resource.

  2. IDRS security will be reinforced through discussions at group meetings.

  3. Employees will be reminded to complete Form 11377, Taxpayer Data Access, if an account is inadvertently accessed or otherwise applicable.

  4. For further information see:

    1. IRM 10.8.34, IDRS Security Controls;

    2. TAS MPAF (Authorized IDRS CCs);

    3. Form 11377;

    4. UNAX resources- Unauthorized access of taxpayer accounts website; and

    5. Multiple Access Memorandum.

Manager Responsibilities
  1. All TAS managers will:

    1. Review and certify profiles of users with sensitive command code combinations in a timely manner. If the Unit Security Representative (USR) is responsible for this action, the manager will ensure that the USR takes all required actions.

    2. Ensure that user profiles are locked when an employee is on leave, in non-duty status, or when the employee will not require IDRS access for 15 to 60 consecutive calendar days (in this case the profile shall be locked on the first day). If the USR is responsible for this action, the manager ensures that the USR takes all required actions.

    3. Take prompt action to amend the employee access profile or remove the employee from IDRS if access is no longer needed, when an employee changes manager, assignments, or leaves the Service.

    4. Encourage employees to use the command code LOKME to lock their profiles when system access will not be needed for between three and 45 days. If the USR is responsible for this action, the manager ensures that the USR takes all required actions.

    5. Ensure that primary and alternate USRs and IDRS users complete the required initial and annual refresher training.

    6. Timely review and certify weekly and monthly IDRS Security Reports and confirm appropriate actions are taken to correct security violations or weaknesses. If the USR is responsible for this action, the manager will ensure that the USR takes all required actions.

    7. Ensure that managers/USRs are not in the same IDRS unit as the users they oversee. Manager ensures that USRs have been appointed to cover all IDRS units.

    8. Ensure that IDRS users, who meet the criteria for restricted roles, have the appropriate restrictions added to their profiles. In addition, ensure that IDRS users who no longer have restricted roles have the restrictions removed from their profiles. If the USR is responsible for this action, the manager ensures that the USR takes all required actions.

    9. Encourage the use of Password Management Capability by IDRS users. If the USR is responsible for this action, the manager ensures that the USR takes all required actions.

  2. Managers must periodically verify the accuracy and completeness of the IDRS Unit and USR Database for their office using the IDRS Unit &USR Database (IUUD).

TAS Systems Access

  1. Managers are responsible for ensuring employees are provided with systems access to meet business needs, that employees follow the rules pertaining to the use of systems, and timely notifying the system administrators when access is no longer needed. The following tools are available for assistance:

    1. IRM 10.8.1, Policy and Guidance;

    2. IRM 10.8.2, IT Security Roles and Responsibilities;

    3. TAS Security;

    4. TAS Technology & Systems;

    5. Advocacy Tools;

    6. TAS Business Modernization Front Door; and

    7. User Guides and Tips for Software Request, Systems Access, and Equipment.

  2. Managers must and ensure that employees have access to IRS internal or external computer systems containing taxpayer information only necessary to complete their IRS officially assigned duties. See IRM 10.5.5.3.2, Manager UNAX Responsibilities.

  3. Employees may complete Form 11377, Taxpayer Data Access, or Form 11377-E by close of business on the day of the access and forward the signed copy to their manager to document certain inadvertent accesses. See IRM 10.5.5.3.4, Employee and Contractor UNAX Responsibilities.

Taxpayer Advocate Management Information System (TAMIS)
  1. TAMIS is a database dedicated to the recordation, control, and processing of TAS taxpayer cases. It is also used to capture and analyze core tax issues, laws, policies, and internal IRS functional processes that cause taxpayer burden and impact taxpayer rights.

  2. Managers are responsible for ensuring:

    1. All TAS personnel designated to use TAMIS receive TAMIS training;

    2. All TAS personnel designated to use TAMIS understand the hazards of unauthorized access (UNAX);

    3. Evaluative employee performance comments are not documented within TAMIS histories;

    4. Procedures are in place to ensure all required TAMIS data entries and coding are accurate, e.g., Primary Core Issue Codes (PCIC), special case, relief, and criteria codes.

    5. Procedures are in place to purge TAMIS reports two years after the end of the fiscal year for which the report was prepared, see Document 12990, Records Control Schedules, and the TAS Managers Handbook.

    6. Procedures are adhered to when (in the rare event) a case must be deleted from TAMIS. See IRM 13.4.2.8, Deleting Cases.

    7. Actions are documented on TAMIS as cases are worked. If TAMIS is down, histories are documented as soon as TAMIS becomes available. See IRM 13.4.5.3.6, History Screen.

    8. To establish a profile for a new TAMIS user, see IRM 13.4.2.5.1, Obtaining a Login and Password for TAMIS.

  3. See IRM 13.4, TAS TAMIS Guide, for additional information.

Systemic Advocacy Management System (SAMS)
  1. Systemic Advocacy receives issue submissions from TAS advocates, other IRS employees, the public, and other external stakeholders through an automated system called the SAMS for review, analysis, and potential development as projects. SAMS gives TAS a way to create, work, and monitor these projects. SAMS is available to employees on the TAS intranet at http://samsii.web.irs.gov/ and to the public at www.irs.gov/sams. TAS employees should always use the intranet site to submit a systemic issue for review.

  2. Once TAS identifies a systemic issue in need of attention, Systemic Advocacy can work it as:

    1. Information Gathering Projects (IGPs) identify emerging trends or issues generated from new legislation or significant IRS policy, process, or procedural changes;

    2. Immediate Interventions are the result of an operational issue that causes immediate, significant harm to multiple taxpayers and demands an urgent response; and

    3. Advocacy Projects identify and address systemic and procedural issues, analyze the underlying causes of problems, and propose corrective action.

  3. Managers are responsible for ensuring all TAS personnel using SAMS are:

    1. Properly trained;

    2. Educated on the hazards of unauthorized access (UNAX);

    3. Educated on the importance of accurate coding; and

    4. Educated on the importance of not entering individual taxpayer data on SAMS to protect taxpayers; instead, when referring to an individual case(s), the employee should enter the TAMIS case file number, see IRM 13.2.2.8.3(3) (d) and (e), Submitting Advocacy Issues.

  4. See IRM 13.2.2.8, Systemic Advocacy Management System (SAMS), for additional information.

Clean Desk Policy

  1. TAS managers will conduct a review to ensure employees are following the Clean Desk Policy as outlined in IRM 1.4.6.5.18, Clean Desk Policy.

  2. Managers will conduct the reviews at least once a year.

  3. Managers that are not co-located with their employees will coordinate with the Local Taxpayer Advocate (or other TAS manager) co-located with the employee to ensure these reviews are conducted.

  4. Managers will document the completion of the review in a memo format and make the memo available to their immediate supervisor upon request.

Confidentiality of Tax Returns and Tax Return Information

  1. All TAS managers must take an active role to prevent willful and attempted unauthorized access, and inspection of taxpayer information in electronic and paper form. This involves overseeing employees’ work as well as continually stressing the importance of protecting and securing taxpayer records.

  2. Document 11500, IRS Manager’s Guide to Penalty Determinations, states managers may be subject to written reprimand, suspension, or removal for failure to adequately instruct, train, or supervise employees in their responsibilities for record and information protection.

  3. All managers must:

    1. Communicate with employees on a regular basis to ensure they are aware of UNAX prohibitions and penalties. Frequent communication also ensures employees know how to document and report inadvertent or unintentional access.

    2. Be responsible for the timely and thorough review of available system security reports.

    3. Report suspected UNAX violations or any unusual activity to TIGTA for investigation.

    4. Monitor and ensure employees have access to IRS internal or external computer systems containing taxpayer information only when necessary to complete their IRS officially assigned duties.

    5. Ensure employees who are being investigated for UNAX violations are promptly removed from IDRS and any other IRS computer system requiring administrative approval and containing taxpayer information. These employees must also be removed from other tax-related duties.

    6. Ensure Form 11377, or Form 11377-E, Taxpayer Data Access, is forwarded to the designated head of office designee. Form 11377 or Form 11377-E is used to document accesses to taxpayer information not supported by direct case assignment or which may otherwise appear questionable. A manager’s signature on this form does not imply authorization for documented accesses. The access may still be subjected to further review and investigation.

    7. Make timely reassignments whenever an employee reports having a covered relationship with an individual or organization in an assigned tax duty which may cause a conflict of interest. Form 4442, Inquiry Referral, is used by the employee to request such reassignments, thus avoiding a possible conflict of interest.

    8. Educate employees to avoid UNAX violations, and assure employees know the potential consequences of their actions.

    9. Lead by example.

    10. Ensure their employees’ access of IRS internal or external computer systems are controlled through the OL5081 approval process, granted only when required to complete official duties, and removed when no longer required to complete official duties.

    11. Always refer questionable accesses to TIGTA.

Hiring Employees

  1. TAS continues to identify the organization’s most critical hiring needs and makes targeted hiring decisions. TAS’s hiring is made on a case-by-case basis. See the TAS Manager’s Handbook for specific direction when hiring employees.

Assigning Work

  1. Assigning work and assisting employees with inventory management is a key component of a manager’s duties. Generally, managers will determine work assignments for bargaining unit (BU) and non-bargaining unit (NBU) employees. Managers should not routinely delegate the duty of assigning work.

  2. Per Document 11678, 2019 National Agreement – Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), Article 16, an employee may spend up to 25 percent of his or her direct time during any four-month period, working higher graded cases or duties for developmental purposes.

    Caution:

    If you allow an employee to work higher graded cases it is essential that you track the percentage of direct time spent on higher graded work to ensure the 25 percent threshold is not being exceeded. Employees who exceed the 25 percent level for the preceding four-month period may be entitled to a temporary promotion. Managers should consult with Labor Relations to discuss any questions concerning higher graded cases or duties. See IRM 1.4.13.10, Labor Relations.

TAS Case Assignment

  1. Upon acceptance into the TAS program, cases are ready for assignment to Advocates. If possible, assign cases to Advocates no later than two workdays after the Taxpayer Advocate Received Date (TARD) for Criteria 1-4 cases and three workdays after the TARD for Criteria 5-9 cases.

  2. Listed below are some items to consider when assigning case work:

    1. Multiple issues;

    2. Multiple TAS offices with more than one DEDCA involved;

    3. Technical complexity (or difficulty of resolving case);

    4. If the case involves issues like Offset Bypass Refunds or levy releases, that often need immediate action;

    5. Sensitivity of the case (e.g., Senate Finance Committee Cases, suicide, media impact);

    6. Taxpayer’s primary language; and

    7. On-the-job training needs.

  3. Use the TAMIS Manager Inventory Screen to assign cases to a Case Advocate. These instructions are found in IRM 13.4.6, Management Inventory Screen.

  4. Individual TAS offices will determine how cases are screened and assigned within their office. Managers will determine case assignment, but TAMIS actions to move cases into employee inventories may be taken by other staff.

    Note:

    If there is one issue that affects several taxpayers, a separate case should be loaded on TAMIS for each taxpayer.

    Example:

    The IRS experiences a systemic problem processing taxpayers' requests for extensions of time to file. As a result, taxpayers are charged late filing penalties in error and contact TAS about it. Each taxpayer who contacts TAS or is identified by TAS is loaded as a separate case. This allows TAS and the Operating Division/Function to track the scope of the problem

  5. To balance workload across the TAS organization, a national workload balancing (N-WLB) system was instituted on May 5, 2006. For additional information, see IRM 13.1.22, Manual Inventory Balancing Procedures and Inventory Balancing and Zip Code Routing.

Systemic Advocacy Work Assignment

  1. Systemic Advocacy managers are responsible for making the following work assignments:

    1. Advocacy Project - Once TAS determines it will accept an issue as a project, the manager will determine whether the project will have a single project leader or if the issue requires multiple resources, the manager will establish a team to address the issue. A team may include Analysts, LTA, Attorney Advisors, Technical Advisors, and Research Analysts.

    2. Internal Management Document (IMD) Reviews – TAS receives IMD reviews through its mailbox *TAS IMD SPOC. TAS IMD Single Point of Contact (SPOC) assigns these IMD reviews to subject matter experts (SMEs) using the IMD Center on SharePoint. See IRM 1.11.13.8.3, Assigning an IMD.

    3. Systemic Issue Review – TAS receives potential systemic issues on the Systemic Advocacy Management System (SAMS). A level 1-2-3 review process is used by Systemic Issue Review and Evaluation (SIRE) to assign and work these issues to completion. See IRM 13.2.2.3.3.1, Processing Systemic Issues.

Employee Development

  1. TAS is committed to developing and maintaining a highly skilled workforce equipped to meet present and future challenges. Our primary responsibility, as a learning organization, is to develop TAS employees and help them succeed.

  2. To assist managers and employees, TAS has many Training and Employee Development Initiatives that encourage continuous growth and learning for every career track in TAS.

  3. See the TAS Manager Handbook, TAS Training Resource Guide, the Advocacy Career Center, the Career Planning and Development Resources, Coaching & Mentoring, Leadership 365, and Servicewide Opportunities for additional information.

Communication Skills

  1. To be a successful TAS leader, managers must be able to communicate effectively with taxpayers, representatives, other TAS employees and managers, and IRS employees and managers across the organization.

  2. The ability to project and hear messages has a major impact on how managers:

    1. Evaluate and guide employees' performance;

    2. Accomplish the goals of the organization; and

    3. Serve customers.

  3. See IRM 13.6, Taxpayer Advocate Service Communications, for additional information.

Developing and Communicating Expectations

  1. Management's challenge is to accomplish goals or objectives through the judicious use of resources. The major resource of TAS, as well as its greatest cost, is people. Employee productivity depends on management’s ability to develop people. Employees who are adequately trained and informed are motivated and better equipped to produce the best results. This can be accomplished by:

    1. Ensuring that employees know where to obtain guidance - Refer employees to the Internal Revenue Manual which serves as the single official compilation of policies, delegated authorities, procedures, instructions, and guidelines relating to the organization, functions, administration, and operations of the Service. Managers should also refer employees to the Case Assistance by Issue Code (CABIC), Question Resolution Information System (QRIS) Library, Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and other case advocacy tools.

      Note:

      Due to e-FOIA, TAS commitment to transparency, and the Taxpayer’s Right to Be Informed, TAS does not use or circulate locally developed job aids.T he IRS decided that the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) is the method the IRS will use to comply with e-FOIA to publish instructions to staff. The IRS and TAS also use published Interim Guidance Memorandum (IGM) if we need to get guidance out to employees before it can be incorporated into the IRM, or if the guidance is temporary. TAS employees should use IRM 13, Taxpayer Advocate Service, IRS functional IRMs, and the law as primary reference sources when conducting research. When TAS designs CABIC pages and publishes QRIS responses, we keep in mind that CABIC and QRIS are not published to irs.gov, and should not contain instructions to staff subject to e-FOIA. CABIC pages and QRIS responses will generally not copy/paste content from the IRM into the body of a CABIC page or QRIS response, because we want employees to read the guidance directly from the primary source. Instead, CABIC and QRIS responses will point to the published IRM reference, Internal Revenue Code section, Regulation, etc. that covers that topic, so employees can conduct research and apply the published procedures to the facts and circumstances of the case.

    2. Guiding employees’ performance - Communicate expectations including the Retention Standard for the Fair and Equitable Treatment of Taxpayers; and, the Responsibilities and Commitments; or Critical Job Elements (CJEs) and Performance Aspects. Provide clear guidelines and ensure employees understand your expectations for job performance. Reminder, expectations are set by the CJEs, Performance Aspects, Responsibilities and Commitments, and the Retention Standards, managers should not create a separate Expectations Memo. The HCO Performance Plan site provides guidance and suggestions for making effective Performance Plans for managers, management officials, and employees under CJEs. Another important Performance Management resource is IRM 6.430.1, Performance Management, Section 1, Introduction to Performance Management, which sets forth the policy and guidance for performance management within the IRS.

    3. Providing performance feedback - Continuously monitor employees’ progress against performance expectations, identify deficiencies, and initiate corrective actions. Managers will provide feedback during face-to-face conversations with the employee, except for those managers that are not physically-located in the same POD as the employee, in these instances, the manager will provide feedback via a phone call. Provide positive feedback as well as feedback on identified weaknesses. If the feedback is going to be used for evaluative purposes, the feedback must be documented in writing and must be provided within timeframes established by the negotiated agreement. See the TAS Program Letterfor specifics on the requirements for evaluative reviews.

    4. Evaluating employees’ performance - Performance expectations (set at the beginning of the appraisal period) serve as the basis for the annual performance evaluation. The IRS Intranet provides specific guidance on Performance Management. Guidance can also be found in Document 11678, 2019 National Agreement – Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), Article 12, Performance Appraisal System, and 6.430.1.

    5. Using Career Learning Plans (CLPs) - Discuss realistic CLPs and help the employee assess and address any deficiencies. Arrange for developmental details and support the IRS's position as an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer to develop employees. See Career Planning and Development Resources for more information.

    6. Sharing information - Provide employees as much information as possible regarding program direction, expectations, and business needs. Solicit from employees their career expectations and what they need from you to be successful in their position.

    7. See IRM 6.430.2, Performance Management Program for Evaluating Bargaining Unit and Non Bargaining Unit Employees Assigned to Critical Job Elements (CJEs), and IRM 6.430.3, Performance Management Program for Evaluating Managers, Management Officials and Confidential Management/Program Analysts.

Distance Management – Working Effectively with Employees on Telework and Offsite Employees

  1. The telework program gives employees the opportunity to work at home or at other approved locations remote to the assigned post-of-duty (POD) with an approved Telework Agreement. Information on telework can be found in the Document 11678at Article 50, Telework, the IRS Telework Portal, and IRM 6.800.2, IRS Telework Program.

  2. Managers are responsible for:

    1. Reviewing, approving, or denying Form 11386, IRS Telework Agreement for Bargaining Unit (BU) or Form 11386-B, IRS Telework Agreement for Non-Bargaining Unit (NBU);

    2. Ensuring that employees take all required Telework training and posting the training certificate to the IRS Telework Portal;

    3. Ensuring all employees who telework have an approved Telework Agreement in place and a copy of the agreement is filed in the employee drop file and posted to the IRS Telework Portal. See IRM 1.4.13.12.7.2, Employee Drop File;

    4. Ensuring the employee is on the appropriate type of telework (frequent, recurring, ad hoc) for their position, and that the Telework Type and Indicators are identified in the Single Entry Time Reporting (SETR) System is correct;

    5. Ensuring that any updates to Telework agreements are sent to the TAS Telework Coordinator to update the Telework Database; and

    6. Ensuring HR Connect identifies that the employee is Telework Eligible.

  3. With employees being managed remotely and others teleworking, the day-to-day dynamics of management and leadership have changed. The practice of "management by walking around" must be expanded to stay in contact with remotely managed and teleworking employees.

  4. Employees who work telework should be accessible during their tour of duty. Communication may be done via Skype, email, or calling the employee at the telework location. If the employee does not respond to requests for managerial contact within a reasonable amount of time, the manager should contact his or her Labor Relations specialist to discuss the situation.

  5. Managers must make an extra effort to ensure that remotely managed and teleworking employees are connected to their coworkers. Taking a few simple steps can ensure that employees remain in touch.

    1. Managers should strive to keep their Skype indicator set to "Available" (green) as much as possible, to make it easy for employees to reach them. The goal is to make it as easy for someone to chat with the manager virtually as it is for someone physically located in the office.

    2. Web-camera technology can enhance online communications. Adding a visual layer makes a substantial difference, especially when serving as a presenter or leader of a discussion.

    3. Use screen shots and photos in documents when providing instructions or processing guides.

    4. Take roll call at the beginning of group conference calls to acknowledge all members of the team; at the end, make it a point to ask each individual if he or she has anything more to add.

    5. Hold regular staff meetings on Skype and use the virtual tools available to connect with all of the employees, not just those physically-located with the manager.

  6. The following resources provide additional information for working with offsite and telework employees:

    1. IRS Home as POD website;

    2. IRM 6.800.2.3.1.3.2, Temporary Telework Arrangements Due to Hardship;

    3. IRM 6.800.2.3.1.3.3, Telework and Reasonable Accommodation; and

    4. IRM 6.800.2.3.1.4.2, Equipment and Furniture Requests.

Outreach

  1. Every LTA office and other TAS functions required to conduct outreach are expected to develop and deliver plans outlining the activities identified to deliver a successful outreach program. The goal is for the LTAs to be a known resources on tax issues within their communities.

  2. TAS LTAs and managers of other TAS functions will assume primary responsibility for their outreach programs, including all personal interactions such as presentations, roundtable discussions, and personal visits. See the Taxpayer Advocate Service Operational Plan, Appendix III Outreach Guidelines, for additional information.

Managerial Reviews

  1. The most critical role of a manager is to constantly engage with our employees to ensure they have the skills and support necessary to do their job and provide top notch service to taxpayers. It is not enough to conduct outreach and focus on quality scores. To best serve taxpayers, we need to focus on the quality of the advocacy efforts taking place within our offices, while teaching our employees how to be exceptional advocates.

  2. TAS gauges its advocacy efforts through ongoing reviews. Evaluative reviews are the building blocks for employee ratings. Non-evaluative reviews assist with coaching and ensure taxpayer needs are met. These reviews form the basis of conversations managers and Leads will hold with employees. Front-line managers should work closely with their Leads to promote teaching and coaching, as these efforts can accelerate employee development through changes in how each employee approaches their work.

  3. Coaching and support can improve employee skills and confidence, which positively impact advocacy, service, quality, and employee satisfaction. Manager’s conversations with employees also provide the opportunity to recognize exceptional work.

  4. Simply completing the number of required reviews and documenting TAMIS or providing guidance electronically without this direct “face-to-face” engagement minimizes the value and purpose of our efforts. And relying on subordinate managers to conduct the reviews is not enough. It is essential that our reviews and discussions provide direction, recommendations, and actionable improvement opportunities. These ongoing conversations ensure that employees are continually aware of their performance and are not surprised by their mid-year or year-end evaluation.

  5. Managerial oversight and follow-up at all levels of the management chain is necessary so employees know their leadership is invested in their development as we advocate for our taxpayers.

  6. IRM 1.4.13.9.6, Reviews, provides Reviews that are designed to assist managers in meeting organizational goals and with developing employees.

Employee Engagement Lifecycle

  1. While the items noted on the Engagement Lifecycle that follows are not intended to be all inclusive or necessarily accomplished in order, it provides the essential leadership building blocks for success. Engaging employees through discussions should strengthen relationships, build trust, and promote collaboration. Discussions help us identify barriers and agree on changes toward improvement. The Employee Engagement Lifecycle includes:

    1. Year-Round Employee Engagement and Support;

    2. First Quarter Skills Assessment;

    3. Regular, On-going Individual Employee Coaching and Support;

    4. Weekly employee and manager – Employee Support Debrief; and

    5. Mid-Year Assessment and End of Year Evaluation.

Year-Round Employee Engagement and Support

  1. Employee engagement is not an annual undertaking during only certain points in the year or after TAS has received an employee satisfaction survey score. Promoting engagement is a critical part of your role as a leader within TAS. TAS employees’ concerns should be addressed on an ongoing basis. TAS must be proactive with messaging and identify and address issues and concerns when presented.

First Quarter Skills Assessment

  1. Begin with a first quarter skills assessment of each employee. This assessment involves a review of work products (cases or other assignments, as appropriate) and a conversation with the employee. Whatever the work product, the focus should be on whether we are meeting the customer’s needs considering existing laws. The needs may be different depending on the customer, but TAS customers expect the best possible outcome delivered with a sense of urgency. They expect TAS to protect their confidentiality. They expect TAS to advocate on their behalf to mitigate the challenges they encountered that prompted them to seek TAS assistance.

  2. The first quarter skills assessment should celebrate great work and identify areas where the employee’s skills need further development. Reviews of the employee’s work must lead to a discussion between the manager and the employee to create a plan that will help the employee continue to grow. The manager should facilitate the employee’s development by identifying training and specific learning sessions in ELMS or LinkedIn Learning, or through details or special assignments which may supplement learning opportunities. This plan of action forms the basis for the Career Learning Plan (CLP). A CLP is not only for the employee who wants to become the next executive; it should be the vehicle to help that employee reach their full potential with the manager’s encouragement and assistance. The first quarter skills assessment sets the stage for the upcoming year’s focus on improvement, but it is not only for struggling employees – it is for ALL employees. Every employee has room to grow and improve and the TAS manager’s job is to help and support them.

  3. After the case or project reviews, the discussion with the employee and the development of a plan of action, the manager should summarize the events and create the “First Quarter Skills Assessment”. This document will define the first of several milestones in a rating cycle for evaluative purposes. It is also the basis for the manager to work with their Lead to create a unique and personalized coaching and support plan for the employee. These steps should not be taken lightly as they form the basis for what you are doing throughout the rest of the year.

Personalized Employee Coaching and Support

  1. TAS must revisit and reaffirm the role of our Lead Case Advocates (LCAs) and Lead Intake Advocates (LIAs) in employee development. Although they will continue to support advocates by responding to questions, the primary role of our LCAs and LIAs is to teach and develop our employees by regularly engaging each employee one-on-one in person to improve their skills.

  2. LCAs and LIAs should schedule and conduct face-to-face conversations regularly, like an OJI process, but with weekly sessions instead of daily support. Non-evaluative Early Intervention Reviews (EIRs) and Advocacy Case Reviews (ACRs) should form the basis for a unique review and support strategy for each employee.

  3. Managers will have discussions with newly hired Case Advocates and Intake Advocates. These discussions will include the On-the-Job Instructor (OJI) assigned to the new hire. Initial conversations will:

    1. Build rapport with the new employees and discuss what is expected during the OJI period.

    2. Occur during the first week after the new hire reports to the team, if possible.

    3. Clearly state the roles of the frontline manager, the OJI, and the new hire during the OJI period.

    4. Provide the purpose and timeframe of when the new employee will start receiving non-evaluative information from the OJI.

    5. Provide the purpose and timeframe of when the new employee will start receiving evaluative information from the manager. Generally, evaluative reviews start 60 days from the date the employee signs Form 6774, Receipt of Critical Job Elements and Retention Standard.

  4. Using non-evaluative reviews as a starting point for discussions, TAS will provide personalized support as described in the Advocacy, Communication, and Employee Engagement (ACE) model:

    1. Case Review. Reviews focus on Advocacy and Service. Consider the Program Letter, and Operations Reviews. Reference employees’ unique strengths and opportunities for improvement.

    2. Face-to-Face (Telephone). Communicate case review findings (both positive and areas of improvement) on a regular, on-going basis.

    3. Discover Ways to Improve. Engage and jointly identify new approaches to address advocacy and performance gaps identified during case review discussions. Provide tailored support.

    4. Follow Up and Confirm. Validate and discuss impact of new approaches. Update approaches not having the desired effect. Celebrate Successes.

  5. EIRs should generally be reserved for employees struggling with initial advocacy steps, including verbal communications with their taxpayers, research, and action plans. Conversely, if an employee has problems with decision making after the initial stages of the case, then the case review strategy might be more focused on the ACR. If the employee struggles with certain types of issues, i.e., collection cases, then reviews and support should focus on those case issues.

  6. This personalized employee support is critical to recognizing advocacy opportunities unique to each employee, and working with them individually to change advocacy approaches and enhance skills. When adopted throughout TAS, this will lead to organizational success. Each manager should continually reassess their operation and ensure the Leads’ are focusing on employee development. While managers must evaluate performance, they are expected to teach and support as well.

  7. Employees and Leads will jointly discover ways to support growth and success from training, mentoring, coaching, and demonstration. Follow-up is critical to ensure the revised approaches are successful. Employee development is continuous throughout the year and is not just limited to the mid-year and year-end reviews.

Weekly Employee Support Debrief

  1. TAS must ensure our support of each employee hits the mark. LCAs and LIAs should check-in with managers weekly to review the support provided to each employee and any progress. This also allows for a discussion regarding the types of cases which can be assigned to the employee going forward to assist in their development.

Reviews

  1. Efficient and effective employee job performance depends on timely direction. This direction encompasses continuous involvement, instruction, and evaluation of each employee's work. Positive feedback is essential to maintain and improve strengths and by being involved, managers can develop each employee's skills to improve job performance. Managers should refer to:

    1. IRM 6.430, Performance Management;

    2. Performance Management, Evaluation;

    3. Performance Management, Performance Plan;

    4. Document 11678, 2019 National Agreement – Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), Article 12, Performance Appraisal System;

    5. Job Aid – Rating Employees on Temp Promotions IR to IR and GS to IR;

    6. Job Aid – Rating Employees on Temporary Promotions IR to GS;

    7. IRS Payband System: Evaluating Employees on Extended Details from IR to IR, IR to GS, or GS to IR Positions; and

    8. Departure Appraisal Guidance: Job Aid for Departures in HR Connect.

  2. Managers may not delegate evaluative reviews. However, the manager or individual acting as manager may have a technical advisor manager, lead case advocate, lead intake advocate, or analyst review aspects of the work and provide comments to the manager.

Form 6774, Receipt of Critical Job Elements and Retention Standard
  1. Sharing the performance plan with the employee timely is critical. Supervisors are required to get a Form 6774 signed at the beginning of each rating period. The supervisor’s assessment of an employee against his or her CJE performance plan serves as the basis for several actions, including: within-grade increase (WIGI), promotion, recognizing and rewarding the employee, determining employee development needs, helping the employee improve, resolving performance deficiencies, or taking performance actions on an employee who continues to perform at a less than "Fully Successful" level. For more information, see IRM 6.430.2.2, Step 1: Planning Expectations.

  2. Managers are required to talk annually with employees about the behaviors that meet the retention standards. Retention Standard discussions helps employees understand their job responsibilities, communicates the importance of effectively engaging with customers, and demonstrates to stakeholders how we are ensuring the fair and equitable treatment of taxpayers. See IRM 6.430.2.2.5, Discussing the Retention Standard for the Fair and Equitable Treatment of Taxpayers.

Mid-Year Assessment, End-of-Year Evaluation, and Discussion
  1. Once TAS properly identifies areas for improvement during the first quarter and develops a sound, individualized work review and support strategy for the employee, the mid-year assessment should simply be a measure of any improvement realized. It gives the manager additional time to provide non-evaluative support through the Leads and gives the employee additional opportunities to improve performance before the end of evaluative period.

  2. The end of year evaluation should be an honest assessment of the employee’s performance, considering TAS’s efforts to support the employee. Since managers are having ongoing discussions throughout the year, employees should not be surprised by what they read in their mid-year and end of year evaluations. The evaluation should reflect the feedback the manager has been giving the employee throughout the year.

  3. These reviews may not be delegated; however, the manager, or individual acting in that positions may have a Lead review aspects of advocacy delivery and inventory management and provide input to the manager. Consider whether actions are timely. Identify accomplishments and opportunities for improvement. Update the CLP and discuss career planning leading to Leadership Succession Review (LSR).

  4. General review process:

    1. Schedule a face-to-face meeting between the manager and employee.

    2. Summarize the results of the reviews you have already shared throughout the year.

    3. Prepare and share a brief cover memo summarizing the results of the workload reviews and documenting accomplishments, advocacy efforts, progress made and any opportunities for improvement through the rating period. Include any updates to the CLP.

  5. Document these discussions on the performance review tracking sheet maintained by the office.

  6. For reviews of Case Advocates and LCAs, notate the TAMIS history with **MER** for Case Advocates and LCAs. Document substantive non-evaluative direction.

  7. The following resources provide additional information:

    1. IRM 6.430.2, Performance Management Program for Evaluating Bargaining Unit and Non Bargaining Unit employees Assigned to Critical Job Elements (CJEs);

    2. IRM 6.430.3, Performance Management Program for Evaluating Managers, Management Officials and Confidential Management/Program Analysts;

    3. IRM 6.430.5, Performance Appraisals for Temporary Assignments; and

    4. Document 11948, Performance Appraisal Self-Assessment Tutorial.

Operational Reviews
  1. This evaluative review of a subordinate manager and his or her organizational component tests the soundness of the operation in carrying out TAS’s mission of advocating for taxpayers, communicating with and engaging employees; or supporting that mission and initiative. It provides an opportunity to improve overall effectiveness of the group and its operations. Operational reviews also provide an assessment of the manager's performance, engagement, growth, and development.

  2. Use the Operational Review Template and User Guide for a detailed discussion of items to consider when conducting operational reviews.

  3. Draft a written report of the findings using the Operational Review template and provide a copy of the report to the manager. If action items result from the review, establish target completion dates and schedule a follow-up review, if warranted.

  4. See IRM 1.4.1.8, Evaluating Performance, for general guidelines related to performance evaluations.

First Quarter Evaluations and Skills Assessment
  1. This evaluative review is important to begin each rating period with an assessment of the employee’s current skill level to establish both performance and career goals for the future.

    Reviewer: All supervisors within TAS
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of: Evaluative reviews conducted over the first three months of the rating period
    Scope: This discussion sets the tone for the rating period and should be detailed enough that the employee understands his or her strengths, areas to work on, and career goals. With continuing dialogue throughout the rating period, there should be no surprises during the mid-year or annual rating discussions.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of the evaluative reviews conducted over the first three months of the rating period and capture this on a memorandum (like the mid-year). This summary will facilitate the First Quarter discussion that also includes career plans and development of a Career Learning Plan (CLP).
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable.
Case Advocacy Employee Reviews
  1. Managers of Case Advocacy employees will complete the following reviews, when applicable.

  2. EDCA and Centralized Case Intake (CCI) managers will refer to Exhibit 1.4.13-3, EDCA and CCI Manager Review Schedule.

  3. Managers will conduct timely reviews, including reviews of new hires, even those assigned an OJI. Managers will have regular meetings with new hires and OJIs throughout the OJT period. For individuals who are OJIs, managers will continue to complete reviews while the individual is an OJI, by reviewing their assignments in conjunction with the individual’s CJEs.

Ongoing Advocacy Review and Employee Support Discussion
  1. This one-on-one review is critical in encouraging employee engagement and identifying advocacy opportunities on a frequent basis. These discussions should be tailored to the individual employee and based on the employee’s needs. There is no time limit for these discussions, but they should not last so long as to become burdensome, nor so short to be ineffective.

    Reviewer: LCAs and LIAs
    Delegate? Not applicable.
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Peer to peer mentoring that results from a variety of reviews including EIR, OAR Screening, 60-day, 100-day, contact recording, walk-in, 4442s, new receipts, etc.
    Scope: This provides face-to-face support based on the ACE model. LCAs/LIAs reference/update Individual Support Focus.
    Written Documentation: Not applicable.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable.
Intake Advocate Reviews
  1. These reviews are specifically designed for Intake Advocates (IAs) and Lead Intake Advocates (LIAs) to foster a coaching environment and encourage employee engagement to sustain an Advocacy centric environment.

  2. For new employees, managers will complete evaluative reviews shortly after the expiration of the 60 days following the date the employee signed the Form 6774. Managers will provide thoughtful comments on the new employee’s performance, highlighting achievements and discussing opportunities for improvement in sufficient detail that the employee understands what he or she needs to do to improve performance. Finally, managers will conduct reviews timely allowing employees sufficient time to improve performance prior to certification. In addition, managers will have regular meetings with OJIs to discuss the OJI’s non-evaluative observations of the new employee and updating on-the-job training (OJT) plan accordingly.

    Reviewer: Local Taxpayer Advocate (LTA), Taxpayer Advocate Group Manager (TAGM), IA Manager, or individual acting in those positions.
    Delegate? No, may have a technical advisor, lead case advocate (LCA), or analyst review aspects of the cases and provide comments to the manager.
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of:
    • Calls (Contact Recording when available)

    • New Case Receipts

    • Quick Closures

    Scope: Managers will review for (not all inclusive):
    • Communication techniques;

    • Advocacy actions;

    • Accuracy of case input, including TAMIS case coding;

    • Accuracy of information provided to the taxpayer;

    • Accuracy of case building and education of the taxpayer;

    • History documentation; and

    • Issue identification/elevation.

    Written Documentation: Form 14766, TAS Intake Advocate and Lead Intake Advocate Review Sheet, and discuss the results with the employee.
    TAMIS Literal: **IA MER**
Lead Case Advocate and Lead Intake Advocate Reviews
  1. Managers conduct reviews to measure lead case advocate and lead intake advocate performance.

  2. Reviewer: LTAs, TAGMs, IA managers.
    Delegate? No, may have a technical advisor, LCA (for LIA reviews), or analyst review aspects of the cases and provide comments to the manager.
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of: Open or closed cases
    Scope: These reviews will assess the effectiveness and accuracy of guidance provided to case advocates and intake advocates and the impact on improvement. Identify significant advocacy and general performance gaps to share with management. When reviewing cases assigned to the LCA and LIA the reviews will gauge the efforts taken to advocate to the extent allowable by law and within the applicable delegated authorities.
    Written Documentation: Form 13095 for LCAs and Form 14766for LIAs, and the results discussed with the employee in a face-to-face meeting.
    TAMIS Literal: **QERL**
    Document substantive non-evaluative direction in the TAMIS History.
Case Advocate Reviews
  1. Managers will conduct reviews to measure case advocate’s performance.

    Reviewer: LTA, TAGM, or individual acting in those positions.
    Delegate? No, may have a technical advisor, LCA, or analyst review aspects of the cases and provide comments to the manager.
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of: Open and closed cases.
    Scope: The review will cover all actions and gauge the efforts taken to advocate to the extent allowable by law.
    Written Documentation: Form 13095, Taxpayer Advocate Service Case Review Form, and the results must be shared with the employee within 15 workdays of when the review was conducted. All evaluative reviews must be discussed with the employee.
    TAMIS Literal: **MER**
    Managers will discuss case specific directions (e.g., update the action plan to include a specific action, additional documentation requests, use of Taxpayer Assistance Orders (TAOs) and other advocacy tools, etc.) with the employee and document specific directions in the TAMIS history, as appropriate. Leaving case direction memorializes necessary next steps in the case. The manager will conduct timely follow up to ensure the appropriate actions were taken.
Early Intervention Reviews
  1. EIRs are effective as a proactive step to ascertain whether the case advocate has verbally communicated with the taxpayer in a timely manner and clearly identified the taxpayer issues; has documented an action plan and taken substantive actions to move the case forward. The review should identify instances where an employee is having difficulty developing the case.

    Reviewer: LTA, TAGM, or LCA
    Delegate? Yes
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Open cases. Criteria used for selecting cases shall be at the discretion of the office LTA, such as:
    • Experience of Case Advocate (CA)

    • Strengths and weaknesses of CA

    • Criteria of case

    • Focus should be on complex issues (there is no reason to conduct an EIR on routine cases)

    Scope: Reviews should be focused on the following:
    • Are communications proactive, explain the advocacy process and TAS’s role, timely, and set taxpayer expectations?

    • Are initial advocacy steps proactive?

    • Are issue(s) or root cause(s) correctly identified?

    • Is there a sound action plan and is it documented on TAMIS?

    • Has the Case Advocate reached out for support (ITAP, TAGM, LCA) as needed?

    • Are OARs developed, as appropriate?

    • Are TAOs recommended, as appropriate?

    • Did the Case Advocate take multiple steps or actions where possible to move the case forward?

    • Are next contact and follow-up dates established, as appropriate?

    Written Documentation: Document the TAMIS History with substantive non-evaluative direction. An advocacy conversation regarding initial steps with the employee may be appropriate. Follow up to ensure action was taken.
    TAMIS Literal: **EIR**
Manual Refund Reviews
  1. The purpose of issuing a manual refund is to provide the taxpayer quick access to overpayments and credits. A manual refund is not generated through normal computer processing. It requires special preparation to allow the refund to release under unusual circumstances. Management is responsible for ensuring all actions are taken to avoid the issuance of a duplicate erroneous refund.

  2. Manual Refund Review:

    Reviewer: LTA
    Delegate? No, but the LTA should seek the assistance of a technical advisor, LCA, or analyst if they need technical assistance with this review.
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Manual refund forms and supporting documentation
    Scope:
    • Review for accuracy and ensure all applicable supporting documentation is attached.

    • Verify that proper research was conducted. This includes, but is not limed to, consideration of statue expiration dates.

    • Ensure the manual refund is within TAS Authorities and the circumstances of the case warrant such action.

    Written Documentation:
    • Update TAMIS to indicate the manual refund was reviewed and approved.

    • Log the approved request into the Manual Refund Tracking Tool (MRTT).

    TAMIS Literal: **MRR**
  3. Daily Manual Refund Monitoring:

    Reviewer: Case Advocate
    Delegate? Yes, if the manual refund initiator is out of the office, the technical lead or other designated individual will monitor the account daily.
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: IAT Erroneous Manual Refund Monitoring Tool (EMT)
    Scope: After requesting a manual refund (with either Form 5792, Request for IDRS Generated Refunds, or Form 3753, Manual Refund Posting Voucher), the case advocate must control the account on IDRS and monitor it daily using the EMT until monitoring is complete (when the MR moves to archive on EMT). Depending on the timing of the transactions it may not always be possible to prevent a duplicate erroneous refund after the EMT identifies a problem. IRM 3.11.6.2.8, Refund Intercept CC NOREF, for timeframes on when the IAT Stop Refund tool can be used to prevent an erroneous refund from generating. However, daily use of the EMT allows the case advocate to immediately begin the process required in IRM 21.4.5 to attempt to recover the erroneous refund.
    Written Documentation: TAS employees have two options to document their monitoring of the manual refund. Either options will satisfy the requirements of IRM 21.4.4.6.1:
    • After reviewing the account using the EMT, the case advocate may save, export, and transfer the EMT file to their manager for review as specified inIRM 21.4.4.6.1 and enter **MDRCA** in the TAMIS history.

    • After reviewing the case using the EMT, the case advocate may copy and paste the EMT print and enter **MDRCA** into the TAMIS history to notate their daily monitoring.

    TAMIS Literal: **MDRCA**
  4. Managerial Verification of Daily Manual Refund Monitoring:

    Reviewer: The initiator’s manager is responsible for monitoring the manual refund of his or her Case Advocate. (If an LTA in another office approved and signed the manual refund, the initiator’s manager is still responsible).
    Delegate? No. The person conducting the managerial verification cannot be the manual refund initiator or the person performing the monitoring of the initiator, e.g., technical lead, employee, or other designated individual. See IRM 21.4.4.6.1(4).
    IRM 21.4.4.6.1(3)allows for a designated back-up in the event the manager is out of the office. The back-up cannot be the same person conducting the daily monitoring.
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Managers will either use the EMT as required in IRM 21.4.4.6.1 or verify the EMT print was pasted into TAMIS.
    Scope:
    • Verify that the daily manual refund monitoring was done.

    • Document any days the monitoring was missed, including the reason.

    Written Documentation: Managers will also weekly complete the Form 14696, Manager’s Monitoring Confirmation Log, as outlined in IRM 21.4.4.6.1(4)(b). If the office is not currently monitoring any manual refunds this action is not required.
    Forward the Confirmation log, along with the Tracking Tool (spreadsheet) to the Area office within twenty one (21) days after the end of each quarter.
    TAMIS Literal: **MDRTA** until monitoring is complete per IRM 13.1.18.6, Subsequent Actions and Case Resolution.
  5. Area Analyst Manual Refund Reviews:

    Reviewer: Area Analyst
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Sample of manual refunds each quarter for each office.
    Scope:
    • Verify manual refund monitoring procedures are being followed, provide guidance, as appropriate, and follow up to confirm adherence.

    • Identify the sample was selected, the percentage of manual refunds sampled, the review process, the results, and how the Area followed up on the prior quarter’s findings.

    • Verify the manual refunds listed on the MR Tracking Tool against the IDRS report of RFUNDS input for cases with a TAS control.

    • The reviewer should discuss with leadership the oversight and backup process, for manual refund approvals and monitoring. Assess whether the oversight process is adequate to eliminate the possibility of duplicate, erroneous manual refunds, and to reduce the number of rejected requests. Review the office records, as there are no BOE reports to extract duplicate, erroneous manual refund data, or to count rejected manual refund requests. BOE reports may be generated to identify TAMIS histories noted when a manual refund was approved (MRR), daily monitoring the case advocate (MDRCA), and for daily monitoring by the TAGM/LTA (MDRTA).

    Written Documentation: Area Analysts will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
  6. Operational Review of an Office Issuing Manual Refunds:

    Reviewer: DEDCA, Area Analyst
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of: Operational reviews of offices whose employees can initiate, approve, or monitor a manual refund.
    Scope: For each office, the reviewer shall ensure:
    • Employees authorized to request manual refunds have IDRS command code RFUND in their profile.

    • Only LTAs or above, or anyone officially designated to act for an LTA, are authorized to approve manual refunds. See IRM 3.17.79.3.5.

    • LTAs approving manual refunds are following the IDRS restrictions in IRM 10.8.34.6.2.1.6.8.

    • Monitoring of manual refunds at the second level (typically a TAGM or LTA) weekly to verify the first level daily monitor is being done. The Form 14696, Manager’s Monitoring Confirmation Log, does not need to be updated weekly when the LTA’s office has not issued a manual refund that would require monitoring.

    • The office has identified backups and put a process in place, so that if the first or second level monitors are out of the office, the backup will complete the monitoring.

    • Employees are documenting the TAMIS history for the manual refund approvals (MRR), manual refund daily monitoring (MDRCA), and manual refund weekly monitoring (MDRTA).

    • Offices identify erroneous and duplicate manual refunds occurring during the past year. See IRM 21.4.4.6.1, Monitoring Manual Refunds, and IRM 21.4.5, Erroneous Refunds.

    • Offices identify the number of manual refund requests that were rejected to determine whether the staff needs training on manual refund (MR) requests.

    • That annual refresher training, as required by the IRM, is completed every 12 months for MR initiators, reviewers, approvers, and monitors. Ensures the appropriate IDRS command codes are removed if the training is not completed.

    Written Documentation: The assigned area analyst should retain both the MRTT (spreadsheet) and Form 14696 for twelve (12) months for review by upper management or outside auditors.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program Case Reviews
  1. The purpose of open Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) case reviews is to determine if the case is on track, a Revenue Agent Technical Advisor (RATA) referral made, and to identify advocacy and training opportunities.

    Reviewer: LTA or EDCA Designee
    Delegate? Yes
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Open OVDP cases
    Scope: This review is to:
    • Determine the next steps to advocate or bring case to closure;

    • Evaluate taxpayer rights;

    • Determine if the Operating Division (OD) is treating the taxpayer fairly; and

    • Share results discussed with the LTA, Case Advocate, RATA, and EDCA Designee/LTA.

    See CABIC PCIC 990 for additional information.
    Written Documentation: Document substantive non-evaluative direction in the TAMIS History.
    TAMIS Literal: **LTAOVDP**
SBREFA Case Reviews
  1. The purpose of open Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) case reviews are to determine if the issues are identified, a proper action plan adopted, taxpayer contacts are made, and advocacy and systemic issues addressed in the NTA letter.

    Reviewer: LTA or TAGM
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Open SBREFA cases.
    Scope: This is a review to determine:
    • Whether taxpayer concerns raised in Small Business Administration (SBA) referral letter and other issues to resolve case are addressed;

    • Difficulties with taxpayer contacts were referred to the DC analyst;

    • The letter to SBA was reviewed to ensure taxpayer concerns were addressed and case resolved, and systemic concerns addressed; and

    • The case remained open until SBREFA letter signed by NTA; and Interim letters were sent to SBA updating progress on the case every 30 days.

    Written Documentation: Document substantive non-evaluative direction in the TAMIS History.
    TAMIS Literal: **SBREFA**
Area Advocacy Case Reviews
  1. Area advocacy case reviews identify advocacy opportunities.

    Reviewer: DEDCA and Area Analysts
    Delegate? No. The reviewer may use available resources, including ITAP, where additional support is needed.
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Closed cases
    Scope: This is a comprehensive review of TAS’s advocacy efforts on each case, including employee engagement and case progression and resolution. Reviews are completed using available resources and the review results and observations and shared and discussed between DEDCA and the LTA.
    Written Documentation: Document the TAMIS history with substantive non-evaluative direction.
    TAMIS Literal: **AACR**
365+ Day Case Reviews
  1. Three hundred sixty-five day plus (365+) case reviews include a comprehensive analysis to identify actions taken, actions needed to resolve the case, and the identification of potential training needs.

    Reviewer: DEDCA and Area Analysts
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Cases open more than 365 days.
    Scope: This review will determine the next steps necessary to advocate or bring the case to closure. Review results are shared and discussed between the DEDCA and the LTA. Consider whether case follow ups are timely and if extensions provided to the IRS are warranted before issuing a TAO.
    Written Documentation: Notate TAMIS history with substantive non-evaluative direction.
    TAMIS Literal: **365R**
Tailored Advocacy Case Reviews
  1. The advocacy case reviews are generally non-evaluative advocacy driven events that give the reviewer a picture of what is going on in a case. These reviews should never be just perfunctory TAMIS documentation, but should provide meaningful guidance or direction to reach the best possible outcome for the taxpayer, move the case to resolution, and to improve the skills of the Case Advocate.

    Reviewer: LTA, TAGM, or LCA
    Delegate? Yes
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Open cases.
    Scope: Document TAMIS with case guidance to move the case forward and follow-up as warranted. Offices should consider office-wide opportunities when selecting cases for review, as well as the unique needs of individual case advocates. For example, relief rates on Collection cases may point to a need for reviews. Items to consider:
    • Has the case advocate clearly identified the taxpayer’s issues and taken steps to advocate with a sense of urgency?

    • Will the Action Plan resolve the issues?

    • Is the case advocate being responsive to the taxpayer?

    • Does the case advocate communicate via telephone whenever possible?

    • Were substantive actions taken to move the case forward for the best possible outcome?

    • If the case advocate is unclear on next steps, has he or she sought assistance from the LCA or manager?

    • Has the case advocate sought ITAP assistance via a referral?

    • Was the OAR developed and issued at the first possible opportunity?

    • Has the BOD been unresponsive or untimely (expired, extended)?

    • Are there systemic issues that need to be reported on SAMS? Consider what IRS problem caused the taxpayer to seek TAS assistance.

    • Is the case is on track for resolution? Are additional issues that need to be worked or addressed?

    • Does a TAO need to be issued? Consider whether case follow-ups are timely and if extensions provided to the IRS are warranted before issuing a TAO.

    • Have IRS delays been identified and remedies pursued?

    • Are there misrouted OARs? Is there a training opportunity for either TAS or operational employees?

    • Is there a reason for this case to be open (e.g., waiting for an IDRS transaction to post)?

    • Is this a politically sensitive issue that should be elevated to the EDCA?

    Written Documentation: Document the TAMIS history with substantive non-evaluative direction. Where possible, meet with case advocates on select cases to discuss advocacy efforts and alternatives. Follow up to ensure requested actions were taken.
    TAMIS Literal: **ACR**
    If this review or any other results in a TAO discussion with the function, document TAMIS with the literal **TAO-D** to indicate a TAO will be issued as the next step if the OAR action is not taken.
OAR Reviews
  1. The purpose of the OAR Review is to determine if the OAR is properly issued and to identify any training needs.

  2. OAR Screening. The purpose of reviewing outgoing OARs is to make sure the OAR is fully developed by:

    1. Appropriately using advocacy centric language;

    2. Sending the OAR to the proper location;

    3. Clearly stating the requested action;

    4. Ensuring adequate documentation is attached to allow the BOD to take the actions requested; and

    5. Reviewing these cases can also identify instances in which the taxpayer is in critical need of assistance so the manager can track the case to ensure the issue is favorably resolved.

  3. OAR Post-Issuance. Review expired, aged, or rejected OARs for missed advocacy opportunities and potential issuance of a TAO.

  4. Procedures regarding management responsibilities in the OAR process can be found in IRM 13.1.19, TAS Operations Assistance Request (OAR) Process, and in the Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

    Reviewer: LTA, TAGM, LCA, or Analyst
    Delegate? Yes
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: OARs
    Scope: Steps for individual OAR review:
    • Verify actions requested are clear and concise;

    • Verify destination of OAR;

    • Verify supporting documents are attached;

    • Verify requested completion date is appropriate for the issue and circumstances; and Consider prompt issuance of a TAO to advocate where appropriate.

    Written Documentation: Document the TAMIS history with substantive non-evaluative direction.
    TAMIS Literal: **OAR**
100-day with No Action in Last 30 days
  1. The purpose of this review is to ensure all actions are being taken to move the case toward a timely resolution.

    Reviewer: LTA, TAGM, or LCA
    Delegate? Yes
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Open Cases
    Scope: Reviews identify cases at the 100-day mark with no action within the last 30 days to determine if there are unnecessary delays, if technical or managerial guidance is needed, training needs, or inventory management concerns that could impact timely and effective case resolution. Determine if case is stalled or being adequately developed.
    Written Documentation: The reviewer should document case guidance on TAMIS and follow up as needed.
    TAMIS Literal: Not Applicable
Relief and Outcome
  1. The purpose of this review is to determine if TAS reached the best possible outcome for the taxpayer with the appropriate sense of urgency.

    Reviewer: LTA
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Closed cases
    Scope: Reviews should generally consist of categories of cases identified with broad improvement opportunities (such as Collection or Exam cases) and give the reviewer a picture of what advocacy efforts were taken.
    Written Documentation: LTAs will summarize the results on a memorandum. Discussion will be led by LTA with office leadership. When warranted, LCAs will use review findings in advocacy conversations.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable.
Correspondence
  1. The purpose of this review is to taxpayer communications are clear, concise, and grammatically-correct.

    Reviewer: LTA, TAGM, or LCA
    Delegate? Yes
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Outgoing taxpayer correspondence
    Scope: The review of outgoing taxpayer correspondence should focus on the accuracy of grammar and format and identifying training needs for the employee or office.
    Written Documentation: Not applicable
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) Online Reviews
  1. The purpose of these reviews is to make sure adjustments input by TAS are technically accurate, adhere to IRM procedures, are within TAS authority, and protect the integrity of IDRS.

    Reviewer: LTA, TAGM, or LCA
    Delegate? Yes
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: On-line IDRS Adjustment(s)
    Scope:
    • Reviews include all account adjustment actions that adjust, change, or move tax or credits.

    • The reviewer should be very knowledgeable of account actions, statutes (e.g., expiration dates) and TAS authorities. Reviewers should consider the following: Does TAS have the authority to make this adjustment? Was the action appropriate? Are the entries accurate and complete?

    • If any of the above actions are incorrect, the reviewer should have a conversation with the person who input the adjustment (if time allows) and immediately delete the adjustment. The reviewer should provide immediate guidance to the TAS employee, with priority given to actions needing correction. Contact an ATA, if necessary.

    • For more information on how to conduct the reviews, see IRM 2.4.5, Command Codes, QRADD, QRADDO, QRNCH, QRNCHG, RVIEW, QRACN, and QRIND for the Quality Review System.

    • Offices may partner with another office or offices for help performing these reviews.

    Written Documentation: Document the TAMIS history with substantive non-evaluative direction, when applicable.
    TAMIS Literal: **IDRSR**
Pre-Closure Reviews (PCRs)
  1. PCRs ensure all taxpayer issues are resolved and addressed before the case is closed and verify the accuracy of TAMIS case coding. Pre-Closure Reviews may identify training needs.

    Reviewer: LTA, TAGM, or LCA
    Delegate? Yes
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: Open cases just prior to closing.
    Scope: Reviewers should consider the following:
    • Were all issues resolved?

    • Were all related issues addressed?

    • Is the TAMIS coding accurate?

    • Did the correspondence contain the appropriate content, use the correct format, or contain grammatical errors?

    • If Collection holds were placed, were they extended and released timely?

    • Were actions procedurally correct?

    • Was the Action Plan documented and updated throughout the life of the case?

    • Did the TAS employee make specific apologies to the taxpayer?

    Written Documentation: Document the TAMIS history with substantive non-evaluative direction.
    TAMIS Literal: **PCR**
Internal Technical Advisor Program (ITAP) Reviews
  1. The purpose of the ITAP Referral Reviews is to:

    1. Determine if TAS is effectively advocating on behalf of the taxpayer;

    2. Determine if the technical guidance is timely, complete, accurate, and references the law or IRM procedure;

    3. Verify that follow-ups, next contact dates, and estimated completion dates are documented in the TAMIS histories, and are timely delivered;

    4. Achieve active, ongoing communication between the Technical Advisors and case advocates;

    5. Address Appeals/Compliance issues in TAMIS history;

    6. Provide proper guidance and conduct negotiations with the Business Operating Division (BOD) by ITAP on behalf of the case advocate, as appropriate;

    7. Document disclosure verification when the Technical Advisor directly speaks with the taxpayer or representative and giving accurate information on where to send an OAR after the case advocate has followed the SLA procedures;

    8. Close referrals timely; and

    9. Identify skill gaps.

  2. The following reviews are conducted by ITAP and provide fact-based information to support mid-year and end-of-year appraisals.

Technical Accuracy Evaluative Reviews
  1. The purpose of this review is to measure the technical accuracy of the guidance given.

    Reviewer: Managers, Internal Technical Advisor Program
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of:
    • TAMIS Case Referral;

    • IMD Reviews;

    • Case Advocacy Technical Library (CATL) Topics;

    • SAMS submissions;

    • Training Materials; and

    • Presentations.

    Scope: Was the guidance case or issue specific, did it completely address the taxpayer and case advocate concerns, and how effective the guidance was in promoting advocacy in TAS?
    Written Documentation: In addition to Technical Advisor (TA) guidance, the results from these reviews should be summarized in a monthly report to the ITAP Director to identify training opportunities, trends, etc.
    TAMIS Literal: **ITTAR**
New Hire Reviews
  1. For all newly hired TAs (on board three (3) months or less), the OJI will generally perform reviews. Additionally, the manager will review the case before it is referred to the case advocate. The manager should personally review referrals to determine if an extension is needed. These reviews may not be delegated. Document TAMIS history with **ITNHR**.

  2. Managers will conduct evaluative reviews when necessary throughout the OJI period. Generally, when employees are in OJT, managers should focus more on a coaching role. There may be times, however, when using your good judgement and when necessary, you should provide employees with positive or negative evaluative performance documentation based on his/her Critical Job Elements (CJEs).

  3. Managers are not required to wait 60 days after the employee receives their CJEs, finishes OJT, or is certified in an individual skill or skillset group (i.e., General, Accounts, Examination, or Collection) to issue evaluative performance documentation. They can issue this type of documentation at any time after the employee receives their CJEs.

    Reviewer:
    • On the Job Instructor (OJI)

    • Manager will complete all TAMIS Case Referrals before it is returned to the Case Advocate.

    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? No
    Review of:
    • TAMIS Case Referral;

    • IMD Reviews;

    • Case Advocacy Technical Library (CATL) topics;

    • SAMS submissions;

    • Training Materials; and

    • Presentations.

    Scope: For all newly hired TAs (on board three months or less).
    Written Documentation: Generally, these are coaching sessions. Document TAMIS with non-evaluative case guidance, as appropriate.
    TAMIS Literal: **ITNHR**
Quarterly Evaluative Reviews
  1. At the end of the first quarter for each employee, a documented discussion will be held to set the tone for the rating period addressing performance challenges, personal goals, CLP, and LSR issues.

    Reviewer: Managers, Internal Technical Advisor Program
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of: Closed Referrals (may be substituted with an IMD review).
    Scope: Managers must address evaluative performance based on the critical job elements.
    Written Documentation: Form 6067, Employee Performance Folder Record, or a written narrative.
    TAMIS Literal: **ITQER**
Workload Evaluative Reviews
  1. The purpose of a workload review is to provide the manager with a "snapshot" of the TA's assigned workload at a specific point in time. This snapshot provides the manager with valuable information regarding the employee’s workload management skills and technical expertise.

    Reviewer: Managers, Internal Technical Advisor Program
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of: This will include referrals, IMD reviews, Case Advocacy Technical Library (CATL) topics, and other training material review or preparation and office visits, task force, and project assignments.
    Scope: It is important the workload review includes a discussion between the TA and manager regarding open referred cases or assignments in the employee's workload.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of the workload evaluative reviews and capture this on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: **ITWLR**
TAO Reviews
  1. The purpose of this review is to determine technical advisor involvement in cases where a TAO has been issued.

  2. TAO trends discovered during these reviews will be provided to the EDCA-ITS.

    Reviewer: EDCA Intake & Technical Support (ITS), Technical Advisors
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? No
    Review of: TAOs
    Scope: If a TA was consulted before the TAO was issued, the advice provided will be reviewed to ensure the TA provided timely, technically correct, and advocacy-focused guidance If a TA was not consulted before the TAO was issued, the case will be reviewed to see if TA assistance would have been helpful. Observations on some TAOs may be provided to LTAs.
    Written Documentation: Results will be summarized and captured in a briefing document.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
Technical Analysis and Guidance (TAG) Program Reviews
  1. The following reviews are conducted by TAG, and provide fact-based information to support mid-year and end-of-year appraisals.

  2. TAG Written Product Review

    Reviewer: TAG Director and Managers
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of: Written products (e.g., CABIC, QRIS, Town hall Response, or Executive Briefing).
    Scope: The written product review should look for:
    • Accuracy of information;

    • Technical knowledge;

    • Presentation; and

    • Organizational impact.

    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
  3. TAG Data Analysis Accuracy Review

    Reviewer: TAG Director and Managers
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of: Review of data analysis products (e.g., BPR, Report to Congress, Quarterly BOD Report).
    Scope: The Data Analysis Accuracy Review should look for:
    • Accuracy of data;

    • Issue identification; and

    • Research and analysis.

    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) Reviews
  1. TAP managers will conduct the following reviews.

  2. Initial Advocacy Review

    Reviewer: TAP Manager
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Manager’s Discretion
    Review of: TAP Project
    Scope: Assess direction of project and employee’s performance in supporting and/or directing project committee.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
  3. In-Process Reviews

    Reviewer: TAP Manager
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Manager’s Discretion
    Review of: TAP Project
    Scope: Assess direction and employee’s performance in supporting and/or directing team.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
  4. Closed Deliverable Reviews

    Reviewer: TAP Manager
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of: TAP Project
    Scope: Review closing actions for each committee referral.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
Systemic Advocacy Reviews
  1. Systemic Advocacy managers will conduct the following reviews.

  2. Initial Advocacy Review – Technical Accuracy

    Reviewer: SA Technical Advocacy Director
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Manager’s Discretion
    Review of: Advocacy projects, collaborative efforts, IMD reviews, Information Gathering Projects (IGPs), etc.
    Scope: Ensure action plan and actions are appropriate. Manager will provide guidance on the quality of the work and direction, if needed.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
  3. In-Process Review – Technical Accuracy

    Reviewer: SA Manager
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Manager’s Discretion
    Review of: Review a sample of open assignments
    Scope: Review to ensure applicable expectations and timeframes for specific assignments are met.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
  4. Closed Deliverable Reviews – Technical Accuracy

    Reviewer: SA Manager
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of: Review the completed work efforts of each employee for that quarter.
    Scope: Review to ensure applicable expectations and timeframes for specific assignments are met.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
  5. Initial Advocacy Review – SIRE

    Reviewer: SIRE Manager
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Manager’s Discretion
    Review of: Review a sample of SAMS issues recently assigned to an employee as a Level 1 reviewer.
    Scope: Items for consideration can include whether the issue was correctly defined by the employee and if employee took the appropriate initial actions, etc.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
  6. In-Process Advocacy Review – SIRE

    Reviewer: SIRE Manager
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Manager’s Discretion
    Review of: Review any assigned SAMS issues open more than 60 days and other pending assignments.
    Scope: Review of SAMS issues may include whether the issue is being actively moving toward completion of Level 1 review, if appropriate SMEs have been consulted, etc.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
  7. Closed Deliverable Reviews – SIRE

    Reviewer: SIRE Manager
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of: Review closing actions on a sample of closed SAMS issues.
    Scope: Review for appropriate documentation including communication with the submitter.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
  8. Initial Advocacy Review – IMD/SPOC

    Reviewer: IMD/SPOC Manager
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Manager’s Discretion
    Review of: Review of sample of IMD reviews loaded into the IMD Center and assigned.
    Scope: Review to ensure applicable expectations and timeframes for IMD Reviews are met.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
  9. In-Process Review – IMD/SPOC

    Reviewer: IMD/SPOC Manager
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Manager’s Discretion
    Review of: Review of sample of in process IMD reviews.
    Scope: Review to ensure applicable expectations and timeframes for IMD Reviews are met.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable
  10. Closed Deliverable Reviews – IMD/SPOC

    Reviewer: IMD/SPOC Manager
    Delegate? No
    Evaluative? Yes
    Review of: Review a sample of closed IMD reviews.
    Scope: Review to ensure applicable expectations and timeframes for IMD Reviews are met.
    Written Documentation: Managers will summarize the results of this review on a memorandum.
    TAMIS Literal: Not applicable

Performance Management System (PMS) Process/Pay Review Board

  1. Managers are evaluated annually based on performance during the performance appraisal period of October 1 through September 30. To receive an IR summary evaluation rating or IR rating of record, permanent managers must be in an IR payband position on the performance appraisal ending date of September 30. Performance evaluations are made in accordance with the concepts and requirements of the IRS Performance Management Program for Managers/Management Officials and Confidential Management/Program Analysts, and corporate and organizational goals as described in IRM 6.430.3, Performance Management Program for Evaluating Managers, Management Officials and Confidential Management/Program Analysts, and IRM 6.430.5, Performance Appraisals for Temporary Assignments.

  2. Visit the HCO, Performance Management website for additional information and policy guidance on performance management.

  3. See the Payband Resource Center for additional information on the IRS Payband System, including Performance Review Board Guidance.

Contact Recording/Telephone Monitoring

  1. Contact Recording is a telephone application/tool/system that records incoming telephone contacts transferred from the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) toll-free line to the Centralized Case Intake (CCI) lines, for possible monitoring for evaluative and non-evaluative reviews.

  2. This system captures voice and in ten percent of calls, the system will screen capture computer activity for later retrieval and review.

  3. Managers use the tool to perform required random reviews of incoming telephone contacts.

  4. All calls are recorded in their entirety under Contact Recording and are normally erased within 45 days.

    Note:

    Management may request a recorded contact be downloaded. Refer to IRM 1.4.21.1.2.5, Managerial Requests, for more information concerning this type of request.

  5. If the caller objects to the recording of the call Use the “Stop Recording” icon to disable the Contact Recording feature. For additional information, refer to IRM 21.1.1.7, Contact Recording.

  6. Managers and Reviewers requiring access to contact recording must prepare an Online 5081 requesting access for their site or the site they will be reviewing.

  7. The Contact Recording database contains information on each manager and assistor in a site and the group to which they belong. It is important that managers submit requests to update the Contact Recording database with staffing changes as soon as they are identified. Send a secure email to the Business Application Administrator (BAA) with the name, login name, SEID, Aspect Login Number, group number, and manager's name to implement the change.

  8. When using Contact Recording for evaluative purposes, refer to Document 11678, 2019 National Agreement – Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), Article 12, Section 9B, Contact Recording and Monitored Contacts.

Statistics RRA 98 Section 1204 – 1204 Certification

  1. Key components of Section 1204 include:

    1. Section 1204(a) - In General - The IRS shall not use records of tax enforcement results to evaluate employees or to impose or suggest production quotas or goals with respect to such employees.

    2. Section 1204(b) - Taxpayer Service - The IRS shall use fair and equitable treatment of taxpayers as one of the standards for evaluating employee performance.

    3. Section 1204(c) - Certification - Each appropriate supervisor shall certify quarterly by letter to the IRS Commissioner whether tax enforcement results are being used in a manner prohibited by Section 1204(a).

  2. Additional information concerning Section 1204 and manager certification is available at:

    1. IRM 1.5.2, Managing Statistics in a Balanced Measurement System, Uses of Section 1204 Statistics;

    2. IRM 1.5.3, Manager’s Self-Certification and the Independent Review Process;

    3. IRM 1.5.8, Section 1204/Regulation 801 Guidance for Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS);

    4. Human Capital Office, RRA’98 Section 1204 Program;

    5. Memorandum for Division Commissioners, Chiefs, Chief Counsel, National Taxpayer Advocate, Implementation of Section 1204 HR Connect Indicator;

    6. Manager’s Instructions, How to Input Section 1204 Information into HR Connect;

    7. IRM 6.430.2.4.5.1, Using ROTERs in Self-Assessments; and

    8. IRM 6.430.3.5.2.2, Using Records of Tax Enforcement Results (ROTERS) in Self Assessments.

Labor Relations

  1. The purpose of this section is to provide managers information about where to go to get information on employee and labor relations issues.

  2. For day to day issues regarding conduct, performance and grievances, contact your Field Labor Relations Specialist. See the Field Labor Relations Contact Guide.

  3. Become familiar with TAS/NTEU Agreements, Letters and Memorandums of Understanding.

  4. Employee and Labor Relations Specialists provide support to TAS management.

  5. TAS’s Embedded Labor Relations staff members can also assist with LR issues such as determining negotiability of initiatives, contract interpretation, and other LR issues unique to TAS.

Conduct and Performance

  1. The first step in addressing any LR issue is to consult with a Field Labor Relations Specialist. Field Labor Relations Specialists serve as management representatives during the disciplinary process. As subject matter experts on the laws, rules, and regulations concerning employee conduct and performance issues, their primary job is to assist managers in taking the appropriate actions to resolve these issues to include drafting any necessary letters.

  2. In cases where employee behavior negatively impacts individual or organizational performance, managers must take steps to address the issue. The HCO Conduct and Performance web site also offers excellent guidance. In cases where employee conduct is unacceptable, managers must take steps to address the issues with the assistance of their Labor Relations Specialist. See Document 11500, IRS Manager’s Guide to Penalty Determinations.

  3. Three rules for effective conduct counseling and documentation are to be fair, consistent, and specific. Address conduct issues immediately and document counseling sessions.

  4. TAS’s Embedded Labor Relations Specialists are generally involved with unusual or high-profile cases and will facilitate the resolution of any different opinions between Field LR and management that may arise.

  5. The following resources are available to assist managers with conduct matters:

    1. IRM 6.751.1, Discipline and Disciplinary Actions: Policies, Responsibilities, Authorities, and Guidance;

    2. IRM 6.711, Labor-Management Relations;

    3. iManage, Misconduct and Discipline;

    4. Human Capital Office (HCO) Conduct and Performance;

    5. HCO Conduct Cases – TAS; and

    6. Delegation Order TAS-HR-1, Delegation of Authority in Disciplinary/Adverse and Other Actions.

Grievances and Arbitration

  1. In simplest terms, a grievance is an expression of dissatisfaction with a situation: generally, an agency’s action or failure to take some action desired by an employee.

    1. For Bargaining Unit (BU) employees, the negotiated grievance system is codified in the 2019 National Agreement, Article 41 and 42, Employee Grievance and Institutional Grievance Procedure, respectively.

    2. For Non-Bargaining Unit (NBU) employees, the mechanism for handling grievances is the Agency Grievance System contained in IRM 6.771, Agency Grievance System (AGS).

  2. See Labor & Employee Relations, Grievances for additional information.

TAS Balanced Measures

  1. TAS’s balanced measures are structured to assess the organizational effectiveness of TAS achieving its mission of protecting taxpayer rights under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, helping taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS, and recommending changes that will prevent future problems. TAS’s Balanced Performance Measurement System includes the following components:

    1. Employee Satisfaction

    2. Customer Satisfaction

    3. Business Results (Quality and Quantity)

  2. See IRM 13.5.1, TAS Balanced Measures – TAS Balanced Measures System, and the Business Assessment site.

Office Management

  1. TAS managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of their office. TAS managers with remote employees will use technology such as Skype for Business, email, telephone and conference calls, and work with other managers that are physically located with their employees to maintain day-to-day operations, including employee safety, work space, and office supply support. TAS managers with remote employees should develop a relationship with the local manager to ensure issues are addressed promptly and appropriately.

Outgoing Calls

  1. Calls to taxpayers will generally be made between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. in the taxpayer's time zone, unless a time outside these hours is requested by the taxpayer and falls within the employee’s tour of duty. When the taxpayer makes this request, update the "Best Time to Call" field on Taxpayer Advocate Management Information System (TAMIS) and notate the taxpayer’s request in the history.

Office Closures

  1. TAS's Strategic Assessment and Employee Development's (SAED) continuity and contingency planner will coordinate with Communications, Stakeholder Liaison and Online Services (CSO) to announce office closures and other events in accordance with the following guidelines.

  2. The appropriate administrative leave OFP codes for building closures are:

    • 990-59511 for authorized weather-related closures, including delayed arrivals and early dismissals.

    • 990-59512 for other causes resulting in an official building closure. See SETR Alert 2011-004.

  3. Managers should remind employees to direct any questions concerning teleworking during an emergency to the manager, including situations where an office remains open and emergency situations exist that prevent an employee from arriving at work. See Document 11678, Article 36, Section 15, Office Closures and Emergencies, and IRM 6.610.1.3.2.1.3, Office is Open, but Employee Cannot Report.

  4. For additional information on Office Closures, see:

    1. Decision Logic Table - Admin Leave Due to Office Closure for assistance on administrative leave related to office closures.

    2. Document 11678, "Article 50, Section 7, Emergencies" .

    3. IRM 6.800.2.

    4. Status of IRS Operations Decision Table.

    5. TAS Disaster Handbook

    6. See TAS Manager Handbook, for additional information concerning Emergency Situations, Occupant Emergency Plans, and Continuity Planning.

Case Advocate Relocations

  1. When a case advocate is relocating to another TAS office, he or she should be placed in deferral status for two weeks (14 calendar days) prior to the departure from the old office. Recognizing case assignment is best left with the local office management team, TAS encourages managers, to the extent possible, not to assign the departing case advocate new cases.

  2. During the two weeks before departure, the manager of the losing office will work with the case advocate to identify any cases that will remain with the losing office, and those that will remain with the case advocate after relocation.

  3. The case advocate will focus his or her energies on closing cases, and for all cases being reassigned, documenting the TAMIS histories with a summary of past actions and needed future actions.

  4. Several factors should be considered in determining which cases should remain with the case advocate, and which cases should remain with the losing office. Generally, special cases will remain with the losing office, absent mitigating circumstances where it might be in the taxpayer’s best interest to have the case remain with the case advocate. Examples of special case types are:

    • National Taxpayer Advocate – Headquarters cases (NTA-HQ);

    • Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA);

    • Cases where a Taxpayer Assistance Order (TAO) has been issued; or

    • Cases involving a Congressional Office.

  5. The best interest of the taxpayer needs to be at the forefront of the discussion when considering who will retain and work the cases. Also consider if case reassignment could delay resolution or cause undue burden or harm to the taxpayer. In many cases the case advocate and taxpayer have formed a partnership of trust we should not violate. Examples of situations where the case would be better left with the case advocate are:

    • The case advocate has taken substantive and substantial actions; i.e., significant OAR activity;

    • Case reassignment would cause disruption of case processing time;

    • There would be significant up to speed time for the new case advocate;

    • The case is complex, with multi-faceted issues;

    • Situations where the taxpayer, their representative, or a congressional staffer specifically request to continue with the current case advocate; or

      Note:

      Cases with an open OAR can now be transferred between offices by a TAMIS permission level 5 user. If the relocating case advocate will be retaining a case with an open OAR, the LTA will contact the EDCA-ITS National Workload Balancing and Inventory analysts for assistance.

  6. Reassignment of cases should happen prior to the case advocate’s departure date. This will allow the departing case advocate time to inform the taxpayer of the reassignment, provide the name and phone number of the case advocate that will continue to work the taxpayer’s case, and to establish a next contact date.

  7. In the event the manager is unable to complete the reassignment prior to the case advocate’s departure, the case advocate will provide the taxpayer with his or her manager’s name, phone number, and a next contact date. The case advocate will document the discussion with the taxpayer in the TAMIS history.

  8. Inventory decisions should include discussions between the losing and gaining LTAs.

  9. The losing office must notify the EDCA-ITS Inventory and National Workload Balancing analysts through their area offices. These analysts will determine, in conjunction with the DEDCA and local office, if any special inventory consideration is warranted to mitigate the impact of absorbing open cases on the offices. If the losing office is unable to absorb the inventory remaining with the office, the EDCA-ITS analysts will work with the area to identify an office to take the remaining cases. Inventory should not be reassigned outside the losing office without first consulting these analysts.

Outgoing Recorded Phone Messages

  1. Managers will ensure the use of the standardized script for outgoing recorded phone messages for employees having contact with taxpayers as provided in IRM Exhibit 13.1.6.6-1, Standardized Voice Messages for Local Taxpayer Advocates.

Monitoring CCI Incoming Phone Lines

  1. Managers use the Cisco Unified Intelligence Center (CUIC) to monitor call traffic within the Centralized Case Intake (CCI) offices. The reports in CUIC are in real time and allow manager to determine how many Intake Advocates are staffing the phone lines, English and Spanish, or on break. Managers use two main reports to monitor incoming calls to CCI:

    • The Ask TAS Agent Report provides managers with information as to which Intake Advocate is on the phone, hold times, wrap times, and availability by each CCI site.

    • The ASK TAS Call Queue Report provides managers with information concerning the number of calls in the queue, the number of abandoned calls, and the Level of Service provided.

  2. A schedule is provided to each manager at the six CCI sites which is to be followed by each manager. The schedule details how many Intakes Advocates should be on the phone for each half hour during operations. The CCI Analyst allows and schedules time off for meetings, training, and special events.

  3. Each manager is responsible for ensuring adherence to the phone schedule and monitoring the number of calls in the queue. If the call volume in the queue increases significantly, each manager should add an Intake to the schedule to assist with clearing out the queue. Contact from the CCI analyst may occur during this volume increase, requesting additional assistance.

  4. Staffing may be reduced during non-peak times however; it is at the discretion of the CCI Analyst to remove Intakes from the schedule. In the event this happens; managers will be notified by the Analyst and will be advised of how many Intakes to remove from staffing for each half hour.

Taxpayer Requests to Speak with a Manager

  1. If a caller requests to speak to a supervisor, follow the instructions below:

    1. Managers are encouraged to speak with the taxpayer at the time the taxpayer makes the request, if possible.

    2. If the manager is not available, the TAS employee will advise the taxpayer and obtain the best time and day to call. The manager will contact the taxpayer as soon as possible.

    3. Managers will review the case to determine if there are any questions about what relief is appropriate or the best way to proceed with the case. Managers will consider seeking technical assistance.

    4. When speaking with the taxpayers, managers should apologize for any issues or delays caused by TAS, discuss how the case will be handled going forward, and communicate what the taxpayer can expect to happen as the case moves forward.

  2. Excessive calls referred for managerial assistance may be an indication of a training issue.

Managing Employees

  1. The following sections cover a number of topics that will assist managers with day-to-day operations.

Employee Performance File (EPF)
  1. The EPF is a system consisting of all performance ratings and other performance-related records maintained on an employee in accordance with 5 CFR 293, Subpart D. For additional information on EPFs, see:

    1. Employee Resource Center Guide for Managers;

    2. IRM 6.430.2.3.5, Employee Performance File (EPF);

    3. IRM 6.430.3.4.3, Employee Performance File (EPF);

    4. Document 11678, Article 7, Personnel Records;

    5. Document 11678, Article 12, Section 9, Evaluative Recordation;

    6. EPF Guide for Managers;

    7. Performance Mangagement, see page 15;

    8. iManage, Employee Performance Files (EPFs) and Drop Files; and

    9. Tips for creating, maintaining and disposing of Employee Performance Files (EPFs).

  2. All TAS managers will maintain EPFs for all employees within their purview in a timely manner. When an employee moves to another TAS or IRS office, the losing manager will send the EPF to the receiving manager in a timely manner.

Employee Drop File (EDF)
  1. In addition to the EPF, a second file should be established for each employee. This is referred to as the drop file. The Employee Drop File (EDF) is for other documentation not related to performance. The EDF should contain anything that is not performance related such as leave counseling and copies of disciplinary actions. See IRM 1.4.1.8.5(7).

  2. All TAS managers will maintain EDFs for all employees within their purview in a timely manner. When an employee moves to another TAS or IRS office, the losing manager will send the EDF to the receiving manager in a timely manner.

Official Personnel File (OPF)
  1. The OPF is the employee’s official record of Federal employment. It contains the records the Government needs to make accurate employment decisions throughout an employee’s Federal career. See IRM 11.3.20.16, Official Personnel Folder (OPF).

Medical Documentation
  1. Employee medical information must be maintained separately from the EPF and EDF.

  2. For more information see IRM 6.630.1.5.4, Safeguarding Medical Information.

Time and Attendance
  1. TAS managers are responsible for understanding the rules and regulations concerning leave, approving leave requests, ensuring employees understand leave rules and responsibilities, balancing employee needs while maintaining office coverage, performing timekeeping reviews, and validating the accuracy of SETR. Managers having questions about an employee’s use of leave should contact his or her Labor Relations Specialist.

  2. For information on leave-related items, see:

    1. Document 11678, Articles 31 through 36;

    2. CFR Title 5, Chapter 1, Subchapter B. Part 630, Absence and Leave;

    3. OPM Title 5, Overtime Pay Fact Sheet;

    4. IRM 1.2.45.13, Delegation Order 6-12 (Rev. 1), Absence and Leave;

    5. IRM 6.610.1, Hours of Duty;

    6. IRM 6.630.1, Absence and Leave;

    7. iManage, Leave; and

    8. iManage, Leave Counseling.

Annual Leave
  1. Annual Leave is used for absences from work for events such as vacations, personal business, or emergencies (including illness).

  2. Generally, employees must request annual leave in advance for managerial approval. When making approval determinations, managers will consider office coverage. Managers will remind employees in Use or Lose situations to schedule to timely schedule and submit leave requests.

  3. For additional resources, see:

    • IRM 6.630.1.6.1, Advanced Annual Leave;

    • Document 11678, Article 32, Section 6; and

    • Employee Resource Center, Annual Leave.

Sick Leave
  1. Sick Leave is used when an employee is absent or incapacitated due to:

    • Physical or mental illness;

    • Injury;

    • Pregnancy;

    • Childbirth;

    • Activities required to adopt a child;

    • Visits to a doctor, optometrist, or dentist; or

    • Exposure to a communicable disease.

    Note:

    Employees should request sick leave as far in advance as possible.

  2. Managers are responsible for ensuring that employees are using sick time appropriately and requesting a medical certificate from employees (as appropriate), and keeping medical information provided by employees confidential.

  3. For additional resources, see:

    • IRM 6.630.1.5, Sick Leave;

    • Document 11678, Article 34; and

    • Employee Resource Center, Sick Leave.

Advanced Sick Leave
  1. Advanced Sick Leave, employees may request advanced sick leave when all the following conditions are met:

    • The employee is adopting a child, has a serious health condition, or needs to care for a family member with a serious health condition;

    • The employee is eligible to earn sick leave and is not subject to a leave restriction letter;

    • The request (plus any existing advanced sick leave) does not exceed 30 days;

    • There is no reason for the manager to believe the employee will not return back to work after having used the leave; and

    • The employee provides acceptable medical documentation.

  2. Managers are responsible for approving advanced sick time (when appropriate), securing medical documentation from the employee, and keeping medical information provided by employees confidential.

  3. For additional resources, see:

    • IRM 6.630.1.6.2, Advanced Sick Leave;

    • Document 11678, Article 34; and

    • Employee Resource Center, Sick Leave

Family Leave
  1. Family Leave, full-time employees may use a total of 12 weeks of sick leave in a leave year to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
    Employees are also granted 13 days of sick leave for general family care purposes, such as bereavement or to care for a family member who is incapacitated by a medical or mental condition or to attend to a family member receiving medical, dental, or optical examinations or treatment.
    Employees must deduct the portion of the 13 days of general family care or bereavement from the 12-week entitlement.

  2. Managers are responsible for ensuring that employees are using sick time appropriately and requesting a medical certificate from employees (as appropriate), and keeping medical information provided by employees confidential.

  3. For additional resources, see:

    • IRM 6.630.1.9, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);

    • Document 11678, Article 33;

    • Employee Resource Center, Sick Leave.

Maternity Leave
  1. Maternity Leave, various leave and work scheduling flexibilities are available to assist employees in meeting work and family obligations for maternity purposes. The leave options are available to use separately or in combination to help balance work and family life related to pregnancy, childbirth, bonding with a new baby, adoption, and foster care.

    Note:

    Telework is inappropriate for employees to care for family members while working at home or an alternative worksite. However, telework may provide employees with valuable additional time to spend with family members by reducing the amount of time spent commuting.

  2. Managers are responsible for approving and ensuring that employees are using Maternity Leave appropriately.

  3. For additional resources, see:

    • IRM 6.630.1.12, Maternity Leave – Leave Options for Birth, Adoption, and/or Foster Care of a Child, and Additional Flexibilities for Family Purposes;

    • OPM’s Handbook on Leave and Workplace Flexibilities for Childbirth, Adoptions, and Foster Care;

    • Employee Resource Center, Maternity Leave; and

    • Document 11678, Article 33, Section 5.

Leave without Pay
  1. Leave without Pay (LWOP) is authorized nonpay status and is entitled for:

    • Disabled veterans needing medical treatment per Executive Order 5396;

    • Employees invoking and meeting approval for FMLA; and

    • Employees who have filed a claim for job related illness or injure with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Program.

  2. Separate from FMLA, the IRS allows 24 hours of LWOP per year for specific family-related purposes:

    • School and Early Childhood Educational Activities;

    • Routine Family Medical Purposes; and

    • Elderly Relatives Health or Care Needs.

  3. Managers are responsible for approving and ensuring that employees are using LWOP appropriately.

  4. For additional resources, see:

    • IRM 6.630.1.10, Leave Without Pay; and

    • Document 11678, Article 36, Section 15(E), pertaining to LWOP and Office Closures and Emergencies.

Absence without Leave
  1. Absence without Leave (AWOL) is a non-pay status for any absence of duty not officially and properly authorized. AWOL may be changed later to an appropriate type of leave if it is determined that the employee has satisfactorily explained the absence or presented acceptable documentation. AWOL should be charged when an employee:

    • Is absent without permission;

    • Has not notified his or her manager of the absence in accordance with established procedures; or

    • Has not provided satisfactory documentation or an explanation for absence from duty.

  2. Managers will consult with their Labor Relations Specialist prior to putting an employee in AWOL status.

  3. For additional resources, see:

    • IRM 6.630.1.13, Absence Without Leave (AWOL).

Other Leave
  1. Other Leave, there are a number of other situations where an employee may be granted leave including:

    • Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave;

    • Court Leave;

    • Military Leave;

    • Excused Absence (Administrative Leave);

    • This listing is not all inclusive.

  2. Managers are responsible for approving and ensuring that employees are using leave appropriately.

  3. For additional resources, see:

    • IRM 6.630.1, IRS Absence and Leave;

    • Document 11678, Article 36; and

    • Employee Resource Center, Leave.

Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity

  1. The TAS, Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity’s (EEOD) mission is to advance and support the NTA’s efforts to ensure equality of opportunity by leveraging workforce diversity, cultivating employee culture and permeating the principles of equity and fairness through education, training and active cross-functional partnerships.

  2. TAS managers are responsible for ensuring that all employees and applicants for employment enjoy equal opportunity in TAS regardless of race, sex, national origin, color, religion, disability, or reprisal for engaging in prior protected activity.

  3. TAS recognizes that increasing diversity can enhance organization performance, and is committed to employing a diverse workforce and managing that diversity effectively. TAS managers are responsible for taking proactive steps to achieve TAS’s EEOD objectives.

  4. See the TAS Manager Handbook for more information concerning TAS’s EEOD objectives and manager expectations.

Continuity Planning

  1. TAS is committed to minimizing the disruption of TAS services in support of the IRS mission under all circumstances as appropriate.

Manager’s Roles and Responsibilities.

  1. The NTA and DNTA are responsible for:

    1. Ensuring that IRS and TAS continuity policies, guidance, and procedures are implemented and followed.

    2. Managing their organization’s day-to-day continuity programs.

    3. Ensuring they are capable of carrying out the respective Mission Essential Functions (MEF) related to continuity operations, including planning, activation, execution, and reconstitution.

    4. Planning, programming, and budgeting for continuity capabilities.

    5. Ensuring comprehensive and viable continuity plans are developed, exercised, implemented, and maintained.

  2. When addressing mission essential functions, the NTA and DNTA are required to:

    1. Identify and prioritize the functions within their organization (if any).

    2. Identify critical data (vital records) and systems needed to perform each mission essential function.

    3. Establish critical resource requirements needed to perform each function.

    4. Identify communications systems needed to support each function.

    5. Develop recovery or resumption strategies for each identified function.

    6. Establish a roster of knowledgeable key personnel to serve on continuity operations or recovery teams.

    7. Establish orders of succession to key leadership positions within their organization.

    8. Pre-delegate authorities for making policy determinations and decisions within their organization, as appropriate.

    9. Establish and periodically (at least annually) test the capability to perform their functions.

    10. Ensure that required continuity information is documented in the appropriate continuity plans and procedures.

  3. See the TAS Manager Handbook for a detailed discussion.

Security

  1. IRM 1.4.6, Managers Security Handbook, sets forth the manager’s security responsibilities.

  2. Additional resources are available at:

    1. IRM 10.2.1, Physical Security;

    2. IRM 10.5.4, Incident Management Program;

    3. IRM 10.2.18, Physical Access Control (PAC);

    4. IRM 10.2.13, Information Protection;

    5. IRM 10.5.4, Incident Management Program;

    6. Disclosure and Privacy Knowledge Base;

    7. ERC, Workplace Security;

    8. ERC, Replacing IRS Identification Cards;

    9. iManage, Health, Safety and Security Category, Workplace Security; and

    10. FMSS, Managers Security Toolkit.

Disclosure

  1. IRM 11.3, Disclosure of Information, provides the instructions, guidelines, and procedures necessary for managers to fulfill their obligations under the disclosure laws.

  2. The Disclosure Reference website has many tools available to assist TAS employees and managers in understanding and applying their disclosure responsibilities.

  3. Additional resources:

    1. What is considered PII?;

    2. Information Protection Policy & Guidance;

    3. IRM 10.5.4, Privacy and Information Protection, Incident Management Program;

    4. Erroneous Taxpayer Correspondence Definition and Examples;

    5. IRM 25.13.1.3, Erroneous Correspondence Procedures;

    6. CSIRC Website;

    7. Incidents involving intentional unauthorized disclosures must be reported to TIGTA;

    8. IRM 11.3.1.7, Reporting Unauthorized Accesses or Disclosures, and IRM 11.3.38.5, Reporting of Suspected Willful Unauthorized Accesses or Disclosures; and

    9. Manager's Quick Reference Guide to IRS Data Protection and Procedures.

Terms

The following table contains a list of terms used throughout this IRM.

Term Definition
Advocacy The willingness and ability to see the situation from a taxpayer’s perspective, advocate for the taxpayer’s rights, and assist IRS leadership in integrating the taxpayer’s perspective into tax administration.
Case Advocacy Any employee working to advocate for the taxpayer. (This could include Intakes, Case Advocates, TAGM’s, LTA’s etc.).
Communications The commitment to engage in clear and open communications, listen to taxpayers and stakeholders, understand their perspectives and issues, educate the taxpayer about the tax system, and effect changes.
Competence The knowledge and ability to understand the taxpayer’s issue and how to resolve it.
Confidentiality The discretion in disclosing information to the IRS.
Empathy The understanding of and compassion for the taxpayer’s situation.
Improvement The pursuit of opportunities to improve tax administration for the benefit of taxpayers.
Independence The ability to objectively advocate for the taxpayer separately from the IRS.
Internal Controls The programs, policies, and procedures established to ensure:
1. Mission and program objectives are efficiently and effectively accomplished;
2. Program and resources are protected from waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and misappropriation of funds;
3. Laws and regulations are followed;
4. Financial reporting is reliable; and
5. Reliable information is obtained and used for decision making.
Leadership 365 An onboarding, orientation and training program for new TAS leaders in their first year with TAS.
Systemic Advocacy The TAS office whose purpose is to identify areas in which groups of taxpayers are experiencing problems with the IRS and to the extent possible, propose administrative or legislative changes to resolve or mitigate those problems.
Systemic Advocacy Management System (SAMS) Taxpayer, practitioners, and IRS and TAS employees use SAMS to submit systemic issues to TAS.
Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR) TBOR groups the existing rights in the tax code into ten fundamental rights, and makes them clear, understandable, and accessible.
Taxpayer Advocate Management Information System (TAMIS) TAS uses TAMIS to record, control, and process cases and to analyze the issues that bring taxpayers to TAS.
Taxpayer Advocate Received Date (TARD) The date TAS received the taxpayer’s inquiry.

Acronyms

The following table contains a list of acronyms and their definitions used throughout this IRM.

Acronym Definition
**365R** 365+ Days Case Review Literal
**AACR** Area Advocacy Case Review Literal
AAR Annual Assurance Review
**ACR** Advocacy Case Review Literal
ACE Advocacy, Communication, and Employee Engagement
AGS Agency Grievance System
ATA Accounts Technical Advisor
BAA Business Application Administrator
BOD Business Operating Division
BOE Business Objects Enterprise
BU Bargaining Unit
CA Case Advocate
CABIC Case Assistance by Issue Code
CATL Case Advocate Technical Library
CAU Caution Upon Contact Taxpayer
CC Command Code
CCI Centralized Case Intake
CFO Chief Financial Officer
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CJE Critical Job Element
CLP Career Learning Plan
CSO Communications, Stakeholder Liaison and Online Services
CUIC Cisco Unified Intelligence Center
DC District of Columbia
DEDCA Deputy Executive Director Case Advocacy
DEDSA Deputy Executive Director Systemic Advocacy
DNTA Deputy National Taxpayer Advocate
DRC Disaster Recovery Center
EDCA Executive Director Case Advocacy
EDCA-ITS Executive Director Case Advocacy, Intake & Technical Support
EDF Employee Drop File
EDSA Executive Director Systemic Advocacy
EEOD Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity
**EIR** Early Intervention Review Literal
EIR Early Intervention Review
EEO Equal Employment Opportunity
ELMS Enterprise Learning Management System
EMT Erroneous Manual Refund Tool
EPF Employee Performance File
ERC Employee Resource Center
FMFIA Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act
FMLA Family Medical Leave Act
FMSS Facilities Management & Security Services
GS General Schedule
HCO Human Capital Office
HQ Headquarters
IA Intake Advocate
**IA MER** Intake Advocate Monthly Review Literal
IAT Integrated Automation Technologies
IDRS Integrated Data Retrieval System
**IDRSR** IDRS Online Review Literal
IGP Information Gathering Project
IMD Internal Management Documents
IRC Internal Revenue Code
IT Information Technology
ITAP Internal Technical Advisor Program
**ITNHR** ITAP New Hire Review Literal
**ITQER** ITAP Quarterly Evaluative Review Literal
ITS Intake & Technical Support
LCA Lead Case Advocate
LIA Lead Intake Advocate
**LTAOVDP** OVDP Case Review Literal
LTA Local Taxpayer Advocate
LSR Leadership Succession Review
LWOP Leave without Pay or unpaid leave
MC ESC Management Controls Executive Steering Committee
MDRCA Manual Refund Daily Monitoring
**MDRCA** Manual Refund Daily Monitoring Literal
MDRTA Manual Refund Weekly Monitoring
**MDRTA** Manual Refund Weekly Monitoring Literal
MEF Mission Essential Functions
**MER** Case Advocate Review, SBREFA Review Literal
MPAF Maximum Profile Authorization File
MR Manual Refund
MRR Manual Refund Approvals
**MRR** Manual Refund Reviewed and Approved Literal
MRTT Manual Refund Tracking Tool
NBU Non-Bargaining Unit
NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology
NTA National Taxpayer Advocate
NTA-HQ National Taxpayer Advocate - Headquarters
NTEU National Treasury Employees Union
N-WLB National Workload Balancing
**OAR** OAR Review Literal
OAR Operations Assistance Request
OD Operating Division
OJI On-the-Job Instructor
OMB Office of Management and Budget
OPF Official Personnel File
OPF Code Organization-Program-Function Code
OJT On-the-Job Training
OVDP Offshore Disclosure Program
PCIC Primary Core Issue Code
**PCR** Pre-Closure Review Literal
PMS Performance Management System
POD Post-of-Duty
**QERL** LCA Review Literal
QRIS Question Resolution Information System
RATA Revenue Agent Technical Advisor
SA Systemic Advocacy
SAED Strategic Assessment and Employee Development
SAMS Systemic Advocacy Management System
SBA Small Business Administration
**SBREFA** SBREFA Case Review Literal
SBREFA Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act
SETR Single-Entry Time Reporting
SIRE Systemic Issue Review and Evaluation
SME Subject Matter Expert
SPOC Single Point of Contact
TAC Taxpayer Assistance Center
TAG Technical Analysis and Guidance
TAGM Taxpayer Advocate Group Manager
TAMIS Taxpayer Advocate Management Information System
TAO Taxpayer Assistance Order
**TAO-D** TAO Issued at Next Step Literal
TAP Taxpayer Advocacy Panel
TARD Taxpayer Advocate Received Date
TAS Taxpayer Advocate Service
TBOR Taxpayer Bill of Rights
TIGTA Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
UNAX Unauthorized Access
USC United States Code
USR Unit Security Representative
W&I Wage & Investment Division
WIGI Within Grade Increase

EDCA and CCI Manager Review Schedule

The EDCA and CCI Manager Review Schedule provides the number of reviews EDCA and CCI managers will complete each year by review type. For a detailed explanation of how to conduct each review, see IRM 1.4.13.9.6.5, Case Advocacy Reviews, and EDCA Review Schedule.