1.4.53 Advisory Group Manager Operational Aid

Chapter Overview

  1. This chapter discusses operational and administrative responsibilities of managers in the Advisory function of Advisory, Insolvency, and Quality (AIQ).

  2. Advisory works in conjunction with field collection to ensure that all legal and procedural requirements are met in actions taken to collect delinquent liabilities and returns. These collection actions include determinations regarding notices of federal tax liens, levy and seizure, trust fund recovery penalties, litigation, collateral agreements, and other activities.

  3. Advisory also works with taxpayers to resolve lien priority issues and claims against the government.

  4. In general, Advisory works with other functions and divisions outside field collection such as Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), Examination, Wage & Investment (WI), Counsel, Criminal Investigation, and Appeals. This cooperation ensures that legal requirements are met, appropriate actions are taken, and correct information is provided to both internal and external customers. Where present, service level agreements between SBSE and the respective business or functional unit provide mutual guidelines on timeframes and actions to be taken in this coordinated effort.

Administrative Guidelines for Managers

  1. General administrative guidelines for all IRS managers are found in IRM 1.4, Resource Guide for Managers.

  2. Keep in mind that Internet and Intranet web sites contain the most up-to-date information. IRM 1.4.4, Useful Web Pages for Managers, is especially helpful. It provides links to useful web sites where managers can find guidelines and instructions to do their jobs. A few of the many helpful sites are shown below:

    1. http:irweb.irs.gov/ – The IRS Intranet Home Page provides the starting point for research,

    2. http:apm.web.irs.gov/ – The Administrative Procedures for Managers web site provides an entry-level Leadership Development course that includes definitions, references, and resources on many subjects,

    3. http:e-learning.stg.web.irs.gov/MAN%20BRIEF08/index.html l – Mandatory Briefings provides information on the delivery of mandatory employee briefings,


      Encourage employees to utilize the Enterprise Learning Management System (ELMS) to take the briefings. ELMS automatically updates their learning history as they finish each briefing and you can track their progress.

    4. http://estracker.no.irs.gov/ - Employee Satisfaction Survey Issues.

  3. Group Managers are responsible for performing certain administrative functions for their employees including but not limited to:

    1. Maintaining time and attendance records,

    2. Certifying overtime records,

    3. Approving scheduled and unscheduled leave,

    4. Controlling and approving travel,

    5. Maintaining safe working conditions,

    6. Holding group meetings on a regular basis,

    7. Keeping employees current on all applicable policies and procedures.

  4. For additional information, see IRM, Administrative Responsibilities.

General Managerial Responsibilities

  1. Managers are responsible for ensuring that proper security measures are taken to protect taxpayer privacy and to ensure that any customer comments/complaints are properly recorded and addressed. See IRM 1.4.6, Managers Security Handbook and IRM 1.16.2, Functional and Compliance Reviews, for more information.

IDRS & ICS Security

  1. IDRS security briefings are included in the mandatory Annual On-Line Briefings. IDRS security should also be reinforced through discussions at group meetings.

  2. Employees should be reminded to complete Form 11377, Taxpayer Data Access, if an account is inadvertently accessed, or when applicable.

  3. You may review the ICS report of acting group manager activity to ensure actions taken by acting group managers do not appear to be inappropriate.

Managing Employees using Flexiplace, or in Remote Locations, and/or Multiple Posts of Duty

  1. Flexiplace is a program that permits your employees to work at home or at other approved locations remote to the assigned post of duty.

    1. There are two forms of Flexiplace:

      • Occupational Flexiplace – up to full time in a location other than an IRS office or,

      • Situational/Hourly Flexiplace – occasional/part time in a location other than an IRS office.

    2. Your official relationship with, authority over, and accountability for an employee participating in the Service’s Flexiplace Program is no different than the relationship with, authority over, and accountability for employees who are not participating in the program.

    3. Each year you should secure or update the Flexiplace Agreement.

    4. Managing an employee participating in Flexiplace is essentially no different than managing an employee in the office. Ensure that your actions are in compliance with any applicable Local Flexiplace Agreement (check with your local field managers) as well as the National Agreement. The only true difference is the employee is not in the office.

    5. Embedded Quality Review System (EQRS) can be used to conduct a day after review to ensure employees on Flexiplace are working efficiently and will ensure the quality of work is maintained or will identify problems that could be caused by working at home.

    6. IRM, Flexiplace (Telework) Program, and Article 50 of the National Agreement address Flexiplace issues.

  2. Remote/Multiple POD Groups

    1. Some Advisory groups have employees in remote PODs in the same commuting area. Other Advisory groups consist of PODs in several states. While each present unique challenges, both are similar to managing employees on Flexiplace.

    2. The needs of remotely managed employees are the same as those working on Flexiplace. In addition to Flexiplace needs, the manager should have a basic understanding of each POD. This includes security, travel, mail, other personnel and available equipment. Support for supplies may or may not be an issue.

    3. Set up systems to ensure the employee can effectively and timely process case work. Some methods are:

      • Approvals done via E-mail or fax (use of electronic signatures and/or signature stamps where appropriate),

      • Net-meeting for training and assistance,

      • Conference calls to include employee in group decisions.

    4. Team building is especially important to create a cohesive working unit.

Customer Service and/or Remote Employees
  1. The manager is responsible for ensuring employees in the office, on Flexiplace, or in remote PODs should all maintain the same level of service regardless of location.

  2. This includes guidance concerning timely responses to telephone calls, e-mails, and mail.

  3. Managers and employees should check voice mail, pagers, and e-mail several times a day to ensure timely responsiveness. Managers should periodically check the outgoing voice mail messages of their employees to ensure they are correct.

  4. The group manager has the right to direct a Flexiplace employee to report to his/her POD when necessary.

  5. Timely processing of remittances and mail should be considered in planning with off-site staff.

  6. Other areas of consideration:

    • back-up for absences to ensure that time sensitive items such as remittances are timely processed,

    • out-going message language,

    • local support for supplies & mail,

    • information exchange.


  1. Advisory provides technical and educational support to other IRS functions through its internal outreach programs. This support enables all IRS caseworkers to make appropriate collection or assessment determinations on a wide variety of collection work.

  2. Advisory managers and staff can maintain an effective dialogue with stakeholders such as Area Counsel, TAS, Governmental Liaison, and US/DOJ attorneys, by attending forums, conferences, and workshops on advisory related issues.

  3. Managers and their employees may impact tax law compliance if they attend various types of practitioner association meetings or trade associations (title companies, accounting organizations etc.). These venues can be used to acquaint practitioners with Advisory’s policies and procedures, particularly issues regarding lien certificates.

Advisory Review and Trend Analysis

  1. Form 5942, Reviewer's Report, is an important tool in the Advisory review process. Form 5942 is used to provide commendatory comments, request additional information to clarify case issues or provide guidance, request corrective action by the originator, make casework quality observations to management, and to furnish information for CFf trend analysis.

  2. Advisory group managers will submit Forms 5942 issued during each quarter to their territory manager. The Advisory territory managers will submit an analysis of trends identified to the appropriate Field Collection Area Director.

Direct Contact With Taxpayers With/Or Requesting Representation

  1. You are reminded to take steps to ensure that your group is in conformance with IRC 7521, Procedures Involving Taxpayer Interviews. Specifically, your employees are required to:

    1. Stop the interview with a taxpayer (unless required by court order) whenever a taxpayer requests to consult with a representative (e.g. accountant, attorney or enrolled agent, who is permitted to represent taxpayers before the IRS),

    2. Obtain your approval to contact the taxpayer instead of the representative, if the representative is responsible for unreasonably delaying the completion of a collection action. See IRM, Bypassing of Taxpayer's Representative for a more detailed discussion of bypass criteria and procedures.

  2. Vehicles that you can use to communicate your expectation for compliance by your employees are:

    • Group meetings,

    • Case reviews,

    • Workload reviews,

    • Office visitations with remote employees,

    • Taxpayer/representative inquiries (if necessary).

  3. A taxpayer or representative may request to use audio or video equipment to record an in-person interview. See IRM, Taxpayer Request to Make an Audio Recording, for information on responding to such requests.

Advisory Time Reporting and Case Matrix

  1. Managers and employes should use Time Reporting Codes as shown in IRM Exhibit 5.2.1-6

Advisory and Integrated Data Recovery System (IDRS)

  1. Research sources include Document 6209, IRS Processing Codes and Information; LEM 25.10.3, IDRS Security Handbook; IRM 2.3, IDRS Terminal Responses; and IRM 2.4, IDRS Terminal Input. Also see IRM for additional ideas.

  2. Security Groups

    1. Whenever practical, Advisory groups should not be included with IDRS data security work groups from other functions within SBSE (for example, Insolvency or Field Collection).

    2. By keeping Advisory separate from other groups, managers can identify and oversee command codes.

    3. To change, consolidate, or request a new group code, the IDRS-Unit Security Representative (USR) or the Functional Security Coordinator (FSC) must be contacted.

  3. Sensitive Command Codes

    1. A command code is considered "sensitive" if it can be used to adjust account balances, change the status of a tax module or account, or affect the tax liability. Sensitive command code combinations give an employee the ability to perform more than one type of transaction where the intentional mishandling of a taxpayer’s account may occur (e.g., change the entity or address information of an account and transfer payments).

Role of the Advisory Manager

  1. The Advisory function is comprised of Advisory, Independent Administrative Review, Property Appraisal and Liquidation Specialist (PALS), Estate Tax Liens, and Quality Review (NQRS).

  2. As an Advisory group manager, you are charged with guarantying consistent quality work is produced from each of your employees. To ensure consistent quality, you must provide oversight and direction in a number of areas, which will result in accomplishing the mission of the Internal Revenue Service. Your oversight responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

    1. Creating and maintaining a work environment that will promote team work, positive working relationships, and increased employee satisfaction;

    2. Issuing the Critical Job Elements (CJE) timely in accordance with the current National Agreement and evaluating employees performance against their CJEs;


      Use Form 6774, Receipt of Critical Job Elements and Retention Standard, to document review annually or when CJE's change.

    3. Ensuring cases are assigned timely and employee workload:
      • Reflects current priorities,
      • Incorporates employee experience and skill level,
      • Addresses Servicewide objectives,
      • Protects public interest, and
      • Facilitates effective case processing.

    4. Ensuring employees maintain high standards of professionalism in all their contacts with the public, internal customers, and coworkers;

    5. Ensuring employees observe taxpayer rights;

    6. Ensuring employee case actions are timely and in accordance with current law, policies, and procedures;

    7. Ensuring employees are accountable for the appropriateness of their actions;

    8. Providing ongoing employee feedback that is candid and meaningful and will establish a basis for determining an accurate assessment of performance and developmental needs;

    9. Ensuring employees have functioning equipment and supplies;

    10. Ensuring employees are aware of ongoing changes to the laws, policies, and procedures that relate to their responsibilities (in a way that ensures understanding-group meetings, e-mails, conference calls etc.);

    11. Addressing systems issues that impact either internal or external customer needs;

    12. Taking a proactive role in the time and inventory reporting process by overseeing and ensuring that the group's monthly time and inventory data is accurate and timely.

  3. You are an advocate for your employees. Help them to achieve their career objectives by remembering: ENTHUSIASM IS CONTAGIOUS.

    • Clearly shared objectives and standards are a must.

    • Intermediate goals must be set, shared, and monitored.

    • Small successes build confidence.

    • Identifying, planning, and monitoring of employee needs and their development requires open communication.

    • Your direct involvement and ongoing attention are essential to the enhancement of your employees’ skills and career advancement.

  4. Remember, a group manager is only as effective as the employees in the group. It stands to reason you need to assist in your employee’s development by:

    • encouraging and appreciating excellence;

    • creating a climate of support, encouragement, recognition, and team spirit;

    • remaining flexible and resourceful.

  5. As a manager, you are empowered and expected to address performance concerns within your group. This may be accomplished through reviews and/or by requiring your concurrence with performing specific actions. Prompt corrective action may be necessary.


    For additional direction regarding performance issues see IRM Exhibit 1.4.50 - 6, Suggested Action Steps for Unacceptable Performance.

  6. When a new group is established, or a new manager is assigned to an existing group, a meeting with the employees must be held within the first 30 days. At this meeting the manager will communicate expectations about the following suggested topics:

    • Group procedures - leave approvals, credit hours, reports, and related topics,

    • Case work,

    • Use of time - office/flexiplace,

    • Timeliness of case activity,

    • Timeliness of phone response to internal and external customers,

    • Reasonable time frames for case actions
      (See IRM and for timeliness and time frames),

    • Case review schedule.

    These expectations should also be reviewed at the beginning of each fiscal year.


    This meeting is considered a 7114 meeting.

  7. When a new employee is assigned to an existing group, the group manager must meet with the new employee to discuss managerial expectations (see (6) above) and ensure appropriate on-line Forms 5081 are completed and processed.


    This meeting is considered a 7114 meeting.

  8. Regular group meetings will be held as necessary to review items such as the following:

    • Directives from the Territory Manager, Area Manager, Director of AIQ, and Headquarters,

    • Procedural memoranda,

    • IRM changes,

    • Case resolution techniques,

    • Changes in condition of employment,

    • Automation issues,

    • Certain mandated topics not available on other media,

    • General group (employee) concerns.


    Regular group meetings are not ordinarily considered 7114 meetings.

  9. You are responsible to review time reporting by your employees to ensure accuracy. A technique in accomplishing this task is to ensure timely and accurate monthly reporting. Refer to IRM 5.2.1, Collection Time Reporting, for more information. Also, be alert for excessive administrative or inappropriate direct time.

  10. You may receive Form 5919, Teller's Error Advice, regarding employees in your group. See IRM, Responding to Form 5919.

Performance Evaluations

  1. Preparing performance evaluations is one of your most important responsibilities. In carrying out this duty, you will observe how the employees are performing their duties and responsibilities to ensure that they are working efficiently and effectively to accomplish assigned tasks.

  2. Because you are responsible for implementing the policies and directives relative to performance evaluations, you should thoroughly familiarize yourself with all facets of performance appraisal/evaluation information such as:

    1. Performance expectations,

    2. Mid-year and periodic performance reviews,

    3. Annual ratings,

    4. Acceptable level of competence,

    5. Unacceptable performance,

    6. Competitive promotion appraisals,

    7. Employee performance folders (EPF),

    8. Performance and recognition awards.

  3. Embedded Quality (EQ) is the primary tool for recording case reviews (See IRM Follow the procedures outlined in the EQ job aids for the particular program areas to be reviewed. The summary entries from the EQ reviews may serve as a basis for the employee performance reviews.

  4. See IRM 6.4.30, Performance Management, for additional information.

  5. A formal performance evaluation serves:

    1. As a record of performance to support, recommend, and initiate actions such as, but not limited to, within-in grade increases, promotion/merit promotion, award recommendation, reassignment/detail, and various adverse actions such as demotion or separation;

    2. To provide an employee with a basis for additional training and development;

    3. To improve the performance of individual employees.

  6. For employees new to the government, the first year of employment is a probationary period during which every new employee must demonstrate successful performance and the capability to be promoted to the next grade level (if applicable). If the employee fails to perform their duties and responsibilities, they should be separated.

  7. Documentation of Performance

    1. Providing positive and constructive feedback to the employee is essential to maintaining and improving the performance of each and every employee.

    2. Keep an employee's overall performance in mind when you discuss work and other activities. Let them know when some aspect of performance may influence their performance rating, a promotional opportunity, or other personnel action.

    3. Recordation serves as a snapshot of employee performance. Adequate documentation will remind you of changes in performance over the rating period.

  8. Performance evaluations provide a uniform means for a written evaluation and rating of each employee's proficiency. IRM 1.5 and 6.430.2, provide specific guidance.

  9. Formal employee evaluations represent the sum of what you have observed in each employee's work, using feedback, reviews, visitations to POD and other techniques discussed in this manual.

  10. Each employee will receive an annual performance evaluation. See appropriate sections in current National Agreement.

  11. Employees may submit a self-assessment limited to four (4) pages in length no later than the last workday of his or her annual appraisal rating period.

  12. For information on steps to follow when it is determined an employee is not meeting an acceptable level of competence, see IRM Exhibit 1.4.50-5.

  13. For information on the suggested steps to follow to make unacceptable performance determinations, see IRM Exhibit 1.4.50-6.

  14. For additional or more specific information on any of the above, see the following:

    1. IRM 1.4.1, Resource Guide for Managers, Management Roles and Responsibilities,

    2. Strategic Human Resources web site http://shr.web.irs.gov/pers/pmr.htm. At this web site you will find the CJE Resource Center, Manager Guide for Employee Performance, Performance Awards information, forms etc.,

    3. IRS/NTEU , Articles 7, 12, 17, 18 and 40,

    4. IRM 6.451, Employee Performance and Utilization/Awards and Recognition,

    5. IRM 6.432.1, Reduction in Grade, Band and Removal Based on Unacceptable Performance,IRM, Part 6, Human Resources Management,

    6. The local Labor Relations Specialist.

Discipline and Disciplinary Actions

  1. As set forth in IRM 6.751.1.2(6), discipline is defined as "measures taken by management that are intended to correct employee misconduct, and encourage employee conduct in compliance with standards of conduct, policies, goals, work procedures, and office practices of the IRS and the Federal Service."

  2. Employees who fail to comply with standards of conduct, work procedures, and/or office practices will be subject to disciplinary action designed to correct the violation and motivate the employee to become a productive member of the Internal Revenue Service.

  3. You have a continual responsibility to assure that proper discipline exists and to keep employees informed of acceptable work performance and conduct requirements. You must explain the work requirements and other standards your employees are expected to meet.

  4. When disciplinary action is required, it must be fair, equitable, impartial and as timely as possible.

  5. For further information, contact your local Labor Relations Specialist.

  6. You may also refer to IRM 6.751, Discipline and Disciplinary Actions, and IRM 6.752, Adverse Actions. A guide to assist you in determining appropriate penalties to correct improper conduct can be found in IRM Exhibit 6.751.1-1.

  7. Information is also available from the IRS/NTEU National Agreement, Articles 38 and 39.

Recognitions and Awards

  1. Awards are opportunities for group managers to recognize and reinforce positive performance and behavior.

  2. You are responsible for maintaining a working knowledge of the awards process.

  3. Complete information regarding awards is found on the Strategic Human Resources web site as indicated above as well as:

    1. IRM 6.451.1, Policies, Authorities, Categories and Approvals,

    2. IRS/NTEU National Agreement, Article 18,

    3. The local Human Resources Specialist.

Employee Performance File (EPF) and Drop File

  1. An EPF is a required file for all your employees.

  2. You are responsible for assuring the effective use of the EPF by:

    1. Establishing and maintaining an EPF for current and new employees,

    2. Assuring that filing and purging of performance related documents and records are in compliance with requirements, see (5) below,

    3. Keeping all performance records and documents secured,

    4. Forwarding EPF records of employees transferring to other Treasury Bureaus or to a different post of duty or manager within the Service.

  3. Recordation is defined as a manager's written record evaluating an employee in a positive or negative manner. For BU employees, a recordation must be furnished to an employee within 15 workdays of the time the manager becomes aware, or should have been aware of the event that it addresses. If it is not furnished within 15 workdays, it cannot become part of the EPF.

  4. The EPF is maintained in addition to, and separate from, the Employee Drop File. The Employee Drop File is for other documentation not related to performance including training records, completion of briefings, medical information (when needed), Flexiplace agreements, and other documents that should be kept regarding the employee.

  5. For additional information regarding the specific items to be placed in the EPF and the retention period, you can refer to:

    1. Employee Resource Center web site at: http://erc.web.irs.gov/docs/2002/awss/ps/epfguideformanagers.htm,

    2. IRS/NTEU National Agreement, Article 12,

    3. The local Labor Relations Specialist.

Individual Development - Career Learning Plan (CLP)
  1. Employee development is a shared responsibility between you and the employee. You should encourage your employees to discuss their career and development with you at any time.

  2. At a minimum, you should survey your employees annually to identify those interested in pursuing structured development through a career learning plan.

  3. Each interested employee prepares a Form 10094, Career Learning Plan (CLP), to meet their specific needs. This plan should be a fluid document.

  4. The IRS & NTEU National Agreement, provides that employees should also spend their own time on self-development.

  5. Develop a monitoring and follow-up system to enable you to meet the individual needs of your employee.

  6. An effective CLP should be:

    1. mutually developed,

    2. realistic,

    3. balanced,

    4. attainable,

    5. mutually supported.

  7. Employee development is directed toward improving skills in present and target positions. This can be accomplished through a variety of activities including: details to other areas or functions, instructing, coaching, acting group manager assignments, task force assignments, and special projects.

Group Manager Development
  1. Attainment of your career objectives is a shared responsibility between you and your territory manager. Look for guidance in developing your own goals and direction.

  2. Increased responsibility, advancement, and job enrichment should continue throughout your career. The support of your territory manager is vital to your career development and advancement. You should develop and fully utilize a Career Learning Plan. Managerial career planning requires goals, actions, and commitment.

  3. The following presents an overview of some collateral duties which you may be called upon to handle:

    • Classroom Instructor,

    • Commissioner's Representative,

    • Recruiter,

    • Task forces,

    • Continuing Professional Education (CPE) committee,

    • Program Review or Implementation.

Working with NTEU

  1. Group Managers who supervise bargaining unit (BU) employees must:

    1. Notify the requisite NTEU chapter(s) regarding 7114 meetings when you plan to discuss with your employees changes in personnel policies, practices, and working conditions. Remember that employees in differing PODs may be represented by different NTEU chapters.

    2. Make sure employees have the opportunity to be represented at formal discussions regarding employee grievances (see IRM 6.771.1 and IRS/NTEU National Agreement), other personnel matters, and conduct issues.

  2. The IRS/NTEU National Agreement can be found at the National Agreement Resource Center web-site at http:hco.web.irs.gov/1Workforce/na/header.htm or is available on a searchable CD-ROM. To order the CD version, contact the Area Distribution Center and request Document 11678 (dated 12–2005). The catalog number is 32781U. Customers must provide their order point number and the catalog number listed above.

  3. For additional information, see IRM, Agreements with NTEU or contact your Labor Relations Specialist.

Advisory Workload Management

  1. You are responsible for effectively managing the group's workload. To accomplish this you must:

    1. Assign cases based on the type of work,

    2. Ensure priority cases are worked in a timely manner,

    3. Ensure case activity is progressing toward resolution, including fraud identification,

    4. Maintain inventory levels and make adjustments as appropriate,

    5. Balance inventories within your group.

Advisory Inventory Assignment
  1. Cases are assigned as Non Field Other Investigations (NFOIs) on ICS and the case grade is entered on the ICS record for each case. Generally, cases are graded GS-12, but can vary for Tax Examiners 5/6/7 and GS-13 Advisors

  2. Advisor Non Field Other Investigations (NFOI) cases are assigned. These case grade levels reflect the probable level of difficulty of the entity.

  3. At this time there is no systemic means to deliver GS-13 Advisor work. All GS-13 case work will need to be identified.

  4. You are responsible for reviewing and maintaining the levels of work.

  5. If the case meets the criteria for a GS-13 case grade designation, the group manager will input a "13" in the first two positions of the LOCATION field on ICS. The group manager will document the case history with the basis for change in case grade.

  6. Case grades are normally designated in the field. Advisory will generally follow these designations depending on the issue at hand. Seizure processing, TFRP processing, and Lien Certificates on non-complex property transactions are examples of when the field grade level may be different from that of the Advisory assignment.

Case/Program Rotation
  1. Where feasible, give Advisors and Tax Examiners additional experience by rotating program assignments or backing up other programs.

Assigning Work
  1. You are responsible for ensuring that cases are assigned. An appropriate mix of cases (NFOIs) should be assigned to employees. Groups can use many ways to determine program splits. Assignments should be made from inventory received in the group.

  2. Review your employee inventory reports monthly to ensure balance is kept between Advisors and the programs they work. Some factors to consider in this review:

    1. High priority cases had to be assigned to an employee below his/her grade level,

    2. There would be an unacceptable delay in working the cases if you reassigned them to other employees,

    3. There is a need to maintain continuity of contact with the taxpayer,

    4. The employee is in a one-person post of duty,

    5. The employee needs or requests a higher-level case for developmental purposes.

Reassignment of Departing Employee Inventory
  1. Where inventory will be abandoned for periods of 90 days or more (an employee is reassigned, on extended leave, or long term detail) the group manager is responsible for taking case management actions as follows:

    1. High profile or short time frame cases that can't be concluded timely should be reassigned.

    2. The group manager will review with the departing employee all inventory and determine, (1) those cases which can be resolved prior to the employee leaving, (2) inventory that should be reassigned to the remaining employees in the group. The transfer of these cases should be completed within a reasonable period of time, normally within 45 days.

Advisory Case Assignment Guide
  1. Advisory managers are responsible for monitoring the assignment of case work to ensure cases are assigned to the appropriate employee.

  2. An assignment guide establishes Advisor program duties by the parameters established within the group. The format may be determined by the manager or territory and generally contains contact information as well as a listing of programs by assigned Advisor.

  3. The assignment guide should be updated as changes occur and made available to the group and to internal customers including the Collection Field function, TAS, Insolvency, Area Counsel, etc. on a regular basis.

  4. This assignment guide will be used to update various IRWEB references.

  5. The Advisory case types and the geographical area covered should be listed as well as the mailing address, phone, and fax of the employees in the group.

Advisory Managerial Reports
  1. In order to properly manage your workload, an Advisory manager must be familiar with, and use, productivity, inventory control, quality, and customer satisfaction reports to monitor the quality and timeliness of case processing.

  2. Additional information on reports can be found in IRM 5.2, Collection Reports, ICS User Guide, Entity User Guide, ATFR User Guide and web pages on the IRWEB.

  3. It is your responsibility to ensure that data reflected in the group reports is accurate. Review the reports at month end or as required.

  4. There are several reports that you are required to utilize that are discussed elsewhere. Some of these reports are:

    1. Time and Attendance (WEBSETR),

    2. Embedded Quality (EQ),

    3. Litigation Account Management System (LAMS),

    4. Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) Access,

    5. Month at a Glance (MAAG),

    6. Customer Satisfaction Survey,

    7. Seizure Controls & RACS 135 Report.

ICS Reports
  1. ICS reports are useful to employees and managers to control inventory.

  2. Managers should ensure that employees understand these reports and review reports at least monthly.

  3. Open Inventory by Case Type (by employee or by group)

    1. This report lists open NFOI cases assigned in the group.

    2. The type of NFOI case is identified and each open case is listed.

  4. Current Inventory Report (Bal Due, Del Ret, OI) (available to employees only)

    1. This report lists open cases assigned in the group.

    2. The report list each open case and indicates whether the case is a bal due, del ret or OI.

    3. This report is helpful for Advisory employees to identify and bal dues or del rets that are assigned to them on ICS.

    4. Employees need to monitor their assignments to resolve any cases assigned; bal dues and del rets should not be retained in Advisory inventory.

  5. ASED Report (available to employees only)

    1. This inventory report secures information from entries on the NFOI screen.

    2. The ASED field is used to manually enter the earliest ASED on some types of Advisory cases especially TFRP cases.

    3. The ASED report will list taxpayer cases by earliest ASED but will not capture this information if the ASED field on the NFOI screen is left blank.

  6. CSED Report (available to employees only)

    1. This inventory report secures information from entries on the NFOI screen.

    2. The CSED field is used to manually enter the earliest CSED on Advisory cases.

    3. The CSED report will list taxpayer cases by earliest CSED but will not capture this information if the CSED field on the NFOI screen is left blank.

  7. Closure Due Date Report (available to employees only)

    1. This inventory report secures information from entries on the NFOI screen.

    2. ICS automatically sets the closure due date to 45 days when opening an NFOI, unless the employee enters a different date.

    3. Advisory employees should use this field to assist in controlling inventory.

  8. Notifications

  9. Follow ups

  10. Monthly Inventory Report ( by employee or by group)

    1. This report is available to each employee for their own inventory and to managers and secretaries for the group report.

    2. The group report is a feeder for the CTRS Monthly report.

    3. At the end of each reporting month, ICS generates a report of the prior month inventory by NFOI case type, including:

    • Opening Inventory,

    • Receipts,

    • Dispositions,

    • Ending Inventory.

ENTITY Reports
  1. ENTITY is the workload management system for collection managers. ENTITY extracts and organizes information about case activity and casework quality from the Integrated Collection System (ICS).

  2. Advisory does not have the full Entity Report menu available for Collection Field function (CFf) managers and time reporting by case is not active.

  3. Advisory has a version of Entity that allows a manager to secure inventory information on open and closed NFOIs.

  4. Managers should familiarize themselves with IRM 5.3.1, ENTITY Case Management System (ENTITY).

  5. Use ENTITY to:

    1. Assist employees in managing their inventories,

    2. Identify cases or types of cases where it appears the employee needs assistance.

  6. You can use the automated features of ENTITY to select categories of cases for review, such as lien certificates, trust funds, statutes, morning after reviews, etc. This will help you assist your employees to resolve their cases.

  7. You can also use ENTITY to:

    1. Study workloads in particular states or zip codes,

    2. Examine historical inventory levels to support a request for additional staffing or grade structure change,

    3. Generate a group inventory report,

    4. Generate ad hoc reports as necessary.

Automated Trust Fund Recovery Program Reports (ATFR)
  1. Advisory has a number of screen sorts online to take a view of case status and to monitor ASEDs.

  2. Control Point Monitoring (CPM) reports include pending F2749, accepted F2749, F2749 to SC, and Appeals inventory sorts.

Collection Time Reporting System (CTRS) Monthly Reports
  1. CTRS software is available on the CTRS website at http://www.ctrs.web.irs.gov/.

  2. Employees are responsible for recording their daily activity on Form 4872b, Collection Daily Time Utilization Report, and submitting as required.

  3. Managers and secretaries then roll up the group information and transfer it to the AIQ Wide Area Specialist (WAS) for territory and national consolidation via the CTRS program immediately after the end of the reporting month.

  4. The ICS Monthly Report is used to input group inventory receipts and dispositions by case type to CTRS.

  5. Managers should review the report before final transmission.

  6. See IRM 5.2 for additional information.

Seizure, Sale and Acquired Property Reports
  1. Advisory is responsible for reports related to Collection actions taken on property.

Record 21, Record of Seizure and Sale
  1. Advisory is also responsible for preparing deeds, maintaining Records 21, Record of Seizure and Sale of Real Estate

  2. Advisory maintains the permanent record of sales. See IRM

  3. Public inspection files for Record 21 are maintained as determined by territory needs.

Seizure Logs and RACS Accounting
  1. One Advisory Group in each Advisory Territory will maintain the seizure log.

  2. A seizure number will be assigned immediately after the seizure is made and the log will be used to track the entire seizure and sale process until the seizure is closed.

  3. Advisory will notify Ogden Accounting Branch of each new seizure by processing Form 2433 Part 7a. An entry will be established on the RACS 135 Report to monitor the receipt, disposition, and application of sale proceeds for assets under seizure.

  4. Advisory will process Form 2433 Part 7b or Form 2436, Seized Property Sale Report, to close the RACS account.

  5. There is a semi-annual physical inventory verification and reporting process. Additionally there is a monthly report due for sale proceeds that remain unresolved after 90 days (see IRM

  6. The Chief Financial Office (CFO) requires that Collection provide a year-end balance of seized assets, acquired property, collateral property, and other property for inclusion in IRS’ fiscal year end financial statements. Since this balance must be validated, the reconciliation serves to:

    • verify and correct asset information,

    • ensure that Advisory’s recorded asset amounts are current and supportable (property and documentation exist),

    • resolve discrepancies between Advisory’s records and RACS during this process,

    Each Advisory Territory appointed an Area Coordinator to be the contact point for the Campus Accounting Branch. The function of the Area Coordinator is to receive the RACS report and handle it according to the above instructions. If all discrepancies are resolved, then adjusted Advisory recorded asset information will match adjusted RACS. The reconciliation process ensures that the most current and supportable information is provided.

Seizure and Sale Reports and Memoranda
  1. Advisory is responsible for a number of seizure and sale reports:

    • Form 13464, 90-Day Open Seizure and Semi-Annual Asset Verification Report,

    • Semi-Annual Verification of Property, Form 6670, Seizure Disposition Report,

    • Semi-annual consolidation report of Forms 6670 by area,

    • Monthly report to the RACS Unit on sale proceeds that remain unresolved after 90 days.

Quality and Controls
  1. The Service's vision focuses on three high level goals--service to each taxpayer, service to all taxpayers and productivity through a quality work environment. The IRS has developed a set of Balanced Performance Measures in three major areas: Customer Satisfaction, Employee Satisfaction and Business Results, with Business Results comprised of measures of quality and quantity. In reaching our goals we consider our impact on customer and employee satisfaction while we strive to improve quality and achieve quantifiable results (Form 1.5.1, The IRS Balanced Measurement System).

  2. Specific guidance for employee case documentation is provided in various sections of Part 5 and partially summarized in IRM Exhibit 1.4.50-4. Specific guidelines are found in the appropriate IRM's and programs.

  3. The need for clear, accurate, complete, and high-quality documentation is extremely important. Incomplete documentation will negatively affect:

    1. Subsequent employee case actions,

    2. Ability to review and evaluate case activity,

    3. Actions by other employees,

    4. Quality Review System results,

    5. Cases presented in legal proceedings.

    For Example: Ensure that employees clearly document the reason(s) why they have made a recommendation for approval of a lien certificate.

CSED Accounts
  1. Use ENTITY and ICS to identify accounts on which the Collection Statute Expiration Date (CSED) is within 52 weeks. Generate a report to identify accounts where the CSED will expire within the next 12 months. Review those NFOIs to:

    1. Verify the accuracy of the CSED, and take corrective action if needed (see below),

    2. Ensure that timely and effective action is taken.

  2. The CSED may be invalid. The CSED shown is manually entered on the NFOI for the earliest assessment on the module. Update the CSED date on ICS as appropriate or instruct the employee to take that action

  3. If a statute expires, see IRM, Report of Statute Expiration, and IRM, Expiration of a Collection Statute

ASED Accounts
  1. Use ENTITY, ICS, and ATFR to identify the Assessment Statute Expiration Date (ASED) for accounts assigned to Advisory. Generate a report to identify accounts where the ASED will expire within the next 12 months. These cases are loaded on the ATFR System and are an important function of Advisory CPM responsibilities.

  2. Review potential ASED modules where the case is in CPM inventory.

  3. When appropriate instruct employees to:

    1. Proceed with processing,

    2. Resolve processing problems.

  4. Check to ensure the employees have resolved the ASED case properly.

  5. Report the expiration of any ASED per instructions in IRM, Reporting Expiration of TFRP Statute and IRM, Expiration of A Collection Statute.

Monitoring Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (TFRP) Investigations
  1. Managers must ensure quality reviews are completed and issues addressed.

  2. Use the Automated Trust Fund Recovery (ATFR) Area Office (AO) application to:

    • Monitor the CPM Inventory,

    • Determine if imminent statute cases have been addressed,

    • Match the ATFR inventory with ICS inventory assigned to the group and resolve any discrepancies.

  3. The ATFR application is also used to control cases referred to Appeals.

  4. For additional information on the use of this application see Document 10195, Automated Trust Fund Recovery (ATFR) Application.


  1. The case review process provides the manager the opportunity to take a critical look at both individual program health and individual employee performance. Providing ongoing, candid, and meaningful employee feedback is essential to employee satisfaction and performance improvement. Reviews are an integral part of the group manager responsibilities. Reviews of employee work should seek to:

    1. Assess the employee’s effectiveness in meeting the expectations established in their Critical Job Elements,

    2. Assess the employee’s efficiency in carrying out the laws, procedures, and policies of the Service,

    3. Assess the employee's ability to properly plan and schedule field, office, and flexiplace work activity,

    4. Ensure the employee is taking timely and appropriate actions to bring the case to a prompt and proper resolution,

    5. Assess employee effectiveness in developmental case assignments,

    6. Identify and address performance problems,

    7. Assess the employee's effectiveness in meeting the IRS Retention Standard for the Fair and Equitable Treatment of Taxpayers.

  2. All reviews relating to an employee's case work must be in writing. Use of the Embedded Quality Review System (EQRS) described in IRM Exhibit 1.4.50-7 is required when reviewing case actions. The EQRS Individual Feedback Report (the EQRS generated replacement for Form 5188-A) provides a printed record of your ratings and the narrative comments on the employee's performance in relation to specific EQRS attributes. Group managers must familiarize themselves with IRM 5.13.2 and the Advisory Job Aids which can be found on the EQ website and provide specific guidance related to Embedded Quality attributes and how to use them.

  3. Territory managers will schedule and conduct EQRS Consistency Reviews with group managers on a quarterly basis. Consistency Reviews require all managers within a territory to review the same cases to compare attribute results and to discuss how rating guidelines can be applied to achieve consistency of how attributes are rated. Refer to IRM for review procedures and guidelines.

  4. At the beginning of the fiscal year, the manager will develop a review schedule for the group that includes all mandatory reviews and other optional reviews. Optional reviews may include additional remote office visitations, time and workload reviews, etc. The review schedule should provide for a fair and accurate assessment of the employee's overall performance throughout the rating period.

  5. Mandatory reviews represent the minimum review requirements that must be completed for each employee. It is intended that the minimum requirements will provide managers with the opportunity to spend more time reviewing and developing employees that need additional feedback and assistance. Mandatory reviews include:

    1. Sufficient cases per quarter/year to establish the technical skill set, customer service abilities, accuracy and efficiency of each employee based on program requirements,

    2. Mid-Year appraisals/reviews: Review a sufficient number of cases prior to the mid-year appraisal (See IRM; The mid-year appraisal should occur at the mid-point of the employee's appraisal period; When necessary based on case reviews, other forms of review, office observation, field observations, etc., you have the authority to require your employee to obtain your approval before taking subsequent case actions.

    Example: Employees who inappropriately extend deadlines or delay case actions can be required to obtain your approval of their extensions in the future so as not to deter or delay timely case resolution. The ICS Calendar is an excellent tool that can assist the manager and advisory employee when Workload Management issues are found.

  6. Group managers will continually review information gathering activities by their employees. See IRM, Group Manager Review of Information Gathering, for additional guidance.

  7. For additional guidance on preparing reviews, narratives and appraisals see IRM Exhibit 1.4.50-7.


    To assist Territory Managers in the performance of their operational duties, IRM Exhibits 1.4.50-8 and 1.4.50-9 respectively have been added.

Case Reviews
  1. Choose a sufficient number of cases to review to ensure a thorough evaluation of each employee’s performance. Scheduling of the analysis may be announced or unannounced at the option of local management.

  2. You must use the Embedded Quality Review System (EQRS) for case reviews in program areas covered under EQRS.

  3. Use case specific EQRS attributes, EQ case summary narratives, and performance summaries for all reviews conducted during the rating period to create performance feedback. Feedback must indicate to the employee how they are meeting or not meeting the EQRS attributes and aspects of the critical job elements.

  4. If you have requested the employee take specific actions, a follow-up review should be scheduled a reasonable number of days after the initial review to ensure your direction is being followed and the case is moving toward resolution. The follow-up review will generally be limited to the cases previously reviewed that required follow-up unless you need to see other cases to document a performance trend. Using EQRS, prepare a narrative conveying the results of the follow-up review.

  5. When making evaluative determinations concerning the timeliness of employee initial, follow-up, or closing actions, you should be alert for, and consider, employee factors including illness, extended leave, approved collateral duties, and/or teaching assignments.

  6. You must also summarize the employee's overall performance on all cases reviewed, including the results of morning after reviews, remote office visitations, etc., as part of your mid-year and/or annual performance assessment. Narrative feedback should provide positive aspects as well as constructive comments on an employee's performance (See IRM Exhibit 1.4.50–7 ).

  7. Provide the employee with the narrative within 15 work days and place a copy of the document in the Employee's Performance Folder (EPF).

  8. Prepare the EQRS Individual Feedback Report in duplicate and include all applicable case data. Both you and the employee must sign it. Give the original report to the employee for follow-through on case recommendations with a due date. Retain the duplicate in the EPF for follow-up. Discuss all recommended actions entered on the Individual Feedback Report with the employee to ensure that there is a complete understanding about how, what, when and why to take specific actions. Written performance feedback (Individual Feedback Report, F6067, memorandum, etc.,) must be provided to the employee within 15 work days. The 15 day time frame starts from the time the supervisor becomes aware of, or should have been aware of, the event addressed in the recordation/feedback item.

  9. Select the ICS picklist "Reviewed" to document the date of the review in the ICS history. Although you may suggest or request specific actions in the case history, you should avoid making numerous case decisions for the employee. Documentation of an evaluative nature should not be entered in the case history

  10. The primary purpose of a non-evaluative review is to help the employee develop and enhance their job skills. Effective non-evaluative reviews foster open lines of communication between the employee and the manager. This enables the manager to receive employee feedback and transfer operational goals informally.

  11. Non-evaluative reviews do not contain a written recordation of performance and should not be used as a source for annual rating. If some documentation is appropriate have the employee initial and date. Provide one copy for the employee and retain the other copy in the employee's drop file.

  12. Observing the employee during office telephone contacts provides an excellent opportunity for you to assess his/her abilities to conduct interviews, deliver fair and courteous treatment to all taxpayers, and knowledge of policies and procedures.

  13. Morning After Reviews are a multi-case review intended to document effectiveness of time utilization and evaluation of determinations made and/or actions taken in the field, or at a flexi-place site, or in the office on a specific day(s). This process can be used to measure the overall effectiveness of the employee case actions.

  14. When approving work, you have an opportunity and obligation to evaluate employee performance, as well as the quality of their work, including appropriate use of ICS with all supporting information.

  15. Closed cases also provide an opportunity to evaluate individual performance as well as the overall quality of your group's product.

Embedded Quality (EQ)

  1. The Embedded Quality (EQ) process was developed as a practical method of supporting Balanced Measures objectives and is comprised of two distinct systems -Embedded Quality Review System (EQRS) and National Quality Review System (NQRS). See IRM 5.13.1 for a more in-depth discussion of these distinct systems. Visit the Embedded Quality web site for additional useful tools at http:sbse.web.irs.gov/eq/

  2. EQRS is the review tool designed to assist Advisory managers in identifying areas of strength and need in their employees’ individual performance as it relates to case activities.

    1. The focus of EQRS is on improving performance while the performance occurs. The attributes can be measured on an open or a closed case.

    2. EQRS is designed to identify gaps in quality case work, as defined by the attributes, at the earliest point in activity. See IRM 5.13.7 for attribute definitions.

    3. The attributes are automatically linked to employee Critical Job Elements (CJEs). Advisory managers will no longer have to determine which CJE is most applicable when rating case actions.

  3. The National Quality Review System (NQRS) replaces the Collection Quality Management System (CQMS). NQRS reviewers provide independent collection review information from which management may draw inferences regarding overall case quality for a given operational segment.

  4. A cornerstone of EQ is that NQRS reviewers and managers use the same attributes. This should minimize the concern that national reviewers are looking at different criteria than managers when reviewing cases.

    1. The NQRS reviews will not be used to evaluate individual employee performance. Rather than being linked to employee CJEs, NQRS attributes are linked to the five Quality Measurement Categories: Timeliness, Professionalism, Procedural Accuracy, Regulatory Accuracy, and Customer Accuracy.

  5. Consistency Reviews will be conducted to assist users in learning how to rate EQ attributes consistently by using the Attribute Job Aids, EQ website guidance, employee Critical Job Elements, and IRMs. The goal of Consistency Reviews is to improve the understanding and application of the EQ rating guidelines.

Functional Security Reviews

  1. Complete a Functional Security Review at least once a year. Form 12149, Functional Security Review for Managers, contains the requirements for such a review based upon IRM 1.16.2.

Case Documentation

  1. Specific guidance for employee case documentation is provided in various sections of Part 5 and partially summarized in IRM Exhibit 1.4.50-4. Additional guidelines may be found in individual program IRM's.

  2. The need for clear accurate, complete, and high-quality documentation is extremely important. Incomplete documentation will negatively affect:

    1. Subsequent employee case actions,

    2. Ability to review and evaluate case activity,

    3. Actions by other employees,

    4. Quality Review System results,

    5. Cases presented in legal proceedings.

Protecting Taxpayer Rights

  1. A primary responsibility of managers must be to monitor employee practices and actions to ensure that taxpayer rights are always observed during our efforts to bring taxpayers into compliance.

  2. Taxpayer rights include, but are not limited to, the following:

    1. Right to privacy,

    2. Right to due process,

    3. Fair and courteous treatment,

    4. Proper notification of third party contacts,

    5. Protection from unauthorized disclosure,

    6. Collection Due Process (CDP),

    7. Collection Appeals Process (CAP).

  3. Section 1203 of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA ‘98) calls for the termination of any employee of the Internal Revenue Service if there is a final administrative or judicial determination that the employee willfully committed any covered act or omission. See Document 11043, RRA '98 Section 1203 All Employee Guide.

Fair Debt Collection Practices

  1. IRC Section 6304, Fair Tax Collection Practices, imposes certain restrictions with respect to tax collection. During a case review or upon receiving a complaint from a taxpayer, you may identify a potential violation of those restrictions. Potential employee violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) (see IRM, Fair Tax Collection Practices) must be reported to the local Labor Relations Specialist by the close of the next business day following notification of the alleged violation.

  2. To ensure collected data is complete and accurate, use the FDCPA issue codes when reporting the potential violation. Labor Relations uses these codes for tracking on the Automated Labor and Employee Relations Tracking System (ALERTS).

Advisory Groups and Workload

  1. There are several types of groups in AIQ-Advisory and this section of the handbook will provide some information about the work that each perform.

  2. Advisory Groups are comprised of:

    • Traditional Advisory Groups,

    • Estate Tax Group,

    • National Quality Review Groups,

    • Independent Reviewer Group (IAR),

    • Property Appraisal and Liquidation Specialty Groups (PALS).

Traditional Advisory Group Workload

  1. Advisory contains a broad range of program areas to support Collection Field function (CFf), assist taxpayers, and provide assistance to various other IRS functions. Some, but not all, of the program areas are mentioned below. These citations note the presence of the program but do not substitute for the technical and/or procedural guidance in other portions of the IRM.

  2. An important component of the Advisory manager's workload is ensuring that program area support and technical guidance is being provided to CFf in an effective and timely manner; that Advisory is effectively serving as liaison for CFf in resolving policy and technical issues raised to Counsel and/or Headquarters; and that Advisory is providing assistance to the field in resolving technical issues prior to a determination that Counsel and/or Headquarters involvement is warranted.

  3. The enforcement of summons served by CFf ROs is processed through Advisory prior to being forwarded to Counsel. See IRM 25.5.10 for the technical issues associated with summons enforcement.

  4. Lien refile, lien certificates (discharge, subordination, withdrawal, non-attachment), and miscellaneous lien issues are handled by Advisory as one of the major program areas in which it has contact with taxpayers. See IRM 5.12.3 for procedural and technical requirements of these certificates.

    1. Since these lien certificates are usually associated with pending transactions by the taxpayers, these cases necessitate expedited processing.

    2. There are also lien issues including refiling liens, revocations of releases of lien, nominee and alter ego liens which are worked in Advisory to protect the government’s interest in property.

    3. Many of the external questions involving lien processing may be handled by referral to the Centralized Lien Program, but technical questions are handled by Advisory.

  5. Another program area that has direct involvement with external taxpayers and third parties is foreclosures and redemptions. Most work in this area is procedural and performed by tax examiners, but the technical issues normally require an advisor to resolve. These technical issues may include judicial foreclosures, redemption investigations, releases of right of redemption, and surplus proceeds from foreclosure sales. See IRM 5.12.4 and 5.12.5 for technical and procedural specifics.

  6. The Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (TFRP) program involves pre-assessment review and support to CFf ROs who propose these assessments and also deals with issues that arise subsequent to assessment. These include TFRP case processing, claims for refund, TFRP appeals and control of TFRP files. See IRM 5.7.6 and 5.7.7.


    The use of CPM check sheets on TFRP cases is mandatory but non-evaluative.

  7. Collection litigation involving suits for and against the U.S. are controlled by Advisory. Specific issues include:

    1. Suits by the U.S. (reduce tax liability to judgment, foreclose on the tax lien, principal residence seizure, among others),

    2. Suits against the U.S. (28 USC 2410 suits, suits for wrongful levy, suits for wrongful collection actions are some of these),

    3. Suits against employees – specifically suits against collection employees involving their actions in the course of their duties,

    4. TFRP refund litigation – usually in association with a denied TFRP claim,

    5. Judgments – control of judgments secured from collection litigation,

    6. Appeals/Counsel liaison on various legal and procedural issues,

    7. Litigation Account Management System (LAMS) reconciliation reports,

    8. Miscellaneous other suits and legal opinions.


      See IRM 25.3, Litigation and Judgments Handbook and IRM 5.17, Legal Reference Guide for Revenue Officers, for particulars on these issues.

  8. Seizure review and asset management are the responsibility of the Advisory group. Advisory is responsible for providing technical advice, conducting pre-seizure reviews, monitoring open seizures, handling post-seizure reviews and the processing of closed seizure paperwork. Advisory must review the seizure recommendation prior to approval by the CFf Territory Manager or the Area Director. See IRM 5.10 for current procedures.

    1. Seizure and sale documents are reviewed in Advisory to ensure Field Collection and PALS adherence to legal and procedural requirements found in the IRM and other Policy guidance. Form 13719, Pre-seizure Checklist and Approval Request, is completed by the Field Revenue Officer and Group Manager and forwarded to Advisory.

    2. Follow-ups should be made on all outstanding seizures in accordance with IRM procedures.

    3. Forms 13360, Seizure and Sale Checklist, and 13361, Post-Seizure Review Checksheet, must be maintained in the seizure file to document receipt and review of seizure and sale documents.

    4. Advisory will standardize the seizure files by using Document 12474, Seizure Field Folder Tabs.

    5. Advisory maintains records of all seizures. One Advisory Group in each Advisory Territory will maintain the seizure log. A seizure number will be assigned immediately after the seizure is made and the log will be used to track the seizure through the all activity until the seizure is closed. Advisory will notify Ogden Accounting Branch of each new seizure by processing Form 2433 Part 7a. An entry will be established on the RACS 135 Report to monitor the receipt, disposition, and application of sale proceeds for assets under seizure.

    6. Advisory is also responsible for preparing deeds, maintaining Record 21, Record of Seizure and Sale.

    7. Advisory is responsible for notifying intervening creditors of the proceeds of sale that they would be entitled. Advisory is responsible for notifying taxpayers and other claimants of surplus sale proceeds.

    8. Advisory maintains the permanent record of sales. See IRM

    9. The public inspection file for Records 21 are maintained as determined by territory needs.

  9. Probation controls on taxpayers convicted of tax crimes are handled by Advisory. Probation cases with IRS-related conditions are monitored by Advisors designated as probation liaisons. The Advisory probation liaison is responsible for :

    • coordinating any civil enforcement actions with Technical Services (Exam) and any revenue agent assigned to the case,

    • monitoring all cases with IRS-related conditions of probation and following up on any OIs issued to the field exchanging information with CI and Technical Services (Exam) to reconcile the status and actions pending in all probation cases on a semi-annual basis

    See IRM, Advisory Actions - Probation Cases, for further procedural guidelines.

  10. Another program area is Oral Opinions – giving advice on technical and procedural issues to internal and external customers even though there may not be an open case under Advisory control. Normally, these consist of short contacts from Advisory customers who seek clarification or guidance on a particular issue. These contacts are manually counted to reflect the time spent and number of contacts.

  11. Decedent estate proofs of claims are made by Advisory on pre-death taxes owed by deceased taxpayers. Advisory receives referrals from various Service customers and determines if it is in the interest of the government to file a proof of claim where equity exists in the probate proceedings. See IRM 5.5.3 and 5.5.4 for these procedures.

  12. Advisory actively participates in both internal and external Outreach activities on the program areas for which it is responsible. Advisory managers are encouraged to make themselves and their employees available in this manner to educate stakeholders on the correct procedures and technical issues involved with the many Advisory programs.

  13. Other programs include levy issues, non-TFRP claims, Form 4768 and Form 1127 extensions of time to pay, some international issues, collaterals, jeopardy, Disclosure/FOIA/ Taxpayer Advocate, and transferee assessments.

  14. These groups are staffed with professional, paraprofessional and secretarial employees and are located locally providing service within a geographically defined area.

  15. Advisory Groups are usually geographically contiguous with Field Collection area offices, Appeals offices, and Counsel offices to facilitate the processing of work between these separate units.

  16. Some workload may be centralized or specialized within one Advisory Group within an Advisory Territory.

  17. Review the applicable IRM chapters for each program. Be aware that some programs have several IRM components (Litigation and Seizures are examples).

Estate Tax Group

  1. The Estate Tax group is responsible for:

    • Securing, filing and releasing estate tax liens ( Forms 668H and 668J), lien agreements, or bonds;

    • Approval and denial of IRC 6161 extensions of time to pay;

    • Discharge of the unrecorded IRC 6324 lien, if the return has been filed and a closing letter issued;

    • Discharges and subordinations related to Forms 668H and 668J;

    • Technical advice to revenue officers working estate tax collection cases.

    • Processing of recapture tax returns, Form 706-A and Form 706-D

  2. This group is staffed with professional, paraprofessional and secretarial employees and is a national group with advisors located across the country.

  3. The Estate Tax group is responsible for notifying the Cincinnati Campus Estate Tax Unit of their actions that affect billing or acceleration of estate tax accounts.

Estate Tax Liens
  1. The Estate Tax group is responsible for Forms 668-H and 668-J, along with all related files, in association with collection on liabilities due from Form 706, U.S. Estate Tax Return. See IRM 5.5.6-5.5.8.

  2. The Estate Tax group is also responsible for monitoring liens filed on special elections which are not self releasing, review of value or collateral pledged on liens, and preparation of timely and accurate lien releases.

Extensions of Time to Pay Estate Taxes
  1. The Estate Tax Group has responsibility for evaluating and granting or denying certain requests for extension of time to pay estate tax. See IRM 5.5.5.

  2. As necessary, extensions to pay may be worked within a general Advisory group.

  3. Any extension request denied by Advisory, in which the taxpayer requests an Appeals hearing, will be addressed and processed by Advisory.

National Quality Review Groups

  1. Quality Review Groups are responsible for performing reviews of a sample of closed cases using the Embedded Quality System (EQ). The basic objective of the program is to identify organizational, procedural and training strengths and weaknesses and to provide this information to Collection managers. Prescribed reviews and management analysis of the results form a basis for reaching conclusions about the quality of completed work, training needs, or systemic deficiencies and timely information for appropriate follow-up actions to correct deficiencies

  2. IRM provides program overview and specific duties and responsibilities for the NQRS Group Manager.

  3. Case Receipts

    1. NQRS management is responsible for the ongoing monitoring of case receipts to ensure there is sufficient volume of cases received to meet the quarterly work plan.

    2. NQRS will provide periodic reports to the PALS-NQRS Territory Manager, Area Manager, and AIQ Director, to show the current receipts of inventory from Centralized Case Processing and Field Areas.

    3. If a trend in case receipts is identified that has an adverse impact on the ability to meet the quarterly work plan, or if there is insufficient volume of cases received, NQRS management will work with the other stakeholders to resolve the problem.

  4. Work Plan

    1. NQRS management is responsible for meeting the NQRS Quarterly Work Plan.

    2. NQRS management is responsible for the ongoing monitoring of the number of case reviews completed for each Area to ensure that the NQRS Quarterly Work Plan is completed in a timely manner.

    3. There are a number of programmed reports in the NQRS System to aid NQRS management in monitoring the number of case reviews completed, as well as the ability to create custom reports via the ad hoc reports function.

    4. NQRS management will provide periodic reports to the PALS-NQRS Territory Manager to show the status of the NQRS Quarterly Work Plan.

    5. If a trend is identified that has an adverse impact on the ability to meet the NQRS Quarterly Work Plan, NQRS management will advise the PALS-NQRS Territory Manager at the earliest possible time and work with other stakeholders to resolve the problem.

  5. Procedural Guidelines for NQRS Consistency Reviews

    1. NQRS consistency reviews will be recorded and tracked to measure and monitor reviewer consistency.

    2. Management will make every effort to ensure reviewers are consistent with the guidance provided by both the IRM and EQ Job Aids during the review process. In unique situations reviewers will use their professional judgment when an issue is not specifically addressed in the IRM or EQ job aid to make a determination of the appropriate rating of a quality attribute by using the facts and circumstances of each case.

    • One case will be selected quarterly by either management or reviewer. The case will be reproduced and forward to each reviewer, management, EQ analyst and policy analyst for review.

    • The consistency facilitator (rotated among reviewers) will schedule a specific date and time the completed checksheet of the reviewed case should be provided.

    • Each reviewer will maintain a copy of the checksheet with detailed comments on the rating of each attribute along with the case file for discussion at a later date.

    • The results of the checksheet will be recorded on an excel spreadsheet. The results will be shared with all the participants prior to the consistency meeting.

    • During the meeting the facilitator will provide a brief overview of the case and discuss each quality attribute. If during the discussion the reviewers are unable to reach consensus the manager will intervene with a solution or elevate the issue to EQ or policy for clarification if they are not present. See IRM

Independent Reviewer Group (IAR)

  1. Under IRC 7122(d), taxpayers are entitled to independent administrative reviews of rejected requests for installment agreements and proposed rejections of Offers in Compromise. The Independent Administrative Reviewer (IAR) is responsible for conducting this review. The IAR is responsible for reviewing each case to determine if the proposed rejection is reasonable based on the taxpayer's facts and circumstances. The IAR is not responsible for conducting a quality analysis of completeness, and accuracy of the documents used to support the case.

  2. This group is decentralized and is staffed with a manager, a secretary, and IARs located across the country in separate PODs.

  3. The manager needs to work with local managers to provide space and support to IARs

IAR Workload
  1. Manager is responsible for determining the appropriate assignment of work.

Review of Rejection of OIC Proposals
  1. See IRM 5.8.12.

  2. In accordance with IRC 7122(d)(1), before an OIC can be rejected by IRS, the proposal must be reviewed by an IAR.

  3. The IAR is responsible for ensuring that all IRM and IRC requirements have been met before the taxpayer is notified of the rejection.

  4. Automated Offer In Compromise (AIOC) is used to control IAR OIC Review inventory.

  5. Once the approving official signs Form 1271, Rejection or Withdrawal Memorandum, the offer is reassigned to the IAR pool on AOIC.

  6. The IAR should create NFOI on ICS within seven (7) calendar days of receipt.

  7. If the rejection is not sustained by the IAR, Form 5942, Reviewer's Report, should be generated.

  8. IAR reviews are completed and are returned to the originator on AOIC.

Review of Rejection of Installment Agreement Proposals
  1. See IRM

  2. In accordance with IRC 7122(d), before an IA proposal can be rejected by IRS, the proposal must be reviewed by an IAR. (Exception: IAs to delay collection).

  3. The IAR is responsible for ensuring that all IRM and IRC requirements have been met before the taxpayer is notified of the rejection.

  4. IAR reviews are documented on Form 12233, Independent Review Prior to Rejection of Request of Installment Agreement.

  5. Forms 12233 originate with a CFf employee and are referred to the IAR Group.

  6. The IAR must add the case to ICS within 7 calendar days.

  7. The IAR documents review in Form 12233 and returns the case to the originator.

Property Appraisal and Liquidation Specialty Groups (PALS)

  1. The Property Acquisition and Liquidation Specialist (PALS) position and the PALS program was created by the Service as a result of the Internal Revenue Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98). RRA 98 prohibited revenue oficers from selling seized property, so the PALS position was created to perform this function. The PALS' primary function is to sell property that has been seized by revenue officers, redeemed for the government, acquired for payment of taxes, or acquired by order of a court. PALS also provide appraisal assistance and advice on seizure expenses to Revenue Officers considering seizure action. PALS groups are situated throughout the country. The PALS assignment grid is maintained on the PALS website: http://sbse.web.irs.gov/PALS/default.htm. Because of the variance in number and complexity of receipts PALS assignments are sometimes transferred amongst groups to balance workload.

  2. PALS managers need to be very organized as their programs have short and critical timeframes. The PALS managers travel frequently and must be able to carry out a multitude of managerial responsibilities while in travel status. This requires a familiarity with automation tools, flexible scheduling, and effective time management. PALS managers are provided cell phones, laptop computers, and wireless internet cards so they may maintain communications with their groups and customers while working outside their office.

  3. Cases are assigned as Non Field Other Investigations (NFOIs) on ICS by selecting the appropriate item from the "Requested Action " menu that corresponds to the related time code. Case assignment is time sensitive and must be completed within seven (7) calendar days of receipt in the group.

    151 - PALS Appraisals

    152 - PALS Seized Asset Control and Sales

    153 - PALS Acquired Property Sales

    154 - PALS Redemption Sales

    155 - PALS Redemption Investigations

    156 - PALS Judicial Sales

    157 - PALS Judicial Appraisals

    158 – PALS Pre-Sale/Pre-Seizure) Review (Starting January 2010)

    161 - Pre-Seizure Review (will be removed after December 2009)

  4. In addition to the above time codes, PALS will charge time to Time Code 122 when they are providing oral advice on sale issues or asset valuations.

  5. All case assignments are to be made through the PALS manager. PALS need to forward requests for actions to managers for assignment. Managers need to ensure work requested of the PALS is appropriate. For example, revenue officers are expected to determine the value of assets. They may seek PALS input as to value or sources to use to establish value, but the revenue officers are expected to determine whether there is equity prior to contacting the PALS. Formal appraisals are to be completed only when the PALS manager agrees they are necessary.

  6. Time Code 161 - Pre-Seizure/Sale Review is only for complex cases where the PALS manager or PALS need up to 30 days to determine the accuracy of the title or resolve sensitive case issues. Typically the case will be assigned to PALS under this time code while a title report is secured and title verified. Once this is accomplished the 161 NFOI is closed and 152 NFOI is opened. Managers need to monitor the 161 inventory list carefully to ensure cases are not maintained in that code for more than 30 days. This time code will be replaced in the FY 2010 ICS release by time code 158 for PALS employees.

  7. PALS managers are responsible for ensuring that the workload is being managed in a timely and efficient manner. ICS inventory reports will be reviewed on a monthly basis to ensure PALS cases are being effectively worked. Managers are to ensure custody is promptly accepted and the assets are timely moved to sale. Real property custody transfer should be immediate or as soon as possible. Personal property custody transfer should be as soon as possible but no more than 30 days.

  8. PALS managers are required to attend auctions when large sums of cash are anticipated, on cases requiring sensitive case reports, and judgment should be used when cases involve the need for an armed escort. When PALS managers attend auctions written feedback should be provided to the PALS employee in a timely manner based on observations from the field visit.

  9. Managers will review each closed case. Three EQ reviews per PALS per quarter are required as a minimum for performance documentation. Sale reports are required to be submitted to Advisory promptly after the sale. The money secured at the sale is held by RACS until the sale report is submitted. If the PALS does not timely submit his/her reports, or does so with errors, it delays the posting of the sale proceeds to the taxpayer's account. Managers will ensure timeliness and completeness of closing reports prior to forwarding to Advisory.

  10. Form 5942 is issued to the PALS managers when errors are made or critical documents have not been received. These need to be controlled by the manager to ensure they are resolved by the due date. The manager should focus on ensuring the errors are corrected and any systems problems are resolved. The manager should be concerned if a PALS is repeatedly getting Forms 5942 for the same issue. If that occurs the manager needs to address it with the PALS and provide additional training if necessary.

  11. PALS managers will use an informational Form 5942 to return custody of seized assets to the field when appropriate. At times additional work may be required to further develop the case or the revenue officer may explore alternate case resolutions and custody should be returned to the field through the Collection Territory Manager via the Form 5942 and a Form 3210 transmittal. Once custody is returned to the field, the PALS OI should be closed.

  12. At the end of each quarterly period Seizure Advisory Groups must initiate a Form 13464, 90-Day Open Seizure and Semi-Annual Asset Verification Report for any seizure file that has been open beyond 90 days and still has at least one asset that has not been disposed of. The completed forms must be returned to Advisory by the PALS manager within 60 days of the end of the quarter. For the quarterly periods ending March 31 and September 30, Section III (Physical Inventory Verification) must also be completed. Generally, the employee who has custody of the asset will complete the verification of the inventory and return the completed report to Advisory through the PALS manager. Managers will use this opportunity to ensure the case is being worked effectively.

  13. PALS managers are responsible for overseeing the PALS purchase of a broad range of items needed in the performance of their official duties. This is a sensitive area and needs strict adherence to the applicable policies and procedures. PALS managers must ensure they are knowledgeable about the various procurement regulations and secure additional guidance from the Supervisory Budget Analyst in Finance when necessary.

AIQ Advisory Group Managers’ EQRS Review Documents, Form 6850, and Narrative, General Guide

EQRS, Form 6850, and narratives are essential in all actions regarding an employee. EQRS review documents, narratives, and other evaluative documents are the building blocks of an effective performance evaluation. The documents will assist you in substantiating your decision to take whatever action involving the performance of an employee. These actions could include awards, reducing their rating of record, or possible removal from flexiplace. Therefore, these documents are to be clear and concise. They give the employee a clear understanding of how they are performing, whether they are excelling, doing well, or need improvement.

Ensure that your reviews are written and encompass a sufficient range of cases from the employee’s inventory. When performing case reviews utilize the Embedded Quality Review System and:

  1. Review actual hard copy case file(s) whenever possible to ensure documents that will expedite case resolution are included, i.e. lien certificate applications, suit recommendations, seizure recommendations, TFRP recommendations, etc., and that an appropriate evaluation of case direction has been made;

  2. Ensure clear comments are included, with each case reviewed; If the employee is doing a good job, document it in the comments;

  3. If case direction is needed, ensure your documented directions are specific, so that it is understood, what needs to be done and by when; If warranted reference specific documents reviewed in the case file;

  4. Do not leave your comments up to interpretation.

When preparing the review documentation you should:

  1. Ensure the employee’s actions were appropriately documented on each case,

  2. Your comments are based upon actions pertaining to the applicable CJE and sub-element,

  3. Ensure conformity with the employees' CJE’s,

  4. When appropriate, reference relevant IRM sections, subsections, and case file documents,

  5. Document ways of improvement and/or issues relevant to reviewed documents,

  6. Be realistic in expectations,

  7. Prepare a narrative of your overall findings (see narratives).

Meet with the employee and engage in an open dialogue. Be sure to discuss the positive as well as the negative aspects of the employee’s performance. Discuss the comments on the EQRS Feedback Report given on " each" case and ensure the employee understands.

  1. Ask for their input regarding your interpretation of their actions.

  2. Ask for other options or future plans they may be considering.

  3. If warranted, discuss the documents included in the case file, and inquire why others are not.

  4. If appropriate add their proposed actions to your comments as additional action items.

  5. Ensure that time lines are realistic.

  6. Ensure their case direction is clear.

Discuss the EQRS Feedback Report narrative with the employee, to ensure they understand the document and its possible impact on their annual appraisal/evaluation (positive or negative). You should have the employee sign for " receipt" of both the Individual Feedback Report and any accompanying documents. Document and date the Individual Feedback Report and narrative if the employee refuses to sign.

Form 6850 Performance Appraisal and Retention Standard Rating:

The Form 6850 is the numerical representation of the employee’s performance during the course of the evaluation period. It must be consistent with the employee’s casework and evaluative documents prepared during the course of the evaluative period. Ensure that the preparation of Form 6850 is in accordance with Article 12 of the National Agreement. Base your appraisal of the employee on documented materials such as the following:

  1. Evaluative documents housed in the employee’ EPF, such as EQRS Individual Feedback and/or Cumulative Feedback Reports; Also see IRM, Quality and Controls, and IRM, Reviews, for other considerations;

  2. Taxpayer correspondence if any was received;

  3. Internal customer correspondence;

  4. All awards received during the period.

Performance and Evaluative Narratives:

Narratives are one the most effective tools in documenting and informing employee's of their performance. They should be used to emphasize the positive as well as the negative aspects of their performance. They are integral to using EQRS where attribute specific narrative comments, as well as, case summary comments should be developed as part of all case reviews. They can be used as either stand alone documentation (EQRS Individual and/or Cumulative Feedback Reports) and/or with the Form 6850 (when appropriate). See current NTEU/IRS National Agreement, regarding Form 6850 narratives. The following should be helpful in the preparation of narratives:

  1. The narrative must be written in a clear and concise manner,

  2. The narrative for Form 6850 is to address each Critical Element and its accompanying sub-element,

  3. When preparing the Form 6850 narrative (if warranted), be sure to reference the prior reviews and other evaluative documents completed during the course of the evaluation period and the dates completed or received,

  4. The narrative must be of a sufficient length for the employee to have a clear understanding of their current level of performance and what is expected from them in the future,

  5. The narrative should summarize your findings during the course of a review or the overall performance during an evaluative period; You may choose to use specific examples or sanitized case references,

  6. When summarizing the findings of a review, the narrative should refer to specific critical job elements and sub-elements. You may choose to comment on all CJE’s, or those that the employee is doing well and/or those, which require improvement.

  7. It should indicate and praise strengths, if found within specific element(s).

  8. It should indicate the weaknesses, if any are found within the element(s).

  9. It must indicate ways of improvement where weakness are found.

  10. It should always indicate the level of performance (overall and within a specific CJE).

  11. It must indicate "possible" consequences, if performance is at an unacceptable level or is indicating an unacceptable trend.

  12. Always indicate that you are available for any further assistance.

In conjunction with the steps to address employee performance as outlined in IRM Exhibit 1.4.50–6 of this handbook the following may be of assistance:

  • If and when actions are warranted ensure that your prescribed action is specifically documented and appropriately worded; Consult with your Territory Manager or Labor Relations Specialist as appropriate;

  • Ensure that your documentation includes (1) identification of the initial or continued problem(s) or issue(s); (2) Sharing of the problem(s)/issue(s) with the employee involved; (3) The proposed resolution of the problem(s)/issue(s), with a specific time period of completion; Inform the employee of possible consequences if the problem(s)/issue(s) are not resolved; (4) Clearly document if the resolution was accomplished or not. If the resolution was not accomplished be specific in your prescribed recommendation. And, (5) sharing of your findings with the employee involved; You may inform the employee verbally, but confirm the discussion via memorandum.


    The employee is entitled to request representation by the Union, when the employee and the supervisor or other management official meet to discuss action or potential action, based on unacceptable performance. This may include but is not limited to: A plan of improvement specifying actions the employee must take, meetings between yourself and the employee, to resolve the problem(s)/issue(s).


When in doubt regarding any action being considered, contact your servicing Labor Relations Representative and/or your direct supervisor.

National Agreement articles:

  • Article 5 - Employee Rights

  • Article 8 - Union Rights

  • Article 12 - Performance Appraisal System

  • Article 17 - Acceptable Level of Competence Determinations

  • Article 18 - Awards

  • Article 38 - Disciplinary Actions

  • Article 39 - Adverse Actions

  • Article 40 - Unacceptable Performance

  • Article 41 - Employee Grievance Procedure

  • Article 50 - Flexiplace (also see the Flexiplace Agreement)