1.56.1 LB&I Policy Office Processes and Procedures

Manual Transmittal

August 13, 2021

Purpose

(1) This transmits new IRM 1.56.1, Large Business and International, LB&I Policy Office Processes and Procedures.

Scope

The scope of this IRM revision is limited to the two interim guidance memos described below. Future revisions will include more detail about other aspects of LB&I Policy.

Material Changes

(1) The new IRM section describes the purpose, function, and procedures for the LB&I Policy Office.

Effect on Other Documents

This IRM incorporates Interim Guidance Memo LB&I-01-0720-0015, Publishing Guidance; Signature Authority; Discontinuing Directive Format, and Interim Guidance Memo LB&I-01-0920-0017, LB&I Internal Management Document Administrative Procedures.

Audience

Primarily LB&I employees at all levels, but may be of interest to other business units who work with LB&I on joint projects.

Effective Date

(08-13-2021)

Theodore D. Setzer
Acting Assistant Deputy Commissioner Compliance Integration
Large Business and International Division

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. LB&I Policy became operational on February 16, 2020, as part of the Assistant Deputy Commissioner Compliance Integration (ADCCI), Strategy, Policy, and Governance (SPG) organization.

  2. Purpose: This IRM outlines the model for managing LB&I internal management documents (or IMDs). IMDs are any official communication of IRS policies, instructions to staff, guidelines or procedures. Servicewide IMDs include the Internal Revenue Manual (or IRM), delegation orders, policy statements, and commissioner memoranda. This model also addresses IRM ownership, IMD approval levels and appropriateness of IRM content. The goal is to improve the timeliness and the control of LB&I IMDs and the consistency of IMD procedures.

  3. Audience: LB&I employees at all levels within the organization and employees of other business units who work with LB&I on joint projects.

  4. Policy Owner: Assistant Deputy Commissioner Compliance Integration

  5. Program Owner: Director, Strategy, Policy and Governance

  6. Primary Stakeholders: Stakeholders include practice area directors, Compliance Planning and Analytics, Data Solutions, Program and Business Solutions (PBS) and LB&I employees at all levels within the organization.

Mission

  1. The mission of the LB&I Policy Office is to:

    1. Apply a consistent approach to policy decisions for LB&I operations to ensure they align with LB&I strategic goals and objectives.

    2. Define and document LB&I policies and monitor LB&I operations to assess adherence to LB&I policies and quality standards.

    3. Ensure all policy decisions are coordinated/vetted with internal and external stakeholders as appropriate

IRM Definition and Scope

  1. The IRM is the primary, official source of instructions to staff. "IRM content" or "IRM" as used throughout this document includes content that falls into one of the following categories:

    Category Description
    Delegations of Authority In general, the power to give orders or make decisions. Delegation orders are issued by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue (or on the Commissioner's behalf), to subordinates, with or without restriction or redelegation.
    Guidelines Directions employees use to determine a course of action or explanations that help employees make judgments based on facts.
    Interim Guidance (IG) A memorandum or IRM procedural update used to convey immediate, emergency or temporary changes to operations or procedures.
    Policy Statement A statement concerning an important ideal or value that guides IRS in administering the internal revenue laws and forms the basis for IRM procedures.
    Procedures A process, series of instructions to follow, or a sequence of steps, that establish a standard based on rule or policy.
    For more information on IRM content scope and content placement for LB&I see IRM 4.51.2, LB&I Administrative Guidance.

  2. See IRM Exhibit 1.56.1-1 for a table of acronyms.

Roles and Responsibilities of LB&I Policy

  1. A dedicated LB&I policy function improves the IRM update and IG approval processes. Any instructions to staff, as defined above, will be cleared for publication through an IMD coordinator in ADCCI. This is consistent with Servicewide procedures. The IMD author must contact the IMD coordinator at the beginning of any IMD project for advice and guidance. For example, the IMD coordinator assists IRM authors with interim guidance format and requests new IRM sections from the Servicewide Policy Directives and Electronic Resources (SPDER) office, which oversees IMD procedures. See IRM 1.11.1.6.7.1 for a full description of IMD coordinator responsibilities.

  2. Policy analysts and SMEs in the policy groups ensure that policies impacting LB&I are disseminated throughout the IRS and to the public. LB&I Policy is also the lead for all matters related to other business unit policy offices.

IRM Ownership
  1. Ownership of LB&I’s IRMs have been transferred to ADCCI. Practice areas have designated SMEs for each IRM transferred. LB&I IMD coordinators will maintain a list of these SMEs. The practice areas should inform LB&I Policy of any SME changes through the *LB&I Policy Office mailbox.

Signature Authority
  1. For guidance affecting more than one practice area or IRM section, the signature authority has moved from the LB&I Commissioner to the Assistant Deputy Commissioner Compliance Integration. Signature authority for interim guidance affecting only one practice area has moved from the LB&I Commissioner to the Director overseeing the program.

  2. LB&I Policy will pre-review the guidance and determine the impact or scope. This change aligns with Servicewide policy that the program director is the signatory for interim guidance and is ultimately responsible for the content.

  3. At the discretion of the LB&I Commissioner, guidance may be signed at a higher level. See IRM 1.11.10.2, Interim Guidance Standards, paragraph (7).

Signature for Editorial Updates
  1. The editorial update process, as defined in IRM 1.11.2.8, is a streamlined way of making corrections to titles, website addresses’ citations and typographical errors, that do not affect the meaning of the content. This process requires clearance and approval only by the author’s management chain. The ADCCI Director for Strategy, Policy, and Governance will have the authority to initiate and approve editorial changes to any LB&I IRM, regardless of signatory approver. This practice will help maintain a more accurate and timelier IRM.

Role of Policy Analysts and Subject Matter Experts
  1. The following roles in the IRM/IMD process are defined as follows:

    Role Title Duties described Responsible Party
    Subject Matter Expert (SME) Role includes subject matter expertise, handling inquiries, communications, facilitating change requests, gathering feedback from stakeholders, etc. Contributor role – provide feedback and suggests necessary content changes to the IRM author. May author procedures under the policies. Either Policy Office or PA designates analyst as SME
    Content Author Responsible for IRM and other guidance currency. Receives SME suggestions, creates content using Arbortext, and finalizes all content including informal reviews contained in the policy development job aids. Performs IRM/IMD clearance before sending to IMD coordinator for approval process. Receives approved content and leads implementation. Policy Analyst
    IMD Coordinator SME for all IMD processes. Compiles and tracks routing on all IMD content ready for executive approval. Also performs final review and assessment and submits to Publishing. LB&I Policy IMD Coordinator

Additional Roles and Responsibilities for Practice Area SMEs and SME Practice Areas
  1. The Subject Matter Practice Area management should ensure that technical content change requests presented to the policy office analyst for consideration have been appropriately vetted within the practice area.

  2. The policy analyst assigned as IRM author must be informed at the earliest possible time if an external audit such as TIGTA, GAO, or Taxpayer Advocate or others could result in a needed policy change or IRM content update. The policy analyst should be included in the review of any agreed upon actions by a SME practice area before the SME practice area obligates LB&I to any IRM content plans of action.

  3. Instructions to taxpayers are not IRM content and subject matter practice areas, their SMEs or policy analysts should coordinate this type content with the appropriate counsel or other function.

Acronyms

  1. See Exhibit 1.56.1-1, Acronyms, for a list of acronyms used in this IRM.

Related Resources

  1. LB&I Policy Office Virtual Library page: https://portal.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/vl011/lists/comppolicysupport/landingview.aspx

  2. LB&I Policy Office mailbox: *LB&I Policy Office

New IRM/IMD Development Requests

  1. Future projects or efforts that involve potential new IRM guidance to staff should submit a request for policy development during the early stages of the projects. Questions about this procedure can be directed to *LB&I Policy Office. LB&I Policy will consider and approve any policy change or development requests and guide policy aspects of future teams as warranted. LB&I Policy may also launch project teams when the office determines it does not have adequate resources to effectively implement all aspects of a new policy.

Directive Transition

  1. Historically, the former LB&I industries used to provide issue-related guidance in the form of an "Industry Director Directive. " Over time, these directives have transformed into "LB&I Directives" that are approved by the LB&I Commissioner. Directive procedures duplicate and sometimes overlap with interim guidance procedures in IRM 1.11.10, Interim Guidance Process.

  2. Interim guidance memos are recognized as a way of issuing guidance faster than an IRM section update. They have established clearance procedures and a system for tracking, controlling, and revoking them. Interim guidance memos are associated with their related IRM sections(s) on IRM Online and in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) library and are incorporated into the IRM within two years (unless reissued). In contrast, directives are posted as web pages on IRS.gov and, while they are linked to the FOIA library, they are not linked to IRM Online.

  3. See IRM 4.51.2, LB&I Administrative Guidance, for more information and examples of what is considered "IRM guidance" .

  4. To avoid duplication, and to fill gaps in existing directive procedures, as of July 29, 2020, we will no longer use the industry directive format set forth in former IRM 4.51.2.6, Developing Administrative Guidance – LMSB Directives. All existing directives will be evaluated and IRM guidance will be incorporated into the IRM. Outdated guidance will be made obsolete and informational material will be housed elsewhere, such as practice units or audit technique guides (ATGs). LB&I Policy will coordinate this process.

    Note:

    See IRM 1.56.1.4 for placement of information contained in directives that does not meet the definition of IRM material.

  5. To eliminate the inconsistencies that can arise from two forms of guidance (regardless of their similarities), all LB&I IRM guidance will be issued as interim guidance memos. Working with the practice areas, the policy analysts will review all active directives for relevancy and incorporate them into the IRM section most relevant to the subject of the directive. If an IRM section is not readily identifiable, the directives containing IRM guidance will be housed in IRM 4.30.2, LB&I General Procedures, Other Technical Issues.

Informational Resources

  1. Some LB&I IRMs and LB&I directives contain information that does not fall into one of the instructions to staff categories above. Such content will be placed into an informational resource such as a practice unit, virtual library book or an ATG.

  2. The policy office does not own, author, publish, or approve audit technique guides, practice units, or other informational resources. These functions are carried out by various practice areas across LB&I. The role of the policy function is to ensure content is placed in the appropriate place and that these types of resources do not contain instructions to staff that should be placed in the IRM. Policy analysts will review IRM content to ensure it is housed in the appropriate place and move content between formats as necessary.

  3. See IRM 4.51.2, LB&I Administrative Guidance, for more information on informational resources.

Acronyms

Acronym Definition
ADCCI Assistant Deputy Commissioner Compliance Integration
ATG Audit Technique Guide
GAO Government Accountability Office
IG Interim Guidance
IMD Internal Management Document
SPDER Servicewide Policy Directives and Electronic Resources
SME Subject Matter Expert
SPG Strategy Policy and Governance
TIGTA Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration