11.53.5  Stakeholder Liaison (SL) Activities

Manual Transmittal

January 14, 2015


(1) This transmits a complete revision to IRM 11.53 5, Stakeholder Liaison (SL) Activities.

Material Changes

(1) Editorial changes made throughout to improve the grammar, clarity and flow of the various instructions. Redundancies have been reduced or eliminated, except where needed for emphasis.

(2) Organization and employee titles updated throughout the IRM.

(3) Web sites and links updated throughout.

(4) CSO Program Letter web site link updated in IRM Section

(5) CSO Calendar of Events information updated in IRM Section

(6) SB/SE Speaker Requests language updated in IRM Section

(7) SRM - Roles and Responsibilities for Stakeholder Relationship language & IRM reference updated in IRM Section (1)(2) & (3)

(8) Model for Practitioners language updated in IRM Section 11.53.3(2)

(9) Practitioner Directories language updated in IRM Section

(10) National and Local Webinars language updated in IRM Section

(11) The IRS Nationwide Tax Forums information updated in IRM Section

(12) Payroll and Practitioner Liaison removed from IRM Section Stakeholder Liaison Headquarters title

(13) IRM Section Tax Practitioner Education Program Overview acronyms, mission and other information updated.

(14) Tax Practitioner Education Program Overview removed from previous IRM Section

(15) Detailed procedures for the Issue Management Resolution System (IMRS) were removed from previous IRM Section and referenced in IRM 11.53.4, Audit Liaison and IMRS.

(16) IRM Section Tax Practitioner Institutes (TPI) Information updated

(17) IRM Section The SB/SE National Practitioner Forum information updated

(18) IRM Section, The Reporting Agent Forum (RAF) acronyms and information updated

(19) IRM Section Expanding Practitioner Communications Strategy deleted.

(20) IRM Section SL Field Local Payroll and Practitioner Liaisons Meetings information updated

(21) IRM Section Continuing Education (CPE) Credit information updated

(22) IRM Section - Model for Industry Business SRM information updated

(23) IRM Section 4 Small Business Online Ordering link updated

(24) IRM Section 4 - Leveraged Small Business Tax Workshops (LSBTW) information updated

(25) IRM Section 4 - Ordering Products for Small Business Workshops link updated

(26) IRM Section Content Publishing Requests (CPR) information updated

(27) IRM Section SB/SE Excellence in Partnering Recognition Program information updated

(28) IRM Section Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee (IRPAC) information updated

(29) IRM Section Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC) information updated

(30) IRM Section Taxpayer Advisory Panel (TAP) information updated

(31) IRM Section Treasury Report Submissions removed from IRM

(32) IRM Section Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act (SBREFA) information updated

(33) IRM Section Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Processing of SBREFA Comments updated

(34) IRM Section SL HQ Coordination Responsibilities information updated

(35) IRM Section SBREFA Rating Criteria information updated

(36) IRM Section SBREFA ONO Annual Report to Congress(SL HQ only) information updated

(37) IRM Section SBREFA SBA National Ombudsman (SL HQ Only) information updated

(38) IRM Section Name (Rita) replaced with title

(39) IRM Section Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Outreach information updated

Effect on Other Documents



Employees in Small Business/Self Employed (SB/SE), Communications, Stakeholder, and Outreach (CSO), Stakeholder Liaison Headquarters (SL HQ), Stakeholder Liaison Field (SL Field) and all others who perform or report work in support of Stakeholder Liaison programs.

Effective Date


Related Resources

The CSO Intranet Web site is found at the following: http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/AboutSBSE/obm/CLD/default.aspx

Stakeholder Liaison Field Sharepoint Site Bulletin Board: https://organization.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/SbseCsoSlf/SitePages/Home.aspx

Phyllis Grimes
Director, Communications and Stakeholder Outreach

Communications and Stakeholder Outreach - Stakeholder Liaison Activities  (01-14-2015)
Communications and Stakeholder Outreach (CSO) Program Letter

  1. The mission of CSO is to develop and deliver integrated strategic communications and educational products to SB/SE employees, taxpayers, and key SB/SE partners in tax administration and over other matters IRS administers. These include federal, state, and local governmental agencies, practitioners, and industry groups. CSO is responsible for programs and activities in support of both the SB/SE and the IRS Strategic Plans, and also coordinates IRS's National Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program.

  2. The three components of the CSO organization are Communications, CSO Headquarters Operations and Stakeholder Liaison Field. Each provides crucial support to SB/SE, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Small Business and Self-Employed community:

  3. Communications: Provides expert communication support and advice to design, develop, and implement communication plans and strategies. Communications delivers SB/SE's messages to internal and external audiences through professionally developed strategies, writing, editing, and developing video productions. Web Communications serves as web master for MySB/SE and content publisher for irs.gov. A variety of communication tools help internal customers accomplish their duties and provide external customers and partners with information to help them comply with their tax responsibilities. See IRM 11.53.2, SB/SE Communications.

  4. CSO Headquarters Operations: CSO Headquarters is comprised of three groups: Stakeholder Liaison Headquarters , Audit, Liaison and IMRS Group or (ALI) and Headquarters Operations Support and Disaster Assistance.

    • Stakeholder Liaison Headquarters (SL HQ) mission is to build and maintain practitioner, payroll and industry partnerships both internally and externally that positively impacts taxpayer service, burden reduction and tax compliance.

    • The Audit, Liaison, and Issue Management Resolution System Group or (ALI) is responsible for three distinct programs. The GAO/TIGTA Audit liaison program is responsible for establishing effective programs to facilitate the GAO/TIGTA audit processes for the SB/SE Commissioner, managing the SB/SE inventory of GAO/TIGTA audits, and serving as the primary SB/SE point of contact for these audits. Legislative Implementation maintains the legislative program for SB/SE and serves as the operational liaison for legislative implementation and development of SB/SE legislative proposals and requests for published guidance. The Issue Management Resolution System (IMRS) group provides a streamlined and structured process that facilitates stakeholder issue identification, resolution or response, and feedback to significant national and local stakeholder issues. (See IRM 11.53.4, Audit, Liaison and IMRS (ALI).

    • Headquarters Operations Support and Disaster Assistance serves as the operation link between all SB/SE CSO components. CSO Headquarters Operations Support and Disaster Assistance established and maintains strategic plans, policies and standard procedures for CSO and monitors resource utilization. CSO Headquarters Operations Support and Disaster Assistance also oversees IRS's involvement in disaster assistance and emergency relief activities. (See IRM 25.16.1, Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Guidelines)

  5. Stakeholder Liaison – Field (SL Field): Focuses on local engagement of the payroll and practitioner communities and small business/industry organizations. SL Field provides information about IRS policies, practices, and procedures to ensure compliance with the tax laws. SL Field activities align with the IRS goals to "improve taxpayer service, enhance enforcement of tax law and modernize the IRS through its people, processes and technology…" .

  6. For more information on the CSO Program Letter, go to the CSO homepage on the Intranet at the following Web site: http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/AboutSBSE/obm/CLD/default.aspx  (01-14-2015)
Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM) - Methodology

  1. CSO HQ and Field offices have overall responsibility for providing education and outreach to the SB/SE taxpayer community concerning their responsibilities for filing, reporting, and paying Federal taxes. SL achieves this mission through liaison activities with major stakeholder groups having members and clients within this community. SL engages the stakeholder groups to increase tax compliance through educational and other outreach activities.

  2. SL delivers key messages and products developed in collaboration with CSO Communications. The "outreach" may be a campaign to increase awareness or to secure the support of the stakeholder group, other times it is merely information sharing. SL works with CSO to ensure all actions and initiatives support the commitments outlined in the IRS's Strategic Goals and the CSO Business Plan.

  3. There are two distinct stakeholder categories: Practitioners and Non-Practitioners, referred to as industry/business stakeholders. Both these stakeholder groups play a significant role in promoting tax compliance. The approach used with these stakeholders is similar, but the outreach activities aimed at each group may differ.

  4. This document outlines the methodology for determining the relationships critical to success. It includes information on how to:

    • Develop or nurture the relationships.

    • Balance and meet the needs of both parties.

    • Manage the relationships.  (01-14-2015)
SRM Model

  1. The purpose of this model is to create a consistent methodology for approaching major stakeholder groups. While outreach to practitioner and industry/business stakeholders encompasses similar activities, there are differences between the approach and level of activities with these groups. Practitioners universally seek interaction and information from the IRS and view SL activities as an important aspect of partnering. Industry/business stakeholders’ expectations may be based on previous interactions with the IRS and more specifically with SL.

  2. In building and maintaining any relationship, it is critical to ensure each party understands the purpose of the relationship, and carefully balances and meets the needs of both parties. This involves researching and getting to know your stakeholders, understanding what is important to them, listening to their concerns (listening is essential in developing and maintaining a healthy liaison relationship), and identifying areas of mutual interest. SL, as the lead for relationship management with SB/SE taxpayers, must also ensure its stakeholders understand the needs and concerns of internal IRS stakeholders and include this in relationship responsibilities.

  3. Delivering pertinent information can minimize resource burdens when coordinated through leveraged activities. It is important to maintain relationships so these channels are for delivery of deliver key messages developed in accordance with SB/SE strategic compliance objectives and the CSO Program Letter. It is also important to begin establishing new relationships in line with key messages planned for future delivery.  (01-14-2015)
SRM - Links to IRS Strategic Plan

  1. SL program goals flow from the IRS Strategic Goals and the CSO Business Plan. SRM program goals are coordinated with action plans developed and shared by the Compliance functions. These goals range from broadly disseminating information to improving compliance through specific key messages directed toward influencing taxpayer behavior.

  2. Action plans are accomplished through outreach campaigns with a target audience, a defined set of steps to accomplish a goal and, when possible, measuring the impact on the target audience's behavior. These campaigns are developed in collaboration with CSO Communications. SL works with CSO staff to ensure all actions support the IRS's Strategic Goals and the CSO Business Plan and CSO Program Letter.

  3. Most campaigns are delivered through established stakeholders. The outreach campaigns targeted to industry/business stakeholders are also coordinated with the practitioner community for maximum communication impact and to facilitate interplay between the two stakeholder groups.  (01-14-2015)
SRM - Issue Management Resolution System (IMRS)

  1. The SB/SE IMRS ensures ensure that SB/SE is proactive in responding to stakeholder concerns. The purpose of the IMRS application is to allow employees to track significant local and national/international issues identified by stakeholders. The system provides managers and CSO HQ with trend information to determine when national, international, and high-level significant local issues are widespread. It is used to elevate stakeholder issues so CSO HQ can work with the functions to attempt to resolve them.

  2. Issue resolution is closely monitored to ensure timely resolution of stakeholder issues. The status of issues or resolution of the issue are shared with stakeholders through planned outreach activities that are coordinated with CSO Communications. Where appropriate, SL Field delivers these messages to their stakeholders.

  3. Additional information on IMRS is found at the following Web site:http://sbse.web.irs.gov/CL2/sl/IMRS/index_login.asp and in IRM 11.53.4 , GAO/TIGTA/Legislative Implementation.  (01-14-2015)
SRM - Outreach Initiatives Database

  1. Overview: The SB/SE Outreach Initiative Database (OID),http://sbse.web.irs.gov/cl2/sl/outreach_initiatives/default.asp , provides a consolidated summary of SB/SE initiatives. The OID contains reference material, key messages, and communication products approved for use in external outreach. Stakeholder Liaisons should direct recommendations for appropriate outreach/communication products to the IMRS Working Group. See IRM IMRS Roles and Responsibilities.

  2. This OID database is managed by SB/SE CSO Communications and is primarily used by SB/SE SL. Other employees may also rely on its contents to ensure consistent messaging on SB/SE and selected IRS program topics.

  3. General Use and Information: This online database provides users with several selection methods to reach the information and product links as needed. Supplemental pages on MySB/SE have been established to provide further guidance on outreach updates, priorties, and product use at OID Databasehttp://mysbse.web.irs.gov/supportingsbse/outcomact/outreach/stakeholderoutreach/initiativedatabase/default.aspx

  4. Materials on the OID are generally provided for the use of IRS employees conducting outreach. Some materials are for internal reference and not for external distribution. For detailed product guidance on when handouts are permissible, see the intranet at Product Guidancehttp://mysbse.web.irs.gov/supportingsbse/outcomact/outreach/stakeholderoutreach/initiativedatabase/resources/productguidelines/default.aspx

  5. Materials on the OID are approved for use by business owners. SLs have limited flexibility to adapt approved presentations to meet specific needs and to develop handouts, when necessary, using approved material. SL Chiefs (headquarters) and Area Managers (field) are responsible for monitoring the adaptation and use of products posted on the OID.

  6. As appropriate, supplemental instructions may also be provided directly to outreach employees with regard to timing, audience, reporting requirements, etc. for the materials created.

  7. How the process works: SB/SE CSO Communications analysts work with SB/SE and other IRS program owners to determine outreach initiative needs. SL employees may also surface outreach requests by using the IMRS process. IRM for guidance on using the IMRS process.

  8. Communications adds the topics to the database by:

    • Providing a brief description of the initiative, including the key messages and strategic goals supported.

    • Identifying outreach delivery time-frames and audiences.

    • Uploading communication products and/or links to content on irs.gov.

  9. As the initiative evolves, the assigned communicator is responsible for updating the database information.  (01-14-2015)
SRM - Development and Delivery of Messages and Campaigns

  1. Key messages and educational information will be delivered through outreach campaigns. CSO Communications will develop these campaigns in collaboration with SL and appropriate subject matter experts. This collaborative effort will ensure complete and consistent messages. Campaign packages will include a suite of communication products that may include key messages, PowerPoint presentations, articles, etc. for use with recommended stakeholder audiences.

  2. Emphasis will be on nationwide rollout of key campaigns during a specified time frame. This will provide unified program activity across SL to maximize and leverage the impact of the messages. The depth of implementation of a campaign will be dependent upon the resources within the geographic area and may be adjusted accordingly.

  3. CSO Communications will develop all messages and related products addressing outreach strategies. Communication products to support the outreach will be posted to the OID at the following Web site:http://sbse.web.irs.gov/cl2/sl/outreach_initiatives/default.asp .This will ensure proper consistency and coordination with all key internal functions, both inside and outside SB/SE. SL Headquarters will engage SL Field in the campaign development to ensure its validity prior to nationwide implementation.

  4. In some instances, SL identifies an area to pilot the campaign and determine the effectiveness prior to national implementation. Messages are also tested with national stakeholder organizations. Collaboration with Learning and Education takes place to develop training and ensure employees have the tools required to roll out each campaign in a consistent and timely manner. One key to a successful national approach to outreach is to evaluate the program for best practices and lessons learned. This will be done through operational reviews and visitations to local offices for on-site discussions. Appropriate means for information gathering will be used to ensure accountability in delivering key messages and accomplishing strategic objectives. CSO, will monitor and measure the extent to which these initiatives support the IRS Strategic Goals and CSO Business Plan.  (01-14-2015)
CSO Calendar of Events

  1. Background: The CSO Calendar of Events is an on-line application that tracks all scheduled CSO events, both virtual and face to face, nationwide and holds external stakeholder information.

  2. The CSO Calendar of Events system provides:

    1. CSO employees with the ability to view nationwide outreach and education events scheduled by CSO employees.

    2. Users the ability to network with peers about upcoming events to identify best practices and ensure consistency.

    3. CSO employees with the ability to maintain external stakeholder information.

    4. Users with the ability to link each event to any stakeholder(s) involved with the event.

    5. Reports that can be used for tracking events and sharing information on future liaison activities with appropriate officials.

  3. All CSO employees will be able to enter events or edit/delete events, which they entered, view scheduled events and search for events based on specified criteria. Managerial approval is needed for entering events.

  4. Stakeholder Liaison Field Project Manager and CSO HQ will provide policy and guidelines for the events calendar application. The CSO Calendar of Events system and user guide are available on the Stakeholder Liaison web page CSO Events Calendar.  (01-14-2015)
SB/SE Speaker Requests

  1. The SB/SE speakers guidance provides SL employees with a process for handling requests for speakers. Public appearances by IRS employees differ greatly in both size and scope. Typically, speaking requests could range from requests for virtual or face to face delivery at local practitioner meetings or small business events to requests for executives, such as the IRS Commissioner, to speak at major tax practitioner events.

  2. Invitations to speak or participate in practitioner or small business meetings or programs are an excellent opportunity to inform the public about the IRS mission, programs, and operations. It is necessary to focus efforts to ensure key messages are delivered to stakeholders. The IRS strategic plan and SB/SE business plan are used to drive the decisions to provide speakers.

  3. The SB/SE speaker guidelines do not apply to routine interaction and contacts that IRS employees have with practitioners and other stakeholder groups. These guidelines are available for field and headquarters employees on the Stakeholder Liaison's Guidance and Policy web pagehttp://mysbse.web.irs.gov/supportingsbse/outcomact/outreach/stakeholderoutreach/partnersprograms/speakerrequests/default.aspx Refer to the User Guide on the CSO Events Calendar web page for instructions on how to input a speaker requesthttp://mysbse.web.irs.gov/supportingsbse/outcomact/outreach/stakeholderoutreach/EventsCalendar/default.aspx  (01-14-2015)
SRM - Roles and Responsibilities for Stakeholder Relationships

  1. Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM) is an integral tool in influencing the compliance behavior of SB/SE taxpayers. SL plays a key role in promoting voluntary compliance through outreach and educational activities. SRM provides a vehicle to deliver key messages and tax information. In general, the role in SRM is to:

    1. Provide tax practitioners and industry/business stakeholders with information about the policies, practices, and procedures the IRS uses to ensure compliance with the tax laws both by voluntary means and through enforcement programs.

    2. Ensure IRS policies, practices, and procedures are explained in a complete and consistent manner to leaders of practitioner and stakeholder organizations at all levels (nationally and locally) with the expectation that the information is shared with the organization’s members.

    3. Participate in educational programs, such as tax institutes, seminars, symposiums, etc., for practitioners and industry/business stakeholders providing updates to IRS policies, practices, procedures, and law changes as appropriate.

    4. To arrange opportunities for exchange of information, ideas and points of view between representatives of practitioner and industry/business organizations and the appropriate IRS representatives. The IRS representatives should be identified based on the discussion topics.

    5. Use the IMRS to recognize and elevate issues concerning IRS policies, practices, and procedures identified by practitioner and industry/business organizations that require explanation, evaluation, or changes within the IRS. The outcome should be communicated to those groups that raised the issue as well as all other practitioner and non-practitioner groups that may have an interest.

  2. The role of SL Field offices is to:

    1. Be the local contact point for tax practitioner and industry/business organizations on all non-case related matters. This means making sure the practitioner and industry/business organizations have a clear understanding of whom to contact (campus as well as field contacts).

    2. Maintain regular and continuing contact with the practitioners and industry/business stakeholders who are leaders in the small business community, keeping open lines of communication, identifying issues and concerns, and planning for Practitioner Liaison Meetings (PLM) and Small Business (SB) Forums.

    3. Initiate or actively participate in, and lead as appropriate the Stakeholder Relationship Management Local Councils (SRMLC).

    4. Maintain a constant awareness of developments, which may be of interest to the practitioner and the industry/business community.

    5. Raise issues to IRS functions that are of concern to practitioners and industry/business stakeholders. The IMRS will be used based on established guidelines.

    6. Consult with the practitioner and industry/business organizations to agree on the frequency, location, format, and method of preparation for PLMs and SB Forums.

    7. Consult with the practitioner and industry/business organizations on how they distribute information directly to their members. Determine information they would like to receive and make every effort to provide only what they request.

    8. Consult with practitioner organizations and others who sponsor practitioner education events. Join planning committees to ensure the appropriate role for the IRS in these events.

    9. Facilitate the interaction between IRS, practitioners, and industry/business organizations for PLMs and SB Forums. This means working with representatives from practitioner and industry/business organizations to develop an agenda that meets the needs of all parties, to coordinate within the IRS to secure the most appropriate presenter for the topics, and to ensure IRS representatives have the necessary background on issues and concerns to make an effective presentation. (The IMRS can be analyzed to determine common issues, which could be valuable background for IRS representatives to ensure their stakeholders concerns are properly addressed and that the speakers are not surprised with issues). Speaker Guidelines should be followed in obtaining the appropriate speaker. SL Field and SL Headquarters will regularly share information gathered from their respective meetings to facilitate the effectiveness of future meetings.

    10. Ensure that summaries of the PLMs are prepared (by IRS or the stakeholder group), ensure follow-up items are identified and entered into the IMRS and that timely feedback via status reports is made available to the practitioner and industry/business groups. Share summaries and issue status reports with the SRMLC and other attendees. Ensure all summaries are posted to the SL Field SharePoint site.

    11. Provide reports to CSO HQ on practitioner, industry/business liaison, and education activities along with copies of summaries of meetings and issues needing HQ attention so that HQ may assess the stability of the local practitioner SRM.

    12. Identify expectations and an assessment process to mutually evaluate the relationship. Use this feedback to continue to perfect the relationship in regard to communication, issues raised, and responsiveness to the needs of all parties.

  3. The role of SL HQ office is to:

    1. Serve as the national liaison for practitioners, payroll providers and industry/business organizations.

    2. Coordinate with other HQ offices, particularly the Office of National Public Liaison, to represent the interests of the field practitioner and non-practitioner SRM programs.

    3. Develop strategic outreach plans with a component for the practitioner and industry/business community that are specific to their needs, not a mere version of a general message. Key messages for these outreach activities will be developed in collaboration with CSO Communications.

    4. Review input from field practitioner and industry/business liaison activities (liaison meeting summaries, area notes, elevated issues) for common themes and problems. When appropriate, surface issues through IMRS and collaborate with CSO Communications to develop practitioner information/education materials to address these issues. Ensure issues that cannot be worked through CSO HQ efforts are input into IMRS for appropriate action.

  4. The role of other SB/SE components is to:

    1. Clearly describe to all levels of management the importance of practitioner and industry/business SRM to effective tax administration and emphasize that the participation of the appropriate level of management in practitioner meetings is important and is expected. Set the expectation that the appropriate level of management is expected to participate in local SRM Councils.

    2. Collaborate with CSO Communications and SL to secure the necessary background on issues and concerns of the practitioner and industry/business groups. Seek input and assistance from CSO Communications and allot sufficient time to prepare to make an effective presentation.

    3. Review practitioner and industry/business groups’ elevated issues with the attention they deserve, providing timely responses and status reports.

    4. Maximize the use of technology to provide consistent and appropriate information for practitioners and industry/business groups and to provide the opportunity for senior officials to explain policy decisions.  (01-14-2015)
Policy for Attending Stakeholder Events (i.e., Conferences, Practitioner Engagements, and Small Business Events)

  1. Small Business events are defined as events at which IRS products or services are demonstrated to a particular industry or audience.

  2. It is important to ensure that by attending any event, the best possible venues to deliver key messages are used while meeting the needs of the stakeholders. The justification for attending any event must be linked to the CSO Program Letter, SB/SE Outreach Initiative Database, and the SB/SE Strategic Plan. The Policy for Attending Stakeholder Events is located on the Stakeholder Liaison web sitehttps://organization.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/SbseCsoSlf/SitePages/Home.aspx. This site contains specific information on the selection, criteria, and approval process.  (01-14-2015)
Model for Practitioners

  1. The practitioner community plays an important role in any efforts to influence the compliance behavior of SB/SE taxpayers since the majority of these taxpayers rely on tax professionals to prepare their tax returns. The tax professional plays a key role in promoting voluntary compliance. Therefore, it is critical that Stakeholder Liaisons understand the value of their role, understand their organizations, their communication methods, and their needs. It is paramount to build an ongoing relationship, provide a continuing forum for the tax professional to bring issues of concern to the IRS, provide a forum for other internal stakeholders to share issues and concerns, and, perhaps most importantly, listen to and respond timely and fully to those concerns and issues.

  2. In general, the role of practitioner SRM includes liaison activities, educational outreach, and internal stakeholders’ involvement. It requires the use of leveraged resources by involving critical stakeholders in tax compliance activities. Many of the details specific to the practitioner liaison role are listed above. Educational outreach includes tax practitioner institutes, symposiums and other outreach delivery methods such as irs.gov and webinars. Additional information on SRM and how to build and maintain relationships can be found on MySB/SE website under Stakeholder Relationship Management Resources and on the SL Field SharePoint site under Job Aids: Focused Outreach Strategy Guide.  (01-14-2015)
Practitioner Directories

  1. The Practitioner Directory application was developed to provide users in the field with access to commonly used numbers and websites for their area to distribute to practitioners. This application allows users to print Local Practitioner Directories by state. Each directory provides a list of important local IRS phone numbers. The directory will print normally on 3 pages, size 8.5 x 11, with a cover page and the list of local phone numbers. After printing the directory, make as many photocopies as needed for the event. SL Field employees can access the Practitioner Directories from the SL web page on the Intranet or use the IRS Directory for Practitioner link:http://sbse.web.irs.gov/CL2/sl/PracDir/default.aspx.  (01-14-2015)
National Webinars

  1. The National Webinar process enables the IRS to communicate with the tax professional community and professional associations. The program is designed to provide presentations on key topics across the country and around the world. Stakeholder issues identified through the IMRS and other means are used as the basis for selecting topics that have national impact and CSO HQ secures presenters who are subject matter experts on the topic. CSO Communications assists the SMEs in preparing and delivering the presentations and securing approvals for all materials associated with the webinars. Presentations use an approved script and materials to convey information on a specific topic. Live or pre-taped presentations are broadcast and questions are addressed at the conclusion of the presentation as facilitated by a moderator. Topics can be found on the CSO Events Calendar as well as on irs.gov. These webinars are also archived in the IRS Video Portal for later viewing.

  2. The Local Webinar is now referred to as a Web Conferencing. This process provides each SL Field area with the opportunity to address issues and stay connected to local partners. Presenters use approved script and materials from the OID. Stakeholder Liaison use virtual technology to deliver the Web Conferencing.  (01-14-2015)
The IRS Nationwide Tax Forums

  1. Nationwide Tax Forums: Provide an opportunity to advance IRS policies and programs and include seminars on compliance initiatives and IRS services. Tax professionals who attend these forums are eligible to receive Continuing Education (CE) credit.

  2. CSO has the lead for all SB/SE support for the Nationwide Tax Forums.  (01-14-2015)
Stakeholder Liaison Headquarters

  1. Mission: SL HQ's mission is to build and maintain practitioner, payroll and industry partnerships both internally and externally that positively impacts taxpayer service, burden reduction and tax compliance. Roles and Responsibilities:SL HQ works closely with national payroll, industry and practitioner organizations to improve the delivery of service to small business taxpayers. Stakeholder Liaison Headquarters is responsible for:

    1. Developing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships between IRS and national payroll, industry and practitioner organizations.

    2. Partnering with Communications to coordinate and provide servicewide messages.

    3. Promoting communication vehicles such as E-News for Small Businesses and Tax Professionals and Stakeholder Headliners.

    4. Serving as the SB/SE point of contact for national partners.

    5. Influencing, formulating and evaluating SB/SE policies, procedures, and programs.

    6. Providing guidance and support to SL Field activities.  (01-14-2015)
Tax Practitioner Institutes (TPI)

  1. Tax Practitioner Institutes (TPI): Are conducted in cooperation with educational institutions or with other organizations that utilize a Land Grant University Tax Education Foundation, or University of Illinois textbook. These events are often sponsored by major state universities, colleges, and in some states community colleges. If an outreach program does not involve an educational institution or a TPI text, it generally is not considered a TPI.

    • Background: These institutes have been ongoing for almost 60 years in some parts of the country. They began as schools to teach farmers and preparers how to handle tax issues surrounding the preparation of farm tax returns. Over the years, the institutes have evolved into forums that deal with a large variety of income tax issues of interest to the entire tax practitioner community. TPIs are scheduled during the months of Oct-Jan.

    • Guidelines: To ensure CSO participation is related to IRS goals and objectives, presentations given by SLs are limited to key messages. Each year, a presentation will be developed and posted to the Outreach Initiative Database to provide additional information and presentation materials. To promote consistency, the presenting SL should not add or deviate from the materials provided. Because of the increased use of technology, some TPIs may be virtually delivered and/or leveraged.

    • Topics: SL HQ will partner with CSO Communications, Stakeholder Liaison Field, the IMRS Program Manager and the textbook editors in identifying those topics for inclusion in the IRS Chapter found within each of the two textbooks. The IRS provides the editors with approved information on the selected topics, but the textbooks are written and owned by the educational institute developing the materials.

    • Additional Support: SLs may identify the need for support from other functions through input from their school sponsor or practitioner group. If a topic or message is identified and the best source of information is from another function, cross functional support is encouraged and supported by Operating Divisions or SL. Travel costs are incurred by the supporting function, not SL.  (01-14-2015)
The SB/SE National Practitioner Forums

  1. The SB/SE National Practitioner Forums (NPF) are bi-monthly meetings with tax professionals representing many national payroll and practitioner organizations. These forums provide a platform for a two-way exchange of information, which often leads to improvements in tax administration. The forum also provides an opportunity for SB/SE executives to share key IRS messages and other business operating unit SMEs to address and work through important SB/SE issues and pre-development initiatives. The NPF is an open forum with tax practitioners that allows parties to exchange ideas, gather information about emerging stakeholder issues, manage relationships, and maintain a dialogue with stakeholder groups. Through this forum, SL HQ is able to communicate strategic priorities, reduce taxpayer burden, and increase compliance.

  2. Below is a breakdown of how our forums are conducted:

    1. SB/SE meetings are generally scheduled on the third Thursday in February, April, June, August and October. (NPL conducts the Forums on the alternate months.)

    2. These meetings are conducted at the main IRS building in Washington DC.

    3. SL HQ is responsible for scheduling and coordinating the meetings' agendas.

    4. Meetings are by invitation only and are attended in person or by conference call.

    5. SL HQ prepares all meetings' highlights, which are distributed internally and externally.  (01-14-2015)
The Reporting Agent Forum (RAF)

  1. The Reporting Agent Forum (RAF) is held on a quarterly basis and is co-sponsored by SB/SE SL HQ and W&I Industry Stakeholder Engagement & Strategy (ISES) with support from Counsel and W&I Customer Account Services. These quarterly working sessions are conducted with representatives from the payroll community. The working group sessions address issues such as compliance, accounts management, customer service and taxpayer burden reduction issues. These sessions are normally scheduled for one or two days, depending on the topics for discussion and the availability of executives and appropriate Subject Matter Experts. Below is a breakdown of how RAFs are conducted:

    1. Quarterly sessions are scheduled in the following months - February, May, August and November.

    2. Meetings are generally scheduled on the third Tuesday of the designated month.

    3. These sessions are generally at New Carrollton Federal Building-HQ (May, August and November) or Ogden Campus (February).

    4. SL HQ is responsible for scheduling and coordinating these sessions.

    5. SL HQ has primary responsibility for maintaining and updating the RAF Task List. The RAF group collectively determines additional action items.

    6. Topics are solicited from many internal and external sources. SL HQ takes the lead in scheduling with the assistance of W&I ISES.  (01-14-2015)
Expanding Practitioner Communications Strategy

  1. CSO HQ and related field operations have established and maintain its relationships with the tax professional community, including unaffiliated tax preparer. To accomplish this, CSO HQ has developed an expanding Practitioner communications strategy to communicate IRS key messages and resolve issues and concerns with many of the tax professionals who are not associated with traditional tax professional organizations (which constitute the great majority of tax professionals).

  2. This effort allows IRS to reach a broader audience of tax professionals and ensure consistent information is delivered to both affiliated and unaffiliated practitioners. Relationships exist with retail preparation firms and software developers to strengthen and further define the communication channels. With these relationships, IRS is able to distribute a broad range of information and key messages as well as identify conventions, national and regional meetings, training seminars, and other key venues to provide focused key messages. CSO HQ is currently working with Software Developers, Universities, and Retail Preparers, and intends to add additional software firms and other retail preparers to this strategy in the future.  (01-14-2015)
SL Field Local Payroll and Practitioner Liaison Meetings

  1. Purpose:Local Payroll and Practitioner Liaison Meetings provide a local forum where tax professionals and IRS can raise tax related issues/concerns that can be resolved through joint efforts. This includes dealing with the professional responsibilities of both practitioners and IRS. The meetings are a joint effort involving both internal and external stakeholders. Since concerns will vary because of different perspectives, it is important to include issues from all participants.

  2. Information on coordinating and holding Practitioner Liaison Meetings can be found on the MySB/SE Website under Payroll and Practitioner Resources Guidelines for Local Payroll and Practitioner Liaison Meetings.  (01-14-2015)
Governmental Liaison (GL) Support of SL for Local Payroll, Practitioner, and Other Partner Related Meetings

  1. Privacy, Governmental Liaison and Disclosure (PGLD) and Communications & Stakeholder Outreach (CSO) recognize the benefits of maximizing resources when partnering with practitioner, industry and governmental stakeholders across the country. GL/SL leaders developed specific partnering activities for implementation based on the IRS Strategic Plan and our respective program letters.

  2. GL/SL Partnering:

    • Leveraging stakeholders in the delivery of messages concerning tax law provisions and IRS initiatives. Topics include, but are not limited to: identify theft, fraud, return preparer issues and new legislation.

    • Collaborating on disaster and catastrophic events.

    • Participating in each other's training and group meetings.

    • Leveraging state and local agency technology to distribute compliance key messages.

    • Addressing/supporting attendance at events sponsored by SL, GL or other internal/external stakeholders including Congressional visits, Regional and Annual Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA) events, Small Business Forums, Tax Forums, Practitioner Liaison Forums, etc.

    • Exploring how GL and SL can assist each other with alternatives to face-to-face meetings.

    • Reviewing all PowerPoints presentations on GL and SL programs in the Outreach Initiative Database (OID) to ensure they include an emphasis on technology-driven outreach events.

    • Addressing any impact on practitioners and the public from public advisory boards such as the Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee (IRPAC), Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC), and Taxpayer Advisory Panel (TAP).

    • Identifying the nexus between OID and the new PGLD Communications Office.  (01-14-2015)
Continuing Education (CE) Credit

  1. The SL Field SharePoint site has information on PTIN-related guidance and externally provided CE credits. OID view 459 - Contains information on SL Field Internally provided CE Credit.

  2. This document provides an overview of the process for SL Field to issue Continuing Education Credits as an IRS-approved CE provider. It does not address the requirements for external organizations that issue CE credits. Other tax professionals, such as CPAs and attorneys, may receive credit if the education meets their organization's or state's continuing education requirements - it is their responsibility to follow up with those organizations. Visit irs.gov and search keywords "Continuing education for tax professionals" .  (01-14-2015)
Presentation content

  1. The content of the presentation must cover one of the subject areas listed below.  (01-14-2015)
Federal tax law/federal tax law-related subjects

  1. Tax law programs must cover Federal tax law topics typically reported on Form 1040 returns, as well as other returns, and cover basic to advanced topics. This category does not include: business skills, negotiation, communication programs, or programs such as learning to use software products. In general, this would include material regarding Examination, Collection, and Appeals but not subjects that are more procedural in nature such as electronic filing and e-Services.  (01-14-2015)

  1. An ethics or professional conduct program must be designed for the tax professional, which principally cover ethical issues or professional conduct issues that arise in a tax practice, including return preparation. For example, programs that address provisions of Treasury Circular 230 will qualify. A program description of an ethics program must include the following: topics for discussion, how the program will be presented (panel, lecture, etc.), and how practical application of the subject matter will be tested in a real world situation (hypothetical examples, panel discussions, fact patterns). Currently for Stakeholder Liaison, this material must be covered by the staff of the Office of Professional Responsibility; a webinar has been created for this purpose and has been granted a program number for both the webinar and for SL Field usage.  (01-14-2015)
Working with a State partner

  1. In order to grant CE credits for a program involving state information at least 80% of the program material must consist of a comparison between Federal and State tax laws. For example, if a program analyzes why extended bonus depreciation can be taken as a deduction on a Federal tax return but not on a State return, this program would qualify for continuing education credit. Although 80% of the program must include comparisons between Federal and State tax laws, the other 20% could strictly be a discussion on State tax law/updates.

  2. CE credit is only given for full contact hours, or multiples thereof. A contact hour that is more than 50 minutes but less than 100 minutes will receive one credit.

  3. Example: An event that includes four hours of actual presentation time (breaks and introductions not included), of which the first contact hour covers federal tax law updates, the second contact hour is an Exam speaker on FATCA, a third contact hour is an Appeals speaker on the Fast Track Mediation program, and the final contact hours is an update on e-Services and e-File. This event would count for three CE credits hour in the category Federal Tax/Tax Related Matters for Enrolled Agents. The one hour of e-Services and e-file would not be eligible for credit.  (01-14-2015)
Program numbers

  1. Program numbers will be obtained for a number of presentations as well as some "bundle" qualifying presentations on the Outreach Initiatives Database (View 459). These "prequalified" presentations will merge existing presentations into combinations equaling at least one contact hour and will be designated as to the category. If these presentations are used without alteration or combination with other materials, the program number as provided on the OID may be used by Stakeholder Liaison.

  2. However, any alteration or combination of a previously approved OID presentation with other presentations would require a new approval from Return Preparer Office using Form 8498, Continuing Education Provider Application and Request for Provider Number. As an IRS CE provider, only highlighted portions of Form 8498 need to be completed by Stakeholder Liaison and routed through the CE point of contact for the area to RPO.

  3. Program descriptions should clearly state the topics covered in the presentation. The program materials need not be submitted. Examples of program descriptions are available on irs.gov. Additionally, the key topics may be obtained from the Outline View in the PowerPoint and can be used with the addition of some descriptive language.

  4. Program description example pertinent to CSO:

    • This program will cover the Collection Fresh Start Initiative (OID View 417), including the increased thresholds for Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing, Notice of Federal Tax Lien Withdrawals, and incentives to sign up for Direct Debit Installment Agreements. It also covers increased access to installment agreements for small businesses and the streamlined Offer in Compromise Program. The second topic area to be covered relates to the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (OID View 442). The VCSP presentation describes the advantages of the program and the eligibility requirements to participate in the program. (Program description drawn from the Outline View of the PPTs.)

    Note: if you are using material from other speakers, whether IRS or external speakers, their presentation information must be included in a Form 8498 request, as described above.

  5. In a situation where SL is partnering with a practitioner organization, generally, that organization would be the responsible party for the CE recordation, assuming they are authorized CE providers and are the host of the event. SL is the responsible party when the organization is not authorized or if it is a CSO - sponsored event.

  6. The determination of who is the host of an event depends on who is responsible for recordkeeping, issuing the certificate of completion, and uploading the individual PTIN information (or if SLF, ensuring it is forwarded to RPO). You may find that your partner organization requests a program number from you even though they will handle the other CE requirements; they must instead request their own number.  (01-14-2015)
Multiple program numbers for an event

  1. In order to ensure that Enrolled Agents are obtaining continuing education credits in the two required categories, separate program numbers must be obtained for an event that includes presentations on more than one of the two topic areas - federal tax-related material, and/or ethics. You may offer attendees one certificate of completion, but it must have the categories broken out with the name of the program, hours given, and program number. You may advertise one program for marketing purposes, but should let potential attendees know exactly how may hours of credit they will receive per category.  (01-14-2015)
Program approval process

  1. If the determination is made that the material used does not have an existing program number (i.e., it is not one of the previously approved "presentation" sent to RPO for approval on Form 8498 and subsequently posted to the OID Database), program approval should be requested using Form 8498. This should be done as soon as possible, though new programs generally will be approved and a program number issued within 24 hours.

  2. If you intend to use the same presentation materials at a number of events, using the same presentation method (i.e., face to face, webinar, teleconference, etc.), you need to only make the approval request once; the program number would be the same for each of the different locations. For example, if you intend to present the same material at five different venues as a part of your fall outreach tour, you should use the same program number on your certificates, but indicate the different dates and locations.

  3. If the same presentation is made using different methods (i.e., face to face vs. virtual, etc) distinct programs numbers are required for each of the different methods even if the presentation topics are the same.  (01-14-2015)
Certificate and registration sheets

  1. The Stakeholder Liaison area point of contact (or designee) should sign the certificates of completion; an electronic signature may be used. Procedures for using an electronic signature, signing the certificates, and mail merge are posted on the OID View 459. The certificate must include the following information:

    1. Full name of participant.

    2. Program name and IRS-issued program numbers.

    3. Number of credits per program.

    4. Date completed.

    5. Location.

    6. CE provider name.

    7. CE provider address.

    8. Signature of the area designee and date (provider name and address must be listed on the certificate exactly as it appears in the IRS Continuing Education Provider System). You may include the IRS Approved CE Provider logo on your certificates.

  2. Registration sheets must include the first and last name of the participant, their PTIN signature and the time signed in and out of the event, including signing in and out for lunch periods.

  3. Special additional guidance for webinars are discussed later in this document.  (01-14-2015)
Recordkeeping Requirements

  1. The responsibility for keeping accurate documentation is crucial to Stakeholder Liaison to continue being an approved CE provider. The required documentation must be kept at the area level (area office) in a manner that is readily accessible should a request for information are received from the RPO, a state licensing board, or the practitioner participant. This may be done electronically and/or in a paper format.

  2. Records must be maintained for a period of four years following completion of the program by the CE provider to verify a participant's attendance and completion of the program.

  3. Program records must include the following documentation:

    • A copy of the presentation as well as any handout material provided.

    • The registration sheet from the event showing the list of participants as well as their PTIN numbers and their signatures in and out of the event.

    • An example of the certificate provided to the participants.

    • A copy of the Form 8498 if the program was a new program requiring approvals. You may also want to maintain the emailed program number from RPO.

    • Copies of the surveys completed by program participants (see below).

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