Part 13. Taxpayer Advocate Service
Chapter 1. Taxpayer Advocate Case Procedures
Section 11. Case and Inventory Management
June 30, 2015
(1) This transmits revised IRM 13.1.11, Taxpayer Advocate Case Procedures, Case and Inventory Management.
(1) Minor formatting and grammatical changes were made throughout the section.
(2) 18.104.22.168(3) Removed obsolete requirement for Form 911-H
Signed by Nina E. Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate.
Case development, documentation and inventory management are important elements for quality casework and crucial for timely actions. Proper case assembly is essential. As managers, analysts and other Taxpayer Advocate personnel may have a need to review a case, it is important that information is easily located and the TAMIS history can be followed during any point of resolution. Documentation of all actions taken in resolving the taxpayer's problem(s) is important . In addition, the Case Advocate needs to develop a workable method to use consistently for managing cases. Proper application of these elements will result in successful case resolutions and quality casework.
The initial review of a new Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) case is one of the most important steps in reaching a prompt and accurate resolution to the taxpayer's problem.
Develop an initial plan of action for resolving the case. List the actions that need to be taken to resolve the case on the TAMIS Action Plan Screen. The more specific the action plan, the more efficiently the case will be worked. Refer to http://irm.web.irs.gov/link.asp?link=22.214.171.124.3 IRM 126.96.36.199.3, Action Plan Screen for information on inputting the action plan on TAMIS.
The Case Action Screen can be used in lieu of, or in conjunction with, the History Screen. It includes a text field that allows a description of up to 40 characters. Many TAS case activities, such as ordering tax returns, requesting documentation, and scheduling a taxpayer contact can be entered into the Case Actions Screen instead of the History Screen.
The Case Action Screen facilitates inventory management because a case action creates a follow-up date (FUD) or next contact date (NCD) entry in the Employee Inventory screen.
When a more detailed narrative is required, the History Screen should be used and from there the NCD and/or FUD may be entered.
TAMIS history documentation should be clear, specific, and complete. Anyone reviewing the case should be able to follow the progress of the action plan, know what actions have been taken, what the next anticipated action will be, and when follow-up is required.
When writing a TAMIS case history, abbreviations may be used in the narrative. It is important that the abbreviations are meaningful, so reviewers of the case history will understand the documentation. See http://irm.web.irs.gov/Part13/Chapter1/Section3/IRM13.1.3.asp#13.1.3-1Exhibit 13.1.3-1, Definitions of Terms/Use of Abbreviations, for a list of accepted abbreviations and definitions.
Case files should include copies of correspondence sent to the taxpayer and incoming taxpayer correspondence. All initial taxpayer correspondence must be date stamped with the TAS received date. Subsequent correspondence should be date stamped, unless received via facsimile with an electronic date stamp. The case should also contain copies of any documents that were ordered (e.g. tax returns, MFTRAs, etc.). If the documents are voluminous, only copy the pertinent sections that are needed to support any decisions made. If the Case Advocate issued a Spanish version of a TAS letter, the case file should be documented with a summary of what was contained in the "fill-in" portion of the Spanish letter.
Use Action Dates, Estimated Completion Dates (ECD), Next Contact Dates (NCD), and Follow-up Dates (FUD).
Clearly state and document the action taken, the date the action was taken, follow–up dates (FUD), Estimated Completion Dates (ECD) and Next Contact Dates (NCD). Use TAMIS to record the actions, action dates, next contacts, follow up dates and ECD;
Use of TAMIS will improve case management. Inputting follow up dates allows the Case Advocate to immediately pull an extract of the cases to be worked for any given day. The Case Advocate could pull this extract early in the day to ensure to meet the subsequent actions before close of business;
Document the due date given to the taxpayer to submit required information; and
Provide the taxpayer with an NCD and ECD and document the date in the TAMIS history. The date should be revised and documented as appropriate;
On July 7, the case advocate calls the taxpayer and advises that he expects to resolve the refund inquiry by August 19. He also tells the taxpayer he will call him again with the status of the case by July 22. The case advocate releases the freeze, and plans to check IDRS for the status of the refund on July 19. The ECD is August 19. The NCD is July 22. The FUD is July 19.
Documentation should not include derogatory statements or opinions about the taxpayer or other TAS employees, and managerial/analyst review results. The TAMIS History Screen should not include any evaluative recordation and the history of the case file should be clear and complete enough for another TAS employee to pick up the case and immediately proceed.
An effective system is needed to enables the Case Advocate to manage an inventory that can vary in size and ensure that timely actions are taken for successful case resolution. What is important is that the Case Advocate develops a workable method for consistently in managing his or her cases.
Inventory management procedures may vary from office to office. There are a variety of methods — no one way is right or wrong. One method may work for one Case Advocate but not for someone else. It is very important to organize the cases in a sequential, follow-up order. Cases must be worked promptly, so priorities must be established. Document the cases with actions taken and when follow-up should be made. Continuity in case processing is an indicator of quality. Adherence to established follow-up dates is essential in achieving timely case processing. Seek immediate assistance from management if it is unclear as to the next action to be taken..
There are general guidelines that can be applied to ensure efficient case inventory management:
Develop a daily action plan;
Take all action possible on a case before putting it aside;
Keep only the cases currently being worked on the desk;
Stay on top of the progress of the cases;
It is essential to keep the taxpayer informed of the actions taken and when the next contact will be (this will allow the Case Advocate to control unanticipated taxpayer contacts):
Call the taxpayer if additional information is needed. If the taxpayer cannot be reached by telephone, send a letter requesting the information needed; and
If a case is completely workable — Work it and Close it.
The Employee Inventory screen on TAMIS is designed to assist employees with inventory management. The Employee Inventory screen can be accessed by the "inventory" button on TAMIS. Cases are listed in priority order based on various factors, such as Criteria 1-4, Criteria 5-7, Criteria 9, Next Contact Date, Follow-up Date. Refer tohttp://irm.web.irs.gov/link.asp?link=188.8.131.52.1 IRM 184.108.40.206.1, Employee Inventory Screen for information.
A "Numeric File" method can be used. Cases are filed under days 1 through 31.
Record names under the date on the calendar
Record taxpayer names alphabetically on a list
An "Alpha File" method can be used. Cases are filed together alphabetically.
Follow-up date is on a label on front of the file
Go through complete alpha file daily to pull follow-ups per the date on the label
Same as above, but make follow-ups for the week and a label indicates priority
An "Employee Numeric File" can be used. Cases filed together under employee profile number.
Regardless of the inventory control method used, cases should be filed so they are easily accessible on the specific follow-up date. This method will allow someone else to look at an inventory and quickly analyze which cases need action.
Each case will be placed in a folder with the taxpayer's last name, first name and case file number shown on the outer label.
Secured to the left side of the folder from top to bottom:
TAS Correspondence (descending date order)
OAR, if applicable
Incoming taxpayer correspondence, date stamped (descending date order)
Form 911 (if applicable) or TP Initial Correspondence
Secured to the right side of the folder from top to bottom:
e-trak Control Ticket (if applicable)
Copies of tax returns
TAMIS case histories should be documented timely with all actions taken. It is important to document the case as close to the action as possible, as if the action is not documented, the assumption is that the action was not taken. This is important for case reviews, actions by other TAS employees, and for proper case inventory management.
All information secured while working the case should be date stamped (if needed) and associated with the case upon receipt.
If an original return is going to be in the folder for any extended length of time, place it in a separate folder inside the TAS case file. This will serve as a reminder to send the return back to the campus refile unit when closing a case.
Proper assembly of the case should be maintained throughout the resolution and closing of the case.
Properly dispose of all duplicate or unnecessary information at closing (e.g., draft letters and duplicate IDRS prints).
Ensure secured POAs are forwarded to the CAF unit at the appropriate campus.
Original returns or other documents that need to be attached to the original return must be returned to the campus.
Complete TAMIS case history and input required fields, as discussed in http://irm.web.irs.gov/link.asp?link=220.127.116.11.2 IRM 18.104.22.168.2, Closing Actions..