13.1.22 Manual Inventory Balancing Procedures

Manual Transmittal

January 19, 2016

Purpose

(1) This transmit a new IRM 13.1.22, Inventory Balancing Procedures.

Material Changes

(1) This material includes procedures on National Inventory Balancing of both Spanish and non-Spanish cases. These directions previously appeared in the Interim Guidance Memorandum (IGM), "Interim Guidance on Inventory Balancing," TAS-13.1.22-1012-021.

(2) IRM 13.1.22.1(4) Paragraph stating a Spanish case is worked by a bilingual case advocate has been deleted.

(3) IRM 13.1.22.2(2)(c) Deleted sentence to exclude Government Liaison and Legislative Affairs Congressional cases.

(4) IRM 13.1.22.5(2)(h) Changes reference from i-Track to e-Track.

(5) IRM 13.1.22.5(4) Deleted bullet for Revenue Protection Strategy (RPS) Project Code 600 Series.

(6) IRM 13.1.22.5(7) Added "in advanced" the requirement.

Effect on Other Documents

None

Audience

Primarily Taxpayer Advocate Service and all Operating Divisions and Functions.

Effective Date

(01-19-2016)


Nina E. Olson
National Taxpayer Advocate

Introduction

  1. In an effort to balance workload across the TAS organization, a national workload balancing (N-WLB) system was instituted on May 5, 2006.

  2. These procedures apply to the transfer of work for workload balancing purposes only. There is no impact on the current International Case Transfer procedures. The rules outlined here apply to both English and Spanish cases.

  3. For N-WLB purposes, there are two (2) types of cases; English and Spanish.

    1. An English case is defined as:

      • Any case where the taxpayer’s language is identified as other than Spanish; or,

      • Any case where the taxpayer speaks Spanish, but the Power of Attorney (POA) speaks English and the box in line 2 under Name & Address, of Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, is checked (i.e., indicating notices are going to the POA and the taxpayer). English should be entered as the taxpayer’s language on TAMIS.

    2. A Spanish case is defined as any case where:

      • The taxpayer speaks Spanish and all contact with the taxpayer is in Spanish; or,

      • The taxpayer speaks Spanish and the POA speaks Spanish; or,

      • The taxpayer speaks Spanish, the POA speaks English, and the box in line 2 under Name & Address of Form 2848 is not checked (i.e., notices are not going to the POA).

TAS National Office Responsibilities

  1. Each Wednesday morning, the N-WLB coordinator will generate a series of reports to determine the offices involved in N-WLB through the following Tuesday.

  2. Using the definitions in IRM 13.1.22.1, the inventory for each office is broken down to show Spanish and English open inventory. Open inventory includes all cases assigned to a CA or BCA in active status, and:

    1. All cases with a status not equal to C (closed);

    2. Criteria codes 1-9;

    3. All TAS assigned Congressional cases;

    4. All regular and reopened cases;

    5. 50% of cases identified as Bulk. See IRM 13.1.22.7, Bulk Receipts for the definition of a bulk case.

  3. The number of available CAs and BCAs is determined on Wednesday morning. Available CAs and BCAs are those in active status on the Taxpayer Advocate Management System (TAMIS).

  4. Adjustments are made automatically to the active CA/BCA counts for:

    1. Permanent part-time employees (CA/BCA);

    2. Time spent by non-Intake Advocates performing intake work; and,

    3. New hires and on-the-job instructors (OJI) on partial availability. See IRM 13.1.22.4, Accounting for a New Hire and OJI.

  5. From these reports, the following information is calculated:

    1. Each office’s average English inventory per CA. This is determined by the open English inventory as defined in IRM 13.1.22.1, Introduction, divided by the number of active non-BCAs.

    2. Each office’s average Spanish inventory per BCA. This is determined by the open Spanish inventory as defined in IRM 13.1.22.1, divided by the number of active BCAs.

    3. The national average English inventory per CA. This is determined by the open English inventory as defined in IRM 13.1.22.1, divided by the number of active non-BCAs.

    4. The national average Spanish inventory per BCA. This is determined by the open Spanish inventory as defined in IRM 13.1.22.1, divided by the number of active BCAs.

  6. The following conditions are used to determine an office’s eligibility to receive or send cases for English or Spanish N-WLB, and the number of cases they are eligible to receive on both a daily and weekly basis (English and Spanish eligibility are determined separately):

    1. The standard to compare offices’ inventories is the national average inventory per CA/BCA.

    2. Any office with plus or minus (+/-) five cases from the national average is eligible to send or receive cases, respectively.

    3. The maximum number of cases a receiving office is eligible to receive is one case per active CA/BCA per day.

  7. Each local office and campus will have 2 designated recipients for N-WLB e-mail messages.

  8. Once the N-WLB determinations are made, all inventory balancing coordinators will receive an e-mail providing the English and Spanish national averages and a summary of the English and Spanish transfers for the time period covered.

    Note:

    An office may send cases to, or receive cases from, more than one office.

Deferral Rules

  1. It is the responsibility of the local and Campus offices to appropriately apply the deferral rules.

  2. When a CA/BCA will be out of the office for one week or more (i.e., seven or more consecutive calendar days) but less than 45 days, the Inactive Indicator field on the TAMIS Employee Screen must be changed to deferral by close of business (COB) the workday prior to the CA/BCA’s scheduled departure. Examples include:

    1. CA/BCA is on extended leave (including annual and sick leave);

    2. A detail outside of TAS; or,

    3. On non-casework assignment (e.g., full-time NTEU/EEO).

      Note:

      Deferral status does not require reassignment of the CA/BCA inventory. However, if the CA/BCA will be out of the office for more than 45 days, the employee’s status on TAMIS should be changed to inactive, and his or her open inventory reassigned.

  3. Documentation (e.g., e-mail) including dates, is required for non-casework assignments and must be sent to the Headquarters’ N-WLB coordinator, through the area coordinator, by COB the day the CA/BCA is to be placed in deferral status. If the work assignment is for a national project, the documentation must come from the office responsible for the project (e.g., Employee Development for training assignments, Executive Director of Case Advocacy (EDCA) for case project assignments, etc.)

  4. By COB one workday prior to the return of the CA/BCA, change the Inactive Indicator field on the TAMIS Employee Screen to active status.

  5. If a CA/BCA is retiring or permanently leaving the CA/BCA position, the employee may be placed in deferral status 20 calendar days prior to the scheduled departure date.

  6. Offices may not place a CA/BCA used as an Intake Advocate (IA) in deferral status.

  7. The same deferral rules and procedures apply for an IA.

  8. The intake time adjustment is adjusted to account for an IA absence. The office must advise the N-WLB Coordinator of the deferral. See IRM 13.1.22.9.2, Intake Time Adjustment.

Accounting for a New Hire and OJI

  1. These procedures apply to a CA/BCA new hire and a CA/BCA serving as an OJI, and provide the mechanics for implementing the Deferral Guidelines issued by the EDCA office.

  2. The steps outlined in this section allow the process to be automated, and N-WLB to ensure the CA/BCA is appropriately counted.

  3. A new hire or OJI meeting the guidelines in IRM 13.1.22.3, Deferral Rules may be placed in deferral status.

  4. During the period of time an OJI or new hire is 100% deferred, their status on TAMIS is updated to deferral. Once the OJI or new hire has moved out of the 100% deferral period, their status on TAMIS is updated to active.

  5. For both the OJI and new hire, the Deferral Guidelines gradually increase the level of availability until the training period is completed. Even though the employee is in active status, their availability will be adjusted by following these steps:

    1. The 3rd box of the Street Address Zip Code field on the Employee Screen is used to track both the new hire and OJI through the training process. See the figure in Exhibit 13.1.22-1, TAMIS Employee Screen

    2. The values are entered in this field as 250 (25% available), 500 (50% available), and 750 (75% available).

    3. When the new hire moves further along in their training, the 3rd box is updated based on the new level of availability.

  6. Anytime a value is entered in the 3rd box of the zip code field, 0000 must also be entered in the 2nd box of the zip code field.

    Example:

    A new hire falling in the 25% available range (75% deferred) is in active status on TAMIS. The 2nd box of the Street Address Zip Code field on the Employee Screen is updated to 0000, and the last box is updated to 250.

  7. It is the responsibility of each local and Area office to ensure the zip code field is updated no later than the day before the next training phase begins.

Case Eligibility

  1. The following type of case is eligible for N-WLB:

    1. New receipt – An English or Spanish case received after an office opens on Wednesday morning of each week, or a case received on the previous Tuesday not loaded on TAMIS;

      Note:

      A case received and loaded on Tuesday, but not assigned to a CA/BCA is counted in open inventory and is not eligible for N-WLB.

    2. Non-filers meeting the new receipt definition in (a) above;

    3. Correspondence specifically addressed to a local or campus office; and,

    4. Correspondence addressed to the Local Taxpayer Advocate (LTA). Note: Follow procedures in IRM 13.1.17.6(6), TAS Transfer Time Frames for those cases where the taxpayer has contacted the office or LTA directly.

  2. Cases not eligible for N-WLB are:

    1. Cases meeting transfer criteria per the TAS Case Transfer Guidelines;

    2. TAS Congressional cases;

    3. Cases originating from the National Taxpayer Advocate’s (NTA’s) office;

    4. Senate Finance Committee (SFC) cases;

    5. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) cases;

    6. Reopened cases;

    7. Cases meeting the Bulk definition. See IRM 13.1.22.7, Bulk Receipts; and,

    8. Cases identified on TAMIS as e-Trak (formerly known as i-Track).

  3. Before transferring a case for N-WLB, apply TAS Case Transfer Guidelines. N-WLB is for cases remaining in an office after applying transfer criteria.

    Note:

    If the transfer guidelines state the case is worked by the local office, the case cannot be included in N-WLB. A case referenced in the transfer guidelines, and the exceptions to the transfer guidelines is not eligible.

    Note:

    Case issues not listed in the transfer guidelines are worked at point of contact. Cases worked at point of contact are eligible for N-WLB.

  4. If a sending office cannot meet its daily allotment of cases, it may review receipts and transfers-in for one of the issues listed below. Only these issues are allowed as an exception to the transfer guidelines for N-WLB purposes, and only if an office can not meet its daily allotment of cases to transfer. This exception only applies to offices eligible to transfer out work under N-WLB.

    • AIMS Control – Open

    • Automated Substitute for Return (ASFR) Assessment Reconsideration

    • Automated Underreporter (AUR) – Open

    • Automated Underreporter (AUR) – Closed

    • Bankruptcy – Closed

    • CAWR – Open

    • CAWR - Closed

    • Examination – Open

    • FUTA – Open

    • FUTA – Closed

    • Payment Tracer – Open IDRS Control Base with Category Code PAYT

    • Returned Refunds – S- Freeze

    • Unpostables - Open

  5. A case should not be transferred multiple times. This is generally not in the taxpayer’s best interest. A case transferred to balance inventories should not be transferred again.

  6. Use TAMIS transfer reason code 0 (zero) when transferring a case for N-WLB. This transfer reason code (TRC) is only used when transferring a case for N-WLB.

  7. Area balancing is only allowed for egregious situations and must be coordinated in advance with EDCA and the Headquarters’ N-WLB coordinator.

  8. Advance knowledge of events requiring new receipts to be re-routed is considered when determining the volume of cases a site can receive. These events may include: Customer Satisfaction Consultation visits, office moves, etc.

Time Requirements for Transferring a Case

  1. All cases must be transferred within one workday from the Taxpayer Advocate Received Date (TARD).

  2. The daily transfer deadline is as follows:

    • Wednesday – 3 p.m. local time of the transferring office.

    • Thursday through Tuesday – 1:30 p.m. local time of the transferring office.

      Exception:

      If a federally observed holiday falls on Wednesday, transfers are allowed until 3 p.m. local time on the subsequent day.

  3. There will be no catch up if the daily quota is not met.

    Example:

    If an office can transfer five cases per day but only transfers two on a given day, the office cannot send eight cases the subsequent day.

  4. Use the first in/first out method for selecting a case for N-WLB. If you are using the Accounts Management System (AMS) to review and accept cases, the cases are listed in first in/first out order.

  5. If you are using the TAMIS inventory screen, cases are listed in criteria code order. To select a case, use a sequential order by case file number.

  6. If an office is sending cases to more than one office, alternate the receiving offices to avoid overloading one particular office.

Bulk Receipts

  1. If your office receives cases meeting the following definition for bulk receipts, enter BULK in the Local Use 2 field on the TAMIS Taxpayer Screen 5 of 5.

  2. Bulk receipts involve a group of cases (15% or more of open inventory) generally originating from a single source, or created by the same event with impact to multiple taxpayers. Some of the attributes of bulk cases are:

    1. same issue(s);

    2. require same or similar action(s);

    3. identified around the same time;

    4. like kind of work;

    5. long idle time between actions;

    6. cases related to one another (e.g., same specific issue, same individual/business involved, one POA with the same problem affecting several taxpayers); or,

    7. originate from one source.

Special Instructions for Spanish Cases

  1. When documenting a case on AMS or TAMIS, ensure the taxpayer’s language is coded correctly. Code the taxpayer language according to the language the taxpayer wants to use when discussing his or her problem. A Spanish case is defined as any case where:

    1. The taxpayer speaks Spanish and all contact with the taxpayer is in Spanish;

    2. The taxpayer speaks Spanish and the POA speaks Spanish; or,

    3. The taxpayer speaks Spanish, the POA speaks English, and the box in line 2 under Name & Address of Form 2848 is not checked (i.e., notices are not going to the POA).

  2. English is entered as the taxpayer’s language on TAMIS when the taxpayer speaks Spanish, but the Power of Attorney (POA) speaks English and the box line 2 under Name & Address of Form 2848is checked (i.e., notices are going to the POA and the taxpayer).

  3. If your office has no BCA, use the Spanish Partnership Chart to determine the TAS office to transfer the Spanish language case. However, if an office without a BCA receives a Congressional case, the office will retain the case and work with a BCA in its partnership office.

  4. Use TRC1 for transfers to your partner office.

Adjustments to Case Advocate Count

  1. This section outlines various adjustments to the case advocate count under N-WLB.

Permanent Part-Time Case Advocates

  1. An adjustment is made to the office's active CA/BCA count for a permanent part-time employee.

  2. Any changes to a part-time schedule must be communicated to the headquarters' N-WLB coordinator.

Intake Time Adjustment

  1. An reduction to the active CA/BCA count is made by the Headquarters’ N-WLB coordinator to recognize intake activities performed in the office.

  2. The adjustment is based on the percentage of time spent performing intake work during the prior quarter, and is modified quarterly.

  3. An office’s intake adjustment will be reduced, but not below zero, by the number of active IAs in the office.

  4. An office must notify the headquarters' N-WLB coordinator of changes to IA staffing.

  5. Current intake time adjustments can be found under Intake Time Adjustment Chart.

    Example:

    An office with a computed intake time adjustment of 1.25 has one IA. The office receives an intake time adjustment of .25.

Small Office Adjustment
  1. A small office is defined as one having no Taxpayer Advocate Group Manager (TAGM) or analyst, and five or less case advocates.

  2. A CA/BCA in a smaller office is more likely to perform ancillary duties other than case work (e.g., participating in Outreach events). These offices are also less able to absorb unanticipated absences and time spent performing non-casework duties.

  3. To address the unique challenges of a smaller office, they are allowed a modification to the intake time adjustment.

  4. This modification is equal to the greater of the current intake time adjustment or 20% for each on-role CA/BCA, up to a maximum of one.

    Note:

    The 20% reduction is based on average indirect time.

    Example:

    Office A has a LTA and three CAs. Their computed intake time adjustment is .50. Since this office meets the small office definition, their intake time adjustment is .60, the greater of the computed adjustment of .50 or 3 (the number of CAs) multiplied by 20%.

TAMIS Employee Screen

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