25.2.11 Guidance for SB/SE Campus Classifiers for Classifying Whistleblower Claims

Manual Transmittal

July 24, 2020

Purpose

(1) This transmits new IRM 25.2.11, Information and Whistleblower Awards, Guidance for SB/SE Campus Classifiers for Classifying Whistleblower Claims.

(2) This IRM section provides guidance for all SB/SE Campus Classifier Team employees and manager to follow when reviewing, classifying, and processing Form 211, Application for Award for Original Information, known as a whistleblower claim.

Material Changes

(1) This is a new IRM. IRM 25.2.11, Information and Whistleblower Awards, Guidance for SB/SE Campus Classifiers for Classifying Whistleblower Claims contains information needed by Small Business Self Employed (SB/SE) Division, Ogden Campus Exam/Automated Underreporter (AUR), SB/SE Campus Classification Team personnel for reviewing, classifying, and processing Form 211, Application for Award for Original Information, known as a whistleblower claim.

Effect on Other Documents

N/A

Audience

SB/SE Campus Classification Team personnel in Ogden Campus Exam/AUR for reviewing, classifying, and processing Form 211, known as a whistleblower claim.

Effective Date

(07-24-2020)

Maha H Williams
Director, Exam - Field & Campus Policy
Small Business/Self-Employed

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. This IRM outlines the policy and procedures for reviewing, classifying, and processing Form 211, known as a whistleblower claim, and must be strictly adhered to. Any deviation from this IRM must be approved by the Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) Exam Headquarters - Field and Campus Policy, SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR, and the Whistleblower Office (WO).

  2. Purpose: This IRM section provides procedures for reviewing, classifying, and processing Form 211 claims, known as a whistleblower claim, on behalf of the WO.

  3. Audience: Service Classification Personnel considering, working, receiving, or otherwise assigned a whistleblower claim.

  4. Policy Owner: SB/SE Director, Exam Headquarters - Field and Campus Policy, with review and approval by the WO.

  5. Program Owner: SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR.

  6. Primary Stakeholders: The SB/SE Campus Classification Team personnel, SB/SE ICE Team, SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR, SB/SE Exam Headquarters - Field and Campus Policy, WO, and ALL other Operating Divisions and Functions impacted by these procedures. Stakeholders can provide input to the procedures and effects may include a change in work flow, additional duties, change in established time frames, or similar issues.

  7. Program Goals: This guidance is provided to describe a variety of miscellaneous procedures to review, classify, and process Form 211 claims. By following the procedures in this IRM, users will be able to accurately and timely review, classify, and process claims. The whistleblower claim is maintained in the e-Trak system and inventory is controlled within the e-Trak system. Reports should be run using the e-Trak system to validate time frames and program goals are on target.

Background

  1. The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 (TRHCA 2006) added IRC §7623(b), which enacted significant changes in the IRS award program for whistleblowers.

  2. The law requires the WO to analyze whistleblower claim information submitted under IRC §7623(b), and either investigate the matter or assign it to the appropriate IRS office.

  3. Operating at the direction of the Commissioner of the IRS, the WO coordinates with other IRS units, analyzes information submitted, and makes award determinations.

  4. The SB/SE Division, representing Director, SB/SE Exam Headquarters - Field and Campus Policy and Director, SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR supports the SB/SE Campus Classification Team in reviewing, classifying, and processing Form 211 claims for the SB/SE ICE Team, and on behalf of the IRS WO.

  5. The procedures contained in this IRM provide guidance and include other resources available for the SB/SE Campus Classification Team employees to review, classify, and process Form 211 claims in support of the SB/SE ICE Team, and on behalf of the WO program. The direction to analyze and/or coordinate with other IRS operating divisions or functions supports both the goals and objectives of the SB/SE Division and WO.

Authority

  1. The following instructions in this IRM provide authority to receive and process Form 211, Application for Award for Original Information. IRC §7623 allows for an award for individuals who provide information to the IRS related to the detection of underpayments of tax, or the detection/punishment of persons guilty of violating the internal revenue laws. Determination procedures are delegated to the Director of the WO under Delegation Order 25-7 (Rev 3).

  2. The SB/SE Exam Headquarters - Field and Campus Policy, SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR, and SB/SE Campus Classification Team collaborates with the SB/SE ICE Team and WO to perform the analysis of the Form 211 claim process. The final approval of any procedure is completed by the WO to ensure the procedures support WO policies and updates to tax laws. This includes any local desk procedural guides, procedure and policy alerts, and new IRM revisions.

  3. IRM deviation procedures:

    1. Service Center Directors, Headquarter Directors, Headquarter Analysts, and Campus managers/employees do not have the authority to approve deviations from IRM procedures. Any request for an exception or deviation to an IRM procedure must be elevated through appropriate channels for executive and WO approval. This will ensure other functional areas are not adversely affected by the change, and it does not result in disparate treatment of whistleblowers or taxpayers.

    2. See specific guidelines in IRM 1.11.2 Internal Management Documents System, Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) Process. Requests for an IRM deviation must be submitted in writing and signed, following instructions from IRM 1.11.2.2.4(3). Any disclosure issues will be coordinated by the Program Owner. No deviations can begin until reviewed by the Policy and Program Owners and approved at the Executive Level, with final approval by the WO. All requests must be submitted to the SB/SE Exam Headquarters - Field and Campus Policy IRM Coordinator.

  4. See IRM 25.2.1.1.1, Background, IRM 25.2.2.1.1, Background and IRM 25.2.2.1.2, Authority for code sections and authorities relating to the processing of Form 211 from receipt to determination.

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. The WO has strategy, policy, administration, oversight, review, and reporting responsibility for the IRS’s Whistleblower Program. In this capacity, the WO ensures the service wide handling of whistleblower claims is consistent with relevant laws, regulations, policies, and the direction of the IRS Whistleblower Program. Further, all matters that impact the Whistleblower Program, including audits or other inquiries from GAO, TIGTA, Congressional Committees, TAS, stakeholder groups, news media, or others will be overseen by the WO. The WO will involve SB/SE at the onset and throughout all aspects of such matters that relate to the ICE unit.

    1. The WO is responsible to review procedures and guidance developed by SB/SE Exam Headquarters - Field and Campus Policy. The WO will provide feedback and final approval of such procedures and guidance within seven days to support activities following the procedures in this IRM. SB/SE Exam Headquarters - Field and Campus Policy supports analysis of Form 211 allegations and other qualifying whistleblower submissions and oversees the intent of the WO policies and updates to tax law.

  2. The SB/SE Division has operational responsibility for the SB/SE Campus Classification Team. In this capacity, SB/SE will ensure the SB/SE Campus Classification Team resources are used efficiently and effectively. SB/SE will determine the staff levels needed to deliver the Whistleblower Program expectations.

    1. As SB/SE identifies potential whistleblower claim analysis changes to improve quality, efficiency, and/or effectiveness of Form 211 review, classification, and claim processing, SB/SE will collaborate with WO as deemed applicable. SB/SE will provide written notice of all procedural changes to the WO seven days prior to implementation. The WO will respond to SB/SE within seven days to accept the change or state where the proposed changes are not consistent with policy, strategy, or legal requirements and are not to be implemented. SB/SE Exam Headquarters - Field and Campus Policy supports the analysis of Form 211 claims and oversees the intent of the WO policies and updates to tax law.

  3. The Director, SB/SE Exam Headquarters - Field and Campus Policy, is responsible for all policy and procedures related to the guidance for SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR, SB/SE Campus Classification Team. SB/SE Exam Headquarters -Field and Campus Policy is responsible for overseeing program procedures related to the WO program. SB/SE Exam Headquarters - Field and Campus Policy works closely with:

    • SB/SE Director and Operations Manager

    • SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR

    • SB/SE Planning and Analysis (P & A)

    • SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR

    • Whistleblower Office and,

    • ALL other operating divisions and functions.

    SB/SE Field and Campus Policy supports responses and analysis of Form 211 claims and oversees the intent of the WO policies and updates to tax law.

  4. The Director, SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR is responsible to support activities following the procedures in this IRM. The Director, SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR oversees planning and analysis, operation, department, team and employee responses and analysis of Form 211 claims.

  5. The Planning & Analysis (P & A) Manager, SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR is responsible to support activities following the procedures in this IRM. SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR P & A oversees and supports the direction of the, operation, department, team and employee responses and analysis to Form 211 claims.

  6. The Operations Manager, SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR is responsible to oversee activities following the procedures in this IRM. SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR Operations Manager oversees department, team, and employee responses and analysis of Form 211 claims.

  7. The SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR Department Manager is responsible to manage team and employee activities, following the procedures in this IRM. The SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR Department Manager oversees team and employee responses and analysis of Form 211 claims.

  8. The SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR ICE team manager is responsible to manage employee activities, following the procedures in this IRM. They oversee employee responses and analysis of Form 211 claims.

  9. The SB/SE Ogden Campus Classification employees are responsible for completing activities following the procedures in this IRM. The SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR classification employees provide determinations to Form 211 claims.

  10. The SB/SE Campus Classification Team roles and responsibilities are framed around the multiple steps to respond and analyze Form 211 allegations and other qualifying whistleblower submissions. The following IRM 25.2.1.3.1, Roles and Responsibilities of Classification provides additional definitions of the roles and responsibilities of a classifier who classifies whistleblower claims. The following actions are performed by the SB/SE Campus Classification Team employees. The list is not intended to be all-inclusive of every process or duty performed by the SB/SE Campus Classification Team. Timely action is essential for all of these responsibilities.

    Action Performed Role/Responsibility
    First Read The “First Read” process can be completed by a Tax Examiner (TE), Tax Compliance Officer (TCO), or Revenue Agent (RA).
    • Researching unidentifiable taxpayer identification numbers (TIN).

    • Reviewing Form 211 for basic completeness.

    • Considering other relevant information and/or attachments, including electronic media.

    • Determining threshold tolerances, statutes, CI or other operating divisions considerations .

    • Documenting relevant information on the classification checksheet to support the basis of a decision.

    • Forward to classifier for additional analysis.

    • Updating e-Trak.

    Classification The “Classification” process is only completed by a Tax Compliance Officer (TCO) or Revenue Agent (RA).
    • Same role/responsibility as First Read above.

    • Requests for coordination of cross-BOD (business operating division) calls.

    • Research and determination of open AIMS criteria.

    • Additional analysis of whistleblower claims, referred to as a second look.

    • Research and determination of non-filers.

Program Management and Review

  1. Program Reviews: Headquarter Policy, Operational, and program reviews are conducted to ensure that actions are in accordance with the procedures in this IRM.

  2. Program Reports: The following daily, weekly, and monthly reports are generated by management, P & A, and/or the WO, and can assist with evaluating the performance of the SB/SE Campus Classification Team program.

    • Campus Classification Employee Daily Reports

    • ICE Classifier Weekly Reports

    • ICE Weekly Dashboard Reports

    • ICE Monthly Reports

    • Embedded Quality Review System (EQRS) Reports

    • WO Quality Review Reports

    • Week At A Glance (WAAG) Reports

    • Work Planning & Control (WP&C) Reports

  3. Program Effectiveness - Results: The program report results and data are housed on the SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR SharePoint site in the P & A ICE Weekly-Dashboard Data and Reports folder. The reports provide daily, weekly, monthly, and cumulative data.

  4. Program Effectiveness - Quality: Evaluative EQRS reviews and Whistleblower Office Quality Review reports are consistency reviews routinely conducted, along with Headquarter Policy reviews to ensure whistleblower claim actions are timely and in accordance with the procedures in this IRM.

    1. Claim reviews using EQRS are conducted by the SB/SE Campus Classification Team manager to ensure compliance with this IRM.

    2. Operational reviews are conducted by the Department and Operation Managers and P & A annually to evaluate program delivery, conformance to administrative requirements and ensure compliance with this IRM.

    3. SB/SE Headquarters - Exam Field and Campus Policy, will conduct yearly program reviews, as necessary, to verify compliance with IRM requirements, address TIGTA/GAO findings, and address any trends that appear, missing steps, and/or clarifications.

    4. WO Quality Review, will conduct claim reviews to ensure the SB/SE Campus Classification Team is in compliance with this IRM. WO Quality Review will deliver the results and findings to the SB/SE Ogden Campus Exam/AUR.

Program Controls

  1. The program control system used to oversee and manage the whistleblower claim inventory is the e-Trak system. The e-Trak system has a log-in program control to limit access to its content.

  2. The submission of Form 211 claims are built and loaded in the e-Trak system and becomes the inventory assigned to SB/SE Campus Classification Team employees.

  3. The e-Trak system tracks the various actions taken by SB/SE Campus Classification employees to manage the analysis of whistleblower claim inventory. The whistleblower claim inventory and actions are monitored by SB/SE Ogden Campus Operation, Department, and Front-Line managers along with SB/SE Campus Classification Team employees, P & A, and WO.

  4. The SB/SE Campus Classification Team employees should ensure actions taken meet the analysis criteria outlined in the current IRM resources found on local IRM sites and/or local desk procedural guides located on the local ICE SharePoint site.

Terms/Definitions/Acronyms

  1. A list of some of the terms (and definition) and acronyms used in this IRM are found below. This list is not all inclusive. For details on additional terms, definitions, and acronyms, reference IRM 25.1.1.3, General Operating Division Guidance for Working Whistleblower Claims, Terms;IRM 25.2.1.1.4, General Operating Division Guidance for Working Whistleblower Claims, Acronyms; IRM 25.2. 2.1.4 , Whistleblower Awards, Terms; IRM 25.2.2.1.5, Whistleblower Awards, Acronyms; local desk procedural guides, or use the Search feature on the IRS Home Page.

  2. The following terms and acronyms are defined below:

    Defined Terms

    Word Definition Example of using a word that is open to interpretation.
    (This column is for illustration purposes only)
    Action The responsibility or activity a SB/SE Campus Classification Team employee takes on a whistleblower submission. The SB/SE Campus Classification Team employee takes an action provided in local desk procedural guides to process whistleblower claims.
    Claim A claim is a whistleblower’s application for an award. A whistleblower makes a claim for award by filing Form 211 with the WO. The claim for award includes allegations of tax non-compliance and information that is the basis for the claim. A whistleblower submits a claim to report allegations of tax non-compliance for an award.
    e-Trak The e-Trak (entellitrak) system is a web interface software application used to create whistleblower claim submissions and to manage the whistleblower claim inventory. SB/SE Campus Classification Team employees build and manage whistleblower claim inventory by taking various actions in the e-Trak system.
    Form 211 Application for Award for Original Information The form is used by a whistleblower to submit an allegation of tax non-compliance and claim for an award.
    Responsibility The activity involved with review, classification, and decision related to the analysis of a Form 211. The First Read responsibility is different than the Classification responsibility related to the analysis of a whistleblower submissions.
    Timely Time frame for the completion of an action. The processing time frames are outlined in IRM 25.2.1, General Operating Division Guidance for Working Whistleblower Claims, and IRM 25.2.2, Information and Whistleblower Awards, and local desk procedural guides. Analyze all Form 211 claim submissions timely.

     

    Acronyms

    Acronym Definition
    AUR Automated Underreporter
    CI Criminal Investigation
    ICE Informant Claim Evaluation
    BOD Business Operating Division
    P & A Planning and Analysis
    RA Revenue Agent
    SB/SE Small Business / Self-Employed
    TCO Tax Compliance Officer
    TE Tax Examiner
    WO Whistleblower Office

     

Related Resources

  1. The related resources listed below, in conjunction with local desk procedural guides, are used to provide additional information for the SB/SE Campus Classification Team, to review, classify, and process a whistleblower claims on behalf of the WO.

    IRM Resources

    IRM Reference IRM Title
    IRM 25.2.1.3 General Operating Division Guidance for Working Whistleblower Claims, Classifying Whistleblower Claims Includes sub-sections 25.2.1.3.1-7.
    IRM 25.2.1.1.5 General Operating Division Guidance for Working Whistleblower Claims, Related Resources
    IRM 25.2.2.1.6 Information and Whistleblower Awards, Whistleblower Awards, Related Resources
    IRM 4.1.5 Classification and Case Building
    IRM 4.4.33.2.6 Statute of Limitations
    IRM 25.6.1 Statute of Limitations, Processes and Procedures

Local Desk Procedural Guides

  1. SB/SE Exam Headquarter - Exam Field and Campus Policy and the WO have developed local use desk procedural guides to be used in conjunction with all applicable IRM resources. All SB/SE Campus Classification Team employees should access the IRM resources and updated desk procedural guides throughout the year. The SB/SE Campus Classification Team employees should know how to find the latest IRM resources or local IRM sites and desk procedural guides on the local ICE SharePoint site.

  2. Local desk procedural guides are only to be used to supplement existing IRM procedures and/or aid in local procedures, including e-Trak system use and input.

  3. Local desk procedural guides for SB/SE Campus Classification Team employees include but are not limited to the First Read Procedural Guide, Classification Procedural Guide, e-Trak CC Training and User Guides, SB/SE classification checksheet, alerts, templates, and/or other miscellaneous guidance provided and located on the local ICE SharePoint site.

  4. All existing, updated, or changed local procedures must be reviewed by the SB/SE Exam Headquarter - Field and Campus Policy Analyst, Ogden Campus Exam management, and designated subject matter expert employees. The final approval is completed by the WO, received through electronic sources, to ensure local desk procedural guides and/or any procedure or policy alerts support the WO Policies.

  5. Revisions must reflect the revision date to assist SB/SE Campus Classification Team employees in identifying the current procedures to reference.

  6. Local desk procedural guides deviation:

    1. Service Center Directors, Headquarter Directors, Headquarter Analysts, and Campus managers/employees do not have the authority to approve deviations from local desk procedural guides. Any request for an exception or deviation to the local desk procedural guides must be elevated through appropriate channels for executive and WO approval. This will ensure other functional areas are not adversely affected by the change, and it does not result in disparate treatment of whistleblowers or taxpayers.

    2. Requests for a local desk procedural guide deviation must be submitted in writing, through electronic sources, to the SB/SE Exam - Field and Campus Policy Headquarter Analyst, and include notification to Ogden SB/SE Campus Exam Field and Support Department Manager and Campus Classification Team Manager, and Planning and Analysis Analyst. The SB/SE Exam - Field and Campus Policy Headquarter Analyst will collaborate with all interested stakeholders, and the WO to update procedures or issue an Alert to address the proposed deviation. No deviations can begin until reviewed by the Policy and Program Owners, with final approval by the WO.