4.8.1 Organization and Responsibilities

Manual Transmittal

November 25, 2015

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 4.8.1, Technical Services, Organization and Responsibilities.

Background

This section provides an overview of the purpose and organizational structure of Technical Services, and the responsibilities of reviewers.

Material Changes

(1) This transmittal reissues existing procedures. Minor editorial changes have been made throughout this IRM. Website addresses, legal references, and IRM references were reviewed and updated as necessary. Other significant changes to this IRM include the following:

Reference Description of Change
Throughout IRM Removed references to EQMS as part of the Technical Services organizational structure.
IRM 4.8.1.1.2 (3) Updated references to publications which are now published by SB/SE Exam Quality and Tech Support.
IRM 4.8.1.1.2 (4) Updated links to publications which are now located on MySBSE.
IRM 4.8.1.1.2 (5) Corrected 1254 Suspense reference and added Criminal Restitution.
IRM 4.8.1.2 and IRM 4.8.1.2.1 Revised structure of ARI to make it current.
IRM 4.8.1.2.2 Updated and revised TEFRA section to reflect current procedures.
IRM 4.8.1.5.3 (1) Removed obsolete standard position descriptions.
IRM 4.8.1.5.4 Removed inactive link to SB/SE Rotational Positions Agreement Letter of Understanding (LOU).
IRM 4.8.1.6 Included reference to IRM Exhibit 4.8.2-1 for a listing of timekeeping codes along with clarification for the use of Status Code 20 and Activity Code 587.
IRM 4.8.1.6.1 Clarified use of Activity Code 641 and Activity Code 587 when working on multiple cases.
IRM 4.8.1.6.2 (1) Clarified use of Activity Code 643.
IRM 4.8.1.6.3 (2) Included statement regarding the use of Review Type 00 and Review Type 99 in conjunction with Activity Code 587.
IRM 4.8.1.6.4(c) Added additional paragraph to detail duties performed under Activity Code 644.
IRM 4.8.1.6.7 Updated definition of activity code to be in concert with IRM 4.9.1.
IRM 4.8.1.6.8 Updated definition of activity code to be in concert with IRM 4.9.1.

Effect on Other Documents

This transmittal replaces IRM 4.8.1, dated 07–11–2012.

Audience

Small Business Self-Employed (SB/SE), Technical Services employees

Effective Date

(11-25-2015)

John Tuzynski
Director, Technical Services SE:EO:FE:TS
Small Business/Self-Employed Division

Introduction

  1. Technical Services is responsible for the administration and oversight of various technical programs. Technical Services also provides technical assistance, feedback, guidance through case reviews, presentations to examination groups in SB/SE and Large Business and International (LB&I), and program analysis.

  2. This chapter provides an overview of the responsibilities and the organizational structure of Technical Services.

Mission Statement

  1. The mission of Technical Service is to provide top quality customer service by doing the following:

    1. Aligning strategies, objectives, and goals to support delivery of the enterprise-wide examination plan;

    2. Providing technical and procedural support and guidance for field and office examination and area management in both SB/SE and LB&I;

    3. Assisting in the development of alternative resolution implementation strategies; and

    4. Performing technical case reviews to improve the quality of examinations and ensure the tax law is applied with integrity and fairness to all.

Purpose and Objectives

  1. Technical Services supports Examination's objective to conduct timely, quality examinations of each selected tax return to determine the correct tax liability by doing the following:

    1. Providing technical and procedural assistance to management and examiners;

    2. Providing area management case quality information to identify opportunities for improvement and possible training needs;

    3. Completing post-examination case requirements;

    4. Supporting quality improvement initiatives;

    5. Coordinating with issue management teams, Counsel, and Appeals in the implementation of settlement strategies; and

    6. Providing Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) technical and procedural support and guidance to examination groups.

  2. Technical Services provides various tools and programs to support Examination's mission to conduct timely, quality examinations and apply the tax law with integrity and fairness.

  3. Technical Services supports SB/SE and LB&I managers and examiners by providing current technical and procedural guidance through presentations, job aids and contributions to publications, which include the following:

    1. Technical Digest, a monthly newsletter published by SB/SE Examination Quality and Technical Support in cooperation with Advisory, Insolvency and Quality (Collection);

    2. Fraud Digest, a quarterly newsletter published by SB/SE Examination Quality and Technical Support in cooperation with Collection, Examination, Fraud/BSA, Criminal Investigation, Chief Counsel, and Communications and Liaison; and

    3. Keys to Success, published by SB/SE Examination Quality and Technical Support three times during the year.

  4. The job aids and publications are accessible at the MySB/SE, Examination, Home page in the Technical Newsletters section at http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/examination/news/default.aspx.

  5. Group managers and examiners may informally request information and guidance through our Technical Services program coordinators. Areas of technical and procedural assistance include the following:

    • 1254 Suspense (pending litigation per Form 1254 , Examination Suspense Report)

    • Abusive Transaction Project Resolution Procedures

    • Accumulated Earnings Tax

    • Bankruptcy

    • Barred Statutes

    • Claims and Audit Reconsiderations

    • Closing Agreements

    • Conditions of Probation

    • Criminal Restitution

    • Employee Audits

    • Fraud/Grand Jury Suspense

    • Imprest Fund Audits

    • Innocent Spouse

    • International Case Review

    • Interest and Penalty Abatement

    • IRC 183 (Hobby Loss) Suspense

    • IRC 1033 (Involuntary Conversion) Suspense

    • Jeopardy/Termination Assessments

    • National Quality Review System (NQRS) Quality Attributes and Measures

    • Notices of Determination of Worker Classification IRC 7436

    • Offers in Compromise (Doubt as to Liability)

    • Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI)

    • Personal Holding Company/Deficiency Dividends

    • Presentations at group meetings and workshops

    • Protective Claim Suspense

    • Restricted Interest

    • Rev. Proc. 92-29

    • Statute of Limitations

    • Statutory Notices of Deficiency

    • Substitute for Return/Delinquent Return Procedures

    • TEFRA

    • Third Party Contacts

    • Technical Correspondence
      - Technical Advice (Technical Advice Memorandum (TAM) and Technical Expedited Advice Memorandum (TEAM))
      - Determination Letters
      - Private Letter Rulings
      - Field Service Advice
      - Technical Coordination Reports

    • Transferee/Transferor Liability

    • Unagreed Protested Cases

  6. A full listing of programs and a directory of coordinators and other case related guidance links for Technical Services employees may be found on the SB/SE Exam Technical Services SharePoint Home page at https://organization.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/SBSEfeTS/SitePages/default.aspx. Examination employees in the field can access this information by accessing the My SB/SE Home page in the Compliance Favorites section at the Find An Expert link at http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/exam/default.aspx.

Organizational Structure

  1. Technical Services is composed of six territories plus an Alternative Resolution Implementation (ARI) Program, all of which provide technical and procedural guidance and support to the Examination areas.

  2. ARI is composed of technical advisors, analysts, and two international groups.

  3. Each territory is led by a territory manager who reports directly to the director of Technical Services. The number of groups within each territory varies according to the volume of work, size of the area, and other responsibilities.

  4. Groups are composed of a manager, revenue agent reviewers, tax compliance officer reviewers, tax auditors, tax examiners, and supporting clerical staff.

  5. Work may be "brokered" from one Technical Services group/territory to other Technical Services groups/territories to more effectively balance workload and existing resources.

  6. At the Technical Services director's discretion, a specific Technical Services territory or group may perform functions for a specified program or project for all of Technical Services or for all groups in a territory.

  7. Specialty groups have been created within Technical Services to work highly specialized programs to better serve the internal and external customers (e.g, TEFRA and International groups).

Alternative Resolution Implementation (ARI)

  1. ARI is a program in Technical Services that provides technical and procedural guidance and support to the Examination Areas.

  2. ARI is composed of technical advisors, analysts and two international groups.

  3. ARI supports Examination by doing the following:

    • Assisting in the implementation of approved settlement strategies, such as Commissioner's Initiatives, Global Settlement Initiatives (GSI), Appeals Settlement Guidelines, and other alternative resolutions;

    • Participating with teams to develop technical and procedural guidance for implementation in the field (SB/SE and LB&I), Technical Services, and centralized case processing (CCP);

    • Coordinating the closing process with teams, Counsel, and Appeals;

    • Ensuring consistency of Technical Services groups as it relates to specific abusive transactions (AT); and,

    • Providing guidance with respect to the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) and other Offshore projects.

TEFRA

  1. The Technical Services TEFRA function is comprised of three separate review groups. These groups are responsible for 100% review of all TEFRA examinations conducted in SB/SE and LB&I.

  2. The reviewer groups are comprised of revenue agent reviewers/TEFRA coordinators (TC) who must possess a broad range of technical knowledge of TEFRA statutory law and administrative procedures.

  3. The reviewer/TC responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following:

    1. Serving as the main contact for LB&I and SB/SE field agents and their managers to explain and clarify the TEFRA unified statutory law and audit procedures.

    2. Responding to TEFRA Specialist Referrals:
      The return is a Publicly Traded Partnership (PTP), a Master Limited Partnership (MLP), Electing Large Partnership (ELP), or any complex partnership having greater than 100 direct or indirect partners (i.e., partners of direct pass-through partners).
      The examiner wishes to deviate from the Mandatory Partnership Control System (PCS) linkage.
      It is not possible to conclude the TEFRA proceeding or secure timely statute extensions at the TEFRA key case level and the field agent wants to examine the partnership using the investor IRC 6501 statute.
      Form 8082, Administrative Adjustment Request (AAR), or Form 1065X, Amended Return or Administrative Adjustment Request (AAR), an amended return or a claim has been filed by any partner or Tax Matters Person (TMP) filing on behalf of the entire TEFRA partnership.
      The return is a coordinated industry case (CIC) related partnership.
      The Service wants to rely on the partner IRC 6501 statute(s) because the partnership IRC 6229 statute has expired or will expire within 180 days (AC statute).

    3. Participating in the initial meeting with the taxpayers in more complex TEFRA cases to assist with the determination of the tax matters partner, statute of limitations, etc. They also participate in closing conferences and conduct ongoing case reviews to provide guidance when needed.

    4. Reviewing all TEFRA partnership (key) cases regardless of the audit outcome. Their review includes but is not limited to the following:
      Whether the partnership is TEFRA / nonTEFRA
      Validity of the tax matters partner (TMP) and power of attorney (POA)
      Validity of statute of limitations and any extension(s) secured
      Application of expired IRC 6229"AC" statute procedures
      Whether all TEFRA statutory and procedural guidelines have been followed.

    5. Processing agreed key cases by countersigning all settlement agreements (all direct partners and the TMP binding non-notice partners must sign agreements).

    6. Coordinating with Area Counsel to conduct the mandatory review of the notice of Final Partnership Administrative Adjustment (FPAA) in all unagreed TEFRA cases requiring issuance of the notice.

    7. Preparing and issuing the following letters to the TMP following the case review:
      Letter 1831, Request for Administrative Adjustment , disallowance letter
      Letter 1864, Notice of Beginning of Administrative Proceedings (NBAP) Withdrawal Letter
      Letter 2621, No Adjustments Letter
      Letter 3857, Untimely Notice Letter (TEFRA Proceedings Ongoing)
      Letter 4839, Audit Termination
      Letter 2064, No Change Notice of Final Partnership Administrative Adjustment
      Letter 1830-F, Notice of Final Partnership Administrative Adjustment,

      The coordinator will also prepare and issue the following letters to the TMP when statute constraints exist in order to meet Appeals timelines.
      Letter 1827-F, TEFRA Partnership 60 Day Letter
      Letter 1829-F, TEFRA Partnership 60 Day Letter for Penalties and Adjustments

    8. Preparing and submitting a package to the campus TEFRA function (CTF) identifying the status of the key case.

      Note:

      The CTF issues all partner letters / notices unless the key case is not linked. The coordinator issues the partner notices when the case is not linked.

    9. Issuing Form 3990, Reviewer’s Report, to the field agent addressing not only TEFRA procedures / guidelines, but also technical issues.

    10. Completing the reviewer check sheet used to identify areas of concern.

    11. Conducting presentations to both LB&I and SB/SE field agents and tax computation specialists.

    12. Working with the CTF:
      Addressing PCS linkage related problems
      Monitoring field controlled investor statutes using the PSC 4-4, Statute Reports, extract provided by the campuses. They also distribute these reports to the appropriate field group.
      Verifying the coordinated industry case (CIC) groups timely write the RAR
      Coordinating with the CTF PCS coordinator on processing Form 8339, PCS Change, and other PCS related issues.

    13. Reviewing and processing PCS linked partner returns to the CTF or CCP. This includes processing assessments / refunds, and removing linkage for exam years and carryover and carryback years.

    14. Reviewing and processing linked non-TEFRA (Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income, Form 1120-S, U.S. Income Tax Return for S Corporations) key cases and investors.

  4. The revenue agent / group manager assume responsibility, with TC’s assistance, when the imminent procedures are not followed and / or when the case is not linked on PCS as required.

  5. See IRM 4.31.2, TEFRA Examinations - Field Office Procedures, for a full explanation of the reviewer / TC duties and responsibilities.

Area Review Management Responsibilities

  1. Technical Services management is responsible for the quality of services provided to the area’s examination function. Managers must properly allocate resources and identify and respond to needs for technical assistance. Management also supports and participates in quality improvement initiatives.

Management References

  1. Refer to IRM 1.4.40, Resource Guide for Managers - SB/SE Compliance Field Examination Group Manager, for additional guidance.

Reviewer Responsibilities

  1. Reviewers are responsible for the review of mandatory review cases, and post-examination processing of certain special feature cases. Assignments also include preparing analyses for management, preparing statutory notices of deficiency, and assigned program coordination.

Case Reviews

  1. Case reviews are conducted to evaluate case quality and examination processing requirements. Some areas utilize reviewers to conduct reviews of both in-process and closed cases. Case reviews include the following:

    1. Determining the scope of the examination, evaluating case documents to support the examiner’s conclusions, determining if technical conclusions are correct, and ensuring proper completion of internal procedures;

    2. Interpreting and evaluating the application of the quality attributes;

    3. Processing the case;

    4. Documenting the review results; and

    5. Providing feedback to both examiners and management to improve case quality and to recognize exceptional accomplishments with commendatory memoranda.

Reviewer Qualifications

  1. To accomplish Technical Services objectives, reviewers are revenue agents, tax auditors, and tax compliance officers who have demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge of accounting and auditing principles, tax law, IRS policies, and internal procedures. Reviewers must be objective and exercise independent judgment and individual initiative in the performance of their duties.

Maintain Skills

  1. Reviewers are expected to acquire and maintain the technical and procedural knowledge necessary to effectively complete their assignments.

  2. Technical Services self study courses are available on the Electronic Publishing Services web site at http://publish.no.irs.gov/ephome.html (Catalog number 49077T). The courses available include the following:

    1. Training 11699-001, Technical Services Revenue Agent Reviewers,

    2. Training 11701-001, Technical Services TEFRA Reviewers,

    3. Training 11700-001, Technical Services Tax Compliance Officer Reviewers, and

    4. Training 16638-001, Technical Services Tax Examining Technicians.

  3. Refresher courses are also available for reviewers when they rotate to an area examination group:

    1. Training 11702-001, Revenue Agent Refresher Training

    2. Training 11703-001, Tax Compliance Officer Refresher Training

  4. Technical Services managers may approve lessons (cafeteria style) in these courses for the particular needs of the reviewers to acquire skills in a specific area.

Communication Skills

  1. Reviewers are expected to effectively communicate with other technical personnel, management, taxpayers, and external customers when providing or obtaining information to timely resolve issues in the completion of their assignments.

Position Description

  1. The standard position descriptions and associated reviewer critical elements include complete descriptions of expectations for reviewers.

    1. SB/SE - Tax Specialist Reviewer (GS–526–9), SPD No. 93763

    2. SB/SE - Tax Compliance Officer Reviewer (GS-0526-11), SPD 95496

    3. SB/SE - Revenue Agent Reviewer (GS-512-12), SPD No.91586

    4. SB/SE and LB&I - Revenue Agent Reviewer (GS–512–13), SPD No. 91587

Rotational Assignment

  1. Generally, the revenue agent, tax auditor, and tax compliance officer positions are rotational assignments for reviewers who enter Technical Services after the June 13, 2005 effective date of the SB/SE Rotational Positions Agreement Letter of Understanding (LOU). The initial rotational assignment is between 24-36 months and may be extended up to a year beyond this period. Any extensions of the rotational assignment beyond the additional year will require the mutual consent of management and the employee.

Time Reporting

  1. Technical Services accomplishments are separately identified in Table 37, Examination Program Monitoring. The accuracy of this report is dependent upon the proper identification of time charges and the direct examination time, second segment code, on the agent input document. See IRM Exhibit 4.8.2-1, Technical Services Status Codes and Related Review and Suspense Type Codes, for a detailed list of review types that can be utilized with the following activity codes.

  2. All suspense cases should be put in Status Code 20 and the appropriate review type until the review of the case is completed. Once the review is completed, the case can be updated to the appropriate suspense status code. Once a case is updated out of Status Code 20 it should not be updated back to Status Code 20 unless it is coming back into Technical Services. For example, when a closing agreement case comes back for execution, the case review should be charged to Status Code 20 and the appropriate project review type such as Review Type 63 for OVDI cases.

  3. Pre-reviews of closing agreement cases forwarded to Technical Services should be updated to Status Code 20 and Review Type 12. Time should be charged to the taxpayer identification number (TIN). Activity Code 587 and the appropriate project type should be used for pre-review cases not in a Technical Services status.

  4. See Exhibit 4.9.1-1, Definitions of Miscellaneous Examination Activity Codes.

Case Review (641)

  1. CASE REVIEW (641) - Time spent reviewing certain examination cases. This includes reviews of EQMS sample cases, mandatory case reviews, and completion of post-examination procedures. In general, time expenditures associated with a specific examination case closed from a field group are charged to this code. The only exceptions are cases for which other codes are identified. Do not charge time to Activity Code 641 without a TIN.

  2. SUSPENSE CASES: CASE REVIEW VS. COORDINATOR DUTIES (641) - If a reviewer is working on a specific case in suspense, then time should be charged to that TIN and Activity Code 641. If a reviewer is working on suspense procedures affecting many different cases and the time is not material enough to charge to any specific case, then time should be charged to Activity Code 587 and the appropriate review type (e.g., Review Type 45 or Review Type 46 for Fraud Suspense Cases).

  3. Suspense Program Reviewers should complete Form 9984, Examining Officer's Activity Record, or equivalent, and document time and actions performed that are being charged to Activity Code 641 and / or Activity Code 587. The activity record should be documented for all activity and included in the case file. The record could be useful when the cases are reassigned to another reviewer.

  4. If a TEFRA coordinator is working with a field group processing a case in Status Code 12, that time should be charged by the TEFRA coordinator to that TIN and Activity Code 641.

Notice of Deficiency (643)

  1. NOTICE OF DEFICIENCY 90 DAY (643) — Time spent preparing, reviewing, and signing notices of deficiency. This code also includes charges for the preliminary review of the case file, coordination with area counsel, and response to taxpayer inquiries. Do not charge time to Activity Code 643 without a TIN.

  2. Activity Code 643 is also used by TEFRA coordinators for the preparation of the Final Partnership Administrative Adjustment (FPAA) with the time charged to the respective TIN.

Coordinator Activity - Non-TEFRA (587)

  1. COORDINATOR ACTIVITY (587) — Use Activity Code 587 with a review type as a second segment code to break down coordinator activity between the different programs worked, other than TEFRA coordination or specific programs identified in IRM 4.8.1.6.9 below. See IRM 4.8.2, Technical Services, Case Processing, Exhibit 1. Coordinator duties include the following:

    1. Performing duties associated with assigned programs in which a specific closed case cannot be identified. Examples include attending coordination meetings, preparing reports, completing analyses, and any activity required for the proper management of the program.

    2. Preparing/presenting technical advice and assistance.

    3. Performing in-process evaluations of open examination cases. This includes the actual review time and any time expended for activities that can be associated with the case review process.

    4. Preparing technical or procedural material for publication or distribution.

    5. Assisting management with specific studies or analyses.

    6. Reviewing a number of cases within an hour, for instance, reviewing statutes on a group of suspense cases.

  2. A review second segment code must be input with Activity Code 587. The ERCS review type for the program, preceded by a single zero, is used as a second segment code. For example, "010" is used as a second segment code for coordinator activity associated with an offer in compromise review, ERCS Review Type 10. Review Type 00 and Review Type 99 should be used on a limited basis with Activity Code 587.

  3. All time charged to Activity Code 587 will have a "Q" in the P of RB column.

  4. TEFRA coordinator activity will not be charged to Activity Code 587.

Coordinator Activity - TEFRA (644)

  1. COORDINATOR ACTIVITY (644) — Time spent performing the following activities associated with TEFRA:

    1. Completing duties associated with assigned programs in which a specific closed case cannot be identified. Examples include attending coordination meetings, preparing reports, completing analysis, and performing any activity required for the proper management of the program.

    2. Performing in-process evaluations of open examination cases. This includes the actual review time and any time expenditures for activities that can be associated with the case review process.

    3. Furnishing information to, corresponding, working, or coordinating with other divisions and areas on projections, programs, assignments, returns, reports, requests for information, and similar duties.

  2. No review type is required to be used with Activity Code 644.

Interest Abatement (648)

  1. ABATEMENT OF INTEREST (648) — Time spent to coordinate or work claims with respect to IRC 6404.

Technical Services Management (649)

  1. REVIEW MANAGEMENT (649) — Time spent performing management duties as the Technical Services territory manager, or first-line Technical Services manager, including persons acting in such capacities.

Indirect (610)

  1. INDIRECT (610) — Time spent on technical duties that cannot be charged to a specific case or activity. Generally, this includes attending group meetings, reading procedural / technical material, preparing and attending technical / procedural conferences, completing forms, working on committees, managing records, preparing time reports / travel vouchers, general housekeeping (e.g., moving, ordering supplies and surveying space) and answering e-mail/VMS. Group managers will not charge time to the code. See IRM 4.9.1, Examination Technical Time Reporting System, Outline of System, Exhibit 1.

Administrative Duties (730)

  1. ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES (730) — Time spent by technical personnel performing non-technical duties, such as coordinating the Combined Federal Campaign, participation in surveys, Commissioner representative duties, NTEU bank and official time, computer issues, performance discussions with manager, etc. See IRM 4.9.1 Exhibit 1 for a more complete listing of duties pertaining to this activity code.

Specific Programs

  1. SEPARATELY IDENTIFIED PROGRAM ACTIVITIES — Time spent by technical personnel on programs separately monitored on Table 37. Examples include:

    • Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) coordination (671)

    • Offers in Compromise (720)

    • Innocent Spouse reviews (732)

    • Trial Assistance (821)