4.24.18 Excise Case Selection

Manual Transmittal

November 23, 2020


(1) This transmits revised IRM 4.24.18, Excise Case Selection.

Material Changes

(1) This IRM has been updated to include required information about the program’s system of internal controls.

(2) The table below identifies significant changes in content.

IRM Subsection Number Nature of Change, Program Scope and Objectives Updated content to clarify specific points and correct error., Background Updated information about excise taxes., Responsibilities Updated content to clarify specific points., Excise Tax Returns and Claims Forms New section "Excise Tax Returns and Claims Forms", Workplan Development Updated content to clarify specific points, Operational Assessment of Excise Tax Abstracts and Activity Code Coverage Content removed from this sub section. Some content moved to IRM., Workplan Monitoring Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity. Excise Tax Exam Inventory Monitoring Paragraph (1) updated for clarity. Updated content to reflect current procedures., JOC Network Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity., Data Transfers Updated content to reflect changes to mode of transferring data., ExSTARS Administrative Support Updated content to reflect current procedures., Charters Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity., Charter Development and Approval Change in procedures on the approval process, Case Assignment Sheets Change in procedures, Operational Assessment of Charters Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity and added some content that was previously in IRM, Initiative Data Analysis and Lead Input Corrected error, FIDGAP Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity., ECS Inventory Systems Updated content to reflect current procedures and to remove unnecessary content, Inventory Reports Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity., Monitoring ECS Inventory Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity., Identifying Leads for Classification Change in procedures and removed unnecessary content, Determining Case Compliance Approach Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity., Processing ECS Inventory Edited content to reflect the group responsible for the task and current procedures, Surveys Edited content to reflect current procedures Source of Anomalies Edited title of the subsection. Edited content to reflect current procedures and for clarity., Whistleblower Leads New information on processing whistleblower leads, Compliance Initiative Project Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity., Fed/State Program and State Audit Report Program Leads Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity., Information Report Leads Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity., Whistleblower Leads Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity., 637 Registration Leads Revised content to reflect current procedures, Joint Audits with Partner States Leads Removed subsection.
4.24.11(2), Work Order Request Tracking System Content revised for clarity, JOC Data Assistance Requests Updated title of the subsection
Former, Inventory Assignment of Leads for Classification Deleted content of the subsection, Classification Clarified content in paragraphs (1) and (3). Removed unnecessary content in (2), Case Selection Factors Revised content. Eliminated some bullets in (1) and (2) to reflect current procedures and to clarify content, Classification Documentation Revised process for documenting classification decisions. Removed unnecessary content Classification Research Updated content in (1) and added WebCBRS ERCS Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity. IDRS Research Updated content to reflect current procedures and for clarity. Audit History/Prior Classification Dispositions Removed unnecessary content and made changes to improve clarity, WebCBRS Removed content. replaced with content on WebCBRS, Disasters and other Significant Emergencies Change in procedures, Fraud Development Subsection was deleted, Processing Leads Selected for Compliance Action Removed content in (1) and (2) and replaced with news content to reflect current procedures, Requests to CSTO, ERCS/AIMS for ERCS and IMS Creation Clarified existing content in paragraph (1), Proper Case Coding Updated the title. Revised content, Creating Case Files Updated content in paragraph (1). Removed remaining paragraphs., Multiple Employee Case Files Revised content in paragraph (2). Removed unnecessary content in other paragraphs, Inadequate Records Notice Updated content to reflect current procedures, Technical Guidance Deleted sub-subsection, Coordination with Centralized Specialty Tax Operations Deleted subsection, Quality Review Revised content to reflect current procedures
4.24.18-1, Terms/Definitions and Acronyms Revised exhibit on terms/definitions and acronyms

(3) Editorial changes have been made throughout this IRM such as updating electronic hyperlinks and IRM references.

Effect on Other Documents

This material supersedes IRM 4.24.18 dated April 27, 2018.


This section is for SB/SE Exam Case Selection - Specialty Excise Case Selection employees.

Effective Date


Carol L Madison
Director, Exam Case Selection
Small Business/Self Employed

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. General Overview - Excise Case Selection (ECS) includes the operations of the Joint Operations Center (JOC) and Workload Selection and Delivery (WSD).

  2. Purpose - This IRM provides guidance for the ECS function in identifying, classifying and delivering inventory for compliance action. It:

    1. Describes the steps in developing and monitoring workplan assumptions that balance workload priorities.

    2. Establishes the standards and procedures to identify examination cases.

  3. Audience - These procedures apply to IRS employees responsible for identifying, classifying and processing excise tax compliance leads and cases.

  4. Program Owner - The Director, Exam Case Selection - Specialty, is the program owner and responsible for Excise Case Selection policies and procedures.

  5. Primary Stakeholders - Employees in ECS, Excise Tax Exam, Specialty Policy, and Centralized Specialty Tax Operations.

  6. Program Goals - The program goals are consistent with the objectives or goals addressed in IRM, Organization and Staffing, Small Business and Self/Employed (SB/SE), Excise Tax Examination.

  7. An additional program goal is to ensure excise tax examinations are initiated based on indicators of non-compliance or other criteria (such as selection for the National Research Program), identified in the IRM. See IRM, Case Selection Factors, for additional information on selection factors. Ensure reviews of the decisions to survey cases, i.e., not initiate an examination, are based upon factors outlined in the IRM and approved by an appropriate level of management. See IRM, Surveys, for additional information on surveys.

  8. Contact Information - To recommend changes or make other suggestions related to this IRM section, see IRM, Providing Feedback About an IRM Section - Outside of Clearance.


  1. Excise taxes are imposed on the sale or use of various products and services (IRC sections 4041 through IRC 5881). See IRM 4.24.1, Introduction to Excise Taxes for information on the excise taxes administered by the IRS. Excise taxes imposed on alcohol, tobacco, and firearms are not administered by the IRS

  2. It is important to consider the applicable excise tax requirements for different market segments. Pub 510, Excise Taxes, provides useful information on excise taxes.

  3. Certain excise tax activities require registration with the IRS. Information on registration may be found in IRM 4.24.2, Form 637 Excise Tax Registrations.


  1. Policy Statement 4-21, Selection of Returns for Examination, states the primary objective in selecting returns for examination is to promote the highest degree of voluntary compliance on the part of taxpayers. This requires the exercise of professional judgment in selecting sufficient returns of all classes of returns, in utilizing available experience and statistics indicating the probability of substantial error, and in making the most efficient use of examination staffing and other resources.

  2. IRM, Supplemental Sources of Guidance, provides that organizations may issue supplemental guidance and local procedures to employees when the primary guidance is in the IRM. Supplemental guidance contains information that details how to perform or review a task. Supplemental sources must comply with published guidance and not supersede the IRM.

  3. Consider these factors when determining whether to incorporate information into the IRM or publish it in another source:

    • If a category of employees (even if just one) are required to perform certain actions, the information belongs in the IRM.

    • If employees are evaluated on how they follow the instructions, the information belongs in the IRM.

    • If the information itself is retained for future use (workpapers, worksheets) and is part of a case file, then the worksheets can either be published, appended to the IRM (job aid) or be accessed via an online tool. However, the rules for preparing the worksheets belong in the IRM.

    • If specific instructions are provided on how to complete a form, they may be associated with the official form or placed in the IRM.


  1. The Director, Exam Case Selection - Specialty, is responsible for oversight of Excise Case Selection.

  2. The Program Manager, Excise Case Selection, is responsible for oversight of the JOC and WSD operations.

  3. The JOC and WSD group managers, respectively, are responsible for oversight of the JOC and WSD.

  4. The mission of the JOC is to provide a technical foundation for a common data repository that supports the innovative use of technology to collect, analyze, and share information to provide qualified tax compliance leads. To accomplish its mission, the JOC:

    • Collaborates with subject matter experts to develop and maintain workload initiatives which attempt to identify areas of noncompliance and to provide the best possible work for further classification and enforcement efforts.

    • Identifies questionable activities and tax evasion schemes using data-mining technologies, predictive analytics technology, link-analysis tools, and other forensic-type tools and techniques.

    • Fosters state, federal and multi-national cooperation in the strategic analyses of tax compliance trends and patterns.

    • Identifies, acquires, and integrates federal, state, and other third-party data supporting tax compliance analysis.

    • Develops baselines for measuring improvement in tax compliance activities.

    • Collects, analyzes, and shares information to facilitate tax compliance activities

  5. The mission of WSD is to manage the classification and delivery of excise tax-related inventory. To accomplish its mission, WSD:

    • Coordinates creation of the Excise Tax Examination (ETE) annual workplan assumptions.

    • Monitors progress in delivering inventory for the workplan.

    • Identifies, develops, and classifies ETE leads.

    • Collaborates with subject matter experts to develop and maintain workload projects that address excise tax compliance to provide the best possible work for enforcement efforts.

Program Management and Review

  1. Program Reports: Information regarding the reporting of program objectives are included on, but not limited to the following reports:

    • Headquarters Examination Monthly Briefing

    • Program Manager Monthly Briefing

    • Examination Operational Review

    • Business Performance Review

  2. Program Effectiveness: Program goals are measured by analysis of excise tax compliance to:

    • Establish baselines to assess program performance

    • Identify opportunities to improve work processes

    • Analyze causes for failure

    • Assess the feasibility of possible solutions

    • Measure the success of quality improvement efforts

  3. Data sources used to identify compliance leads include excise tax return filings and third-party data primarily from other federal agencies used to corroborate taxable events. See IRM, JOC Network, for additional information.

  4. Quality review is conducted on program processes to ensure requirements are met for fairness in case selection. See IRM, Quality Review, for additional information.

Program Controls

  1. All information management systems have safeguard measures in place that address key components of Information Technology (IT) security requirements to restrict access to sensitive data.

Terms/Definitions and Acronyms

  1. See Exhibit 4.24.18-1, Terms/Definitions, and Acronyms, for a list of acronyms and definitions used in this IRM.

Fairness in Case Selection

  1. Policy Statement 1-236, Fairness and Integrity in Enforcement Selection, emphasizes the IRS mission statement that includes enforcing the tax law with integrity and fairness to all. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR) includes taxpayers' right to a fair and just tax system. As IRS employees, we are expected to carry out our duties with integrity and fairness. Fairness and integrity therefore apply to how IRS administers tax laws to all taxpayers as well as how IRS employees interact with each taxpayer and each tax professional.

  2. SB/SE supports administration of tax laws by selecting returns to audit. The primary objective in selecting returns for examination is to promote the highest degree of voluntary compliance on the part of taxpayers while making selection decisions. Employees must exercise their professional judgment, not personal opinions, in conducting their enforcement responsibilities. There are three parts to enforcing the tax law with integrity and fairness:

    1. To ensure fairness to the taxpaying public, employees must take into account the responsibilities and obligations that all taxpayers share and pursue those individuals and businesses who don’t comply with their tax obligations. In this way, employees are being fair to those who are compliant and that, in turn, helps promote public confidence in our tax system for all taxpayers.

    2. To ensure an equitable process for all taxpayers, fairness and integrity are built into the foundation of our enforcement selection processes. These processes operate under a comprehensive set of checks and balances and safeguards to identify the highest potential noncompliance using scoring mechanisms, data driven algorithms, third-party information, whistleblower and information provided by the taxpayer. No one individual can control the enforcement selection decision-making processes, and we limit involvement to only those employees whose duties require involvement. This produces processes that are impartial and applied consistently to each taxpayer return.

    3. To ensure fairness to each taxpayer, whose return is selected, individual return selection decisions are based on the information contained on the taxpayer’s return and/or the underlying relevant tax law. Managerial as well as quality reviews of selection decisions occur during each phase of the selection and assignment process.

  3. Selecting returns for audit also involves making the most efficient use of finite examination staffing. As GAO has recommended, SB/SE Examination is adding an additional program-level objective which addresses fairness in returns selection. The new objective is as follows:

    • Ensure examinations are initiated based on indicators of non-compliance or on other criteria (such as selection for the National Research Program) identified in the IRM. In addition, a review of the decisions to survey a return, i.e., not initiate an examination, are based upon factors outlined in the IRM and efficient use of examination resources. The decision is reviewed and approved by management.

Taxpayer Rights

  1. Excise Case Selection employees have the ongoing responsibility to ensure that all taxpayer rights are protected and observed, whether these rights are mandated by statute or provided as a matter of policy. For more information, refer to IRM, Taxpayer Rights.

  2. Employees should review the Taxpayer Bill of Rights found at https://www.irs.gov/taxpayer-bill-of-rights.

Confidentiality of Taxpayer Information - Taxpayer Privacy
  1. The obligation to protect taxpayer privacy and to safeguard the information taxpayers entrust to us is a fundamental part of mission of the IRS mission which requires we apply the tax law with integrity and fairness to all. Taxpayers have the right to expect that the information they provide will be safeguarded and used only in accordance with the law.

  2. For guidance concerning IRS privacy policy on the protection of tax information that includes PII, SBU data and tax information, refer to IRM 10.5.1, Privacy Policy.

  3. For unauthorized access requirements, refer to IRM 10.5.5, IRS Unauthorized Access or Inspection of Taxpayer Records (UNAX) Program Policy, Guidance and Requirements, and IRM, Unauthorized Access (UNAX).

Excise Tax Returns and Claims Forms

  1. IRM 4.24 provides Service-wide guidance and procedures for excise tax issues and is the primary source of authority for the administration of excise tax examinations by the IRS and is used in coordination with other examination IRMs. IRM 4.24 provides Service-wide instructions for all operating divisions with employees involved with the correct filing, reporting and payment of excise taxes. By providing one source of authority for all operating divisions, the Service greatly reduces procedural inconsistencies.

  2. Excise taxes and claims are reported on the forms listed below:

    • Form 11-C, Occupational Tax and Registration Return for Wagering

    • Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return

    • Form 720-X, Amended Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return

    • Form 720-CS, Carrier Summary Report

    • Form 720-TO, Terminal Operator Report

    • Form 730, Monthly Tax Return for Wagers

    • Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return

    • Form 6197, Gas Guzzler Tax

    • Form 6627, Environmental Taxes

    • Form 8876, Excise Tax on Structured Settlement Factoring Transactions

    • Form 8849, Claim for Refund of Excise Taxes

    • Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement, for dyed diesel fuel penalty claims.

  3. An overview of excise taxes reported on Form 2290, Form 11-C, and Form 730, may be found in IRM, Excise Taxes Reported on Forms 2290, 11-C, and 730.

  4. For detailed information on Form 720, see IRM, Excise Taxes Reported on Form 720.

  5. Certain excise tax-related credits may be filed on income tax returns with the following attachments to the returns:

    • Form 4136, Credit for Federal Tax Paid on Fuels

    • Form 6478, Biofuel Producer Credit

    • Form 8864, Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit

  6. For additional information on excise taxes, see IRM 4.24.1, Excise Tax, Introduction to Excise Taxes.

Workplan Development

  1. An annual ETE workplan is developed by Examination Operations Performance Planning & Analysis (PPA) in accordance with guidelines found in IRM 1.5, Managing Statistics in a Balanced Measurement System, and in Policy Statement 1-236, Fairness and Integrity in Enforcement Selection. See also IRM, Fairness in Case Selection. Plan information is used to determine program priorities with the allocation of resources, workload selection, and assessment of program effectiveness.

  2. The WSD group manager provides workload assumptions to PPA that are then used in development of the final workplan. The WSD group manager shall collaborate with ETE and Excise Tax Policy on the plan numbers and work with PPA on preparing the final plan based on those discussions. Generally, the final plan is communicated on or before the beginning of the fiscal year but may be adjusted as changes in circumstances (IRS goals, funding, tax law, etc.) occur.

  3. Topics for coordination to be defined and quantified include:

    • Workstreams to be monitored

    • Historic pickup ratios

    • Employee resources

    • Training needs

    • Tax law changes and/or current issues affecting excise taxes

Workplan Monitoring

  1. Workplan monitoring includes reviewing the number of returns and taxpayers started each month, the number of returns and taxpayers closed each month and the number of returns and taxpayers in process to maintain optimal base inventory levels. The WSD group manager is responsible for coordinating with the JOC group manager to ensure delivery of sufficient and appropriate lead inventory.

  2. Review may result in changes to the next RFI (request for information) on projects that have charters and have an initiative number. If the charter needs updating to account for the changes, see Charters section regarding documenting such changes.

  3. Monitor workplan goals by reviewing:

    1. Cases delivered - leads selected as cases

    2. Examination Return Control System (ERCS) case controls

    3. Examination results

    4. Returns and taxpayers planned, opened and closed

    5. Pick-up ratios

    6. Correspondence work for contingencies such as travel restrictions and disasters

    7. Large case referrals

    8. 637 reviews

    9. Fuel Compliance Program inspections

    10. Penalty cases

  4. Ensure workplan delivery by conducting a monthly review of:

    • ERCS status 08

    • ERCS status 10

    • Leads assigned for classification

Prioritizing Workload
  1. Prioritize workload for classification in accordance with:

    • Accomplishment of workplan goals

    • Next best case concept - inventory selected represents the next best case available

    • Training needs

    • Work Order Request Tracking System (WORTS) - volume and completion of orders

    • Specific abstracts and activities based on management priorities

Excise Tax Exam Inventory Monitoring

  1. The WSD group manager monitors ETE inventory to determine the need and availability of work necessary to meet the workplan and reports to the ECS Program Manager monthly. The following monthly reports assist with monitoring and are provided by PPA:

    • Base Inventory Work in Progress (WIP)

    • New Starts

    • Monitoring/Specialty Program Excise US Summary

    • Monitoring/Pivot Tables - base data by numerous categories with underlying case data.

JOC Network

  1. The JOC Network (Network) supports compliance examinations by using a variety of data and advanced analytical tools. Network data tables are hosted within the IRS Compliance Data Warehouse (CDW).

  2. Network data contains original source data, processed data such as data that has been cleansed and joined with duplicates eliminated, and reference data such as product and country codes.

  3. The Network has individual folders for employees and contractors with full security clearances that are mapped to network drives.

  4. There is a network drive with read/write permissions for member state employees only.

JOC Data Catalog

  1. The JOC data catalog is an information repository that provides information supporting JOC data operations and data management. Users can readily access this information to identify the database tables and corresponding columns for the data being sought. A copy of the data catalog can be accessed on the ECS SharePoint site.

  2. The JOC acquires data to assist with developing a comprehensive understanding of excise tax issues. This information is fundamental to obtaining a complete understanding and systematic approach to tracking and trending excise lead data for detecting non-compliance. Data from internal, external, commercial and other government agencies must then be processed and integrated. Raw data requires comprehensive understanding, analysis, and manipulation to make it useful. It is inherently complex and requires considerable effort to work it into suitable formats. Acquisition of some data requires MOUs and/or commercial subscriptions.

  3. The JOC must:

    • Ensure continuing data feeds for up-to-date transactional records.

    • Obtain a comprehensive field-level understanding of data received.

    • Identify challenges with data quality and develop processes to perform meaningful analysis.

    • Identify discrepancies or conflicts between data sets and develop suitable mediation strategies.

    • Cleanse data and develop reference tables where appropriate.

    • Develop targeted database schemas to facilitate analysis and advanced reporting.

    • Optimize database performances using a variety of administrative activities such as fine-tuning data search scripts and developing indexes to enhance computer run time.

  4. Network data includes, but is not limited to, the following sources:

    • ExFIRS - includes Form 720, ExSTARS and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) filings

    • AIMS

    • ERCS

    • State uploads

    • Reference tables integrating numerous diverse data sets

    • Standardized product codes for data that originates at different points

    • Product code crosswalks that allow fusion of various data sets such as CBP, ExSTARS, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), etc.

  5. As new data sources are acquired, the JOC data coordinator will document:

    • Name

    • Description of data

    • Data dictionary including a description of each field in the tables

    • What rows represent

    • Internal/external support of data

    • How each data table was created and what its source is

    • How data can be used

    • Anticipated updates

JOC Data Refresh

  1. Core data is refreshed on a monthly basis. This ensures lead generation and case selection efforts are made using the most recent data available. Excise data along with other data, such as CBP filings and ExSTARS information, are combined to form Excise File Information Return System (ExFIRS) extracts. These files are then used to update the corresponding data on the JOC database.

  2. ExFIRS automatically generates Oracle export files of its Data Warehouse (DW) and Operational Database (ODB) data stores for the monthly refresh. IRS IT then prepares the files for the specific load process.

  3. ExFIRS data includes the following files:

    • General excise tax data (e.g. Forms 720, 8849, 11-C, 637, 2290, etc.)

    • Customs Form 7501

    • ExSTARS

    • AIMS

    • Other common reference data such as 637 registrations

Data Acquisition

  1. Employees are encouraged to suggest new data sources and/or data applications that may assist with identifying excise tax compliance leads.

  2. Requests to acquire new data (including expanding currently-received data) require completion of Part A of the data acquisition template found on the ECS SharePoint JOC Data Catalogue library to provide minimum information to secure management approval to begin the formal process for procuring data.

  3. Email completed requests to the JOC group mailbox at: mailto:sbse.excise.joc@irs.gov.

  4. Requests will be reviewed by the JOC group manager and, if approved, assigned through the JOC Task Tracker for completion, vetting with data analysts and completion of Part B of the data acquisition form.

  5. Vet the proposed acquisition with initiative teams that process issues related to its use. This will identify whether the data may be used for other efforts and/or whether similar data has already been obtained.

  6. Data purchases over $3,000, require use of the Integrated Procurement System (IPS) – see the IPS website at http://awss.web.irs.gov/Procurement/ips.shtml. Contact the Strategy & Finance, Shared Finance Program Support, SFP Support Team 1 for assistance. If the purchase is for a contract to be renewed, an IPS requisition must be completed and lead time provided to Procurement to establish a new contract. The previous year requisition may be copied from IPS with the new requisition using the "OPROC" Action Type.

  7. Data purchases less than $3,000 may be completed through the local purchase process.

  8. Federal, state and local agency data requests and most requests for external data require coordination with the HQ Governmental Liaison for completion of the GLIDe template. See IRM, Initiative Development Guide (GLIDe), for information on this process. The GLIDe is used to establish a business case for proposed joint initiatives with federal, state and local agencies to ensure joint initiatives support IRS business objectives and/or key stakeholder objectives and that key issues are considered in developing proposed initiatives. In partnership with the business units, GL staff will use the GLIDe to facilitate the development of initiatives with external agencies. The GLIDe will document the type of agreement, MOU, written request, ad hoc referral, etc., will be used to initiate and continue the exchange or activity.

  9. Changes to the database including new data loads require approval and documentation through the JOC data coordinator and JOC group manager. Requestors should complete a Change Request form "JOC NDC CR DR Form " available on the ECS SharePoint ECS Forms library and forward it to the JOC data coordinator as a part of obtaining the necessary approvals.

  10. Approved GLIDes and change requests should be posted to the ECS SharePoint JOC Data Catalogue and JOC Change Management libraries respectively.

Data Transfers

  1. Data transfers refer to the process of moving data from a local computer or removable media to the JOC network drives or from the JOC network drives to a local computer or removable media. All data movements to and from the JOC network are considered data transfers. Examples of data transfers include fulfilling an RFI for an internal customer that would require the data to be transferred out of the JOC network to be delivered to the requestor and transferring third-party data to the JOC network for use in data analysis to generate compliance leads.

  2. Transfers of data to and from the network database outside of ExFIRS must:

    • First be approved by the JOC group manager via email request. The request must include the data source(s), the need for the data, how it is to be used, and by whom.

    • Not violate license or usage agreements.

    • Be labeled with the nature of the data and clearly marked SBU.

    • Be encrypted using the Symantec Endpoint Encryption (SEE) application if extracted to a CD, DVD, USB flash, or external disk drive.

    • Be delivered, when applicable, by an IRS-authorized carrier with delivery only to the authorized recipient as identified in the approved removal email.

  3. When selecting a method by which to transfer data, it is important to select one that ensures compliance with the sender’s data policies and procedures as well as IRS data policies and procedures. Business needs, technical abilities and limitations, and timeliness are important considerations when selecting a method to transfer data. The JOC prioritizes the methods from the perspective of easiest to more difficult. Utilize discretion and choose a method commensurate with the business needs and data to be transferred.

  4. Data containing sensitive or protected information necessitates secure handling while in transit. The approved methods for transferring data from an external source to the JOC are:

    • Skype

    • IRS email

    • Hand-carried media

    • Secure file transfer utility

    • Postal mail

  5. Request data transfers as follows:

    1. Email request for approval from the JOC group manager including the location where the files will be accessed or stored.


      Files larger than 50 MB, may require Skype as the method of transfer.

    2. Post files to specified location.

    3. If the data is to be loaded to the database, coordinate with the JOC data coordinator who will inspect the data files, work with IT on the upload and coordinate any issues.

Data Uploads to the Network
  1. Data uploads refer to moving data from an IRS computer to a JOC Network system.


    PII, SBU data and tax information must not be sent to a non-IRS mobile computing devices (such as a notebook/laptop, tablet, smartphone, Blackberry, etc.).

Data Downloads from the Network
  1. Data downloads refer to moving data from the JOC Network system to an IRS computer.


    PII, SBU data and tax information must not be sent to a non-IRS mobile computing devices (such as a notebook/laptop, tablet, smartphone, Blackberry, etc.).

JOC Data Coordinator

  1. The JOC Data Coordinator acts as the primary point of contact for all matters related to JOC data including performing targeted data testing following data refreshes and coordinating with IT and JOC data analysts on data-related issues to help drive issues to resolution.

  2. The data coordinator can be identified by accessing a list within "AAA Master List of Initiatives" spreadsheet that is maintained in the ECS SharePoint site.

  3. JOC Data Coordinator is responsible for:

    • Working with the JOC group manager and state representatives to arrange data transfers.

    • Collaborating with state representatives to send the data to the JOC data transfer primary and backup point of contact.

    • Ensuring that state data is available in the proper location and ready for upload

    • Submitting IT help tickets and assigning them to the appropriate groups within IT to initiate the state data refresh

    • Coordinating with IT and state representatives on issues or questions that may arise during the refresh

    • Coordinating with state representatives to test data pursuant to loads.

    • Working with IT and state representatives to resolve data refresh issues.

    • Maintaining the JOC data catalog as changes occur.

JOC Data Quality Review

  1. Data quality is an important factor that directly relates to lead output. Validating data assures that it is consistently verifiable and reliable. Data obtained from internal, external, commercial and other government agencies sources should be reviewed for quality issues.

  2. The JOC group manager is ultimately responsible for the overall data quality. The JOC group manager reviews reported issues and works with the data coordinator to assess business risks and the potential for timely resolutions and takes actions as necessary.

  3. As data quality issues are identified, employees should forward the following information to the JOC data coordinator:

    • Problems with the data

    • Possible causes of the problem

    • Recommended steps to correct the problem

    • Risks to initiative analyses due to the problem

  4. Provide a monthly summary report of the accumulated data quality issues with the following information:

    • Errors in the data sources and whether they can be resolved.

    • Barriers to completing initiative objectives.

    • Status of each issue and suggestions for how they should be resolved.

ExSTARS Administrative Support

  1. The Excise Summary Terminal Activity Reporting System (ExSTARS) is an electronic data interchange system developed by federal, state, and industry stakeholders to facilitate the electronic filing requirement of IRC 4101(d). The IRS uses the information gathered through ExSTARS to monitor fuel tax compliance. See IRM 4.24.17 , Excise Summary Terminal Activity Reporting System (ExSTARS) Compliance Examination Procedures, for comprehensive information on the ExSTARS system.

  2. The IRS requires

    • Approved fuel terminal operators to file Form 720-TO to report the receipt and disbursement of all liquid products.

    • Bulk carriers file Form 720-CS.

    • Vessel operators report all liquid product receipts and disbursements to and from approved terminals and refineries designated with a Terminal Control Number (TCN) and Refinery Control Number (RCN), respectively.

    • Pipeline operators only report receipts and disbursements to and from an approved terminal designated with a TCN.

  3. See Publication 3536, Motor Fuel Excise Tax EDI Guide, for information on requirements, specifications, and procedures for the electronic filing of forms 720-TO, Terminal Operator Report, and 720-CS, Carrier Summary Report in the ExSTARS system.

  4. Memorandum of Understanding agreements with individual states allow the states to access the ExSTARS data filed with the IRS.

  5. JOC is responsible for ExSTARS related administrative processes:

    • Maintaining Letters of Application for the Motor Fuel Excise Tax Electronic Data Interchange

    • Validating vessel operator numbers (VON)

    • Validating ExSTARS EINs

    • Maintaining the ExFIRS applications

    • Coordinating the MOU with states for use with ExSTARS

    • Perform ExSTARS Help Desk duties

    • EDI Help Desk

    • Process all ExSTARS monthly extension requests

    • Maintain the ExSTARS outlook mailbox

    • Maintain the ExSTARS web pages

    • Gate keeper of the Gateway, the system used to log in and submit monthly ExSTARS files.

    • Maintain information on all FCNs (TCN and RCN). Issue new FCNs

  6. The IRS requests each ExSTARS filer provide an updated letter of application (LOA) every three years to verify the information is accurate.

  7. Calls to the ExSTARS Help Desk are routed to the ExSTARS coordinator. The coordinator also monitors the ExSTARS Outlook mailbox and provides responses.

  8. Requests for assistance are received from taxpayers, contractors, third parties and IRS employees via e-mail or telephone


  1. Charters are business documents that formally authorize the undertaking of an initiative. Charters include the basis and framework for initiating and conducting full-scale data analyses to generate case leads or generate information related to identifying leads. They also include specific, non-routine steps for classifying leads and, in some cases, specific actions for consideration by employees examining lead-related cases.

  2. Charter documentation provides a basis for future continuance or obsolescence for an unsuccessful activity. Charters ensure:

    • Collaboration of appropriate business units for technical expertise and understanding of compliance issues involved.

    • Employees performing the work are included in planning the work.

  3. Approved charters are posted to the ECS SharePoint Charters library.

Charter Development and Approval

  1. A charter is a business document that formalizes a routine business operation project that has an initiative number.

  2. New charter development should address whether:

    • There are similar objectives with other prototypes already under development.

    • Required data are available or may be acquired.

    • The JOC has or can develop capabilities or tools required to execute its data analysis strategy.

    • Resources are available to support the effort, e.g., skill set, knowledge base, analytical capability, etc.

  3. Charter development requires:

    • Collaboration of appropriate business units for technical expertise and understanding of compliance issues involved.

    • Assignment of teams comprised of JOC data analysts, WSD classifiers and Policy analysts who will develop the compliance approach, perform the analysis and classify the leads.

    • Completion of the charter template.

    • Management approval.

  4. A charter agreement requires the approval of the managers involved in the development or revision of the charter and the ECS Program Manager. The charter must be forwarded to the appropriate office to obtain the signatures of the managers (or a designee), who will indicate their approval by signing their names within the signature area of the charter. The approval of the ECS Program Manager is obtained after the other managers have signed the charter.

  5. The ECS charter coordinator will post approved charters to the ECS SharePoint Charters library and update the “Master List of Charters” spreadsheet to reflect new or revised charters (including archived charters and their effective dates).

Case Assignment Sheets

  1. With charter approval, all initiatives that develop leads for examination should have a manager-approved corresponding Case Assignment Sheet (CAS) for inclusion in examiner case files. The CAS provides initiative-specific information for use in examination activities.

  2. A CAS should be included in all case files sent for compliance action where lead-producing charters exist.

Operational Assessment of Charters

  1. The JOC and WSD group managers are responsible for conducting and documenting the reviews of all charters and the related initiatives.


    Charter revisions include obsolescence.

  2. An operational assessment should be documented by a cross-functional team of JOC, WSD, and Excise Tax Policy to assess excise tax abstract and activity coverage on an annual basis or whenever changes in tax law or facts and circumstances surrounding any excise abstract are identified. The assessment should consider:

    • Excise abstract coverage by taxation point, i.e., where products/commodities become taxable such as upon import, manufacture, go over the rack, etc.

    • Planning for future compliance activities

    • Data sources available to address compliance initiatives

    • Acquisition of new data sources that may result in identifying non-filers and under-reporters of related excise taxes.

    • A prioritized list of activities to pursue for the coming fiscal year for each abstract and/or activity

  3. JOC and WSD group managers are responsible for updating the names of analysts and classifiers assigned to initiative teams from their respective groups. The managers also coordinate with the Excise Tax Policy Program Manager to update the list of policy analysts assigned to the initiative teams.

  4. The documentation will be posted by abstract and activity code to the ECS SharePoint Charters library Master List of Initiatives for:

    • Points of taxation, e.g., domestic and imported products, waterborne lightering, pipeline, state reports, etc.

    • Charter crosswalk to point of taxation

    • Comment whether all aspects of the abstract are addressed by charters

    • Comment on aspects not addressed and the reason why

  5. The charter status will be documented on the ECS SharePoint Charters library Master List of Initiatives as:

    • Active - planned for execution in the next 12 months

    • Inactive - not planned for execution for up to the next 36 months

    • Archive - not planned for execution

Initiative Data Analysis and Lead Output

  1. Data analyses from chartered initiatives commonly result in anomaly identification. JOC data analysts plan, develop, and perform data analyses to output anomalies. Anomalies are then summarized as leads by taxpayer identification number and tax period and entered to inventory using the current approved template. A separate spreadsheet should be used for each initiative and saved with naming convention "Initiative #_Anomalies Tax Period - e.g., initiative 123 Anomalies 201003."

  2. For each lead identified, detail data by transaction record for the various data sources used should be made available for use by classifiers.

  3. Detail data files should be saved with naming convention "Initiative# Detail_Data_201603" e.g., Initiative 123 Detail Data 201603.

Leads without Taxpayer Identification Numbers

  1. Leads may be found that do not contain a taxpayer identification number (TIN). Identifying TINs for data analysis is assisted with the Integrated Automation Technologies (IAT) tool EITCRA/BuildCommandCode. The IAT tool allows input of mass requests for many IDRS command codes. JOC analysts and WSD classifiers can also use the IAT tool to research command code NAMEE to identify missing TINs based on name and address.


  1. The Fuel Inspection Data Gathering Project (FIDGAP) is a JOC chartered initiative developed to assist ETE in identifying optimal fuel inspection sites for the Fuel Compliance Inspection Program to assist with workload planning. See IRM 4.24.13 , Overview of Excise Fuel Compliance Program, for additional information.

  2. FIDGAP identifies potential fuel inspection sites using geographic location data and historical data from the Issue Based Management Information System (IBMIS) and the Examination Return Controls System (ERCS). The geographic location data is merged, geocoded and used in conjunction with the information provided by ETE on the location of the employees conducting fuel inspections.

  3. Sites may be prioritized based on a combination of filtered data such as product sold or entity type such as end user, producer, retailer, etc. Entities are prioritized for a specific period, but ETE management may assign them differently; whereupon, FIDGAP data will be updated.

  4. FIDGAP identifies the following types of potential sites:

    • Activity 515, Terminal Inspections

    • Activity 516, Wholesaler, Retailer, & Truck Stop Inspections

    • Activity 518, End-user Inspections

  5. The FIDGAP program does not support Activity Code 517, Diesel On-road Inspections as these inspections are often located at temporarily open sites controlled by non-IRS personnel.

  6. The inspection locations identified using FIDGAP are not cases classified or selected by the JOC. The sites selected by FIDGAP are proposed sites chosen based on the workplan, other parameters (e.g. employee location), and information provided by ETE. The ETE group managers and the FCOs and FCAs determine the sites selected for inspection.

  7. The JOC coordinates the application of FIDGAP with ETE to determine:

    • How FIDGAP can assist ETE to meet the annual workplan for fuel inspections. Excise Tax Policy also assists in the task.

    • How often the lists of inspection sites are compiled and distributed.

    • The official starting location (i.e. flexiplace or post of duty) for each fuel compliance officer (FCO) and fuel compliance agent (FCA) who will conduct fuel inspections during the upcoming period. ETE management provides the employee locations.

    • Whether the field groups plan to focus compliance efforts on specific geographic areas or a specific compliance area (i.e. biodiesel blenders).

  8. The JOC is responsible for monitoring the quality of the inspection recommendations.

  9. The fuel inspection site selections are posted to the Fuel Compliance Program SharePoint site.

  10. FCOs and FCAs provide feedback to the JOC via spreadsheets that are uploaded to the FIDGAP SharePoint site. The JOC inputs the feedback data into the Dyed Diesel Inspection Scheduler (DYEDIS) to refine the site data.

ECS Inventory Systems

  1. The ECS inventory systems include monitoring the two distinct processes of JOC lead identification system known as the Anomaly System and WSD lead classification known as the Leads Tracking Database System (LTDS). The inventory systems provide data and reports on all leads with potential for tax compliance issues received. Other reports are obtained from the ERCS system to allow for review of established cases status 08-90 by ECS personnel.

  2. The ERCS reports provide the ability to monitor established leads in ETE.

Monitoring WSD Inventory

  1. The JOC and WSD managers are responsible for monitoring lead activity to ensure workplan goals are met.

Identifying Leads for Classification

  1. Selecting entities for compliance action involves making the most efficient use of staffing.

  2. The selection process should also consider the substantial non-compliance factors (SNiF) found in IRM, Special Enforcement Program (SEP).

  3. Monitor progress of leads from classification to completion including case building and posting case files for uploads.

Determining Case Compliance Approach

  1. Cases selected for compliance action require a determination on the compliance approach. There are several potential approaches including:

    • Soft notice for information only - intended as taxpayer education, these do not request a response from the recipient

    • Soft notice requesting a response - responses require classification to identify next action

    • Correspondence exam by campus

    • Correspondence exam by field

    • Field examination - this includes audits, reviews and investigations

  2. The ECS Program Manager in collaboration with other excise tax stakeholders is responsible for determining case compliance approach.

Processing JOC Inventory

  1. All anomalies processed in JOC must be entered to JOC inventory.

  2. Enter internal referral leads identified through data analysis and all other means by assigned initiative numbers using the Lead Entry template posted to the ECS SharePoint Inventory Reports library. The template requires minimum data of taxpayer identification number, abstract, and tax period so that results may be monitored. Adding new leads to inventory requires the following minimum data:

    • Initiative Number

    • TIN or Entity Name

    • Tax Period

    • JOC Filing Status Code

    • Run Date

    • Analyst Name

    • Anomaly Detail Data

  3. Enter external referral leads with a minimum of initiative number, TIN, entity name and tax period but may include additional data as shown in the current template. Note: Use the miscellaneous initiative number if leads are not likely to be numerous or repeated.

  4. Process all leads in inventory as follows:

    1. Validate lead data prior to entering to inventory for consistent formatting and required fields. Inspect information provided in the lead entry and initiative run spreadsheet for the required fields, values, and format within the fields.

    2. Process leads requiring restricted access using a non-PII tracking mechanism or with permissions to access approved by management.

    3. Provide lead lists for classification as directed by management using the approved lead list template. Update the status and date fields when referring leads for classification.

    4. Ensure the inventory system is backed up.

  1. Ensure a review of the decision to survey an established case under WSD control is approved by an appropriate level of management. See IRM, Fairness in Case Selection, for additional information. Semiannually, WSD reviews all inventory in its control to determine if it will be needed by Excise exam or should be surveyed and replaced with newer tax periods. The Disposal Code 35 is used

  2. If the status of a case in WSD control changes in between reviews (bankruptcy, change from non-filer to filer) and it is determined that the file should be surveyed, Disposal Code 33 is used.

  3. WSD will prepare the Form 10904 for approval and signature of the WSD manager.

Source of Anomalies and Leads

  1. Sources of anomalies come from a variety of areas. The JOC provides spreadsheets of chartered initiatives as well as regular leads coming from other sources including:

    • Compliance Initiative Project (CIP)

    • Fed/State agreement and State revenue agent report (RAR)

    • Specialist Referral System

    • Information report

    • Whistleblower claims

    • 637 Registration

    • Claims


Compliance Initiative Project

  1. Certain initiatives require an approved Compliance Initiative Project (CIP) when they involve groups of taxpayers that have unique excise tax compliance issues. CIP procedures are not required in the case of “routine business operations” as defined in IRM, Activities Not Subject to CIP Procedures. The criteria in IRM 4.17, Compliance Initiative Projects (CIP), must be used to determine when CIP procedures apply for excise tax projects.

  2. Refer to WSD for assistance with determining the need for a CIP. Upon receipt of Form 13502, Compliance Initiative Project Authorization -Part One, Form 13498, Compliance Initiative Project Authorization - Part Two, extensions or Form 13497, Compliance Initiative Project Authorization - Termination Report,

  3. WSD will coordinate the implementation and approval of any new CIPs with the National CIP coordinator.

  4. Leads from approved CIPs follow routine classification procedures.

Fed/State Program and State Audit Report Program Leads

  1. The IRS Fed/State Program partners with state government agencies to enhance voluntary compliance with tax laws. This includes facilitating the exchange of taxpayer data, leveraging resources, and assisting taxpayers to improve compliance and communications. Consideration should be given, at least annually, to state government audit results as a source of leads for all relevant excise tax abstracts.

  2. The Privacy, Governmental Liaison and Disclosure Program (PGLD) is responsible for the coordination of activities between the IRS and state and local governments as well as other federal agencies.

Specialist Referral System Leads

  1. The Specialist Referral System (SRS) is an online automated system that allows for submission and approval for specialist assistance. SRS is used to provide mandatory excise lead referrals on Coordinated Industry Cases (CIC) from LB&I as well as Industry Cases (IC) from LB&I, SBSE and TEGE. See IRM, Specialist Referral System (SRS) On-Line Referrals and IRM, Excise Examinations- Specialist Referral System (SRS) - Overview, for additional information.

  2. SRS excise referrals are centralized in WSD.

  3. The SRS system is programmed to route referrals directly to the Manager Designee. Referrals are received via email from SRS@IRS.gov and should be acted upon within 15 days by either transfer to an ETE group manager or rejection of the referral. Management may extend the deadline to take action on specific referrals, at their discretion, but should notify the SRS Administrator of this decision.

  4. WSD consults with the ETE managers for local knowledge input into the decision matrix on selection or rejection of the referral. WSD provides copy of the SRS referral request as well as appropriate research to assist with the decision matrix.

  5. If selection is the decision, WSD provides an MFT B5 ERCS control as well as the SRS referral control which is transferred to the group. The group employee is responsible for setting up the IMS file. If the decision is rejection, WSD rejects the referral on the SRS System. All decisions are documented on a management derived spreadsheet.

Information Report Leads

  1. Information report leads may be received on Form 3449, Referral Report, or Form 5346, Examination Information Report. The reports provide information of sufficient compliance value to warrant enforcement follow-up. Excise field examiners submit information report leads electronically through their group manager to the WSD group mailbox: *SBSE Excise WSD .

  2. Process requests within five business days, when possible.

  3. Forms clearly marked as "Time-Sensitive" such as jeopardy assessments or wagering cases involving coordination with law enforcement agencies should be processed within two business days, when possible, with the receiving field group establishing ERCS controls and IMS controls.

  4. Monitor completion to ensure timely actions and document delays.

Whistleblower Leads

  1. Whistleblower claim leads are received from the IRS Whistleblower Office when Form 211, Application for Award for Original Information, is received and deemed related to excise tax.

  2. Claims should be classified and documented per IRM 25.2.1, General Operating Division Guidance for Working Whistleblower Claims,

  3. Whistleblower cases should be controlled with ERCS tracking code 7882 for IRC section 7623(a) claims and 7894 for section 7623(b) claims.

637 Registration Leads

  1. WSD is responsible for monitoring the annual ETE workplan including the 637 Registration Program accomplishments.

  2. WSD is responsible for identifying and selecting some sample review cases. Others are identified by the 637 team when the 637 team needs Field ETE interaction on a CP-241 letter registrant that can not be handled at the 637 team level. WSD will coordinate with the ETE program manager to ensure that sufficient cases are identified to meet workplan goals.

  3. IRM 4.24.2, Form 637 Excise Tax Registrations, provides additional information on the 637 Registration Program including three types of 637 reviews as follows:

    • Initial Application - applications received by Centralized Specialty Tax Operations (CSTO) are scanned into IMS and referred for further processing by the 637 Registration Program. Applications are also received by revenue agents in the E&G/ET field and are forwarded to 637 Registration group lead technicians to be loaded into IMS.

    • Sample - follow-up compliance reviews identified by WSD or 637 team for registrants with approved applications.

    • Discretionary - follow-up compliance reviews identified by field examiners for registrants with approved applications related to current audits.

Work Order Request Tracking System

  1. When inventory is needed in the field, ETE territory managers forward Work Order Request Tracking System (WORTS) requests to WSD indicating the location where work is needed and the number of cases desired.

  2. The WSD group manager reviews all inventory requests and coordinates with the requestor any that are not approved. Approved requests are processed as follows:

    1. Assign a WORTS order number

    2. Review wall inventory for cases meeting order criteria for update to ERCS status 10

    3. Monitor order to completion including coordination of additional sources of work as needed

    4. Email a complete listing of TINs selected for completed orders to the requesting group manager and territory manager

JOC Data Assistance Requests

  1. Requests to the JOC for information and case-related data analysis assistance are made using a Request for Information (RFI) form. Use of the RFI form ensures requests clearly describe the data requested and provides a means of tracking the response.

  2. Requests should be completed using the current RFI form.

  3. The JOC Task Tracker spreadsheet posted to the ECS SharePoint JOC Task Tracker library is used to document all receipts from the group mailbox and to assign request numbers that are provided back to requestors to ensure timely responses. The Task Tracker allows a standard method for requesting, tracking and receiving information from the JOC.

  4. Requests should be tracked weekly until completed with any delays communicated timely to the requestor.

Case-Related Data Assistance

  1. Requests for case-related data assistance require current ERCS controls for the same taxpayer. Process requests as follows:

    • Review form to ensure it contains sufficient information to process.

    • Return requests with insufficient information to the originating manager with the reason for rejection.

    • Enter approved requests to the Task Tracker database to assign a request ID.

    • Route requests containing sufficient information to process to the appropriate JOC employee for completion.

    • Complete requests within ten business days or provide feedback to the requestor on delays or the need for additional information to complete the request.

    • Update the task tracker database as status changes.


  1. Classification is the process of determining whether a lead should be selected for examination, forwarded or rejected. Generally, leads to be classified have been identified as part of a JOC approved chartered initiative or from an external referral from another part of the IRS.

  2. Classification should be conducted by examiners possessing experience commensurate with the type of return and activity being classified. Classifiers are responsible for informing the WSD group manager of leads where the type, industry or issue is unfamiliar to them.

  3. Classifiers will:

    • Complete regular work from other parts of the IRS and the JOC chartered initiative lead lists for all leads and will select, forward or reject the leads.

    • Save checksheets with naming convention: "Checksheet/Tax Period/TIN" .


      Checksheet data is used to input information into Leads Tracking Database System (LTDS) and produces reports for CSTO to establish case controls and case file uploads.

    • When leads are selected, e-mail the completed classification checksheets to the WSD clerk for processing.

Case Selection Factors

  1. Case selection responsibilities include identifying entities for classification using a risk-based approach to identify the next best available case. Consideration shall be given to:

    • Excise abstract coverage

    • Annual workplan priorities

    • Balanced coverage

    • WORTS requests

    • Highest potential non-compliance

    • Referrals on potentially non-compliant entities from IRS employees and external sources including other agencies

    • Data matching reveals information on a tax return that does not match tax reported to IRS by states, employers, or other third parties

    • Data analysis to identify areas of non-compliance. These characteristics generally involve a specific tax issue known or suspected to have high non-compliance in a particular industry or population.

  2. In addition to routine classification criteria, cases selected for examination should be based on the following selection factors:

    • History of non-compliance

    • Leads from approved initiatives identifying under-reported tax and/or non-filing required tax returns.

    • History of late or stop filings

    • Internal IRS referrals

    • External referrals from federal, state or local law enforcement agencies

    • IDRS freeze codes prohibiting selection

    • Collectibility

    • Statutes

Classification Documentation

  1. All classification decisions/dispositions of regular work (selected, forwarded or rejected) must be documented in the Leads Tracking Database System (LTDS) system.

  2. All chartered initiative leads will be documented on the leads list and the selects must be documented in LTDS.

  3. Classifiers should update the charter initiative lead list as follows:

    • Select- Checksheet produced

    • Expedited Checksheet-ERCS/AIMS/IMS controls established by the Excise Field Group with permissions from WSD.

    • Forward- Data provided via encrypted email to excise audit group with existing controls

    • Reject - Reason for reject will be listed out in full words for Fairness Act i.e. in Bankruptcy, Collectibility Issues, Research shows Filed when spreadsheet indicated non-filer.

    • The classification checksheets (not Expedites) contains information for LTDS used to request case controls and create case files.

    • The checksheet will be included with the case file and includes classifier comments in the Field Notes section as needed.

State-Only Audits
  1. State audits parallel the federal excise tax issue and are determined from the same information; however, if at any time the state needs to acquire different information to make a state determination, they must conduct a state-only examination with an approved disclosure completed prior to beginning any activity. See IRM 11.3, Disclosure of Official Information, and IRM, JOC Partner Processes, for procedures.

  2. The IRS may not provide information to states that may impair federal tax information such as cases with Criminal Investigation (CI) freezes or in which there is an active criminal investigation.

Classification Research

  1. Leads have multiple data points that should be reviewed prior to determining dispositions including:

    • ERCS

    • 637 Registrations

    • IDRS - including related entities

    • AIMS Audit History

    • Prior Classification Dispositions

    • Accurint/YK1

    • WebCBRS

  1. Review ERCS match information to identify related names, multiple employee controls, and non-master file periods such as MFT B0, B1 and B5 that do not appear on IDRS AMDISA.

637 Registrations
  1. Research the IMS team website querying the 637 tab by EIN.

  2. If there is a 637 registration and the case is accepted for processing, place a note on the checksheet as to the 637 activity letter status.

IDRS Research
  1. Research IDRS to verify:

    • Entity information (including related entities), filing requirements, employment codes

    • Income tax controls

    • Filing history

    • Audit history

    • Freeze codes

    • Industry type

    • Large case (CIC)

    • Collectibility

    • 637 status

    • Statutes

    • Grade of case

AIMS Audit History/Prior Classification Dispositions
  1. Audit history and prior classification dispositions for the same entity may assist with classification dispositions. Review command code BMFOLZ on IDRS to identify audit results including closing codes.

  1. Used to identify entities and relationships as follows:

    • Accurint - a commercial product requiring OL5081 to access. It may be used to find TINs when NAMEE and NAMEI are not successful.

    • YK1 - an IRS program requiring OL5081 to access. It allows for research on relationships based on various forms with Schedule K-1 that are used to report partner, beneficiary and shareholder reporting the distributive share of income, credits, etc. and Form 851, Affiliations Schedule, where the parent corporation of an affiliated group files Form 851 with its consolidated income tax return to identify the parent and affiliated members, report allocated amounts of payments, and determine that each subsidiary qualifies for the affiliated group.

  1. An internal system accessible via OL5081 that shows selected imports based on Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTF) numbers that the ETE has requested from Customs

Disasters and Other Significant Emergencies

  1. IRM 25.16., Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief, provides policies and procedures employed by the Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program office for responding to federally-declared disasters and other significant emergencies in disaster areas. When the President declares a federal disaster or emergency, the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will assign a designation of "Individual Assistance" and/or "Public Assistance" to define the type of relief offered to a specific disaster area. This information is cascaded through management via a Disaster Relief Memorandum. The information includes the affected zip codes, relief to be provided and duration of the relief. The IRS will issue a supplemental memorandum if additional information indicates a need for extended relief. NOTE: Not all disaster areas have compliance activity suspended.

  2. WSD shall process leads and cases meeting disaster relief criteria as follows:

    1. Review disaster relief memorandums to identify leads/cases requiring suspension of case issuance.

    2. Review IDRS for freeze codes requiring specific actions. The -S freeze on the IDRS account stops interest and penalties for a determined timeframe but does not stop compliance activities or notices. The -O freeze on the account stops interest and penalties for a determined timeframe, stops compliance activities, and stops most notices. See also IRM, Disaster Indicators and IDRS Freeze Codes, for information on freeze codes.

    3. Identify open ERCS status 08 cases affected by the disaster declaration and e-mail CSTO ERCS/AIMS team to suspend case processing where applicable.

    4. Hold new uncontrolled cases from compliance action until their related freeze periods expire.


      Certain cases, including unpaid claims and whistleblower claims, may be issued during disaster freeze periods with WSD group manager approval.

Processing Leads Selected for Compliance Action

  1. Leads selected as cases for compliance action usually require case file documentation, ERCS case controls and IMS case creation, depending on the type and ERCS status as follows:

    • Selected Checksheet ERCS/IMS determination are processed through the LTDS to CSTO ERCS/AIMS team for input onto ERCS and IMS as determined on the Checksheet

    • Selected Checksheet – Checksheets for selected leads with ERCS only determination are processed through the LTDS to CSTO ERCS/AIMS Team for input onto ERCS only as determined on the checksheet

    • Selected checksheet – Expedite – For selected leads that need to be expedited, the checksheet is input into LTDS. Classifier provides to Excise Field the checksheet and WSD approval to establish ERCS and IMS in the field group

  2. The checksheet will be included with the case file, including classifier comments, as needed.

Requests to CSTO, ERCS/AIMS for ERCS and IMS Creation

  1. Requests for ERCS case controls and IMS case file uploads are sent to CSTO ERCS/AIMS team in the agreed manner. Case files, including checksheets and attachments, will be uploaded to IMS. CSTO will add IDRS and CBRS as necessary.

  2. Post case files to the CSTO shared server.

  3. ERCS controls and IMS case upload request reports should be generated as directed by the WSD group manager.

Proper Case Coding

  1. Case coding is essential to accurately monitor resources. The use of AIMS and ERCS case codes including project, tracking and source codes is the joint responsibility of ECS and Excise Policy.

  2. Any case controls requested by WSD that require a tracking code should have the tracking code assigned prior to any case controls being established. To obtain a tracking code or project code consult the Tracking Code/Project Code Coordinator for WSD.

  3. Per IRM, Excise Examinations Relating to Structured Settlement Factoring Transactions, leads for excise tax on structured settlement factoring transactions should be controlled on AIMS and ERCS on Non-masterfile as non-filer leads using MFT 27, Abstract Code 034.

  4. For case control procedures related to claims, see IRM, Excise Tax Claim Classification and Control Procedures.

  5. For a list of approved codes, see the Codes and Procedures page on the Examining Taxes website at http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/exam/mis/default.aspx.

Creating Case Files

  1. Case files should describe how and why a case was selected. Included in the case file should be the checksheet and case assignment sheet (tab 2 of the checksheet). Other items commonly included in the IMS case file are the, IDRS and WebCBRS requested research performed by CSTO ERCS/AIMS Team per the requested Checksheet. All WebCBRS and IDRS research is done just prior to case transfer to ETE so the data is up to date.

Related IRMs

  1. The following IRMs contain information related to classification:

    • IRM 4.1.5, Case Building, Classification, Storage and Delivery

    • IRM 4.2.1, General Examination Information

    • IRM 4.4, AIMS Procedures and Processing Instructions

    • IRM 4.7, Examination Return Controls System (ERCS)

    • IRM 4.8, Technical Services

    • IRM 4.17, Compliance Initiative Projects

    • IRM 4.20, Examination Collectibility

  2. Specific information available in IRM 4.4., AIMS Procedures and Processing Instructions - Introduction :

    • Master File Tax Account Codes and Form Numbers

    • Non-Master File Tax Account Codes and Form Numbers

    • Area and Campus Codes

    • Special Messages

    • Activity Codes

    • Source Codes

    • Examination Results

    • Disposal Codes

    • AIMS Assignee Codes

    • Status Codes

    • Project Codes

    • Push Codes

    • Special Handling Message Codes

Case Coordination

  1. Case coordination should take place whenever certain conditions exist including, but not limited to, the following issues:

    • Return Preparer Coordinator

    • Indian Tribal Government

    • Multiple Employee Case Controls

    • Inadequate Records Notice

    • Doubt as to Liability

    • Erroneous Refund

    • WSD State Penalty Determinations Process

Return Preparer Coordinator

  1. The WSD Return Preparer Coordinator (RPC) is responsible for coordinating excise tax return preparer penalty cases. The RPC supports and guides employees regarding preparer penalty cases and:

    1. Provides assistance regarding audit techniques, questions, and general directions.

    2. Assists excise employees in identifying, working, and closing client and preparer penalty cases.

    3. Advises if the return preparer is being investigated by Criminal Investigation Division (CI), the Lead Development Center, or one of the Income Tax examination areas.

    4. Provides coordination if more than one investigation is ongoing or contemplated.

  2. The field group manager will contact the RPC prior to initiating any penalty investigation to ensure there is no open case or investigation.

Program Action Case
  1. A Program Action Case (PAC) is an investigation where clients of questionable preparers are examined to determine whether preparer penalties and/or injunctive actions against the preparer(s) are warranted. Approved PAC cases are forwarded to the WSD Return Preparer Coordinator per IRM, Program Action Case (PAC) Procedures for Excise Tax.

  2. For additional information, see IRM, Program Action Cases Overview, which contains general procedures for conducting a PAC.

Indian Tribal Governments

  1. Indian Tribal Governments (ITG) cases related to wagering require coordination pursuant to an MOU found at www.irs.gov/Government-Entities/Indian-Tribal-Governments/ITG-Memorandum-of-Understanding/. The MOU between ITG and the Office of Specialty Programs (formerly known as the Office of Excise Taxes (OET)) provides guidance for employees with regard to examination and education activities relating to the federal excise tax responsibilities of Indian tribal governments. See IRM, Responsibilities and Procedures, for information on coordination activities.

Multiple Employee Case Controls

  1. Multiple employee case controls require coordination when the following conditions exist:

    • One entity (single TIN) with more than one excise employee assigned

    • Multiple entities (more than one TIN) for related entities such as when both the parent and subsidiary TINs are controlled to different employees or one terminal filer EIN files for multiple Facility Control Numbers (FCN).

    • Multiple entities (more than one TIN) for related tax issues such as in whipsaw cases.

    See also IRM, Case Coordination Guidance for Examinations and Related Forms 720 -TO/CS Reviews.

  2. Email all group managers with case controls and inform them of the multiple employees/groups assigned to one TIN so coordination can take place. Group managers should coordinate to determine whether one of the cases will be transferred or the cases will be worked independently.

  3. If a Form 720-TO case is a CIC entity currently under examination, all related terminal reviews should be directed by the excise employee assigned to the CIC case.

Inadequate Records Notice

  1. Inadequate records notices place taxpayers on notice that their record keeping practices are deficient and must be improved to meet the requirements of the law. The issuance of an Inadequate Records Notice may result in a follow-up examination and is a tool to enforce taxpayer compliance with legal requirements to keep adequate records and properly report tax liabilities. Generally, Letter 979, Inadequate Record Notice, requesting a follow-up statement of corrective action from the taxpayer within six months is used to notify the taxpayer of the deficiency by the excise tax field group.

  2. If the taxpayer is within the racketeer classification, engaged in illegal activities, or is willfully disregarding the law, the field examiner will prepare Form 2807, Agreement to Maintain Adequate Books of Account and Records, and Letter 978, Notice of Inadequate Records, which includes a description of exact records required and penalties for failure to keep records.

  3. Letters 978 and 979 are issued by field agents with the WSD Inadequate Records classifier as the designated contact who is responsible for coordinating and monitoring future compliance requirements.

  4. Notification of inadequate records cases will be received on Form 5346, Examination Information Report, or via the copy of Letters 978/979. The taxpayer has 6 months after being served to follow-up with WSD regarding the corrective actions they will take to correct their inadequate books and records. WSD will monitor taxpayer’s compliance with the Inadequate Records Notice.

  5. If no response is received from the taxpayer within the 6- month timeframe, WSD issues Letter 1022, Inadequate Records Notice Follow-up, which gives the taxpayer an additional 15 days to respond.

  6. If there is no response to the Letter 1022, the WSD Inadequate Records Notice Coordinator will initiate a lead to be assigned to the field group for evaluation of compliance with the Inadequate Record Notice non-response.

Doubt As To Liability (DATL)

  1. A Doubt as to Liability (DATL) Offer in Compromise (OIC) case exists where there is a genuine dispute as to the existence or amount of the correct tax debt under the law. Taxpayers who have a legitimate doubt that they owe part or all of a tax debt may file an OIC under the DATL basis. The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act (TIPRA) of 2005 established legislation requiring the Service to render a decision and notify the taxpayer on all OIC requests within 24 months of the date the Service received the offer or the offer will be considered to be accepted (IRC 7122(f)).

  2. Per IRM, Offer in Compromise Cases, the Examination function is responsible for processing and investigating offers submitted based on DATL. Doubt as to Liability offers, except offers with a trust fund recovery penalty issue, are forwarded to the centralized DATL processing unit located at the Brookhaven Campus for screening and processing.

  3. If the DATL group makes the determination the offer is valid, it is sent to WSD to be processed as follows:

    1. Verify the TIPRA statute date to identify if it will expire in less than 12 months.

    2. Review the offer to determine if it is appropriate for assignment to an excise field group. If the offer is not acceptable, return it to the centralized DATL processing unit. Determinations must be made within 10 days of receipt.

    3. Update the Automated Offer in Compromise (AOIC) assignment number to 1901165901 for all cases returned to the centralized DATL processing unit.

    4. Enter information in the AOIC remarks section regarding the reason the case was returned.

    5. If the case belongs in ETE, request case controls on all quarters involved (those with a TC480) using Source Code 73 and Tracking Code 6506.


      The DATL group will input TC 480 prior to sending the case to WSD.

    6. Request the original case file work papers.

    7. Email the ETE group manager that an OIC DATL case has been assigned to their group, and forward the case file via Form 3210.

    8. Update the AOIC remarks section to reflect the appropriate EGC and a contact point.

    9. Monitor the AOIC database and TIPRA statute date monthly to ensure all cases assigned to ETE are being worked.

    10. Once the field examiner has examined the offer and determined the disposition, they should close the case and forward it to WSD.

    11. If the offer is rejected, WSD will forward the case via Form 3210 to the Excise Policy SME for an independent review. Refer to the SBSE Examining Excise Taxes SME contact web page for a list of SME contacts.

    12. If the offer is withdrawn, no review is required.

    13. Once the case file is received by WSD, either from the field examiner or the reviewer, the administrative input to the AOIC database is completed for closing. The case file should then be transferred to Technical Services for review and shipment to Appeals or Closed Case Processing depending on the disposition.

  4. For additional information, refer to IRM, Procedural Guidance Relating to Offers in Compromise and Doubt as to Liability (DATL).

Erroneous Refunds

  1. IRM, Erroneous Refund Categories and Procedures, provides that erroneous refunds must be recovered with a deficiency assessment. Erroneous refund cases require coordination with ETE.

  2. Case controls should be established and copies of the original documents secured and sent to the field with the case file.

WSD State Penalty Determinations Process

  1. States send fuel samples to PNNL.

  2. State e-faxes or mails information/case file to WSD at Covington, KY.

  3. Hard copies are scanned and emailed to WSD Classifier. The paper file is mailed to the appropriate FCO Group.

  4. PNNL emails lab results by Sample number to the WSD Inbox at *SBSE Excise WSD

  5. WSD Classifier determines if an examination is warranted, a checksheet with PNNL results and State Agent’s case file attached is prepared for ERCS/IMS controls and assignment to an FCO group/designated FCO.

  6. If no examination is warranted, WSD will email the FCO manager the electronic case file and PNNL results. FCO Manager (or designee) informs the State of PNNL results. Per IRM and MOU there are only certain designated personnel who can provide results to the states. WSD is not on that list.

  7. WSD requests a copy of the disclosure document back from the FCO Group so the in process spreadsheet can be documented.

JOC State Partner Processes

  1. The JOC is a partnership between federal and state motor fuel taxing authorities. The JOC was officially established in 2007 with the signing of an MOU and bylaws between the IRS, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and initial member states. The governing rules of the JOC are part of the JOC by-laws. JOC members’ responsibilities, disclosure, safeguards and record keeping requirements are included in the JOC MOU. The JOC bylaws give authority to the JOC Steering Committee to provide initial approval of new state members.

  2. Agencies must complete a questionnaire indicating interest in learning more about joining the JOC. The questionnaire solicits information from the agency regarding:

    1. Organizational contacts

    2. Operations information

    3. Technical structure

  3. An agency completing the questionnaire confirms that agency executives responsible for committing resources are aware of the application submission and the potential commitment of resources in the future.

  4. Questionnaires are reviewed by the JOC Steering Committee with rejected questionnaires resulting in an oral and written notification to the agency from the Steering Committee.

  5. Approved questionnaires result in the forwarding of a letter of application to the agency for membership into the JOC. Applications received must them be forwarded to the IRS HQ Governmental Liaison (HQ GL).

  6. The Steering Committee will review application for membership and respond to applicants within 30 days of receipt. If membership application is approved, coordination shall take place with the HQ GL to secure MOU and Bylaws signatures.

  7. Approval of membership applications requires a two-thirds majority by the Steering Committee. There are no predefined criteria against which an agency's application will be evaluated. A portfolio approach based on existing agency members along with agencies to be added will be used to evaluate applicants. Considerations will include, but not be limited to:

    • Similarities/differences to existing state members

    • Point of taxation

    • Landlocked versus coastal agency

    • Neighboring agencies (with existing member agencies or other agency applicants)

    • Fuel tax strategies utilized

    • Agency data available

    • Commitment of resources

New Partner Requirements

  1. New state taxing agency partnership requirements are to:

    • Have a current Basic and Implementing Agreement with the IRS for sharing confidential information.

    • Sign the JOC Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Bylaws.

    • Provide a list of individual representatives and team members to the IRS disclosure managers and the agency disclosure officers in the affected jurisdictions. A copy of the list must be submitted to the JOC Steering Committee cochairs and published as team rosters to be distributed to all JOC team members.

    • Be in compliance with federal safeguards requirements including receiving confirmation from the IRS Office of Safeguards that the agency has a current, approved Safeguard Procedures Report (SPR) to cover the self-disclosure process and use of federal tax information.

  2. If the agency does not meet these basic requirements, they are ineligible to join the JOC. The agency will be notified of their ineligibility.

  3. For more information, refer to IRM 11.3.32, Disclosure of Official Information - Disclosure to States for Tax Administration Purposes, for the specific sub-sections related to Basic and Implementing agreements and MOUs.

  4. For more information related to Safeguards requirements, refer to IRM 11.3.36, Safequard Review Program.

Partnership Coordination with Privacy, Governmental Liaison, and Disclosure Office (PGLD)

  1. Coordination with the PGLD should be initiated whenever agencies indicate a sincere interest in joining the JOC. When questionnaires or letters of application are provided by the JOC to an agency, the ECS employee will notify the PGLD office of the agency name, date, and agency employee contact. The PGLD will contact the local field PGLD to alert them that the agency has received the questionnaire/letter.

  2. If necessary, the local field PGLD can research the status of the agency's Basic and Implementing agreements, the status of the Office of Safeguard issues, any Office of Disclosure issues, and any relationship issues with the agency.

  3. If the agency contacts the field PGLD with questions they cannot answer, the field PGLD will contact the JOC. Field PGLD employees are relationship managers, facilitators, and marketers of all the initiatives stakeholders. The field PGLD will facilitate a call with the JOC point of contact and the agency to answer questions.

  4. When the agency is notified of the JOC Steering Committee decision to accept/reject the application, the HQ and field PGLD offices should also be notified. If the agency is accepted, the field PGLD will provide copies of the IRS/FHWA signed MOU and Bylaws to the state and initiate the process to secure agency signatures on the JOC MOU and Bylaws as well as the completed Safeguards Procedure Report (SPR) certification.

State Partner Disclosure Requirements

  1. The JOC MOU Section 9A states that agencies that access federal tax information are subject to the provisions and safeguards of IRC 6103, Confidentiality and Disclosure of Returns and Return Information. The participating agency employees will initially have access to federal tax information as contractors to the IRS under provisions of IRC 6103(n), Certain Other Persons. All participating agency personnel who are designated as IRS contractors must receive security clearances prior to having access to federal tax information.

  2. For state disclosure procedures, see IRM, State Partner Safeguards Requirements.

State Partner Safeguards Requirements

  1. All information obtained by the agencies must be safeguarded in accordance with the contract language for general services contained in exhibit 5 (or as may be renumbered and updated) of Pub 1075, Tax Information Security Guidelines for Federal, State and Local Agencies and Entities, and the agency’s current Safeguard Procedures Report (SPR). An agency’s SPR must describe their current operating procedures and safeguards measures.

  2. Agencies are required to amend or revise their SPR to include a full description of the self-disclosure process and use of the federal tax information. They must include the name, title, and phone number of the person within the agency who coordinates and logs the receipt as well as the distribution of the federal tax information self-disclosed.

  3. A copy of the signed and dated MOU must be included with the amendment or their revised SPR. The SPR or its amendment must be submitted to the IRS Office of Safeguards within 30 days after the MOU becomes effective.

Quality Review

  1. The JOC and WSD group managers (or designees) will conduct reviews of employee job performance including review for adherence to fairness in case selection standards. Refer to IRM, Fairness in Case Selection, for additional information.

  2. Evaluative process review is critical in achieving the highest quality cases. Review should be documented and include, but not be limited to:

    • JOC Charters - are charters and associated initiative documentation current and were necessary approvals obtained?

    • JOC Data Analysis - do data analytics adhere to documented selection criteria?

    • WSD Classification - are case selection factors utilized accurately and consistently, and is all reference information appropriately considered? Are classification decisions completed timely and properly documented in inventory?

    • Lead Recommendations – Do rejected leads contain accurate reasons for non-selection for Fairness Act Review?

    • Inventory monitoring - are reports accurate, timely produced and posted?

  3. The JOC and WSD group managers will evaluate a sample of work to determine whether the employee made an appropriate decision. Written reviews should be conducted that consider whether the employee is maintaining a high level of proficiency, exercising good judgment, and effectively using his or her time.

Terms/Definitions and Acronyms

Acronym Definition
ACIS AIMS Computer Information System
AOIC Automated Offer in Compromise
AIMS Audit Information Management System
CAS Case Assignment Sheet
CBP Customs and Border Protection
CDW Compliance Data Warehouse
CIC Coordinated Industry Case
CIP Compliance Initiative Project
CNC Currently Not Collectible
CSTO Centralized Specialty Tax Operations
DATL Doubt as to Liability
DMV Department of Motor Vehicles
DW Data Warehouse
DYEDIS Dyed Diesel Inspection System
ECS Excise Case Selection
EDI Electronic Data Interchange
EITCRA Earned Income Tax Credit Referral Automation
ERCS Examination Returns Control System
ETE Excise Tax Exam
ExFIRS Excise File Information Return System
ExSTARS Excise Summary Terminal Activity Reporting System (ExSTARS)
FIDGAP Excise Inspection Data Gathering Project
FSB WPA Field Exam Specialty BSA Workload Planning and Analysis
FTA Fraud Technical Advisor
FTI Federal Tax Information
GII Generalized IDRS Interface
GL Governmental Liaison
IAT Integrated Automation Technologies
IBMIS Issue Based Management Information System
IMS Issue Management System
IPS Integrated Procurement System
IT Information Technology
JOC Joint Operations Center
LOA Letter of Application
LTDS Leads Tracking Database System
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
NAICS North American Industry Classification System
OCS Office Communicator System
ODB Operational Database
OIC Offer in Compromise
OOB Out of Business
PAC Program Action Case
PGLD Privacy, Governmental Liaison, and Disclosure Office
POC Point of Contact
RAR Revenue Agent Report
RFI Request for Information
RPC Return Preparer Coordinator
SARP State Audit Report Program
SEE Symantec Endpoint Encryption (SEE) application
SDT Secure Data Transfer
SME Subject Matter Expert
SMEC Subject Matter Expert Coordinator
SPR Safeguards Procedures Report
SRS Specialist Referral System
TIPRA Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act
USACE US Army Corps of Engineers
VIN Vehicle Identification Number
VON Vessel Operator Number
WC WSD Whistleblower Coordinator
WIP Work in Process
WORTS Work Order Request Tracking System
WO Whistleblower Office
WSD Workload Selection and Delivery