5.13.1 Embedded Quality Collection Field Organizations Administrative Guidelines

Manual Transmittal

October 04, 2018

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 5.13.1, Collection Quality Management, Embedded Quality Collection Field Organizations Administrative Guidelines.

Material Changes

(1) The section title has been revised to reflect the that it is applicable to Collection’s Field Organizations.

(2) The information contained in this section has been reorganized to comply with internal control requirements throughout.

(3) Organizational names have been updated to the current organizational structure throughout.

(4) IRM 5.13.1.1 is revised and renamed to include the program scope and objectives.

(5) IRM 5.13.1.2 is revised and renamed to provide information on the Embedded Quality review process.

(6) IRM 5.13.1.3 is revised and renamed to provide information on the managerial review process.

(7) IRM 5.13.1.4 is revised and renamed to provide information on Field Quality’s review process.

(8) IRM 5.13.1.5 is revised and renamed to provide information on the scope of Field Quality’s reviews on the National Quality Review System.

(9) IRM 5.13.1.6 is revised and renamed to provide information on Field Quality’s case reviews.

(10) IRM 5.13.1.7 is revised and renamed to provide information on the reporting of Field Quality’s case review results.

(11) IRM 5.13.1.8 is revised and renamed to provide information on the inventory controls and audit trail used by Field Quality.

(12) IRM 5.13.1.9 is revised and renamed to provide information on the case selection process used by Field Quality.

(13) IRM 5.13.1.10 is revised and renamed to provide information on the Embedded Quality Review System.

(14) Editorial changes have been made throughout.

Effect on Other Documents

This IRM revises IRM 5.13.1 dated October 28, 2014.

Audience

The intended audience is SB/SE Collection personnel and Embedded Quality Review System (EQRS) and National Quality Review System (NQRS) users.

Effective Date

(10-04-2018)

Robert Richards
Director, Quality and Technical Support
Small Business/Self-Employed

Embedded Quality (EQ), Collection Field Organization Program Scope and Objectives

  1. Overview. Embedded Quality is the system used by Field Collection, Specialty Collection Insolvency and Specialty Collection Offers in Compromise for their Embedded Quality Review Program.

  2. Purpose. This section provides procedures for Collection’s field organizations’ Embedded Quality program level reviews as well as front-line manager evaluative employee reviews of:

    • Field Collection (FC)

    • Advisory

    • Property Appraisal and Liquidation Specialist (PALS)

    • Field Offer in Compromise (OIC)

    • Field Insolvency

    This chapter also outlines the respective roles of each segment of the above Collection field organizations as it relates to the administration of the Embedded Quality Review System (EQRS) and the National Quality Review System (NQRS). It also contains the sampling procedures to be used in preparing and providing closed FC, Advisory, OIC and Insolvency cases for Field Quality’s review on NQRS.

  3. Audience. The audience is Revenue Officer Reviewers in Field Quality and managers in Collection’s field organizations.

  4. Policy Owner. The Director, Quality and Technical Support, is responsible for the policies related to the Embedded Quality Review Program used in Collection’s field programs.

  5. Program Owner. The Program owner is Quality and Technical Support, Collection Quality, Field Quality, an organization within the SB/SE Division.

  6. Primary Stakeholders. The primary stakeholders are Quality and Technical Support, Collection Quality, Field Quality and Collection’s field programs.

  7. Program Goals. The program goals of Embedded Quality are to provide a practical and accurate method of assessing organizational performance in support of the Balanced Measures objectives as well as assessing and documenting individual employee performance.

Background

  1. Embedded Quality was developed as a practical method of supporting Balanced Measures objectives. Organizational performance is evaluated by Field Quality using attributes that identify actions that move cases towards closure through appropriate and timely case activity. The attributes provide a link between individual performance and organizational goals and are used by both managers and Field Quality reviewers to assess significant case actions.

Authority

  1. The requirement for an organizational measure of quality for the IRS was established under Title 26 CFR 801, Balanced System for Measuring Organizational and Employee Performance Within the Internal Revenue Service, as part of the Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98).

  2. Title 26 CFR 801.6(b) states that quality measures focus on whether IRS personnel:

    • Devoted an appropriate amount of time to a matter,

    • Properly analyzed the facts of the situation,

    • Complied with statutory, regulatory and IRS procedures,

    • Took timely actions, and

    • Provided adequate notification and made required contacts with taxpayers.

  3. Specific measurement criteria, referred to as attributes, are contained in the Embedded Quality Job Aid for each Collection field program, and are used to evaluate the quality of case work.

  4. The use of the Embedded Quality System in Collection’s field programs was established via a Letter of Understanding between the National Treasury Employees Union, management representatives of the SB/SE Division, and the Human Capital Office, Division of Workplace Relations dated January 17, 2007 and has subsequently been incorporated into Article 12 of the National Agreement.

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Headquarters Collection provides corporate wide guidance, coordination, and support on all aspects of the collection process.

  2. Quality and Technical Support (QTS) provides unbiased administration of the Embedded Quality program, including the Embedded Quality Review System and the National Quality Review System for both Campus and Field Collection functions with an enterprise objective to measure performance. By design, it is independent from other Collection functions to ensure impartiality and maintain data integrity. QTS regularly interacts with the Collection Field function headquarters’ business owners and operations to work quality issues including:

    • Providing oversight and coordination of the Collection Embedded Quality (EQ) Programs.

    • Monitoring EQ program adherence including proper coding of reviews and all aspects of the sampling process.

    • Sponsoring discussions to identify trends and issuing guidance and direction to correct defects in casework.

    • Maintaining the EQ system.

    • Updating EQ tools including job aids, system fields, and attribute definitions.

    • Establishing procedures and providing support for attribute coding for Campus Collection and Field Quality reviews.

  3. The Collection Quality Program Manager is primarily responsible for:

    1. Coordination with Technology Solutions and Information Technology to maintain the current EQ systems, as well as to identify, develop, and deliver future enhancements,

    2. Maintenance of EQ Job Aids and technical reference materials to ensure they accurately reflect current law, policy, and procedure,

    3. Coordination with other SB/SE quality program managers to issue consistent guidance and development of training material,

    4. Coordination with Technology Solutions to establish guidelines for accessing and monitoring the system to ensure that appropriate access privileges and security levels are maintained,

    5. Providing EQ data and analysis to identify factors influencing EQ scores,

    6. Providing improvement recommendations to the collection field programs,

    7. Providing EQ data and/or analysis to other internal and/or external stake holders on a recurring and ad hoc basis,

    8. Developing the annual Field Quality sampling plans for each collection field program,

    9. Establishing baselines used to measure, monitor, and improve manager and reviewer accuracy and consistency to ensure the accuracy and consistency of EQ data,

    10. Development of EQ training, briefings and outreach materials and deliver training classes, briefings and presentations in coordination with Leadership, Education and Delivery Services Division and other stakeholders,

    11. Providing EQ user support for the collection field programs and other stakeholders,

    12. Maintenance of the collection field programs portion of the EQ website,

    13. Coordinating the issues resolution process with Area coordinators and other stakeholders and maintaining the Issues Log on the EQ website, and

    14. Establishing and maintaining the consistency review process.

  4. The Field Quality Review Group Manager is primarily responsible for:

    1. Providing input during the attribute development process,

    2. Adhering to the annual Field Quality sample plan,

    3. Ensuring that a system is followed for selecting a representative number of cases from each Specialized Product Review Group (SPRG) where appropriate,

    4. Ensuring that Field Quality reviewers understand and adhere to EQ and Field Quality program changes,

    5. Coordinating with Headquarters Collection on the development of attributes and requirements for specialty reviews,

    6. Providing a quarterly report of all specialty reviews completed with an accounting of time and resources expended,

    7. Monitoring volumes of cases provided for Field Quality review and identifying shortages,

    8. Contacting the responsible function to determine the reason for any shortages and assisting in resolution,

    9. Providing a regular systemic approach to measurement and monitoring of review consistency,

    10. Ensuring the accuracy of all information input on NQRS reviews and correcting header information as necessary,

    11. Utilizing the EQ Issues Log to submit all concerns regarding attribute interpretation, and

    12. Securing approval/concurrence from Collection Policy and the Collection Quality Program Office via the Issues Log prior to implementing any changes in attribute interpretation.

  5. Field Quality reviewers are primarily responsible for:

    1. Reviewing cases using the appropriate EQ Job Aid,

    2. Reviewing cases using the appropriate IRM revision,

    3. Correct usage of reason codes,

    4. Clear narrative comments with IRM references as appropriate,

    5. Timely and accurate input of header and review data, and

    6. Elevation of potential conflicts in the IRM and the Job Aid to their manager.

  6. Collection Quality Senior Program Analysts are primarily responsible for:

    1. Coordinating with Technology Solutions and Information Technology to maintain the current EQ systems, as well as to identify, develop, and deliver future enhancements,

    2. Maintaining EQ technical reference materials and ensuring they accurately reflect current law, policy, and procedure,

    3. Providing analysis to identify factors influencing EQ scores,

    4. Providing improvement recommendations to the collection field operations,

    5. Providing EQ data and/or analysis to other internal and/or external stake holders on a recurring and ad hoc basis,

    6. Developing annual Field Quality NQRS sampling plans for each collection field program,

    7. Establishing baselines to use to measure, monitor, and improve reviewer accuracy and consistency,

    8. Developing and delivering EQ training materials and classes in coordination with Leadership, Education and Delivery Services Division and other stakeholders, and

    9. Maintaining the collection field programs portion of the EQ website and EQ Issues Log.

  7. Collection Policy is primarily responsible for:

    1. Monitoring EQ Job Aids and training materials for consistency with the IRM and other guidelines,

    2. Resolving inconsistencies in IRM interpretation, and

    3. Responding to policy issues raised by field and Collection Quality staff.

  8. The Collection field organizations Area Offices are primarily responsible for:

    1. Assuring that NQRS data are used as measures of organizational quality and not to evaluate individual employees,

    2. Analyzing NQRS results, determining the factors that influence them, and providing a consistent means of addressing quality improvement goals (e.g., periodic training on problem areas or renewed emphasis on the use of correct procedural guidelines),

    3. Ensuring that territory managers correctly use the consistency review process outlined in IRM 5.13.1.5.3, and required in IRM 1.4.50, Collection Group Manager, Territory Manager and Area Director Operational Aid, IRM 1.4.51, Resource Guide for Managers, Insolvency, IRM 1.4.52, Offer in Compromise Manager’s Resource Guide - Field Program, IRM 1.4.53, and Advisory Group Manager Operational Aid, and

    4. Encouraging territory managers to perform “mirror” reviews of cases which group managers (GM) have reviewed to assess the accuracy of the GM’s EQ attribute ratings and effectiveness of the feedback given to employees as described in IRM 1.4.50.13.5.2, Commonly Selected Review Components.

  9. Field Collection, Advisory, Insolvency, and Offer-in-Compromise territory managers are primarily responsible for ensuring EQ consistency reviews are conducted at least annually. The primary purpose of these reviews is to promote consistent application of the EQ attributes. To aid in the consistency review process, territory managers will:

    1. Provide group managers with a sanitized case for review. Each manager will then independently rate the revenue officer performance for each of the applicable EQ attributes and enter the ratings in the EQ training database or the Survey Manager website.

    2. Compile the ratings using the EQ reports function and meet with the group managers to discuss any areas of inconsistency in the attribute ratings. See:

    • IRM 1.4.50, Collection Group Manager, Territory Manager and Area Director Operational Aid

    • IRM 1.4.51, Resource Guide for Managers, Insolvency

    • IRM 1.4.52, Offer in Compromise Manager’s Resource Guide - Field Program

    • IRM 1.4.53, Advisory Group Manager Operational Aid

  10. Operations Support, Technology Solutions will provide core information technology management and support services to the Collection Quality program, including:

    1. Ensuring compliance with Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA),

    2. Managing unified work requests (UWR),

    3. Leading the development of enhanced data and computer security process and controls,

    4. Data call coordination,

    5. Knowledge Incident/Problem Service Asset Management (KISAM) coordination,

    6. Information technology administrative duties, to include processing Online 5081 requests,

    7. EQ Systems matrix management, and

    8. End user support including training materials and SB/SE Requests for Organizational Changes (S-ROC) activities to maintain the EQRS and NQRS programs.

Program Reports and Effectiveness

  1. Program Reports.

    1. Information from completed Field Quality reviews will be compiled electronically and available on the NQRS “Reports” tab. This will comprise the official record of Field Quality’s NQRS results.

    2. The design and format of NQRS reports will be determined by the Collection Quality Program Manager. Levels of access to NQRS reports and data will be defined by headquarters based on established guidelines.

    3. Managers can request access to NQRS reports through the online Form 5081.

  2. Program Effectiveness. To ensure the accuracy of Field Quality’s reviews, the Field Quality manager conducts periodic consistency reviews to ensure reviewer accuracy and consistency. The Collection Quality Program Manager conducts operational reviews of Field Quality’s program. In addition, Senior Program Analysts conduct accuracy reviews of reviewers work to ensure accuracy and Collection Policy performs program reviews of the Collection Quality program.

Program Controls

  1. EQ is comprised of two distinct systems (EQRS and NQRS). EQRS is used by FC, Advisory, PALS, OIC and Insolvency managers to evaluate and document employee performance. NQRS is used by Field Quality reviewers to document case reviews conducted to assess the organizational performance.

  2. Access to the EQRS and NQRS systems are controlled following standard access guidelines through the online Form 5081.

  3. Access to EQRS and NQRS data and reports is controlled based on the user’s assigned permission level, assigned function and assigned organization. System coordinators are responsible for assigning users to the appropriate permission level based on the user’s role in the organization. Users are only given privileges that are required for the user to perform their job. Users do not have access to security and other functions/features that require elevated privileges.

  4. The EQ system checks information inputs for accuracy and completeness. The application enforces input controls to ensure data accuracy and drop downs lists are used as much as possible to restrict users from typing invalid information. The system displays an error message if invalid data is input into the system. The application prompts and restricts the user if the input is required in a field before proceeding.

  5. Security controls are tested annually during the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) Annual Security Controls Assessment (ASCA).

  6. EQRS and NQRS users are required to follow the system procedures and guidance contained in the Embedded Quality User Guide, available on the Embedded Quality website at http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/sbseorg/eq/mgrguidancesys/equserguide/default.aspx.

  7. Managers are required to follow program management procedures and controls addressed in:

    • IRM 1.4.50, Collection Group Manager, Territory Manager and Area Director Operational Aid

    • IRM 1.4.51, Resource Guide for Managers, Insolvency

    • IRM 1.4.52, Offer in Compromise Manager's Resource Guide - Field Program

    • IRM 1.4.53, Advisory Group Manager Operational Aid

Acronyms

  1. This table lists commonly used acronyms and their definitions:

    Acronym Definition
    AIS Automated Insolvency System
    AOIC Automated Offer in Compromise
    CCP Collection Case Processing
    CJE Critical Job Elements
    DCI Data Collection Instrument
    EQ Embedded Quality
    EQRS Embedded Quality Review System
    FC Field Collection
    ICS Integrated Collection System
    IRM Internal Revenue Manual
    MOIC Monitoring Offer in Compromise
    NQRS National Quality Review System
    OIC Offer in Compromise
    PALS Property Appraisal and Liquidation Specialist
    QTS Quality and Technical Support
    SB/SE Small Business/Self Employed
    SPRG Specialized Product Review Group
    TE Tax Examiner

Related Resources

  1. Additional information and guidance on completing Embedded Quality reviews can be found in the following documents:

    • Document 12565, Field Insolvency Embedded Quality Job Aid, Document 12656

    • Document 12360, Offer in Compromise Embedded Quality Job Aid

    • Document 12359, Embedded Quality Field Collection Job Aid

    • Document 12739, Embedded Quality Advisory Lien Core Job Aid

    • Document 12741, Embedded Quality Advisory Estates Job Aid

    • Document 12744, Embedded Quality Advisory PALS Job Aid

    • Document 12746, Embedded Quality Advisory Litigation Job Aid

    • Document 13136, Embedded Quality Advisory Tax Examiner Job Aid

Embedded Quality Review Process

  1. The Quality Review process provides a method to monitor, measure, and improve the quality of work. Quality Review data is used to provide quality statistics for the Service's Business Results portion of the Balanced Measures, and/or to identify trends, problem areas, training needs, and opportunities for process improvement.

  2. The Embedded Quality (EQ) effort is a way of doing business that builds commitment and capability among all individuals to continually improve customer service, employee satisfaction, and business results. The EQ effort is based on three components:

    • Improving the way quality is measured, calculated, and reported

    • Creating accountability by connecting employee reviews to quality measurements in a way that enables managers and employees to act on the results

    • Improving the design and deployment of the quality resources dedicated to review, analysis, and improvement

    The Embedded Quality System calculates measurement using the percent of applicable coded attributes that are correct based on the number of opportunities within each of five "Measurement Categories." The Measurement Categories are defined as follows:

    • Customer Accuracy: measures whether the customer was provided a complete and correct tax resolution without negative impact.

    • Regulatory Accuracy: measures the adherence to statutory/regulatory process requirements.

    • Procedural Accuracy: measures adherence to non-statutory/non-regulatory internal process requirements.

    • Professionalism: addresses quality measurements that promote a positive image of the Service by using effective communication techniques.

    • Timeliness: measures the resolution of issues in the most efficient manner.

  3. The Collection field organization’s Embedded Quality reviews are divided into three Functions: Collection, Advisory, and Insolvency. The reviews are further divided into Specialized Product Review Groups (SPRG), which identifies the program area in which reviews are conducted. There are 16 SPRGs used in Collection field operation reviews

    Function: SPRG: Reviewed by Field Quality:
    Collection Field Collection Yes
    Collection Offer in Compromise (OIC) Yes
    Advisory Claim/Summons No
    Advisory Estates No
    Advisory Foreclosure No
    Advisory General Advisory No
    Advisory Independent Administrative Reviewer (IAR) No
    Advisory Liens Yes
    Advisory Litigation No
    Advisory Seizure No
    Advisory TFRP CMP Tax Examiner No
    Advisory Tax Examiner No
    Insolvency Chapter 7 Asset Yes
    Insolvency Chapter 7 No Asset Yes
    Insolvency Chapter 11 & 12 Yes
    Insolvency Chapter 13 Yes
  4. The Insolvency Chapter 11 & 12 SPRG is shown as Chapter 9/11/12/15 on EQRS. In addition to the review of Chapter 9, 11, 12, and 15 cases, the SPRG includes Receiverships and Assignment on EQRS. To conduct a review of a Receivership or Assignment, select either" Receiverships" or "Assignment (ABC)" as the case type on the EQRS Case Information screen.

  5. EQ is comprised of two distinct systems (EQRS and NQRS). EQRS is used by FC, Advisory, PALS, OIC and Insolvency managers to complete all case reviews for revenue officers, advisors, bankruptcy specialists, PALS, tax examiners, and OIC specialists. The system provides a structured context for evaluating employee performance and creating related documentation. NQRS is used by Field Quality reviewers to review a sample of closed Collection field program cases to provide an independent organizational performance assessment from which management may draw inferences regarding overall case quality for a given operational segment.

  6. Under EQ, Collection managers use many of the same quality attributes for employee case reviews that the Field Quality staff uses to assess organizational quality. It is important that all users apply the review guidelines as consistently as possible. Additional guidance for using EQ attributes is contained in Job Aids for each Collection program. Copies can be accessed electronically on the EQ website at http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/collection/collectioneq/default.aspx

  7. The IRS adopted the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR) in June 2014. Employees are responsible for being familiar with and acting in accord with taxpayer rights. Field Quality’s reviews on NQRS include attributes to assess whether the employee appropriately provided and protected the taxpayer’s rights, to include the rights contained in the TBOR. For more information on TBOR, see IRC 7803(a)(3) and the TBOR website at https://irssource.web.irs.gov/SitePages/Taxpayer%20Bill%20of%20Rights.aspx

Embedded Quality - Managerial Review Process

  1. The EQ managerial review process using EQRS to assess employee performance creates accountability by connecting employee reviews to the balanced measures. Managers use the system to document and track employee performance and training needs. Managers document employee performance and provide the employee feedback using the Employee Feedback Report on EQRS. Data from the managerial reviews is entered into the EQRS, which maps to the employee's Critical Job Elements and Aspects.

  2. The objective of managerial reviews, which are prepared on EQRS, is to measure and document employee performance. Managerial review data can also be used to:

    • Track employee performance and provide input into employee appraisals,

    • Identify training needs for individual employees and for groups of employees, and

    • Assist in workload planning.

    Note:

    Managerial reviews are performed independently from Field Quality reviews. Field Quality review results are never used for evaluation of individual employees.

Embedded Quality - Field Quality Review Process

  1. Field Quality’s reviews on NQRS are designed to monitor crucial aspects of organizational performance. The quality of completed Collection case work is an important business result contributing to a balanced system of measures. Closed Collection case files are reviewed to measure organizational performance in the five EQ measurement categories.

  2. The national quality reviews are completed by Field Quality reviewers utilizing NQRS. The review data is compiled using a Data Collection Instrument (DCI). The data from the national quality reviews is entered into NQRS, then rolled up to provide the business results for the Balanced Measures.

  3. The objective of Field Quality reviews is to create quality review data used by management to provide a basis for measuring and improving program effectiveness by identifying:

    • Defects resulting from employee or systemic action(s) or inaction(s),

    • Reason(s) for defect occurrence,

    • Drivers of Customer Accuracy,

    • Defect trends, and

    • Recommendations for corrective action.

    Quality review also provides:

    • A way to ensure a corrective action or quality improvement initiative was effective,

    • A vehicle for input to balanced measures, and

    • Assistance to management in efforts to improve quality.

    Note:

    Managerial review data may also be used by management for some or all of the purposes listed above.

  4. Field Quality’s reviews on NQRS are not a substitute for first-line managerial review responsibilities. They are a tool for executive and senior managers to use in determining strengths and weaknesses in the quality of work performed in Collection operations.

  5. Field Quality’s NQRS review results at the National and Area levels are statistically valid, reliable and precise measurements of the overall quality of casework completed by FC. Territory level FC results are statistically valid and reliable, although less precise. Statistically precision at the Territory level varies based on the number of closed cases, attribute applicability and pass rates. Field Quality’s OIC, Advisory and Insolvency NQRS review results are statistically valid, reliable and precise at the National level. OIC, Advisory and Insolvency results stratified to any lower organizational segment are not precise measurements of the quality of case work at those levels. Management should view such stratifications as indicators and rely on them only to the extent that they are confirmed by other reliable management measures of quality. Area, Territory, and Headquarters management should use quality review findings to help identify problems that require organizational changes in such areas as procedures, organization, and training.

Scope of Field Quality NQRS Reviews

  1. Field Quality reviews are performed on most types of cases closed by Field Collection (FC), Offer in Compromise (OIC), and Field Insolvency as well as certain types of work performed by the Advisory function.

  2. Case types include:

    • Balance due,

    • Delinquent return,

    • Combination (balance due and delinquent return),

    • FTD alerts,

    • Cases closed to Insolvency from the field,

    • Other Investigations (OI),

    • Offer-in-Compromise (OIC) cases,

    • Chapter 7, 11, 12, and 13 Bankruptcy cases worked in Insolvency, and

    • Notice of Federal Tax Lien discharge, subordination, and withdrawal requests worked in Advisory.

  3. In addition to the mandatory review items, additional operational review items may be added at the request of national, area, or territory managers to measure adherence to new procedures or other areas of concern. Findings in connection with operational, optional, ad hoc, and supplemental reviews will not be reflected in regular NQRS reports, but will be transmitted to the requesting organization in a manner defined at the time of the request.

  4. Requests for additional discretionary items must be made in writing through the Collection Quality Program Manager, who will consult with Field Quality review group management to determine how the requested item(s) might be added consistent with IRM 1.5.2, Uses of Section 1204 Statistics, and review staffing constraints.

Field Quality Case Reviews

  1. As the designated measure of Collection field organization’s quality, Field Quality’s case reviews on NQRS are an integral component of the service-wide Balanced Measures effort. This is the highest priority for all Field Quality staff members.

  2. Field Quality managers should make every effort to ensure that reviews are performed timely and accurately and that review standards are applied consistently. Managers will conduct consistency reviews at least quarterly to promote accuracy. Results of these reviews should be maintained and periodically evaluated. If problems with certain review items persist, they should be reported to the Collection Quality Senior Program Analyst for an analysis and discussion of potential issues raised. If the cause is determined to be a lack of clarity in the required review procedures, the Collection Quality Senior Program Analyst will work with Field Quality management to explain or revise the procedure. No changes to review procedures should be made without concurrence by the Collection Quality Senior Program Analyst. The Collection Quality Senior Program Analyst will provide updated review procedures to NQRS and EQRS users.

  3. Field Quality review data should be entered to the NQRS system as the review is being completed to promote reliability. Published standards must be followed by reviewers so quality review customers will know how closed cases are evaluated. If a potential problem with an EQ attribute is identified, it should be submitted to the Collection Quality Senior Program Analyst via the EQ Issues Log. This will ensure that all EQ users have access to the information.

Reporting Field Quality Review Results

  1. Information from completed Field Quality reviews will be compiled electronically and available on the NQRS “Reports” tab. This will comprise the official record of Field Quality’s NQRS results.

  2. The design and format of NQRS reports will be determined by the Collection Quality Program Manager. Levels of access to NQRS reports and data will be defined by headquarters based on established guidelines.

Field Quality Audit Trail

  1. Field Quality will maintain an inventory control system. This will facilitate an orderly flow of case files and supporting documents between Collection Case Processing (CCP), OIC groups, the Field Quality review group, the Field Quality reviewer, and the National Records Center (NRC).

  2. After review, each paper case subjected to review will be annotated or stamped QR (Quality Reviewed) at the upper right hand corner of the case. Following the annotation or stamp the reviewer will enter the date of review. Closed Integrated Collection System (ICS) and Automated Insolvency System (AIS) cases will contain an electronic notation that the case was accessed by Field Quality for NQRS review.

  3. All closed paper Field Collection case files and associated ICS paper files that have been reviewed will be returned with a transmittal slip to the NRC for appropriate disposition.

  4. All closed OIC paper case files with the disposition type of Accepted (01) that have been reviewed will be forwarded to the Memphis MOIC site with a transmittal slip for appropriate disposition.

  5. All closed OIC paper case files with the disposition types of "Rejected (05)", Withdrawal (06)", and "Return (10)", that have been reviewed will be returned to the originating field OIC with a transmittal slip for appropriate disposition.
    Caution: Closed paper case files should remain intact after they leave the revenue officer's possession. Dismantling, purging, or discarding documents from closed cases could negatively affect an individual employee's case if legal actions are brought against them.

Field Quality Case Sampling

  1. For the Field Quality review to provide statistically reliable measurements, case samples must be consistently provided to the Field Quality review group on a regular schedule. The sampling lists are generated weekly for the FC and OIC functions and monthly for the Advisory and Insolvency functions. The number of cases selected will be determined annually by the Collection Quality Program Manager in consultation with Operation Support, Business Development, Research.

Field Collection Case Selection

  1. ICS provides a systemic program to electronically select cases for review.

  2. The ICS system generates the sampling list on a weekly basis for each Area. The list is reviewed by the Field Quality review group to determine which cases are not reviewable. These non-reviewable cases are removed from the list. A list of the remaining cases is sent to CCP for retrieval of the paper case file.

  3. ICS will randomly select closed FC cases from each Area. These may be selected from any of the disposition types below. No specific number of cases is required from any category:

    1. Full Pay (status 12),

    2. Adjustment - Form 3870 (status 12 or 53),

    3. Installment Agreement - Form 433D or Form 2159 (status 60),

    4. Currently Not Collectible -Form 53,

    5. Federal Tax Deposit Alerts,

    6. Delinquent Return cases, and

    7. Field cases closed to Insolvency or OIC.

  4. Do not choose cases that are considered "non-reviewable " for national quality review purposes. These are:

    1. Files with no case history or the history reflects no case actions,

    2. A balance due case that is in status 26 or assigned to FC,

    3. Cases in which the revenue officer took no action to resolve the case (for example, a case closed as CNC based on a prior CNC),

    4. The later of the date of approval or last history entry is six months or more from the review date,

    5. There is a related case and there is not sufficient information to complete the review, or

    6. An incomplete case file was provided by CCP.

OIC Case Selection

  1. The Automated Offer-in-Compromise system (AOIC) randomly selects closed OIC cases weekly. Each offer group should access AOIC each Monday and forward all closed cases reflected on the sampling list to the Field Quality review group. The closed cases may be selected from any of the disposition types below. No specific number of cases is required from any category:

    • Acceptance (01),

    • Rejection (05),

    • Withdrawal (06), and

    • Return (10).

  2. Do not choose cases that are considered non-reviewable for national quality review purposes. These are:

    • Any case resolved by Appeals,

    • Cases closed over ninety days prior,

    • Open Cases,

    • Offers returned to taxpayers prior to assignment to an offer specialist,

    • Offers terminated due to taxpayer demise, or

    • Offers on an existing offer.

  3. The AOIC system electronically generates a weekly list of closed cases for review from each Field OIC Territory. The list is accessible by both the Field OIC group manager and the responsible Field Quality review group. The Field OIC group manager will ensure that the associated paper documents are sent to the applicable Field Quality review group by traceable mail.

Advisory Case Selection

  1. ICS generates a sample listing at the end of each reporting month. Any deviation from the established selection process must be approved by the Collection Quality Program Manager in advance.

Insolvency Case Selection

  1. The Automated Insolvency System (AIS) database is used to generate a random sampling of Insolvency casework for Field Quality review.

  2. At the beginning of each month, the Collection Quality Senior Program Analyst will generate a list of completed Field Insolvency cases for each of the four Field Insolvency Specialized Product Review Groups (SPRG).

  3. Using a random number generator, the Collection Quality Senior Program Analyst will randomly select the cases to be reviewed and alternative cases from the population. The cases selected will be sufficient to meet the current sampling plan.

  4. Certain cases are considered "non-reviewable" for national quality review purposes and should not be reviewed. These include:

    • Non-lead or subsidiary cases of consolidated filings,

    • Cases closed without Field Insolvency action, or

    • Open cases assigned to Field Insolvency.

    Note:

    If such a case is selected as part of the monthly sample, substitute with an alternative case from the list.

Case Transmittals

  1. Cases selected for review should be transmitted to their respective Field Quality review group, except for Insolvency and Advisory cases which are reviewed online.

    Note:

    Closed case files should remain intact after they leave the employee's possession. Dismantling, purging, or discarding documents from a case file could negatively affect an employee's case if legal actions are brought against them.

  2. CCP selects the weekly FC sample. They prepare and ship the cases directly to NQRS. See IRM 5.4.13.9.5, Case Processing, General CCP Procedures, National Quality Review System (NQRS).

  3. OIC groups will forward all closed cases on the sampling list to the appropriate Field Quality review group. Prepare a separate Form 3210, (Document Transmittal) to attach to the closed cases for each sampling list. Include the full paper case file, a copy of the case history, back-up documents, and the original OIC administrative file. See IRM 5.8, Offer in Compromise, for a description of required documentation on accepted OICs.

Embedded Quality Review System

  1. Embedded Quality Review System (EQRS) is the primary tool for documenting and providing employees feedback on case reviews. EQRS is used to review individual cases, but can also be used to review employee activity across multiple cases (i.e. time utilization, office/field observation, initial contact, etc.) by using the Targeted Review option.

  2. Follow the attribute rating guidance in the EQ Job Aid for the particular Collection program area reviewed. The EQRS case reviews should serve to:

    1. Assess the employee’s effectiveness in meeting the expectations established in their Critical Job Elements,

    2. Determine the employee’s efficiency in carrying out the laws, procedures and policies of the Service,

    3. Identify and address exemplary performance and performance problems,

    4. Evaluate the employee’s ability to properly plan and schedule field, office, and telework activity,

    5. Ensure the employee is taking timely and appropriate actions to bring the case to a prompt and proper resolution,

    6. Provide the employee with timely, consistent and accurate feedback on their performance, and

    7. Ensure the taxpayer’s rights have been observed, to include the rights delineated in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR):

    • The right to be informed

    • The right to quality service

    • The right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax

    • The right to challenge the position of the Internal Revenue Service and be heard,

    • The right to appeal a decision of the Internal Revenue Service in an independent forum,

    • The right to finality

    • The right to privacy

    • The right to confidentiality

    • The right to retain representation, and

    • The right to a fair and just tax system

    Note:

    For additional information about TBOR, please see the TBOR Frequently Asked Questions page at: https://irssource.web.irs.gov/Lists/General%20News/DispItemForm.aspx?ID=126.

  3. The EQRS Individual Feedback Report provides a record of rating and the case summary and narrative comment entries may serve as a basis for the employee performance reviews. Providing positive and constructive feedback to the employee is essential to maintaining and improving the performance of each employee. The attributes linked to the employees’ Critical Job Elements (CJE) and are written to a "meets" standard of a CJE aspect. When an attribute is rated, a pop-up screen provides a narrative comment screen used to provide the employee feedback addressing the noteworthy actions rated in the attribute and supporting the attribute rating. Managers must also provide a summary of the employee’s performance in the "Case Summary" section of the Employee Feedback Report.

  4. For additional information on the case review process and providing employee feedback, please see:

    • IRM 1.4.50, Collection Group Manager, Territory Manager and Area Director Operational Aid

    • IRM 1.4.51, Resource Guide for Managers, Insolvency

    • IRM 1.4.52, Offer in Compromise Manager's Resource Guide - Field Program

    • IRM 1.4.53, Advisory Group Manager Operational Aid

    • Document 12359, Embedded Quality Job Aid (Field Collection)

    • Document 12360, Embedded Quality Job Aid (Offer In Compromise)

    • Document 12656, Field Insolvency Embedded Quality Job Aid

    • Document 12739, Embedded Quality Advisory Function Lien Job Aid

    • Document 12741, Embedded Quality Advisory Function Estates Job Aid

    • Document 12744, Embedded Quality Property Appraisal and Liquidation Specialists Job Aid

    • Document 12746, Embedded Quality Advisory Function Litigation Job Aid

    • Collection Embedded Quality website: http://mysbse.web.irs.gov/collection/collectioneq/default.aspx

    • Taxpayer Bill of Rights website: https://irssource.web.irs.gov/SitePages/Taxpayer%20Bill%20of%20Rights.aspx