8.1.3 Working Cases in Appeals

Manual Transmittal

January 05, 2015


(1) This transmits revised IRM 8.1.3, Appeals Function, Working Cases in Appeals.

Material Changes

(1) Made minor editorial changes:

  • IRM Updated reference to AIMS Procedures and Processing Instructions.

  • IRM Updated to reference IDRS Terminal Responses.

  • IRM Updated link to ACDS User Guide.

  • IRM Updated reference to Processing Employee Automated System (PEAs).

  • IRM Updated link to Issue Management System (IMS) page.

(2) Removed reference to obsoleted Collection Due Process (CDP) tracking system.

Effect on Other Documents

Supersedes IRM 8.1.3 dated October 25, 2013..


Appeals employees

Effective Date


John V. Cardone
Director, Policy, Quality and Case Support

Types of Cases Worked in Appeals

  1. Appeals responsibility includes but is not limited to the administrative determination of liability, including additions to tax, additional amounts and penalties for the following types of cases:

    • Income, estate, gift, employment and excise taxes

    • Collection due process (CDP)

    • Collection appeals program (CAP)

    • Offer-in-compromise (OIC)

    • Trust fund recovery penalty (TFRP)

    • Penalty appeals (PENAP)

    • Abatement of interest

    • Innocent spouse

    • Administrative costs under IRC 7430

    • Jeopardy levies

    • Recommendations concerning settlement offers in refund suits

    • IRC 534(b) letters

    • Refund claims including Joint Committee cases

    • Overassessments in which a taxpayer appeals the decision of a compliance area director, or a campus director.

  2. Cases are controlled in multiple automated systems, including AIMS, IDRS, ACDS, CATS, CDPTS, ISTS, PACER, and AOIC.

Automated Systems Used to Control or Research Appeals Cases

  1. Cases are established, updated and closed using the following automated systems:

    • ACDS (Appeals Centralized Database System)

    • AIMS (Audit Information Management System)

    • IDRS (Integrated Data Retrieval System)

    • CDPTS (Collection Due Process Tracking System).

    • ISTS (Innocent Spouse Tracking System).

  2. The following systems provide additional research information on cases being handled by Appeals:

    • CATS (Counsel Automated Tracking System)

    • PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records

    • AOIC (Automated Offer in Compromise System).

  3. Generally, Account and Processing Support (APS) uses the systems to establish, maintain and close cases in Appeals. However, all Appeals employees have an interest in the information on some of the systems. The following subsections briefly describe the more commonly used systems.

Audit Information Management System (AIMS)

  1. Appeals receives some cases from Compliance which may be controlled in AIMS. These cases may have been audited for possible additional tax and penalty liabilities. See IRM 4.4, AIMS Procedures and Processing Instructions, for information relating to AIMS processing of examination returns. Also see Document 6209 .

  2. Each AIMS input form is identified by a number or a command code, as explained in text below. The Audit Information Management Systems Manual contains instructions and screen examples for all AIMS input codes. The terminal operator uses the command code to tell the terminal what information is being input and how the data file should treat the information.

  3. Listed below is a description of the AIMS command codes most often used by Appeals:

    1. AMCLS A/F/I/S/U - to adjust, correct or close returns on AIMS Form 5403

    2. AMSTUA - updates the record to an active Appeals status (80 or 82) from 81

    3. AMSTUB - Appeals Update Command code AMSTUB - changes the status and statute date of any return already in an Appeals status

    4. AM424A - to establish a master file record on the AIMS database

    5. AMAXUA - corrects the Appeals sections on the AIMS database.

Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS)

  1. IDRS provides research and input capability to taxpayer account information. Refer to IRM 2.3.1, IDRS Terminal Responses, Section Titles and Command Codes for IDRS Terminal Responses., For additional information see Document 6209.

Appeals Centralized Database System (ACDS)

  1. ACDS is a web-based work center application used by all Appeals employees. It is a web based application accessible using internet explorer and the IRS Intranet.

  2. ACDS incorporates programming functionality for various employee occupations including but not limited to:

    • Executives

    • Headquarter Analysts

    • APS employees

    • Appeals Managers

    • Technical Advisors

    • Appeals/Settlement Officers

    • Appeals Team Case Leaders

    • Appeals Tax Specialists

    • Tax Computation Specialists

  3. Workcenter functionality includes occupation related personal inventory systems, timekeeping, reports, inventory updates, forms and letter generation and electronic notification.

  4. ACDS is a relational database management system incorporating various employee modules into a single integrated database model eliminating duplicate entry, maximizing security functionality and consolidating administrative tasks and duties into one system.

  5. ACDS is used for all Appeals management statistics and produces management information reports.

  6. The following are some of the functions available to all ACDS users:

    • Home — This returns the user to the ACDS home page. It identifies your home area in relationship to the Field Areas.

    • ACDS Memos — Contains ACDS MEMOS issued.

    • SEARCH — This allows an employee access to search the ACDS open or closed database using various options i.e. TIN, TPName, docket number, WUNO, etc.

    • Utilities — This has a variety of options including: Closing Codes, Feature Codes, Statute Date Computation Calendar, Customized 5402 instructions, TCS codes, CARATS codes, ACS codes etc.

    • APGolf is the function which provides the ability to generate various forms and taxpayer correspondence.

    • LOGOUT — It is a security requirement for employees to log out when exiting ACDS.

  7. Additional information relating to ACDS can be found in the ACDS Users Guide http://mtb0120vpacds04/acds_userguide/acdsuserguide.htm on the Business Systems Planning (BSP) website.

Counsel Automated Tracking System (TL-CATS)

  1. TL-CATS is an automated system used by Counsel to control US Tax Court cases from the time the taxpayers file a petition until a decision is entered and their case is closed.

Processing Employee Automated System (PEAs)

  1. PEAs is a sub-system in ACDS and is used by APS employees to:

    • control their inventory

    • record case activities

    • record time

    • establish follow-up actions

  2. See IRM 8.20.10, Appeals Processing Employee Automated System (PEAs), for more complete information.

Technical Automated Control System (TACS)

  1. The Technical Automated Control System (TACS) is a sub-system of ACDS and is used by the Tax Computation Specialist to:

    • control their inventory

    • record case activities

    • record time

Case Activity & Automated Timekeeping System (CARATS)

  1. CARATS is a sub-system within ACDS used by the Appeals Technical Employees as defined in IRM 8.1.1-1 to:

    • control their inventory,

    • establish case follow-up actions

  2. The Carats Activity Record (CAR) is used by the ATE to:

    • record various action and sub-action codes for case activities

    • document required actions outlined in IRM 8

    • record information on decisions or actions taken on the case

    • record case activities

    • record time spent on a specific case

    • provides the ability to establish follow-up actions for the case

Innocent Spouse Tracking System (ISTS)

  1. The Innocent Spouse Tracking System (ISTS) is a separate application built within the Taxpayer Information File (TIF) database system. The ISTS application is designed to track the inventory and progress of all innocent spouse claims (Forms 8857). Examination, field Collection and/or Appeals will do all updates to the ISTS within three processing days of the status change date.

  2. See IRM 25.15.14, Relief from Joint and Several Liability - Innocent Spouse Tracking System Inventory Validation Instructions, for more complete information.

Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER)

  1. PACER is an electronic public access service which allows users to obtain case and docket information from:

    • Federal Appellate

    • District Court

    • Bankruptcy Court

    • U.S. Party/Case Index

  2. PACER is primarily used in Appeals to research bankruptcy cases.

Appeals Inventory Validation Process (AIVP)

  1. The Appeals Inventory Validation Process (AIVP) is an automated process Appeals uses to update, change, modify and track critical data fields in ACDS.

  2. The system allows Appeals Technical Employees (ATE) to ensure all case files and tax return within their possession are accurately accounted for on ACDS.

  3. The Validation Tracking System (VTS) provides a method for employees to update:

    • critical fields,

    • confirm the ACDS data accurately reflects the associated case file and/or tax record,

    • ensure the data is reliable and can be used for analysis and strategic planning initiatives.

  4. Statute validation critical data fields are:

    • statute date,

    • statute code,

    • tax period.

Issue Management System (IMS)

  1. Appeals' use of IMS is mandatory for working LB&I, Estate and Gift, and Excise cases.

  2. The impacted Appeals employees are:

    • Appeals Team Managers (ATM)

    • Appeals Team Case Leaders (ATCL)

    • Appeals Officers (AO), including Technical Specialists

    • Tax Computation Specialists (TCS)

    • Issue Experts, such as Economists, Engineers and Appraisers

    • Appeals Account and Processing Support (APS) employees

  3. The cases impacted by IMS are:

    • Coordinated Industry Cases (CIC)

    • Industry Cases (IC)

    • International

    • Estate

    • Gift

    • Excise

  4. See the IMS page at http://appeals.web.irs.gov/BusinessSystemPlanning/Applications/ims.htm on the Appeals website for more information.

Appeals Employees Involved in Settling and Processing Appeals Cases

  1. To accomplish the Appeals mission, it is essential taxpayers have a prompt and independent review when they disagree with the changes proposed by Compliance.

  2. Appeals provides the final administrative opportunity to the taxpayer and the Service to resolve tax disputes fairly and without litigation. It is essential Appeals command the respect and trust of taxpayers and practitioners. One aspect of this activity is presenting a unified Appeals position to taxpayers and/or practitioners when settling an issue. See IRM, Accomplishing the Appeals Mission.

  3. Appeals Technical Employee (ATE) is an umbrella term used to refer to Appeals employees in the various technical positions. See IRM 8.1.1-1 for a list of positions.

  4. Account and Processing Support (APS) employees play an active role in processing the cases received in Appeals.

  5. Information pertaining to the role of management can be found in IRM 1.4.28, Appeals Managers Procedures.

Appeals Officer (AO)

  1. An Appeals Officer (AO) works cases with issues ranging from the simplest to the most complex, and from few to millions of dollars. To successfully accomplish this, they must:

    1. exhibit confidence in their job knowledge;

    2. act responsibly;

    3. display a judicial attitude when applying tax law in a reasonable and impartial manner;

    4. strive for uniformity and consistency with respect to taxpayers in similar circumstances and achieving the primary goal of resolving the dispute;

    5. conduct conferences in a courteous manner which provides an atmosphere of openness and fosters cooperation in the resolution of disputes;

    6. be a good listener.

  2. In cases where the AO and the taxpayer succeed in reaching agreement it is important all aspects of the case be fully discussed so all parties understand the issue(s), particularly when agreement is based on hazards of litigation.

  3. However, when a satisfactory basis of settlement cannot be reached, the AO must explain the procedural rights of appeal to the extent necessary to ensure taxpayers and representatives understand these rights.

  4. An AO meets with people from all walks of life whose trust must be earned if satisfactory dealings are to be accomplished.

  5. Experience has shown, when an AO is able to enlist the cooperation of taxpayers and representatives, cases are resolved on a mutually satisfactory basis with minimum expense, delay, and inconvenience to taxpayers.

Appeals Team Case Leader (ATCL)

  1. The Appeals Team Case Leader primarily works Coordinated Industry Cases (CIC). These cases contain high dollar amounts and very complex issues. Most of these cases are worked in a team format.

  2. The ATCL leads Appeals Officers, technicians, and other support personnel in working team cases. They are responsible for planning the team's work taking into consideration any organizational priorities and necessities.

  3. It is important the ATCL ensure the work is completed in a timely manner. He/she does this by assigning team work, monitoring team members’ progress on assignments, and personally working a variety of the most demanding team case issues. If there are problems, the ATCL takes immediate corrective action so there is no adverse impact on resolving the case.

  4. The ATCL provides feedback to team member and his/her immediate manager, and serves as a mentor and coach to team members to enhance their performance and settlement skills. The feedback is both written and oral; provided on a timely and ongoing basis; and addresses the appropriate critical job elements and aspects. When necessary the ATCL apprises management of critical or sensitive work related matters.

  5. While the case is in Appeals, the ATCL prepares and updates work plans including directing team members to insure the progression of the case and overseeing the team members during the settlement conferences and/or team meetings with the largest corporate taxpayers and their representatives, Counsel and other employees of the Service.

  6. The ATCL exercises overall responsibility for arriving at the final disposition of the work unit from the Government’s perspective including authority to overrule recommendations made by team members on the settlement of their assigned issues, and to approve the final settlement.

Settlement Officer (SO)

  1. The Settlement Officer (SO) is primarily responsible for administratively resolving disputes in collection cases. This may include but is not limited to:

    • Collection Due Process (CDP)

    • Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (TFRP)

    • Collection Appeals Program (CAP)

    • Offer in Compromise (OIC)

  2. The SO consideration addresses and affects the interests of a wide range of taxpayers and their representatives including individuals whose only income is wages and/or investments, sole proprietors, and individuals with business and supplemental income.

  3. SO decisions may have a decisive and lasting influence upon the economic circumstances of taxpayers and may have an impact on the taxpayer’s interests in subsequent years.

  4. The SO uses the Appeals Officer skills outlined in IRM (1) above and takes timely initial and follow-up actions while keeping taxpayers informed of the status of their case and avoiding prohibited ex parte communication.

Appeals Tax Specialist (ATS)

  1. The Appeals Tax Specialist (ATS) position is generally centralized in an Appeals Campus location.

  2. The ATS handles the following types of cases which may involve conducting an Appeals conference:

    1. Campus generated Post-assessment Penalty Appeals (PENAP), and

    2. Barred statute claims.

  3. The ATS uses the skills outlined in IRM, Appeals Officer.

Appeals Account Resolution Specialist (AARS)

  1. The Appeals Account Resolution Specialists (AARS) work the Appeals Customer Service line handling inquiries for every type of case; open, unassigned, assigned, closed, and not yet in Appeals. The line is available to all internal and external Appeals customers including:

    • Taxpayers

    • Representatives

    • Appeals employees

    • IRS employees

    • TAS employees

  2. In addition to servicing customers on the Appeals Customer Service line, AARS receive Back End Account Resolution Referrals to resolve account problems on closed Appeals cases. Closed case referrals are received from the Customer Service line, TAS, IRS employees, or other Appeals employees. For Appeals employees, the "Back End Account Resolution Referral" form found on APGolf can be emailed to *AP Account Resolution or faxed. All other customers should call the Appeals Customer Service line for direction. Some examples of the types of problems the Back End Account Resolution AARS handle are:

    1. Innocent Spouse allocations, which includes the mirroring process

    2. Tax Court Decision application

    3. Misapplied/Missing payment research

    4. Installment Agreements which include Direct Debit Installment Agreement and Partial Payment Installment Agreement

    5. Currently Not Collectible issues

    6. Erroneous Refunds

    7. Levy/Lien issues

    8. Offer in Compromise processing

    9. Excess Collection issues

    10. Account Freezes

    11. Correction of Unpostable Transaction Codes

    12. Processing of Form 387

    13. Trust Fund Recovery Penalty Issues.

  3. The back end processing AARS do not work:

    • Actions related to open cases

    • Closed case inquiries when the taxpayer and/or POA is not in agreement with the decisions

    • Tax Court cases dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction and Lack of Prosecution.

  4. Generally the AARS analyzes taxpayer responses and initiates further contact to identify potential liability and to provide technical and procedural information to taxpayers and the taxpayer's representative by correspondence, telephone and in person.

  5. The AARS researches and analyzes several automated and manual systems to find necessary information, such as:

    1. compliance history;

    2. statute suspensions; and

    3. financial information.

  6. The AARS will often initiate adjustments on tax accounts to ensure proper assessments, application of payments, and to resolve disputes between Compliance and the taxpayer.

Technical Specialist

  1. Specialty Operations, which includes Domestic Operations and International Operations, ensures nationwide uniform and consistent settlement of issues, enhances the identification and timely resolution of issues, and provides a vehicle for coordination of technical issues.

  2. The Technical Specialist provides coordination and expertise to Appeals management and ATEs in the following areas:

    1. Compliance coordinated issues (CCI)

    2. Appeals coordinated issues (ACI)

    3. Emerging issues (EM)

    4. Abusive Corporate Tax Shelters

    5. Abusive Tax Avoidance Transactions

    6. Engineering Issues

    7. Financial Products Issues

  3. In order to develop issue experts who are available to assist ATEs in the settlement of their cases, the Technical Specialist:

    • Serves as the focal point for activities involving issues in the industry or specialty area by providing continual advice, guidance, and assistance to ATEs;

    • Develops and maintains expertise on both coordinated and emerging issues. Technical Specialists are constantly researching their specialty to maintain expertise in technically and factually complicated issues.

    • Provides research information and timely litigation updates to ATEs;

    • Provides technical guidance/expertise and support to ATEs.

    • Provides guidance on issues in their industries or specialty areas which are not officially coordinated in Specialty Operations;

    • Trains others in his or her field of expertise (classroom, IVT, CPEs etc.);

    • Attends both internal and external training seminars and other courses;

    • Participates as team members (TM) or consultants on Appeals cases;

    • Coordinates issues of national significance - either in response to the Compliance Coordinated Issue Paper (CIP) or by virtue of Appeals identifying it as an issue requiring consistent treatment by Appeals (or Compliance DO 4-25);

    • Provides review and concurrence (R&C) over the settlement of an Compliance Coordinated Issue (CCI) or Appeals Coordinated Issue (ACI) before it is discussed with the taxpayer.

    • Promotes consistency in settlements in Appeals, either traditionally or via ADR processes such as Fast Track Settlement (FTS), Fast Track Mediation (FTM) or Post Appeals Mediation.

    • Determines the Hazards of Litigation (HOL) - factual, legal or combination of both.

  4. It is important for the ATE to involve the Technical Specialist early in the case and to continue to include the Technical Specialist throughout the case. When there’s open communication throughout the settlement process, it’s less likely there will be unanswered questions during the R&C process.

Economists and Engineers

  1. Similar to the functions of Technical Specialists, Economists and Engineers provide coordination and expertise to Appeals management and ATEs on issues.

  2. Economists and Engineers are assigned to cases as consultants or team members.

Tax Computation Specialist (TCS)

  1. This section provides an overview of the role and responsibility of the Appeals Tax Computation Specialist (TCS) and the important assistance they provide to the Appeals Technical employees and Account and Processing Support employees.

  2. The TCS organization reports to the Director, Technical Support. The Director, Policy, Quality and Case Support manages the Technical Support organization.

  3. TCS is comprised of TCS Teams, each supervised by an Appeals Tax Computation Team Manager (ATCTM). Each team may consist of one or more Large Case Tax Computation Specialists, Senior Tax Computation Specialists and Tax Computation Specialists.

  4. In addition to their other responsibilities, the Tax Computation Specialist prepares the following:

    1. settlement computations,

    2. notices,

    3. tentative computations,

    4. information statements, and

    5. other analyses.

  5. The TCS provides valuable services which relieve the ATE and APS of time-consuming, detailed computational/technical analysis so more time is devoted to the settlement or processing of disputed cases.

  6. In order to properly aid the ATE or APS, the TCS must:

    1. examine the case file and analyze the examining officer's report.

    2. be familiar with all areas of tax law and regulations (individual, corporate, estate, gift, employment, etc.).

    3. have a sound foundation in accounting principles.

    4. have a good knowledge of IRS procedures and operations.

    5. be able to apply all of the above to the technical work.

Duties and Responsibilities of All Tax Computation Specialists

  1. The duties performed by all Tax Computation Specialists include:

    • preparing audit statements,

    • Rule 155 computations,

    • refund litigation computations,

    • statements of account,

    • notices of deficiency and other notices, and

    • special forms related to notices of deficiency.

  2. In addition, the TCS prepares tentative computations, schedules, and exhibits reflecting the impact of legal opinions or settlement possibilities. When required, the TCS attends conferences with Appeals Managers, Appeals Technical Employees, and Counsel Attorneys regarding technical features of the case.

  3. The TCS makes technical and accounting analyses in tax cases, including protested and/or petitioned Joint Committee cases with overpayments of over $2,000,000. In addition, they may be assigned selected cases for consideration and disposition in their capacity of an acting AO.

  4. The responsibilities of all Tax Computation Specialists include:

    • processing a full range of cases in accordance with opinions, decisions and determinations of Appeals Officers, Counsel Attorneys, Department of Justice and the Courts

    • staying informed of changes in the Internal Revenue Code, the Regulations, and the Internal Revenue Manual

    • being familiar with court decisions and tax publications affecting their work.


  5. See IRM 8.17, Settlement Computations and Statutory Notices of Deficiency, for additional guidance on preparing forms and notices.

Additional Duties of Higher Graded Tax Computation Specialists

  1. In addition to handling technical work on difficult cases, the higher graded Tax Computation Specialist advises and assists lower graded Tax Computation Specialists with difficult computations and the interpretation and application of technical and procedural guidelines.

  2. They assist their manager in reviewing completed work to ensure:

    • the decisions of Appeals, Area/Associate Area Counsel, Department of Justice, or Tax Court are correctly followed in the computation

    • correct forms are used

    • proper accounting procedures are followed

    • computations of tax base and tax liability are technically correct and in accordance with the law, regulations, and rulings

    • explanations are clear

    • supporting schedules and exhibits contain satisfactory form and content.

Additional Duties of Large Case Tax Computation Specialist

  1. The Large Case Tax Computation Specialist interacts with corporate taxpayer representatives to resolve issues on the largest and most complex international and domestic cases within Appeals.

  2. At the request of the ATCL, the Large Case Tax Computation Specialist completes a thorough review of RAR tax computations within 120 days. The purpose of the review is:

    • to ensure the RAR is accurate and complete

    • create a computer accessible file (or utilization of a computation disk received from Compliance or files downloaded from IMS).

  3. The Large Case Tax Computation Specialist may appear as the Government’s expert witness giving testimony in court proceedings on the tax effect of controversial tax adjustments in complex corporate tax cases.

Account and Processing Support (APS)

  1. Account and Processing Support (APS) provides technical assistance and support for controlling and processing tax cases for Appeals and Counsel. It is the final processing point in the Appeals Office and performs the full range of interim and closing actions which includes the following:

    1. Verify contents of the administrative file

    2. Update or make corrections on IDRS, ACDS, AIMS, and ISTS

    3. Process interim assessments or abatements

    4. Control statutes

    5. Issue notices of deficiencies (SND or 90-day letter), determination letters, interest abatement letters, EP and EO Adverse determinations or other required notices or correspondence

    6. Process cases resolved by the Appeals Officers and/or Counsel. This includes processing assessments, adjustments, installment agreements and offers-in-compromise

    7. Process cases between Appeals and Counsel.

  2. The following provides a brief description of the employees in the APS organization and their role:

    • Director, Account and Processing Support, is responsible for the overall organization including staffing and directing case processing activities. The APS Director is the first level supervisor of the APS Area Managers and second level supervisor of the APS Processing Team Managers.

    • The APS Area Manager is responsible for planning, organizing, coordinating, monitoring and directing the activities of a work force in APS units in their Area. The APS Area Manager is the first level supervisor of the APS Processing Team Manager and the second level supervisor of the APS employees.

    • APS Technical Advisors assist either the Director, Account and Processing Support or the APS Area Manager, in the daily operations of the Area or APS organization.

    • APS Processing Team Managers (PTM) direct the activities performed by the APS employees. They are the first level supervisor of APS employees.

    • APS Tax Examiners (TEs) process a full range of cases in accordance with established procedures. The TEs receive and review administrative files, create and update automated systems, prepare and make interim and final adjustments, determine statute of limitations on a wide variety of tax returns and compute interest.

    • Case Processors provide administrative, clerical, and technical support within the Appeals office.

    • The secretary may be assigned to assist any APS manager. The secretary may work for an Appeals Team Manager but in addition, assist an APS Manager. They may assist in preparing correspondence, evaluations, timekeeping, updating automated systems, and assisting in the case processing work.