9.8.1 Scheme Development Center

Manual Transmittal

May 25, 2012


(1) This transmits revised IRM Chapter 9.8, Scheme Development - Section 9.8.1, Scheme Development Center.

Material Changes

(1) IRM 9.8.1 is revised to reflect the new section title "Scheme Development Center" .

(2) Additional updates reflect new position titles that were effective with the October 1, 2011, reorganization of Criminal Investigation.

Effect on Other Documents

This IRM supersedes IRM 9.8.1 dated August 2, 2011.



Effective Date


Terry Stuart for Richard Weber
Chief, Criminal Investigation


  1. This section discusses the mission, structure, duties, and responsibilities of the Scheme Development Center (SDC). Topics include:

    • Scheme Development Center Function and Organizational Structure

    • Role of the Resident Agent in Charge

    • Scheme Development Center Training

    • Security

    • Informant Information

    • Court Witness and Certified Transcript Program

    • Support of Field Operations

The Scheme Development Center Functional and Organizational Structure

  1. The following subsections provide a broad spectrum concerning the structure of the SDC. Each SDC reports to a Director, Field Operations and Policy and they in turn report to the Director, Refund Crimes. The SDCs are physically located within, or in close proximity to, each IRS Campus.

Mission Statement

  1. To support the CI mission by identifying and developing schemes for the purpose of referring and supporting high-impact criminal tax and related financial investigations. This mission will be achieved through the use of human and artificial intelligence and via collaboration with stakeholders.

Functional Responsibilities

  1. The primary function of the SDC is to identify and develop schemes for the purpose of referring and supporting high-impact criminal tax and related financial investigations.

  2. The SDC assists IRS Campus Directors and field offices in identifying and assembling information on individuals and entities involved in civil and criminal noncompliance with the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and other related statutes.

  3. The SDC is also the focal point at the IRS Campus for reporting suspicious criminal activity identified by other operating divisions.

  4. Specific SDC responsibilities include:

    1. maintaining controls on all taxpayer accounts under criminal investigation

    2. coordinating the Questionable Refund Program (QRP), Return Preparer Program (RPP) and Corporate Refund Fraud Program (BMF)

    3. developing questionable refund, return preparer fraud and Corporate Refund Fraud (BMF) referrals and submitting them to field offices

    4. providing court witnesses for criminal tax trials

    5. providing fraud awareness training to IRS Campus employees

    6. training field office QRP and RPP coordinators in the SDC QRP and RPP processes

  5. The Law Enforcement Manual (LEM) provisions of the Refund Fraud program are found in LEM 9.14, Criminal Investigation Official Use Only Procedures, Law Enforcement Manual.

Organizational Structure

  1. There are SDCs servicing 26 CI field offices.

  2. Each SDC is staffed by CI employees managed by a RAC.

  3. A SDC is located at or in close proximity to the following IRS Campuses:

    1. Andover Campus

    2. Atlanta Campus

    3. Austin Campus

    4. Cincinnati Campus

    5. Fresno Campus

    6. Kansas City Campus

    7. Memphis Campus

    8. Ogden Campus

  4. IRS Campus locations are structured with at least the following functions:

    1. Submission Processing Center (IMF), Austin, Fresno, and Kansas City

    2. Submission Processing Center (BMF), Cincinnati and Ogden

    3. Accounts Management

    4. Compliance Services

  5. Each SDC works closely with the IRS Campus functions.

Managerial Oversight

  1. The Director, Refund Crimes has line authority over the SDC.

Role of the Resident Agent in Charge

  1. The RAC is responsible for accomplishing the SDC's broad program objectives and procedural guidelines established by the Chief, CI.

Program Responsibilities

  1. The RAC will participate in the IRS Campus Councils to ensure successful SDC program operation.

  2. The RAC's responsibilities include:

    1. managing SDC employees and programs

    2. field office QRP referrals

    3. field office RPP referrals

    4. field office Corporate Refund Fraud (BMF) referrals (Cincinnati and Ogden)

    5. controlling taxpayer accounts under criminal investigation

    6. program reviews

    7. restitution program (QRP and RPP)

    8. work planning and control tracking system

    9. fraud awareness education

    10. referrals from IRS Campus employees

    11. refund inquiries relating to accounts with CI controls

    12. participating in Headquarters (HQ) office task forces

Managing Scheme Development Center Employees and Programs
  1. The RAC's span of control includes the SDC technical and clerical employees. These responsibilities include:

    1. assigning and distributing work to subordinates

    2. providing criminal fraud expertise for field office QRP/RPP referrals

    3. managing the SDC budget

    4. posting vacancies and selecting employees

    5. recommending personnel actions

    6. approving leave

    7. counseling employees

    8. providing necessary training

    9. practicing sound position management policies

    10. taking positive steps in support of affirmative action programs

    11. evaluating completed work and employee performance

Field Office Questionable Refund Program Referrals
  1. The RAC is responsible for the following, relative to QRP referrals:

    1. determining criminal potential on QRP fraud referrals developed by SDC employees

    2. ensuring that an evaluation by the field office conforms with existing time frames and guidelines

    3. when appropriate, referring returns in schemes with a primary investigation (PI) or subject criminal investigation (SCI) status to the proper business operating division for resolution

Field Office Return Preparer Program Referrals
  1. The RAC is responsible for the following, relative to RPP referrals:

    1. determining criminal potential on RPP fraud referrals developed by SDC employees

    2. ensuring that an evaluation by the field office conforms with existing time frames and guidelines

Controlling Taxpayer Accounts under Criminal Investigation
  1. The RAC is responsible for the quality and timely input of CI transaction freeze codes per existing guidelines.

  2. When appropriate, the CI freeze codes are input by the SDC control function. The freeze codes are discussed individually in LEM 9.14.

Program Reviews
  1. The RAC is responsible for establishing and maintaining a structured internal program review process for the following SDC programs:

    1. Questionable Refund Program (QRP)

    2. Return Preparer Program (RPP)

    3. Corporate Refund Fraud Program (BMF)

    4. Court Witness Program

    5. Control Function

  2. A review of each program will be conducted by the RAC or his/her designee on an annual basis each fiscal year ending September 30.

  3. A report detailing the findings will be prepared for the Director, Refund Crimes, within 45 days following the end of each fiscal year. A copy of the report will be maintained in the SDC administrative files.

Questionable Refund Program Restitution Program
  1. See LEM 9.14.2, Questionable Refund Program (Document 12846), for information concerning the court ordered restitution program.

Work Planning and Control Tracking System
  1. The RAC is responsible for tracking the time of SDC personnel.

  2. Time worked on SDC programs is tracked using the CI Diary Program.

Fraud Awareness
  1. The RAC is responsible for the training of IRS Campus functional personnel in the recognition and referral of potentially fraudulent returns or other documents in connection with the Questionable Refund and Return Preparer Programs.

  2. The volume of in-house referrals varies between IRS Campuses. Some of the principal reasons for this variance are the quality of the fraud awareness training, timeliness, encouragement, and interest by management. It is the RAC's responsibility to secure a commitment from the IRS Campus management to allow fraud awareness presentations during training sessions or as often as is deemed appropriate.

Referrals from IRS Campus Employees
  1. The SDC will receive referrals from various functions within the IRS Campus to evaluate for criminal potential. The referrals will primarily be from Submission Processing (SP) in Cincinnati and Ogden for the Corporate Refund Fraud Program (BMF) and SP in Austin for the International QRP and RPP.

  2. Information may be referred via Form 2797, Referral Report of Potential Criminal Fraud Cases, or per the referring function's IRM instructions; however, some information may also be referred based on fraud awareness training given to IRS Campus tax examiners.

  3. The referral evaluation should include:

    1. determining criminal potential of fraud referrals from IRS Campus functions

    2. notifying referring functions whether the referral was accepted or declined within time frames specified in existing guidelines

    3. where possible, personally meeting with referring office to explain declinations

Information Report Referrals from IRS Wage and Investment Fraud Hotline Call Sites
  1. The SDC may receive information report referrals for QRP and RPP from Wage and Investment (W&I) Fraud Referral Hotline call sites to evaluate for criminal potential and/or scheme development. These call sites are not located at all IRS Campuses.

  2. Information may be referred via Form 3949, Information Report Referral, or per the call sites' IRM instructions.

  3. Referral evaluations should include:

    1. Determine criminal potential.

    2. The RAC, who is co-located within the W&I Fraud Referral Hotline call site, should notify the call site manager when the referrals do not meet existing guidelines.

Refund Inquiries
  1. Refund Inquiries are received from customer service representatives (CSR) or Taxpayer Advocate offices on those cases with CI freeze controls. The SDC personnel are responsible for coordinating the resolution of each refund inquiry.

Task Force Participation
  1. At various times throughout the year, issues may arise that require a team approach to resolve. A RAC may be asked to lead or participate in such a task force.


  1. The following sections provide information concerning the training of SDC employees.

Training Requirements For The Resident Agent in Charge

  1. Reserved

Training Requirements For Scheme Development Center Employees

  1. Reserved

Questionable Refund, Return Preparer Program and Corporate Refund Fraud (BMF) Fraud Awareness Training At IRS Campus

  1. The RAC is responsible for the training and orientation of IRS Campus functional personnel in the recognition and referral of potentially fraudulent returns.

  2. The RAC will secure a commitment from IRS Campus management to allow fraud awareness presentations during functional training sessions or other group meetings conducive to fraud awareness training.

  3. Whenever possible, the RAC should be personally involved in the training to ensure timeliness, quality, and a high level of management interest in the fraud referral program.

  4. The RAC will maintain documentation on all fraud awareness training.

Field Office Visitations

  1. On an annual basis, the RAC should coordinate with the Special Agents in Charge (SAC) to attend an all-managers meeting and/or field office group meeting to discuss the following:

    1. SDC services to field offices

    2. CI controls maintenance

    3. Questionable Refund Program

    4. Return Preparer Program

    5. Corporate Refund Fraud (BMF)

    6. SDC fraud referrals to the field office

    7. undercover shopping procedures

  2. Travel expenses related to these meetings will be paid from SDC travel allocations.


  1. This subsection provides an overview of security requirements within the SDC.


  1. All systems are required to be accredited and certified per IRM 2.1.10, Information Systems Security, and the Computer Security Act of 1987.

  2. The Internal Revenue Security Certification program is the technical evaluation of computer security, requirements, regulations, and standards used to assist in the accrediting system.

Computer Operations Administrators
  1. Under the direction of the National Operations Center (NOC), each SDC is assigned a Computer Operations Administrator (COA) who is responsible for systems administration and customer support. The COA provides day to day support for all of CI's specialized applications and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software and is responsible for:

    1. installing and maintaining hardware and software

    2. installing and maintaining workstations for server images

    3. diagnosis and recovery of failed systems

    4. providing customer support associated with software and utility programs

    5. maintaining CI and IRS security policies

    6. conducting inventory of CI's automation equipment

    7. network installation at new sites or on remodels

    8. they may also be requested to setup CI task force sites outside of the CI network and site


  1. Firearms for RACs are to be secured per IRM 9.10.1, Investigative Equipment.


  1. Protection of informant information and identity is required. This protection includes:

    1. disclosing to only those employees having a need to know

    2. transmitting in double-sealed envelopes bearing instructions "To Be Opened by Addressee Only"

    3. protecting per IRM 1.16.8, Emergency Planning and Incident Reporting

Physical Security

  1. Physical security in the IRS Campus must conform to Protection Point Values (PPV) of IRM 1.16.8.

  2. Criminal Investigation personnel are authorized to control all keys and combinations within their office per IRM 1.16.8.

Records And Property

  1. Records and property are to be secured per IRM 1.16.8.

Sensitive But Unclassified Information

  1. "Sensitive But Unclassified" information (SBU) is information which, if lost, misused, inappropriately accessed or modified in any way, could adversely affect the national interest or the conduct of Federal programs or the privacy of individuals. For additional information regarding SBU see IRM 10.2.13, Information Protection and IRM 10.8.1, Policy and Guidance.

Informant Information

  1. The following procedures will be followed when dealing with informants.

Processing Informant Information

  1. Customer Service is responsible for receiving, screening, and processing all telephonic informant communications.

  2. Any telephonic informant communications received in the SDC will be redirected to Customer Service at 1–800–829–0433. However, if the informant is unwilling to call the 1–800 number or be transferred, the employee must document all of the information provided by the informant on Form 3949, Information Report Referral. The RAC will review for criminal potential and forward Forms 3949 to the Fresno Campus. The call sites will follow existing instructions for forwarding Forms 3949.

  3. All walk-in informants will be encouraged to go to the CI field office. However, if the informant is unwilling to go to the field office, the employee must document all of the information provided by the informant on Form 3949. The RAC will review for criminal potential and forward Forms 3949 to the Fresno Campus.

  4. All informant information forms will be forwarded in security envelopes that must be double sealed and labeled confidential.

Request for Reward for Information Provided

  1. If the informant indicates he/she wants a reward, the following actions should be taken:

    1. Give the informant a Publication 733, Rewards for Information Given to the Internal Revenue Service, and a Form 211, Application for Reward for Original Information.

    2. Instruct the informant to return the completed Form 211 to the IRS Campus that services the area where the alleged tax violator resides (addresses of the IRS Campuses are shown on the reverse side of the Form 211).

    3. Forward a copy of Form 3949 or a copy of the written informant information to the Informant Claims Examiner (ICE) Planning and Special Programs (PSP) at the IRS Campus that services the state/area where the alleged tax violator resides.

  2. If a Form 211 is received in the FDC with the written informant information, the original Form 211 and a copy of the written information should be forwarded to the Informant Claims Examiner.

Court Witness and Certified Transcript Program

  1. The SDC Court Witness Program provides court witnesses, certified returns, certified transcripts, and other certified documents for criminal court and other judicial proceedings.

Court Witness Coordinator

  1. The Court Witness Coordinator coordinates the Court Witness Program for a cross-business unit campus, provides expertise in the area of judicial processes, and is assigned to the staff of a RAC. The Court Witness Coordinator is management's representative for cross-unit coordination among the various Directors at the IRS Campus sites and must make adjustments to meet the needs of several heads of office within a collaborative environment.

  2. The court witness represents the Commissioner, in the Commissioner's role as custodian of returns and documents, in trials, pre-trial proceedings, and other judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings. The court witness testifies and presents evidence as to all matters within the scope of the Commissioner's custodial responsibility.

Testimony of Court Witness
  1. The quality of court witness testimony is crucial to law enforcement and to voluntary compliance. The expertise, competence, and decorum of the witness contributes significantly to the success of the prosecution case.

  1. Among others, the duties of the court witness include but are not limited to:

    1. securing all available original tax returns and documents, and obtaining certified copies where appropriate

    2. securing other original documents and correspondence filed by the defendant with the IRS

    3. securing current certified transcripts of accounts, certificates of assessments and payments, or certificates of Lack of Record

    4. researching all IRS Campus areas and Federal Records Center for pertinent information to aid in trial (e.g., returns, correspondence, receipts, transcripts, organizational functions, and documentation procedures)

    5. meeting with the attorney for the government prior to trial to discuss points of testimony and to review investigative files, exhibits, and any other documents to be presented as evidence during trial

    6. assisting attorneys for the government and special agents as requested

Knowledge Required
  1. The court witness must have extensive knowledge regarding:

    1. all IRS Campus actions with respect to returns and documents under the custody of the Commissioner or his/her designee

    2. complete processing procedures and functional responsibilities (past and present) of the IRS Campus, Field Office, and Federal Records Center (FRC)

    3. all types of returns, due dates, filing requirements, and document systems (including the Electronic Filing System)

    4. all laws and regulations relating to Disclosure, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Privacy Act, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (Fed. R. Crim. P.), and the Federal Rules of Evidence

    5. proper introduction of tax returns, certificates of assessments and payments, Information Reporting Program (IRP) Records, Master File Transcript Request (MFTRA), and certificates of Lack of Record

    6. coordinating and conducting periodic court witness training for IRS Campus personnel as needed

    7. responding to interrogatories and providing depositions or affidavits

    8. reviewing all completed certifications for accuracy and quality control

    9. maintaining a current cadre of court witnesses as needed

  1. In testifying as a court witness for the IRS, the following procedures must be adhered to:

    1. Delegation Order 11-2 (formerly DO 156 (Rev. 17)) and Exhibit 1.2.2-2

    2. Title 26 USC §6103(h)(1), (h)(4), and (k)(6)

  2. The quality and credibility of a witness' testimony depends on answering only the questions asked and representing the IRS with the highest degree of integrity, efficiency, and fairness.

Field Office Procedures to Request Court Witness

  1. Requests for court witnesses by field offices will be made by memorandum from the SAC to the RAC who will be providing the court witness.

  2. The RAC will follow the guidelines established by the IRS Campus Directors relative to requests for court witnesses from IRS Campus functional areas.

  3. The SAC or his/her representative may telephonically request a court witness in exigent situations; however, a follow-up memorandum must be submitted to the RAC within two calendar days.

  4. Field offices will pay for the travel expenses of a court witness that pertain to criminal investigations, e.g., trials, grand juries, etc.

  5. If called to testify in a civil trial, funding for civil trials are to be paid from the Division Commissioner's Office for the area that originated the matter (SB/SE, W&I, LB&I, or TE/GE). The Planning and Analysis Office (or other office, if appropriate) will provide the travel codes for the voucher by working with their Budget Office for funding codes.

Seals And Certification

  1. The primary purpose of certification is to satisfy the requirements of the rules of evidence and civil procedure. This is essential in authenticating a document for admission into evidence.

  2. Certification is accomplished by attaching Form 2866, Certificate of Official Record, with a seal affixed. The court witness coordinator is responsible for ensuring that the transcript is accurate.

  3. Transcripts and other documents are prepared for use in court per 28 USC §1733(b), Fed. R. Crim. P. R44 and Fed. R. Crim. P. R27:

    1. 26 USC §7514 - authorizes the seals of office

    2. 26 CFR 301.7514 - governs the use of seals

    3. 26 CFR 301.7622-1 - authorizes the Commissioner to designate persons to issue certifications

    4. Delegation Order 11-5 (Formerly 198 (Rev.5)) - designates the persons who may issue certification and provide delegation of authority

    5. CI Delegation Order 18, Seal of the Office of the Internal Revenue Service and Certification - designates the persons who may issue certifications as redelegated from the Chief, CI

Request For Certification

  1. Forms 4338 and 4338-A, IMF Information or Certified Transcript Request, will be used by CI personnel to request certified transcripts of accounts. Requests will include but are not limited to:

    1. certification of original and copy of returns

    2. certification of MCC and microfilm transcripts

    3. certification of certificates and payments

    4. certification of lack of record

  2. All requests for transcripts of Automatic Data Processing (ADP) accounts will be forwarded to the SDC servicing the field office requesting the transcript.

  3. Each request should cover the specific tax periods. Only information that is responsive to the request will be certified.

  4. A minimum of four weeks is required to secure and certify all requested documents.

  5. The court witness coordinator will establish expedited procedures.

Support of Field Operations

  1. This subsection provides an overview of how the SDC’s can provide support for the field offices.

Undercover Support

  1. Requests for undercover employer identification numbers (EINs) for the field offices must be handled through Special Investigative Techniques (CI:OPS:SIT).

  2. Special Investigative Techniques works directly with the Ogden and Cincinnati Scheme Development Centers to establish EIN’s for undercover operations.

Frivolous Return Program

  1. Taxpayer accounts that have TC 91X controls or a –T Freeze on the module will not have any Frivolous Return Program (FRP) action taken on them unless the special agent controlling the case gives consent.

  2. A frivolous return/document is defined as being non-compliant based on unfounded legal or constitutional arguments. Internal Revenue Code §6702 contains criteria for determining if a return/document is frivolous.

  3. Taxpayers filing a frivolous tax return and/or documents are assessed a $5,000 Frivolous Return Penalty.

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