What are Technical Assistance and Technical Advice?
Technical Assistance is an informal process where a written request is made to Technical Review or Area Counsel for technical assistance. Area Counsel will provide an interpretation of law. The Review Staff can advise and assist agents and managers on technical and procedural issues.
Technical Advice is a formal process where written guidance is provided in the form of a memorandum furnished by the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Employee Benefits, Exempt Organizations, and Employment Taxes) upon the request of an EP Examinations area manager. In this process the plan sponsor or authorized representative and the EP agent submit a memorandum requesting guidance based upon the Issues/Facts, Applicable Law, Government's Position and the Taxpayer's Position. Note: Although this may seem a simple resolution, these types of requests can take several years to resolve. Revenue Procedure 2020-2 sets forth the procedures for requesting Technical Advice.
Can the parties agree to disagree, so that the process can be streamlined?
No, generally, EP agents are required to explore all resolution processes before disqualification or submitting the case for Technical Advice.