Notes from the IRS Practitioner’s Liaison Meeting on July 24, 2013
Gary Easley, Appeals
Appeals is interviewing for a new team manager.
Campus Appeals stood up to handle smaller cases so Field Appeals could handle the larger cases. A practitioner can request a face-to-face meeting with a field appeals office, but understand that you will have to come into the office for the face to face meeting. It should take 90 days to get an actual hearing. If you do not hear from appeals in 90 days, please call the office.
Bessie Castro-Zepeda, Department of Revenue
The Practitioner Hotline below is intended for use by practitioners only. It is not to be given to clients or non-practitioners. Because this number is not for general public use, the call wait times are significantly less, if any, than the general number. The number is staffed by highly experienced technical examiners that have been with the Department for some time, and have been thoroughly trained on all tax types. When a practitioner calls this number, they must identify themselves as a practitioner. The Department has given this number priority, which means that during peak call times a caller will always get through to someone and the call will not be dropped or blocked. There is also an option to leave a message after hours. The messages are checked and returned daily.
M–F 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.—(303) 232-2419
Question: When will estimates be able to be paid electronically via a designation in the e-file sent to the state like the electronic payment of balance due with the tax return?
Response: The ability to make estimate payments through e-file software will likely be available beginning January 2015. For the coming season we are adding fiduciary income tax and making changes to the credits schedules, so our resources will be absorbed with those projects.
Stephen Boyd, Criminal Investigation
Stephen manages about 60 agents that cover Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.
Identity theft has tripled in the last three years. Florida and the East Coast is the epicenter for identity theft. The whistleblower program is centralized in Washington DC.
Question: Is each tip investigated?
Response: An agent will interview, get the details and facts, and see if there is a pattern of fraud. Then a decision is made as to whether a tip will be investigated.
A straightforward tax case is usually worked through administrative process.
A case involving conspiracy, hostile witnesses, and other non-tax charges to include money laundering are usually worked through the grand jury process.
Question: Who has the authority to grant immunity to tax witnesses?
Response: The Department of Justice Tax Division and the US Attorney’s Office have the authority to grant immunity to tax witnesses. We are seeing a lot of quiet voluntary disclosures coming through the practitioners and not through the disclosure open gate. The voluntary disclosure program was a leniency program and not an amnesty program. The penalties were reduced not waived.
Tax haven countries are decreasing because of international cooperation.
Nancy Carver, Counsel
Bob Varra was promoted to Deputy Area Counsel. Counsel has no authority to hire or backfill positions but this has not affected our caseload. Our attorneys are handling higher caseloads. We have two fall calendars in September. It looks like we will be busy in December as that calendar is quickly filling up also.
OPM is working on guidance for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) issue and we do not know if it will be retroactive.
Question: Why is the activity surrounding DOMA generating quick action versus the marijuana issue?
Response: DOMA affects citizens in all 50 states, which is a wider group of people.
Marijuana business expenses follow Code Section 280E federal law.
Question: Why are the docket cases increasing so rapidly?
Response: Income matching programs. Examination is active in auditing and using more efficient tools.
There are two criminal attorneys in Area Counsel.
Michael Rogers, Governmental Liaison
A memo of understanding has been signed between the Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service on sharing information between the two agencies. This memo of understanding can be found on IRS.gov in the public reading room. Washington decides how to declare a federal disaster by the number of people affected by the disaster.
Concerning the wildfires in Colorado the local government has put in a public assistance request asking for funding from the federal government.
Tamara Hobson, Automated Collection Site (ACS)
ACS has been helping out Accounts Management for the last five months. Accounts Management has been overwhelmed by the identity theft cases. ACS is expected to continue to work the Accounts Management phones through September and possibly December of this year.
Taxpayers could experience longer hold times because ACS has fewer employees to answer ACS calls.
Question: Is there a high dollar value for ACS?
Response: Per the IRM, ACS/ACSS threshold for Business is $100,000. For Individual, it is $250,000.
Question: Does large dollar have a direct number? (They are experiencing high hold times to get into an ACS CR only to be transferred to high dollar and sit on hold again for an additional 45 plus minutes.)
Response: Cases over $250,000 are worked by Field Officers. The IRM does not provide a general contact telephone number to the field. The Quality Manager spoke with a Revenue Officer Manager and was advised the taxpayers can make payments/pay off their liability while awaiting contact from a field officer. When the case is assigned to an officer, the taxpayer/POA will be contacted by letter, telephone, and/or a visit. A telephone number will be provided upon contact. For BMF large Corp. per IRM 188.8.131.52.11.4 Campus Contacts for Large Corp Cases… The following campus contacts assist field personnel and any taxpayer who has a Large Corporation Indicator (LCI) to help resolve account related problems. Research the account before giving out the telephone number. Only give the campus contact telephone number to a taxpayer whose account actually has the LCI set on it.
Best Time to Call
Large Corp. Team 401
Large Corp. Team 402
6 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
6:30 a.m.–3 p.m. EST
Large Corp. Team 1
Large Corp. Team 2
7 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
7:30 a.m.–4 p.m. MST
***Tax Practitioners: Per RO Manager, please be aware that when calling in, the hold time is not going to get any better. ROs have fewer people working due to attrition, etc, and hiring freeze. They have same amount of work being performed with less folks... plus the furlough days hit pretty hard and put them behind.
Question: We are having problems when we request that a DDIA (Direct Debit Installment Agreement) be stopped. On multiple occasions, it has taken months to get it to stop. We have also had it where the payments have been deducted twice in the same month and when we try to fix it, it takes extended amounts of time.
Response: The Service Center and/or DDIA Coordinator can best answer these questions. The quality manager can elevate these issues to Ogden P&A staff Management and Program Analyst upon receiving case prints.
Question: Practitioners are still having problems with ACS recording our CAP requests on defaulted and terminated Installment Agreements.
Response: The practitioners are correct. There are problems documenting receipt of requests for Appeals on rejected and defaulted IAs (CAPIA). The Denver Independent Reviewer has been working with Appeals on this issue for the past few months. The taxpayer has the statutory right to request a CAP on a defaulted IA (st64); the IRM 21.3.23 provides no guidance to the Accounts Manager employees on how to work or advise the taxpayer on these cases. Denver follows instructions we always used with ACS in IRM184.108.40.206.16. Denver requested the CRs to instruct the TP to submit the F9423 directly to the CISCO. IRM220.127.116.11.7.3.1 directs the CAP Coordinator to IRM 18.104.22.168.16. ACS uses IRM22.214.171.124.16 on all CAP cases. This IRM has contradicting instructions for the ACS CRs. IRM 126.96.36.199.16.4(6) advises the CR to forward a screen print of the case to the CAP Coordinator (e-mail works well): CAPIAs does not require manager contact. (Manager contact applies if the taxpayer requests it.) IRM 188.8.131.52.16.5(3) tells the CR the taxpayer needs to send a F9423 to request an Appeal. The Independent Reviewer will forward a case to Appeals if he sees any indication in the narrative the taxpayer requests an Appeal and the case qualifies for CAPIA. IRM 5.19 provides no instructions for CISCO or ACSS to process a F9423 or to document receipt in the AMS narrative.
Question: Practitioners are receiving notices stating that we are terminating their clients IA’s due to not furnishing updated financial information. Neither they nor their clients are receiving the original notification requesting the information.
Response: Please have the POAs provide SSN/TIN of these types of cases so we can do the research.
Question: On very large dollar cases they are receiving CP523 notices (for intent to levy) being issued by ACS, but when they call in the assistors are calling in to ACS and being advised that they cannot handle the case and have to transfer it to the field. The question is; why is ACS issuing the notice when they cannot handle the issue?
Response: Again, please have the POAs provide SSN/TIN for these types of cases so we can review them to find out what is going on.
Question: We have heard a rumor that it is now a requirement that for any business that owes over $50,000 to be set up on an IA, they have to agree to a direct debit. Is this true?
Response: At this time, only In Business Trust Fund Express Agreements with aggregate unpaid balance of assessment between $10,000 and $25,000 must enroll in a Direct Debit Installment Agreement. Out of Business Sole Proprietors may also set up a DDIA for less than $50,000 Streamline installment agreement.
Andrea Ventura, Collection/Advisory
If anyone has any questions for Collection, Diane Sandoval’s phone number is 720-956-4275. Lisa Jones retired in Advisory on July 3, 2013. Andrea is currently acting in the Advisory management position.
Advisory currently has five caseworkers. The general line for advisory inquiries will be checked daily. The general telephone number for Advisory is: 800-913-6050 and 303-603-4570.
Eric Jaeger, Taxpayer Advocate
Eric is the Taxpayer Advocate Analyst.
Taxpayer Advocate has been unable to backfill positions. The good news is Colorado cases are being resolved in Colorado. We are receiving a lot of identity theft cases from Atlanta.
The Taxpayer Advocate office criteria have not changed.
The Taxpayer Advocate office acceptance of cases has been modified. The modified acceptance criteria are: economic burden, delays or general failure to respond, processing of amended and original returns, injured spouse and unpostable rejects.
Question: What are the number of extensions filed this year versus last year?
Response: Those statistics are not available at this time.
Question: We have had a hard time reaching anyone in the New Orleans Taxpayer Advocate’s office regarding time sensitive issues. Also, many of the fax numbers listed on the IRS site for the TPA local offices do not work. Can we get a response on these issues?
Response: If you encounter this issue, please call Debbie and she will contact Eric.
Kristen Hoiby, Stakeholder Liaison Field
Our Issue Management Resolution System IMRS hot issues are:
The retirement of the disclosure authorization part of the e-Services line
Simplified home office expenses
Revenue Ruling 2013-14- Mexican land trust issue
IRMS hot issues link: irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/IMRS-Hot-Issues.
We expanding number of webinars in the Northwest area, and we appreciate your acceptance of our use of this new technology. We have many webinars coming up this fall that often feature IRS subject matter experts. Debbie will keep you up to date as we roll these out.
Please take a few minutes to answer the Technology focus group questions in the word document below for your organization and return it to Debbie. Stakeholder Liaison wants technology to work the best it can for all of our stakeholders.
The next meeting will be held on January 8, 2014.