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Digest of recent IRS initiatives and realignments.

The IRS, in addition to participating in committees established by the AICPA, participates in numerous liaison groups, representatives' councils and other venues at many state and local levels. Meetings usually take place at regular intervals in various locations. The purpose has typically been to discuss practitioner problems and the Service's dissemination of current information, programs and other pursuits to "stakeholders."

This author presently belongs to on several of these groups, in addition to the AICPA Tax Division's IRS Tax Practice and Procedures Committee. Although this item will relate experiences primarily in Texas, most states have some or all of the liaison groups. The author's concern is that much of the information discussed never gets disseminated to the thousands of U.S. practitioners. The item will also discuss some of the Service's recent programs, changes and initiatives. Note: the IRS's organization has changed directions several times over the last several years; consequently, there may be additional changes by press time.

The Service now has separate divisions and operations. The primary divisions include Wage and Investment (W&I), Small Business/Self Employed (SBSE) and Large and Mid-Sized Businesses (LMSB).Various functions are specific to each division, including compliance, examination, communications and collection. The following will outline some of the restructuring taking place in W&I and SBSE.

W&I

The W&I Compliance Division created a Compliance Services Collection Operation (CSCO), whose mission is to "effectively assist taxpayers in the determination and fulfillment of their tax obligations," by "providing accurate and consistent application of the tax law and using a risk-based approach to examination and collection...."

CSCO will have five central locations, including Andover, MA, Atlanta, GA, Austin, TX, Fresno, CA and Kansas City, MO. CSCO's major programs include:

* Installment agreements (IA);

* Balance-due and delinquent return activities;

* Automated substitute for return (ASFR);

* Offers-in-compromise (OIC);

* Trust fund recovery; and

* Transcript processing.

CSCO will consolidate work at specialized sites and will be phased in over the next few years. All sites will work with pre-assessed IA. Delinquent returns and ASFRs will be handled in Austin and Fresno, balance-due cases in Andover and Kansas City and OIC in Atlanta and Fresno. IA defaults will be handled in Atlanta.

SBSE

The realignment of SBSE operating units will be as follows:

* Customer Accounts and Services--moved under W&I;

* Compliance--Exam;

* Compliance--Collection;

* Compliance--Specialty Programs (Employment Tax, Excise Tax, Estate and Gift Tax); and

* Communications, Liaison and Disclosure.

Of particular interest to information dissemination is the realignment of Taxpayer Education and Communication (TEC) with the former alignment of Communication and Liaison and Government Liaison and Disclosure. The purpose of this realignment is as follows:

* Brings together three functions (Communications, Stakeholder Liaison (formerly called TEC) and Governmental Liaison and Disclosure);

* Ensures consistent development and delivery of key messages to all stakeholders;

* Eliminates duplicated efforts and messages to stakeholders;

* Consolidates support activities; and

* Ensures proper managerial spans of control.

CPAs have particular interest in Stakeholder Liaison for practitioners. Personnel will be assigned in appropriate numbers to the 12 new regions established by the ILLS. Activities in this area include:

* Liaison Activities (practitioner liaison meetings, phone forums and issue resolution);

* Educational Activities (Practitioner Institutes, Tax Talk Today and Symposia--seminars); and

* Leveraged Activities (joint efforts and sponsored events).

The above discussion barely scratches the surface of the Service's internal efforts to improve the system's efficiency. Regular visits to the IRS's website (www.irs.gov) will provide current information. Readers should also visit their state CPA society websites for liaison committee activities.

FROM RONALD S. FIEDELMAN, CPA, PHILIP VOGEL & CO. PC, DALLAS, TX
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Author:Fiedelman, Ronald S.
Publication:The Tax Adviser
Date:Oct 1, 2005
Words:588
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