IRS Employees Office at Home
© by Greta P. Hicks, CPA
The IRS calls working at home flexi-place. Flexi-place began last
year with the IRS allowing it’s more experienced Revenue Officers and Revenue
Agents to perform a portion of their duties from their home. Their job
description requires that they work in the field, defined as the taxpayer’s
place of business or third party contact’s location. Historically, these
employees rarely came into IRS offices. With the passage of the Clean Air
Act and budget cuts, the government tested flexi-place. They expound the
benefits to be
- Employees work more effectively at home because they have less interruptions
from co-workers and telephones.
- The IRS can reduce the size of it’s office space because these persons
no longer need desks, telephones and filing cabinets.
- Pollution is reduced because these persons are not commuting to
and from an office each day.
But what are the disadvantages and how does this affect our ability
to resolve an IRS problem.
- The employee does not have a FAX at home. When we FAX the information
to the office and it goes into the employee’s mail drop and stays there
unanswered until the employee has a day in the office. I’ve had calls from
employees stating that I have not provided the information for them by
a given date. Most likely, I have sent it to their office but they have
not been to the office to check their mail drop. We’ve become so accustomed
to Faxing information and expecting an immediate response that this recent
change seems an antiquated method. Faxing, hot shot delivery services,
or over night mail may not bring the immediate response you desired. Most
always, you will need to call the flexi-place employee to let them know
the information they requested is, in fact, at the office.
- It is impossible to place a telephone call to the flexi-place employee
and talk to them immediately. Each flexi-place employee has a beeper number
they are giving taxpayers and representatives. We first call the beeper
and they in turn call us back (most of the time). This does not work well
for me on the days I am out of the office because I may not be stationary
and have a call back number. Make sure in dealing with flexi-place employees
to also get their regular office number and that of their manager. If they
fail to return your phone call in a reasonable time period, you will want
to call their manager.
- The beeper system is further confusing in that there are two types
of beepers. On one, you can leave only a call back number. On the other,
you can leave a voice message. The voice message system is preferable over
the numeric only. For example, I can call a Revenue Office and let them
know that I have Faxed information to their office or I can leave a series
of home numbers and at what times I will be at each location. The numeric
increases the number of contacts necessary to let a person know I have
sent a FAX to his/her office.
- The system of delivering checks and getting a release of levy’s
or federal tax liens is also sluggish. If the transaction takes place on
the day the flexi-place employee is in the office, he/she can handle all
elements. If not, then the transaction is handled by the Officer of the
Day or a clerk. They can take the money but they may not have the authority
to release they levy or lien. Again, it is critical to stay in communication
via the beeper so that both sides of the transaction can be consummated
at one meeting.
- Revenue Officers and Revenue Agents have access to certain internal
and external computerized data but Revenue Officers do not have computers
at home. The result is that they are not aware of payments made by the
taxpayer or returns filed until they go into the IRS office. Many times,
I request a copy of the latest account transaction data from a Revenue
Officer. Unless his group has a person designed to perform these task,
I have to wait until the Revenue Officer goes into the office.
Flexi-place may reduce government costs but it also reduces services
and response time to taxpayers and their authorized representatives. As
with any new procedure there are bugs in the system. Until the flexi-place
employees get a FAX, computer, and direct phone lines at home, we will
need to plan ahead, time our deliveries, and maximize the use of the beeper
and calls to the group manager.
Computer Information Available For IRS Employees Use
- IRP, Information Return Payor File print
out of W-2 and 1099 Forms
- IRPOL, Provides an on-line summary of
the information returns filed for a taxpayer (limited)
- IRPTR, Provides a list of Forms 1099
- PMFOL, On-line summary of the dollar
amounts, withholding of income tax, number of documents filed by payors
- IMFOL, On-line access to various account
information, such as
MFTRA, One day turn around for hard
copy of transcript
RTVUE, On-line access to line items
from Form 1040 series and accompanying schedules (3 years)
BRTU, On-line access to Form 1120 and
940 returns and schedules
INOLE, On-line entity data for a specified
TIN (taxpayer identification number) such as name, address, spouse and
ex-spouse, name address, SSN, and EINs
SUMRY, On-line summary of account for
a particular TIN such as balances owing and if currently being worked by
a collection office.
IRS employees have limited access to selected programs and will usually
make this information readily available to the taxpayer or authorized representative.
If the employee declines, ask the group manager. If all else fails, make
a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA).
- R, Return information such as AGI, exemptions,
interest income, total itemized deductions, amounts of net SE income, SE
tax, taxable income, total tax, wages, and withholding.
- E, Displays entity information such
as filing status, address
- T, Transactions on a taxpayer account,
such as tax assessed, penalties, interest, etc.
- I, Displays which years have been filed
or if a substitute for return has been done
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GRETA P. HICKS, CPA and former IRS manager, concentrates in solutions to IRS problems and advises business and tax professional on IRS policies
and procedures. Ms Hicks is owner of TAX SOLUTIONS, Inc., a company providing
educational materials and programs on solutions to IRS problems and is
a nationally known speaker and writer on solutions to IRS problems. To
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Greta's web site: http://www.gretahicks.com
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