Examiners in the IRS Tax Exempt/Government Entities (TE/GE) division have new procedures to follow when issuing information document requests (IDRs) to taxpayers in the course of examinations, the IRS announced Monday. According to the IRS, the new procedures will allow open and meaningful communication between the IRS and taxpayers, reduce the burden on taxpayers and treat them more consistently, permit the IRS to secure more complete and timely responses to IDRs, give timelines in which IRS agents must review IDR responses, and promote timely issue resolution during the examination process.
The memorandum (TEGE 04-1116-0028 (11/21/16)) requires examiners to research the taxpayer being examined to determine what information he or she needs and other methods for obtaining the information before issuing an initial contact letter to the taxpayer and its representative. Ten business days after sending the letter (14 calendar days), the examiner should contact the taxpayer or representative by phone to discuss the IDRs being requested. If the examiner believes the information sought needs to be clarified, he or she will modify the request.
Taxpayers and examiners should agree on a response date for the IDRs, which can be the date the taxpayer is meeting the examiner. If they cannot agree, the examiner should set a reasonable time for a response. IRS guidelines suggest that examiners contact taxpayers two or three days before the due date to remind the taxpayer. The examiner should also include on the IDR the date he or she will review the response for completeness.
If the IDR response is not sufficient or the taxpayer does not respond, IRS procedures provide for follow-up contacts within certain time frames and two extensions of time before the examiner pursues other enforcement action. The first enforcement action is a delinquency notice. If the taxpayer’s response to this notice is adequate, the IDR enforcement process is finished.
If the IDR response to the delinquency notice is still not sufficient or the taxpayer does not respond, the examiner would then notify the taxpayer of the next steps the examiner will take: a proposal of adjustment or revocation, or the issuance of a summons. Before issuing a summons, the examiner will issue a Pre-Summons Notice within 10 business days of the taxpayer’s failure to respond to the delinquency notice. If the taxpayer responds with an adequate response, the IDR process is ended. If not, the examiner will coordinate with the IRS team and IRS counsel to issue a summons.
These new procedures will be effective April 1, 2017.
—Sally P. Schreiber (email@example.com) is a Tax Adviser senior editor.