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Flexi-Place
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
    1. 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.
    2. E, Displays entity information such as filing status, address
    3. T, Transactions on a taxpayer account, such as tax assessed, penalties, interest, etc.
    4. I, Displays which years have been filed or if a substitute for return has been done
  • 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).

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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 arrange for consultation contact: Greta's web site: http://www.gretahicks.com

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