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FY22 Goal 5: Sustain and Support a Fully-Engaged and Diverse Workforce

Organizational Objectives

1
1.

Continue our dialogue on hiring, recruitment, and retention and review IRS Human Capital Office (HCO) strategies for measurable improvement, and if appropriate, make recommendations for improvement.

Status: Open
Completion Date: TBD

Quarterly Update:
2nd Quarter:
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) continues to advocate for adequately sustained, multiyear funding for the IRS to allow for increased hiring capacity. We also plan to make recommendations for further improvement in the upcoming TAS Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Objectives Report and the National Taxpayer Advocate’s (NTA) 2022 Annual Report to Congress (ARC). Further, we will continue to advocate for TAS embedded Human Resources (HR) personnel to process our internal and external hiring actions. We continue to partner with IRS to improve and expedite the hiring and onboarding process, including attending meetings with our Human Capital Office (HCO) partners and regular high-level meetings between TAS’ Deputy National Taxpayer Advocate (DNTA) and the IRS Deputy Human Capital Officer.

Lastly, the IRS NEXT Office “Employee Experience” team recently established a working group that includes representation from all IRS Business Operating Divisions, including TAS to provide input to the onboarding process.

1st Quarter: The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) continues our discussions related to hiring, recruitment, and retention with IRS Human Capital Office (HCO). We will review their strategies for measurable improvement and make recommendations for improvement as necessary. We have continued to advocate for adequately sustained, multiyear funding to allow for increased IRS hiring capacity and to overcome employee attrition through the ​Congressional Affairs Program (CAP) Conference and the National Taxpayer Advocate’s (NTA) Annual Report to Congress (ARC), the Most Serious Problems (MSPs), and the Legislative Recommendations (LRs). For example, in the 2021 ARC, the NTA published the MSP “The Lack of Sufficient and Highly Trained Employees Impedes Effective Tax Administration” and 2022 Purple Book Legislative Recommendation “Revamp the IRS Budget Structure and Provide Sufficient Funding to Improve the Taxpayer Experience and Modernize the IRS’s Information Technology Systems” urged Congress to ensure the IRS has sufficient funding, staffing, and technology to provide a high level of service to taxpayers while protecting their rights. Also, we will continue to review changes made and implemented by IRS’ HCO to determine if it achieved measurable results to the improvement of the hiring process.

Additionally, we continue to work with the HCO, assist and comment on its plans for recruitment and hiring, and make recommendations that will meet the upcoming IRS hiring challenges while also increasing its level of customer service for taxpayers and stakeholders. This includes the recommendations in the ARC’s MSP “IRS Recruitment, Hiring, and Training: The Lack of Sufficient and Highly Trained Employees Impedes Effective Tax Administration” in line with further improving the process.  Lastly, we continue to advocate for TAS’s embedded Human Resources (HR) personnel to process TAS internal and external hiring actions and partner with IRS to improve and expedite the hiring and onboarding process.

2
2.

Collaborate in developing the IRS’s training strategy.

Status: Open
Completion Date: TBD

Quarterly Update:
2nd Quarter:
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) pulled together a team of subject matter experts from TAS, Human Capital Office (HCO), Taxpayer Experience Office (TXO), and Privacy, Governmental Liaison and Disclosure (PGLD) to work on the next iteration of taxpayer rights training with a goal of updating taxpayer rights scenarios and modernizing the training using the latest training development software and techniques that HCO has available. Additionally, we pulled together a communications team from TAS, HCO, TXO, and IRS Communications and Liaison to develop a communications strategy to educate the entire tax ecosystem on taxpayer rights to include taxpayers, tax professionals and IRS employees.

3
3.

Implement a long-term recruitment strategy, including using new platforms to recruit qualified candidates to address ongoing staffing needs.

Status: Open
Completion Date: TBD

Quarterly Update: 
2nd Quarter: The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) has the funding to move forward with announcing the recruitment analyst position; however, we are unable to move forward due to a hiring pause imposed by the IRS Human Capital Office. Once the pause is lifted, TAS will submit the request to announce the position on USAJobs.gov. We continue to use LinkedIn and other social media sites to advertise hiring along with Veteran’s Readjustment Appointment (VRA) and Schedule A hiring authorities to hire qualified employees. Further, our hiring plan for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 includes backfilling behind all positions lost to attrition, increasing the case advocate authorized staffing level in multiple Taxpayer Advocate Offices and expanding existing groups.,

1st Quarter: The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) began implementing its long-term recruitment strategy, including using new platforms to recruit qualified candidates to address ongoing staffing needs through multiple actions including posting job announcements on USAJobs, using LinkedIn to post job announcements for Local Taxpayer Advocate (LTA) positions, using Handshake to promote our positions throughout the year, supporting the IRS Recent Graduate program, and using both the Veteran’s Readjustment Appointment (VRA) and Schedule A hiring authorities. Once a budget is enacted for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, TAS will determine if a recruitment specialist position can be announced with allocated funding.

4
4.

Implement our revamped training program to develop our new employees while ensuring our existing employees' technical and soft skills are consistently strengthened with a focus on allowing our employees to grow professionally while providing taxpayers expert service.

Status: Open
Completion Date: TBD

Quarterly Update: 
2nd Quarter: The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) delivered six versions of Fundamental Case Advocate Training (FCAT) which allowed new case advocates under the legacy program to transition into FCAT smoothly. In addition, TAS delivered two, concurrent pilot sessions of the full-course and gathered feedback to integrate into a final version. The dual-pilots allowed us to verify consistent comments and to eliminate potential anomalies. TAS identified the courses for the manager curriculum and we are planning to revitalize some older TAS management training content that is essential to manager development. We are working out the timeline for courses to be taken based on multiple tracks.

Further, TAS is developing a mandatory, all-manager course surrounding leadership in a virtual environment and our leadership Development Office (LDO) identified multiple LinkedIn Learning Courses covering the topic. TAS is also surveying its leaders to determine any TAS-specific items that do not appear in the vendor training.

1st Quarter:The Taxpayer Advocate Service’s (TAS) Strategy, Assessment and Employee Development (SAED) updated and consolidated three major core training courses for newly-hired Case Advocates (CAs): Phase 1 – Accounts, Phase 2 – Exam, and Phase 3 – Collection. The new product results in targeted training designed to address the top ten case criteria codes received in the TAS inventory. Additionally, the Fundamental Case Advocate Training (FCAT) was created using a blended approach which allows the flexibility to deliver the training in either a virtual or a classroom environment, or a combination of both. TAS also developed a draft TAS New Hire Orientation session to improve new hire engagement, awareness of TAS and better equip them for their new position.

Further, TAS continued development of a draft TAS Manager Curriculum. The list of topics has been identified and has been broken out into three categories: No manager experience or external hire; manager experience but new to TAS, and established TAS Manager. The curriculum includes courses mandated by Department of the Treasury, IRS, and TAS. TAS also uses external training and continuing education through professional societies, including the Association of Certified Public Accountant (AICPA) and Commerce Clearing House (CCH) Online so employees can further develop and maintain their technical training requirements.

Lastly, TAS executives met with the IRS University team, to discuss the IRS University structure and determined TAS and Appeals will have its own school to contain training curriculum related to the subjects owned by each organization.

 

5
5.

Continue to support and expand leadership development programs to provide employees tools and opportunities to grow in their careers.

Status: Open
Completion Date: TBD

Quarterly Update:
2nd Quarter:
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Coaching Curriculum has been developed; however, the Human Capital Office (HCO) has created their own version. The Director of TAS’ Leadership Development Office (LDO) and the Coaching Analyst from her staff are attending the HCO pilot to determine how our program will be incorporated into the HCO version, or how we can complement their class. Also, TAS’s Leadership Development Office (LDO) created competency based collections in the professional development section of the Welcome Screen for all employees, managers, and analysts.

1st Quarter: The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) continues to support and expand leadership development programs to provide employees tools and opportunities to grow in their careers through multiple activities. We have expanded our in-house Coaching Program by creating a Coaching Curriculum to be delivered to all managers, Leadership Readiness Program instructors, and the in-house coaching cadre designed to support leadership onboarding and targeted Leadership Succession Review (LSR) competencies. Also, we have strengthened our LSR programs by creating methods for structured feedback so program participants are given meaningful comments and reactions to their detail assignments. Also, TAS continues to promote the use of the TAS Detail Opportunities to create transparency when advertising non-bargaining unit detail opportunities within TAS.

Additionally, TAS has defined leadership competencies and behaviors with specifics of what that means to TAS leaders and managers at the frontline and senior manager leadership levels, particularly for the Taxpayer Advocate Group Manager (TAGM) and Local Taxpayer Advocate (LTA) positions. We also have developed and delivered development curriculum encouraging all employees to have an LSR and create a Career Learning Plan.

 

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