He spent 35 years with the IRS and seems to know what he’s talking about. This is from part of a long post he submitted to Powerline.
It’s worth reading the whole post.
…The other thing I’d point out that is very odd about this is that IRS has been prohibited – by that same RRA98 – from using enforcement statistics to measure employee performance. Nobody’s allowed to rate you on how many cases you made, how many arrests, convictions, seizures, levies, taxes assessed, etc. Managers get in big trouble for that, but they still have to evaluate employee performance somehow, so the Service devised this whole scheme that revolves around time.
Elapsed time on a case is a huge issue. Agents get dinged if they’ve got too many hours or if a case drags on for too long. It’s all tracked in the computerized case management system, and managers get in trouble with their managers if their “inventory” (and yes, that is the term that is used to describe your case load) has overage cases. I can’t stress enough how important this is to the Service, and every employee knows it. Your performance report is going to be affected by overage cases, too many hours on a case, etc., but more importantly, the manager’s performance report is going to be affected, and her manager’s, and so on.
To have a statutory or Internal Revenue Manual deadline like 270 days to process something and to blow past without consequences is inconceivable to me. The day that thing went overage, the manager gets a report, and the employee gets asked why. The manager would keep getting reports until it was fixed, and if it wasn’t fixed soon, the SAC would be on the phone, because he or she is getting the same report, and his or her performance report (and bonuses) is on the line.
I obviously can’t speak for EO, but in CID, for an agent to have multiple overage cases like that would be impossible. This simply could not happen without dire consequences for everyone in the chain, and as a result, it never happened.
So, how do I explain a revenue agent in EO who has open cases that are 300 or even 700 days overdue? The only possible explanation is that management was okay with it, because it is absolutely impossible that they – and this includes everyone in the chain – didn’t know. Maybe they’ve got a good reason why they were okay with it, but the whole chain had to sign off on it. All the way to DC.