The decision to accept or decline a client will always be made by one of the Clinic directors. You should obtain sufficient information during the initial telephone call to make a recommendation as early in the process as possible.
Make a Recommendation
If you feel you have enough information after the initial telephone call to make a recommendation to accept or reject a taxpayer, then you should immediately prepare a Recommendation Memo. This memo should include a brief summary of the facts of the case, the action already taken by the IRS and the taxpayer, the tax issues that are implicated, the amount in controversy, information as to the financial status of the taxpayer and any possible conflict of interest. In addition, you should use the Decision Tree to state in the memo the case’s current procedural status, which will better enable you to recommend a course of action. Be sure to review and utilize the Taxpayer Eligibility Guidelines in making your recommendation. It is your responsibility to ensure that the one of the Clinic directors receives and acts on the recommendation promptly. Try to limit your recommendation memo to one page. A paper copy should be included in the Taxpayer’s file, saved on the “i” or “T” drive, which is linked to the Taxpayer’s Amicus file. (This is the procedure you are to follow with all documents you prepare, and given to the Clinic’s Administrative Coordinator.
If, after the initial phone call, you do not feel you have enough information to make a recommendation, then you may defer making the recommendation until after you have had the in-depth interview and had the opportunity to review the taxpayer’s documents. You should prepare your recommendation immediately after the in-depth interview, but you should never make a recommendation to accept a case on inadequate information. If you are unable to obtain sufficient information on which to make an informed decision, you should probably recommend that the Clinic decline the case. Discuss this with your supervisor.
If the case is accepted, mail to the taxpayer an Engagement Letter for his signature, along with an extra copy to keep for his records. Include a stamped, self-addressed envelope so that the Taxpayer may easily return the signed letter to the Clinic. Is is critical that you ensure that every client’s file contains an engagement letter.
If the case is accepted, send a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the IRS in order to obtain the IRS file for the taxpayer. This file will often have critical information about the taxpayer’s matter that will be useful to you in determining what the IRS’s position is. In order to make this request, please use the FOIA Request Template.
If a case is declined, you should send the taxpayer a Letter of Declination within 24 hours of being notified of the decision to decline. If the case involves a statutory notice, the declination letter and any supporting documents received from the taxpayer should be returned to the taxpayer by United Parcel Service (UPS) or certified mail. Furthermore, you should complete a Case Closing Form and place the file along with that form in your supervisor’s tray for his review and approval.