Late last year, the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’s) Large Business and International (LB&I) division announced that it would restructure its organization. The restructuring was precipitated by shrinking resources and a shifting environment. A primary feature of the restructuring is the end of the continuous audit program (where the IRS audits a large taxpayer year after year for decades) and a move to an issue focused, coordinated attack—to wit, the new IRS “Campaign” methodology. Although this program is clearly in its infancy, practitioners are starting to see how the IRS is implementing their latest project.
In essence, IRS campaigns are a centralized risk identification strategy. The IRS has leveraged its knowledge throughout its system, identified the most serious tax issues and allocated its resources to those issues. The emphasis then, is off specific taxpayers and on to specific tax issues.