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Internal Revenue Service

As a bureau of the Department of the Treasury and as one of the world's most efficient tax administrators, the IRS role is to help the large majority of compliant taxpayers with the tax law, while ensuring that the minority who are unwilling to comply pay their fair share. (Source: www.irs.gov)

This forum will allow you to share and ask job-related questions about this bureau. This is NOT the place to ask tax questions.

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peggypwr1  
#1 Posted : Sunday, April 01, 2012 4:33:38 AM(UTC)
peggypwr1

Rank: Newbie

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Joined: 11/14/2011(UTC)
Posts: 6

Anyone here currently a Excise tax agent? How much traveling do you do? DO you do a full scale audit? What is your case load like?  WHat are the most common adjustments made?  How do POAs deal with you? Do they mistaken you for a regular SBSE agent? Please feel free to add any other details? THank you for your time.
irsfca  
#2 Posted : Monday, April 02, 2012 7:36:55 AM(UTC)
irsfca

Rank: Groupie

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Joined: 1/5/2010(UTC)
Posts: 66

Hi, I am currently an Excise tax agent and I can address your questions.
1) The amount of traveling you do depends on if you are a General Excise agent or if you are in the Fuel Specialty. Income tax usually stays in a 40 to 50 mile radius of the POD, General Excise attempts to keep you in the same range but that depends on the area of the country you live in. Agents in the fuel specialty travel a lot (job is advertised as 75% travel). I live in a densely populated area so I do not need to travel as often as most since there are so many businesses here.
2) I'm not sure what you mean by "full scale audit," but yes that is what we do, the only difference between us and general program is that we examine excise returns instead of income returns.
3) The case load varies on if you are a general excise agent or a fuel specialist. Naturally the people in the fuel specialty strictly work fuel cases which can be for a wide variety of companies (think about how many different types of companies own trucks for example). The general excise agent's case load varies, they work all abstracts on F720 and occasionally work smaller fuel cases too, fuel agents work the fuel abstracts on F720.
4) I can only speak for myself in saying that every exam is different there is no singular "most common" adjustment, if you're an internal employee then you know there are a variety of ways you end up determining an adjustment needs to be made it all depends on the taxpayer.
5) POA's deal with us the same way they would with Income Tax RA's, the only difference being the majority of POA's are not trained or familiar with excise tax. Even if a POA is involved in a case it is not uncommon to still need to deal with the taxpayer anyway since the POA is usually not familiar with the excise issues or the excise portions of their clients' businesses (for smaller and mid-size companies anyway, of course the larger the taxpayer gets the more specialized their representation will be).

I hope this helps, I have never worked in the Income Tax division so I can't say what it's like there but Excise is a good place to call home. I know plenty of people who came from Income to Excise though and they say Excise is a more "family oriented" environment because it is much smaller so it is easy to get to know most of the division. Good luck!
Chive On
peggypwr1  
#3 Posted : Monday, April 02, 2012 9:41:37 AM(UTC)
peggypwr1

Rank: Newbie

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Joined: 11/14/2011(UTC)
Posts: 6

irsca,
 
thank you so much for your reply. SO overall your enjoying your position. I am currently an RA in the SBSE general program.
 
the positon I am applying to is titled:

Job Title:INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT (EXCISE TAX)

I don't know if its fuel or general.
 
If I ask some more questions:
 
How many total hours on your activity record do you charge typically to close an excise case?
 
Are TPs responsive to the IDR. Or do you evet get to a field appt and the TP will not have anything ready?
 
Is over night travel necessary or frequent? Do you travel to the filed appt, do the audit, then go back to the hotel, and the next day return to the POD or home?
 
 
How is the training? Are the tests hard?
 
Thank you so much.
irsfca  
#4 Posted : Monday, April 02, 2012 10:39:23 AM(UTC)
irsfca

Rank: Groupie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 1/5/2010(UTC)
Posts: 66

no problem peggy,

I do enjoy my position, I am in the Fuel specialty so it is not strictly a desk job we go out in the field a lot which is awesome in the summer (not as awesome in the winter but it's part of the job). And I am not sure if that announcement is for general excise or the fuel specialty I still have to check it out.

-The hours spent on a case in Excise depend on your grade and the size of the cases you're assigned. If you're a GS-13 working an exam for a major oil company as part of a CIC case you could be charging hours to that case for two years until the cycle closes. I have had some small no change cases close in as little as fifteen hours. Unless there are major issues or the case is exceptionally large it should not take longer than a week or two to close a case based on my experience thus far.

-TP's are usually responsive to the IDR, there have definitely been some appointments where they say they'll have the IDR info ready for the appt and then I get there and they haven't pulled anything but that doesn't typically happen.

-Your location in the country will usually determine the frequency of overnight travel. It is definitely required, I am gone usually 2-5 nights a month but I travel the least out of my coworkers because of where I live. Fuel is advertised as up to 75%, two to three weeks travel a month every month. I usually travel to the appt, do the audit and then go to the hotel, if another visit is necessary I go back and if not then I head home. Some co-workers get cases assigned that are 8 hours away so they drive all day straight to the hotel, do the exam the following day, and then return home (usually multiple appts will be scheduled if they're that far so you drive monday, appts tues through thurs, return home friday).

-Training is pretty straight forward you'll be fine if you're coming from income tax, you're dealing with an entire new section of tax code so you just pick it up as you go along. The OJI's usually do a good job of pointing you in the right direction.

glad I could help!
Chive On
angelfire213  
#5 Posted : Monday, April 02, 2012 11:47:26 AM(UTC)
angelfire213

Rank: Senior Member

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Joined: 10/31/2009(UTC)
Posts: 418

i used to be an excise RA. Like they said, the travel depends on your POD....Mine covered a pretty wide area so lots of driving. I kinda liked it for the mileage and hotel points. But whenever there is a budget freeze like around now...they make you do most things through correspondence. 
Compared to what the Income RAs had, our case load was a little lighter. You will deal with lots of people that have no clue about the taxes they owe because there a million and one types of excise taxes.

Depending on your area, you might audit coal, fishing, gambling (yes you will be dealing with bookies), fuel and diesel claims, trucks (most common) and a million other types. 
Personally, I left because I was just starting out my career and excise is VERY SPECIFIC, so unless you are going to stay at the IRS till retirement, your options afterwards are very limited. The trucking companies and such usually do their own returns (by hand on scraps of paper lol) and won't be hiring you. So that's something to think about
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