The tax agency designed MSSP not only to improve the results of audits, but also to give auditors an edge. Tax advisors representing business owners "specialize to meet clients' needs," says one IRS official, who did not want to be identified. As a result, the IRS felt it was necessary "to expand its specialization into specific market segments to stay on a par with taxpayers and their representatives," says the official.
Rolled out nationally in 1993, MSSP has since published 53 guides, covering such industries as architecture, used-car dealerships and manufacturing. Research is underway on another 50 market segments, but not all will result in additional manuals, the IRS official says.
Another important part of the program is working with industry groups and associations to address industry concerns and ask for their support in complying with the agency's initiatives. The IRS says it has developed working relationships with a number of associations, including the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, the National Restaurant Association, the Direct Selling Association and the National Association of Manufacturers.