U.S. GAO – Info Engineering: IRS Wants to Deal with Operational Problems and Chances to Strengthen Management

What GAO Located

Info engineering (IT) operational difficulties have hampered the Inside Income Service’s (IRS) capability to successfully have out its tasks. For example:

In May well 2020, GAO reported that new and continuing deficiencies in info program protection controls in excess of monetary and tax processing programs provided deficiencies relevant to access controls, segregation of obligations, and other regions. These collectively represented a considerable deficiency in threats of unauthorized obtain to, modification of, or disclosure of money reporting and taxpayer facts and disruption of essential operations. GAO created 18 new recommendations to deal with these deficiencies, bringing the overall selection of GAO cybersecurity recommendations that IRS has not nevertheless executed to 132.

A January 2020 GAO report said that customer support representatives and frontline professionals claimed frequently experiencing laptop challenges that adversely affected their capacity to serve taxpayers. Precisely, they described their desktops freezing or taking too much time to reboot. These laptop or computer challenges could trigger telephone phone calls to disconnect before taxpayer challenges ended up solved, which expected taxpayers to contact back and wait in the queue once again. GAO recommended that IRS deal with this obstacle IRS now has actions underway to apply GAO’s recommendation.

GAO has also issued several stories figuring out many chances for the IRS to strengthen the management of its IT investments. IRS has resolved some of the relevant suggestions but other crucial kinds are not however applied. For example:

In June 2018, GAO described that IRS had not absolutely carried out key danger administration practices for three mission critical techniques dealing with major risks because of to their reliance on legacy programming languages, outdated hardware, and a shortage of human methods with necessary competencies. For illustration, for a person of the programs, the more than 50-12 months old Person Learn File, IRS was making use of assembly language and Laptop or computer Organization Oriented Language (COBOL)—languages that ended up both of those developed in the 1950s. As a end result of these and other conclusions in its report, GAO manufactured 21 suggestions to IRS. As of September 2020, IRS experienced carried out three of the 21 suggestions.

In June 2016, GAO documented that IRS experienced set up IT expense priorities that supported two styles of activities—operations and modernization. Even though IRS had made a procedure for prioritizing operations activities, it did not have these a course of action for modernization. Appropriately, GAO suggested that IRS develop this process to improved guarantee Congress and other selection makers that the maximum priorities are funded. In September 2020, the agency explained to GAO that it predicted to carry out this procedure for the fiscal calendar year 2022 funds cycle.

Why GAO Did This Analyze

The IRS, a bureau of the Section of the Treasury, relies extensively on IT to yearly obtain extra than $3 trillion in taxes, distribute a lot more than $400 billion in refunds, and have out its mission of providing service to America’s taxpayers in meeting their tax obligations. This 12 months, IRS also relied on IT to system and disburse economic effects payments totaling hundreds of billions of dollars to millions of Americans in accordance with the Coronavirus Help, Reduction, and Economic Safety Act. IRS expects to spend $3.2 billion on IT for fiscal year 2020.

GAO was questioned to testify about IT management at IRS. Particularly, this testimony summarizes GAO’s prior reviews on IT troubles that IRS has faced in carrying out its operational duties and on options for the company to strengthen the management of its IT investments.

To do so, GAO reviewed its previously issued reports figuring out IT operational troubles and possibilities to strengthen the management of its units, and incorporated details on the agency’s steps in response to related suggestions.

What GAO Recommends

GAO has manufactured a selection of recommendations to IRS to deal with IT troubles and needed advancements. Though IRS has generally agreed with these, it nonetheless wants to put into action the several critical recommendations that stay superb.

For more info, make contact with Vijay D’Souza at (202) 512-6240 or [email protected]