U.S. GAO – Information Technological know-how: IRS Demands to Address Operational Problems and Alternatives to Boost Administration


What GAO Discovered

Info technology (IT) operational worries have hampered the Inner Earnings Service’s (IRS) ability to correctly have out its obligations. For example:

In May well 2020, GAO noted that new and continuing deficiencies in details technique protection controls about money and tax processing techniques involved deficiencies associated to access controls, segregation of duties, and other areas. These collectively represented a important deficiency in pitfalls of unauthorized entry to, modification of, or disclosure of money reporting and taxpayer facts and disruption of significant functions. GAO manufactured 18 new suggestions to tackle these deficiencies, bringing the overall selection of GAO cybersecurity tips that IRS has not but carried out to 132.

A January 2020 GAO report said that buyer company reps and frontline managers documented regularly enduring personal computer challenges that adversely afflicted their potential to serve taxpayers. Specially, they documented their computer systems freezing or using abnormal time to reboot. These computer system issues could bring about cellular phone calls to disconnect ahead of taxpayer challenges ended up fixed, which essential taxpayers to simply call back again and wait around in the queue again. GAO encouraged that IRS deal with this challenge IRS now has steps underway to carry out GAO’s advice.

GAO has also issued a number of studies figuring out a lot of opportunities for the IRS to enhance the management of its IT investments. IRS has dealt with some of the associated recommendations but other critical types are not however applied. For instance:

In June 2018, GAO reported that IRS had not completely applied essential possibility administration practices for a few mission important units going through important dangers because of to their reliance on legacy programming languages, out-of-date components, and a shortage of human means with necessary expertise. For instance, for a single of the units, the a lot more than 50-12 months old Individual Master File, IRS was utilizing assembly language and Personal computer Business enterprise Oriented Language (COBOL)—languages that were being both of those produced in the 1950s. As a consequence of these and other conclusions in its report, GAO produced 21 suggestions to IRS. As of September 2020, IRS had carried out 3 of the 21 tips.

In June 2016, GAO claimed that IRS experienced proven IT investment priorities that supported two kinds of activities—operations and modernization. Though IRS had developed a process for prioritizing functions activities, it did not have this sort of a procedure for modernization. Accordingly, GAO recommended that IRS create this approach to far better assure Congress and other choice makers that the optimum priorities are funded. In September 2020, the agency informed GAO that it expected to employ this process for the fiscal yr 2022 spending plan cycle.

Why GAO Did This Analyze

The IRS, a bureau of the Section of the Treasury, depends extensively on IT to yearly accumulate extra than $3 trillion in taxes, distribute extra than $400 billion in refunds, and carry out its mission of providing service to America’s taxpayers in meeting their tax obligations. This 12 months, IRS also relied on IT to method and disburse economic impression payments totaling hundreds of billions of pounds to millions of Americans in accordance with the Coronavirus Help, Relief, and Economic Security Act. IRS expects to spend $3.2 billion on IT for fiscal calendar year 2020.

GAO was questioned to testify about IT administration at IRS. Particularly, this testimony summarizes GAO’s prior experiences on IT difficulties that IRS has confronted in carrying out its operational responsibilities and on alternatives for the agency to strengthen the administration of its IT investments.

To do so, GAO reviewed its formerly issued stories figuring out IT operational troubles and prospects to increase the administration of its methods, and included info on the agency’s actions in response to connected tips.

What GAO Endorses

GAO has designed a range of suggestions to IRS to tackle IT issues and necessary advancements. Even though IRS has normally agreed with these, it continue to wants to put into action the many critical tips that continue being superb.

For far more details, get hold of Vijay D’Souza at (202) 512-6240 or [email protected]