Even IRS watchdogs agree the agency needs more money

In today's Federal Newscast, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson tells Congress the IRS' lack of funding is the root of many of the agency's problems with cus...

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  • In its annual report to Congress, the Taxpayer Advocate lists a lot of problems. Money underlies many of them. It all led advocate Nina Olson to conclude the IRS absolutely needs more funding, mainly for improving service, raising compliance and upgrading its systems. She questioned whether the IRS can help taxpayers understand the new tax law. Still, she tagged agency officials for using lack-of-resources as an excuse for mediocrity. (Taxpayer Advocate Service)
  • With budget uncertainty becoming the norm, figuring out how to deal with disruption is now the number one concern for agency chief financial officers . A new survey from the Association of Government Accountants found many federal, state and local CFOs are emphasizing risk management and finding ways to use this time to make lasting improvements. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Pentagon’s chief financial officer told Congress that this year’s audit — the first in its history — will cost $367 million, with about half of that figure going to independent audit firms DoD has already hired. The department expects to spend another half a billion dollars to fix the financial management weaknesses those auditors identify. DoD argued the benefits would outweigh the costs though, and as a proportion of its budget, they were well within the range that Fortune 500 companies spend on auditing each year. (Federal News Radio)
  • Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft said the service needs a stable budget in the next month. Zukunft said the service needs money to invest in drones, inland waterway construction and cyber abilities. The Coast Guard had a particularly active year after Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma battered the U.S. The Coast Guard will be fully transitioned to Windows 10 by March 31, according to Zunkunft. The Defense Department mandated all military services adopt Windows 10 by January 2017. All of the services were far off the mark. (Federal News Radio)
  • With only six in 1,000 new supervisors and managers fail their probationary periods, the Merit Systems Protection Board suggested agencies make them longer. MSPB said there should be more failing considering what it knows about agencies’ hiring and professional development practices. Most agencies’ supervisory probationary periods last the standard one year. (Federal News Radio)
  • The gulf between acquisition and IT remains large at most agencies. Fourteen of 22 agencies failed to fully follow the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance to coordinate the buying of technology across the agency. The Government Accountability Office found in a new report issued yesterday that many agency acquisition offices were not involved in the identification process, or provided clear guidance for ensuring that IT was properly identified in contracts. GAO said without proper identification of IT acquisitions, agencies and CIOs cannot effectively provide oversight of them. Under the FITARA law, agencies are supposed to ensure their CIOs approval all contracts for technology. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The congressman who authored the DATA Act, began the effort to give agency chief information officers more authorities and led the Oversight and Government Reform Committee for five years is retiring. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) announced he would not seek a 10th term. Issa is the 31st House Republican who will not to seek re-election in November. (Federal News Radio)
  • A lawsuit was brought against the Office of Management and Budget in an effort to make the agency release public comments on the government reorganization. The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted a Freedom of Information Act request back in July, for OMB’s records. The agency has yet to comply. The group asked for a list of the topics the public’s suggestions covered, any decisions made about those comments, and OMB’s analysis of those recommendations. (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)
  • The American Federation of Government Employees wants Congress to review the Veterans Affairs Department’s billing practices with two of its largest contractors. VA used third-party administrators TriWest and HealthNet to carry out pieces of the Veterans Choice Program. VA’s inspector general said the department over-billed and over-paid them. The IG also said both VA and the contractors knew about payment mistakes, and did little to fix them. (American Federation of Government Employees)
  • Only one day is left for federal workers and retirees to join the Combined Federal Campaign for the year. The CFC works with over 20,000 nonprofit charitable organizations so there are plenty of causes to get behind. Feds interested in pledging can go to CFCGiving.OPM.gov.

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