Budget cuts totaling $1.1 billion over the past five years impacted nearly every fact of the Internal Revenue Service’s mission. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration says IRS officers answered 25 percent fewer taxpayer phone calls over past four years. And the agency closed 34 percent fewer cases. Computer network downtime topped nearly 66-thousand hours. Matthew Weir is an assistant IG for the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. He tells In Depth with Francis Rose about the kinds of work automated service collection contact representatives and field collection officers do and how it’s suffered.
The Internal Revenue Service has lost about 10 percent of its budget since 2010. The result of that — according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration — is that the IRS can’t collect as much tax money as it should be collecting. Don Kettl is a professor at University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. He tells In Depth with Francis Rose that tax collectors have been unpopular for a long time.
The Internal Revenue Service’s Get Transcript system remains offline after criminals stole data from 104,000 taxpayers. The IRS and its overseers agree the authentication mechanisms the site used failed to keep pace with hackers.
The Internal Revenue Service has rehired hundreds of former employees with records including conduct problems, performance issues and even back taxes owed. Greg Kutz is assistant inspector general for audit (management services and exempt organizations) at the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. On In Depth with Francis Rose, he explained why TIGTA focused on the issue.
The strict budget constraints placed on the Internal Revenue Service are crippling efforts to conduct the most basic levels of public service, said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
The Internal Revenue Service is making progress with controls over its purchase card program. The agency has implemented almost all the recommendations the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has made. But there are still some loose ends to tie up. Greg Kutz is assistant inspector general for audit — management services and exempt organizations — at TIGTA. On In Depth with Francis Rose, he said 14 examples of misuse turned up in a review, but that’s a small fraction of the overall use of purchase cards.
From hiring freezes and furlough days, to cuts to travel and equipment upgrades, the IRS generally ‘took reasonable steps’ to plan for sequestration, according to a new audit.
In a recent audit made public Tuesday, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported that between Oct. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31 2012, more than 2,800 employees disciplined within the past year for misconduct collected a total of $2.8 million in monetary awards. That included more than $1 million in cash awards for 1,100 IRS employees who had failed to pay federal taxes.
In an annual report to Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina Olson, wrote that the IRS faces “unstable and chronic underfunding that puts at risk the IRS’s ability to meet its current responsibilities, much less articulate and achieve the necessary transformation to an effective, modern tax agency.”
Emerging technologies like cloud, wireless access and virtualization are making telework an easy — and economic — solution for some agencies.