(Washington, DC) Risk management was a major area of focus and discussion at the IRS Oversight Board’s quarterly meeting held at the Treasury Department on September 19, 2013. The Board was particularly interested in the IRS’ Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) program, which it discussed at length with Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel and IRS Chief Risk Officer David Fisher.
In June 2013, the Oversight Board created a Risk Management Committee. The new committee will work closely with the IRS Chief Risk Officer to help identify, assess and mitigate risk in the agency’s operations and administration. “I commend Acting Commissioner Werfel and Chief Risk Officer Fisher for their work to date in addressing risk at the IRS. The Enterprise Risk Management program, which is part of the Acting Commissioner’s ’30-day plan’, is an excellent start,” said IRS Oversight Board Chairman Paul Cherecwich, Jr.
In addition, the Board was briefed on efforts to draft a new IRS strategic plan. Its current strategic plan, which expires at the end of the year, provides the IRS with long-term direction and clear goals. The Board has long supported the establishment of long-term goals, and looks forward to working with the agency to ensure it sets new goals to meet the needs of taxpayers and the tax administration system.
The IRS budget and human capital issues were also discussed at the meeting and are of great concern to the Board. The Board was told that the IRS would incur further budget cuts in fiscal year (FY) 2014 under sequestration. The Board notes that the IRS budget has declined significantly since FY2010. Tough decisions must be made and programs are at risk. “For years, the IRS was told to do more with less. In 2014, I am gravely concerned that we are going to see what ‘less’ really means to taxpayers and tax practitioners. The Board encourages the IRS to keep stakeholders well-informed of changes in services which may become unavoidable in this uncertain budget environment,” said Mr. Cherecwich.
The IRS is also dealing with numerous human capital challenges, including reduced staffing levels and an increased workload. Noting that “the IRS workforce is its greatest asset,” Board Chair Cherecwich went on to observe, “We commend the men and women of the IRS who continue to perform their duties diligently despite today’s difficult environment. I particularly commend Acting Commissioner Werfel and his team for focusing a great deal of time and effort in responding quickly and professionally to congressional inquiries.”
The Board expressed confidence that, if confirmed by the Senate as Commissioner of Internal Revenue, John Koskinen will deliver the leadership needed to put the IRS on the right path, including rebuilding public trust in the agency and boosting employee morale. “I interviewed Mr. Koskinen before his nomination and was very impressed by him. I have no doubts that John is the right person for the IRS at this critical juncture and the Board looks forward to his speedy confirmation,” Mr. Cherecwich said.
The Oversight Board will next meet on December 4, 2013 in Washington, DC.