TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION

 

 

Suspended E-File Providers Were Not Adequately Assisted With Reinstatement of Electronic Filing Privileges

 

 

July 10, 2007

 

Reference Number:  2007-40-114

 

 

This report has cleared the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration disclosure review process and information determined to be restricted from public release has been redacted from this document.

 

Phone Number   |  202-927-7037

Email Address   |  Bonnie.Heald@tigta.treas.gov

Web Site           |  http://www.tigta.gov

 

July 10, 2007

 

 

MEMORANDUM FOR COMMISSIONER, WAGE AND INVESTMENT DIVISION

 

FROM:                            Michael R. Phillips /s/ Michael R. Phillips

                                         Deputy Inspector General for Audit

 

SUBJECT:                    Final Audit Report –Suspended E-File Providers Were Not Adequately Assisted With Reinstatement of Electronic Filing Privileges (Audit #200740038)

 

This report presents the results of our review to determine why the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) experienced a backlog of suspended electronic-file Providers (hereafter referred to as e-file Providers or Providers) prior to the start of the 2007 Filing Season.[1]  The audit was initiated because of a complaint received by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration regarding the timeliness of IRS assistance in reinstating e-file Providers that had been suspended because of noncompliance with the U.S. Individual Income Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return (Form 8453) submission requirements.[2]

Impact on the Taxpayer

E-file Providers originate the electronic submission of income tax returns to the IRS.  In October 2006, the IRS suspended 12,588 Providers for not submitting required Forms 8453.  The suspensions created a significant backlog of Providers, and the IRS was not adequately prepared to assist them with the reinstatement of their electronic filing privileges.  This could have prevented Providers from submitting electronic tax returns and required them and/or taxpayers to file paper tax returns.

Synopsis

Problems with the letter generation program delayed the mailings of the Warning and Suspension Letters.

On October 30, 2006, the IRS suspended 12,588 e‑file Providers for not submitting the required Forms 8453.  The suspensions created a significant backlog of Providers who needed IRS assistance to be reinstated before January 12, 2007 (the date the IRS began accepting electronic tax returns).  This backlog resulted when Warning Letters (Letter 2750) and Suspension Letters (Letter 2752) were issued late and the IRS was not adequately prepared to assist Providers with reinstatement. 

The primary computer system necessary to reinstate suspended e-file Providers was often not available.

The IRS had not successfully issued Suspension Letters or suspended e-file Providers that had not submitted Forms 8453 since Calendar Year 2002.  Once the Letters were issued and Providers were suspended, IRS assistors were often unable to access the primary computer system (the Employee User Portal) needed to reinstate suspended Providers because the system was unavailable.  E-file Providers that contacted the IRS for assistance with reinstatement experienced longer calls and longer hold times than during the same period last year.[3]  The total impact of the unavailability of the Employee User Portal during October 2006 through February 2007 was a loss of more than 18,000 hours of productivity.

In addition, IRS assistors noted that a number of e-file Providers stated they had not received Warning and/or Suspension Letters, and procedures for working undelivered Warning and Suspension Letters were not consistent.  The e-file Units in the Andover, Massachusetts, and Austin, Texas, Campuses[4] did not follow the same process when Letters were returned as undeliverable, and guidelines for working undeliverable correspondence from Providers were not consistent with guidelines for handling undelivered Warning and Suspension Letters.  Although the Andover Campus e-file Unit attempted to contact Providers to obtain updated addresses, the Austin Campus Unit did not.

Further, the Austin Campus was closed for 2 business days because of weather at the beginning of the 2007 Filing Season when it was answering inquiries and working appeals from the suspended e-file Providers.  As of February 20, 2007, the majority of the over 9,900 appeals for reinstatement had been worked by the Andover and Austin Campus e-file Units.  The Austin Campus Unit continued to receive appeals after February 20, 2007, and worked these as received.

Issues relating to Form 8453 filing requirements (including processing the Forms, generating Warning letters to e-file Providers, suspending Providers, and processing appeals) would be addressed if, as we had recommended in a September 2006 report,[5] the IRS mandated the use of a Personal Identification Number.  Implementation of this recommendation would have eliminated the required use of the Form 8453.  We had calculated the IRS could save $1.83 million in processing costs (cost savings calculation did not include mailouts, assistance with answering questions, and/or working appeals) if Form 8453 was eliminated.

Recommendations

We recommended the Commissioner, Wage and Investment Division, reconsider eliminating the use of Form 8453 as a signature document and mandate the use of a Personal Identification Number.  At a minimum, this should be required for returns prepared at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites.[6]  If the Commissioner, Wage and Investment Division, disagreed with eliminating the Form 8453, we recommended the Commissioner:

  • Ensure Warning and Suspension Letters are issued timely.
  • Continue to monitor the availability of the Employee User Portal and continue raising concerns about system availability to representatives from the Modernization and Information Technology Services organization. 
  • Revise guidelines for handling undeliverable Warning and Suspension Letters to require assistors to attempt to contact e-file Providers by telephone to obtain new addresses.

Response

IRS management agreed with our recommendation to eliminate the use of Form 8453 as a signature document and mandate the use of a Personal Identification Number.  They will initially develop a comprehensive action plan to pursue mandating the use of Personal Identification Numbers by Electronic Return Originators for the 2008 Filing Season.  They will also evaluate mandating Personal Identification Number usage by online filers in the 2009 Filing Season.  The other recommendations were contingent upon whether the IRS agreed to Recommendation 1.  They are no longer applicable because management has agreed to eliminate the use of Form 8453 as a signature document.  Management’s complete response to the draft report is included as Appendix V.

Please contact me at (202) 622-6510 if you have questions or Michael E. McKenney, Assistant Inspector General for Audit (Wage and Investment Income Programs), at (202) 622-5916.

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Background

Results of Review

The Internal Revenue Service Suspended E-File Providers and Was Not Adequately Prepared to Assist With Reinstatement

Recommendations 1 through 4:

Appendices

Appendix I – Detailed Objective, Scope, and Methodology

Appendix II – Major Contributors to This Report

Appendix III – Report Distribution List

Appendix IV – U.S. Individual Income Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return (Form 8453)

Appendix V – Management’s Response to the Draft Report

 

 

Abbreviations

 

e-file Provider; Provider

Electronic-file Provider

IRS

Internal Revenue Service

PIN

Personal Identification Number

 

 

Background

 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) introduced electronic filing in 1986.  In Fiscal Year 2006, more than 73 million tax returns were electronically filed.  Individual taxpayers may file their tax returns electronically but must still provide a signature on the tax returns.[7]  The Internal Revenue Code[8] and IRS tax publications clearly state that a tax return is not considered authentic or complete until a signature is received.  To ensure electronic tax returns comply with the law, the IRS created the U.S. Individual Income Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return (Form 8453)[9] and a Personal Identification Number (PIN).  The IRS allows individual taxpayers to sign their electronic tax returns via a Form 8453 or a PIN.

Electronic-file Providers are required to send a signature form to the IRS within 3 business days of an electronic tax return’s acceptance by the IRS.

As of October 2006, there were 176,373 active electronic-file Providers (hereafter referred to as e-file Providers or Providers) that originate the electronic submission of income tax returns to the IRS by submitting income tax returns that are either prepared by the Providers or collected from taxpayers.  Providers are required to submit signed Forms 8453 to the IRS within 3 business days of the returns’ acceptance by the IRS.  Depending on where the taxpayers reside, the Forms 8453 are sent to the Submission Processing Campuses[10] in Andover, Massachusetts, or Austin, Texas.

Upon receipt of Forms 8453, IRS employees input the information to a database that matches the Forms 8453 to the related electronic tax returns.  The IRS tracks e-file Providers that have not timely submitted their Forms 8453 and issues reminder letters to those that have 2 or more percent missing Forms 8453.  Providers that are not compliant in filing Forms 8453 will be suspended for 2 years (i.e., they are unable to file electronic tax returns) and have the right to appeal the suspensions.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration received a complaint alleging that the IRS was not timely assisting suspended e-file Providers

In January 2007, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration received a complaint regarding the timeliness of IRS assistance in reinstating e-file Providers that had been suspended because of noncompliance with Form 8453 submission requirements.  The complainant was concerned about how this might affect both the IRS and the Providers during the 2007 Filing Season.[11] 

This review was performed at the Customer Account Services office and the Customer Assistance, Relationships, and Education office in Atlanta, Georgia; the Electronic Tax Administration function and the Modernization and Information Technology Services organization in WashingtonD.C.; and the e-file Units in the Andover and Austin Submission Processing Campuses during the period January to March 2007.  The audit was conducted in accordance with Government Auditing Standards.  Detailed information on our audit objective, scope, and methodology are presented in Appendix I.  Major contributors to the report are listed in Appendix II. 

 

 

Results of Review

 

The Internal Revenue Service Suspended E-File Providers and Was Not Adequately Prepared to Assist With Reinstatement

The backlog resulted when Letters were issued late and the IRS was not adequately prepared to assist e-file Providers with reinstatement.

On October 30, 2006, the IRS suspended 12,588 e-file Providers for not submitting the required Forms 8453.  The IRS had not successfully issued Suspension Letters or suspended the Providers who had not submitted Forms 8453 since Calendar Year 2002.  The October 2006 suspensions created a significant backlog of Providers who needed IRS assistance to be reinstated before January 12, 2007 (the date the IRS began accepting electronic tax returns).  This backlog resulted when Warning Letters (Letter 2750)[12] and Suspension Letters (Letter 2752) were issued late and the IRS was not adequately prepared to assist Providers with reinstatement. 

Also, the Austin Campus was closed for 2 business days because of weather at the beginning of the 2007 Filing Season.  This was when the IRS was answering inquiries and working appeals from the suspended e-file Providers.  As of February 20, 2007, the majority of the over 9,900 appeals for reinstatement had been worked by the e-file Units in the Andover and Austin Campuses.  The Austin Campus e-file Unit continued to receive appeals after February 20, 2007, and worked these as received. 

Had the IRS been unable to reinstate the e-file Providers, they would have been unable to submit electronic tax returns.  This could have required them and/or taxpayers to file paper tax returns.  Not only would this be a burden to the Providers and the taxpayers, but the IRS would have had to process more paper tax returns at an additional cost. 

Delays in notifying e-file Providers they were about to be and/or had been suspended caused a backlog of Providers asking for reinstatement

IRS guidelines require that e-file Providers receive a Warning Letter if 2 or more percent of their Forms 8453 are missing.  These Letters are to be sent between July 15 and July 31 of each year.  If a reply to the Warning Letter is not received and the number of Forms 8453 missing or unsigned is 2 or more percent, the guidelines require that a Suspension Letter be issued to the Provider between September 15 and September 30. 

In Calendar Year 2006, the Andover Campus mailed the Warning Letters late because there were formatting problems with the file used to generate the Letters.  In addition, a second mailing of the Warning Letters was necessary because the IRS identified e-file Providers whose addresses were missing from the data extract used to create the first mailing.  Figure 1 provides the volume and actual dates the Warning and Suspension Letters were sent to Providers. 

Figure 1:  Volumes and Dates of Warning and Suspension Letters Sent
During Calendar Year 2006

Campus

Warning Letter

Date Mailed

Warning Letter

Date Mailed

Suspension Letter

Date Mailed

Andover

8,645

7/21/06

758

9/5/06

4,561

10/30/06

Austin

15,546

7/31/06

3,700

9/5/06

8,458

10/30/06

Totals

24,191

 

4,458

 

13,019[13]

 

Source:  IRS Submission Processing function, E-Submissions office.  The data included in Figure 1 were provided by the IRS; the data are presented for perspective only and were not audited.

IRS representatives responsible for testing the Letter Generation Program stated they completed testing 2 weeks before the Warning Letters were to be generated.  The testing included verifying that the address data file contained the required data fields, Letters were created and matched layout requirements, and Letter return address headers were accurately spaced and correctly formatted.  The verification also ensured the Program was compatible with formatting and printing processes.

However, testing did not identify all the problems causing the delays in issuing the Warning Letters.  For example, when the Letter Generation Program was tested, programmers assumed Warning Letters might need 10 pages to 20 pages of missing Forms 8453 to be attached.  Yet some e-file Providers had over 100 pages of missing Forms 8453.  When there were more pages than the Program was set up to handle, the Program would not function properly and subsequent Letters were not generating properly.

In addition, when the IRS began receiving responses to its Warning Letter mailout, it had to delay the mailing of the Suspension Letters until October 30, 2006, to process incoming Forms 8453.  The IRS appropriately wanted to process the Forms 8453 to ensure Suspension Letters were not sent to e-file Providers that were now compliant.  Processing the Forms 8453 involves inputting the information to IRS computers to match the Forms 8453 to the related electronic tax returns. 

Nine percent of the suspended e-file Providers were associated with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites.  Considerable resources were expended to obtain missing Forms 8453 and reinstate these Providers.

Of the 12,588 e-file Providers suspended, 1,140 (9 percent) were associated with a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site.[14]  Oversight of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program is the responsibility of the IRS Stakeholder Partnerships, Education, and Communication function, which worked with the Submission Processing function to determine the process for volunteer Provider reinstatement.  There were specific concerns regarding the impact on filing season readiness, the burden on E-Help Desk staff, and the burden on volunteers.  The Stakeholder Partnerships, Education, and Communication function agreed to assist the Submission Processing function with the collection and submission of the missing Forms 8453.  In return, the Submission Processing function would initiate a batch processing to reactivate the compliant volunteer Providers.  Of the original 1,140 volunteer Providers suspended, 1,119 (98 percent) were submitted for reinstatement.  These Providers were reinstated on December 28, 2006, which required the expending of additional resources by the Stakeholder Partnerships, Education, and Communication and the Submission Processing functions.

IRS assistors were often unable to access the primary computer system needed to reinstate suspended e-file Providers

The Employee User Portal is an internal computer portal that allows IRS employees to access business applications and data.  IRS assistors were often unable to access the Employee User Portal, which is needed to reinstate suspended e-file Providers, because the system was unavailable.

The Wage and Investment Division Submission Processing function reported its concern about the unavailability of the Employee User Portal to the Modernization and Information Technology Services organization.  In January 2007, the Submission Processing function was unable to certify that it was ready for the upcoming filing season.  In the Filing Season Readiness Plan, Submission Processing function officials stated they had taken appropriate actions to ensure a successful 2007 Filing Season, but uncertainty regarding the Employee User Portal availability posed “huge concerns for a successful filing season.”

The IRS also reported in the Wage and Investment Division Business Performance Review report[15] (dated February 28, 2007) that during December 2006 the Employee User Portal had an availability rate of only 62 percent.  The total impact of the unavailability of this Portal during October 2006 through February 2007 was a loss of more than 18,000 hours of productivity.  Figure 2 presents a breakdown of productivity loss by Campus.

Figure 2:  Productivity (Hours) Lost Due to the
Unavailability of the Employee User Portal

Month/Year

Andover Impact

Austin Impact

Total
Impact
[16]

 

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

1,110

 459

1,569

3,135

2,033

5,168

2,440

3,499

5,939

 

January 2007

2,428

1,943

4,371

 

February 2007

214

1,450

1,664

 

Total Impact

 

 

18,711

 

Source:  IRS Business Strategy and Business Architect office.  The data included in Figure 2 were provided by the IRS; the data are presented for perspective only and were not audited.

IRS employees use the Employee User Portal to access e-file Providers’ information and to reinstate suspended Providers.  The E-Help Desk Program assists Providers with electronic services (e.g., filing), which includes taking calls from Providers that are suspended and assisting them with reinstatement.  Providers that contacted the E-Help Desk for assistance with reinstatement experienced longer calls and longer hold times than during the same period last year[17] because the employees could not access the Employee User Portal.

During the period October 2006 through January 2007, the IRS answered 126,874 calls at all 4 E‑Help Desk call sites,[18] yet the number of calls that came into the E-Help Desks totaled 225,481; thus, over 98,000 calls went unanswered.  Figure 3 compares key measures for the E‑Help Desk Program at the Andover and Austin Campuses for the months of October through January in Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007.

Figure 3:  E-Help Desk Program Key Measures Comparison
(for October through January)

 

Andover Campus

Austin Campus

E-Help Desk Measures

Fiscal Year 2006

Fiscal Year 2007

Percentage Change

Fiscal Year 2006

Fiscal Year 2007

Percentage Change

Services Provided[19]

77,127

56,504

-27%

59,435

45,078

-24%

Average Handle Time (minutes)[20]

6.85

11.29

+65%

7.50

9.47

+26%

Average Talk Time (minutes)[21]

3.96

5.73

+45%

4.73

6.05

+28%

Average Hold Time (minutes)[22]

.29

.44

+52%

.33

.46

+39%

Average Wrap Time (minutes)[23]

2.60

5.12

+97%

2.44

2.96

+21%

Source:  IRS Business Strategy and Business Architect office.  The data included in Figure 3 were provided by the IRS; the data are presented for perspective only and were not audited.

Procedures for working undelivered Warning and Suspension Letters are not consistent

Assistors who answered calls from suspended e-file Providers noted that a number of Providers stated they had not received their Warning and/or Suspension Letters.  The e-file Units in the Andover and Austin Campuses did not follow the same process when Warning and Suspension Letters were returned as undeliverable.  When undelivered Warning and Suspension Letters were received by the Andover Campus e-file Unit, employees attempted to contact the Providers by telephone to obtain updated addresses.  The Austin Campus e-file Unit did not attempt to contact the Providers to obtain updated addresses.  Instead, the Unit just filed the undeliverable Letters in the respective Providers’ case folders maintained in the Unit.

The Andover Campus e-file Unit does not track the number of undelivered Letters.  However, the Austin Campus Unit reported 2,043 Warning and Suspension Letters were returned as undeliverable.

IRS e-file Application and Participation (Publication 3112) states that e-file Providers must revise their Applications to Participate in the IRS e-file Program (Form 8633) within 30 calendar days of a change to any information on their current applications.  Publication 3112 also states that, if the IRS does not have current addresses for Providers, the Providers may not receive important letters. 

When Warning and/or Suspension Letters were returned to the IRS as undeliverable, assistors did not always try to contact the e-file Providers to obtain new addresses.

Guidelines for handling undelivered correspondence to e-file Providers require e-file Unit employees to call the Providers to try to obtain more current addresses.  If assistors are able to reach the Providers, they are to update IRS files with the new addresses and reissue the correspondence.  If assistors are unable to reach the Providers, they are to place the Providers in an inactive status. 

However, guidelines relating to undeliverable Warning and Suspension Letters do not require assistors to attempt to contact the e-file Providers.  The guidelines instruct assistors to issue a Suspension Letter to Providers that have 2 or more percent missing or unsigned Forms 8453 and have not replied to Warning Letters.  For Suspension Letters returned as undeliverable, assistors are instructed to file the undelivered Suspension Letters in the Providers’ folders maintained in the e-file Unit.  

Eliminating the use of Form 8453 by requiring a PIN would save the IRS significant resources

Issues relating to Form 8453 filing requirements (including processing the Forms, generating Warning Letters to e-file Providers, suspending Providers, and processing appeals) would be addressed if, as we had recommended in a September 2006 report,[24] the IRS mandated the use of a PIN.  Implementation of this recommendation would have eliminated the required use of the Form 8453.  We had calculated the IRS could save $1.83 million in processing costs (cost savings calculation did not include mailouts, assistance with answering questions, and/or working appeals) if Form 8453 was eliminated.

In making the recommendation, we noted that it was consistent with the proposals of IRS management in the Electronic Tax Administration function.  Their proposals included ideas to reduce the number of missing Forms 8453 and included the following:

  • Enable the taxpayer to create a PIN signature through the IRS web site (IRS.gov).
  • Create a telephone line for the sole purpose of providing the information a taxpayer would need to create a PIN.
  • Mandate the use of PINs on tax returns prepared on IRS computers.
  • Mandate the use of PINs by consortiums.[25]
  • Mandate the use of PINs by e-file Providers.

However, the Commissioner, Wage and Investment Division, disagreed with our recommendation (and associated outcome measure) to eliminate the use of Form 8453 as a signature document and mandate the use of PINs, whenever possible, for the following reasons:

  • Mandating the use of PINs could result in a larger volume of paper returns that would cost more to process than the savings generated from not processing the Forms 8453. 
  • The 1040 Modernized e-File Program will be implemented over a 3-year period starting in 2009.  This Program will allow for new methods of electronic signatures and the attachment of Portable Document Format (i.e., PDF) files for third-party signatures.  With full implementation, the Form 8453 should become obsolete.

The Commissioner, Wage and Investment Division, stated that the IRS would continue to improve the current Form 8453 process.  For example, the IRS is exploring earlier processing of Forms 8453, more efficient letter sequencing to request missing Forms 8453, and use of the Tax Return Database[26] for timelier letter mailouts.  The IRS will also send taxpayers and e-file Providers multiple signature compliance letters.

However, the IRS provided no empirical data to support its contention that mandating the use of PINs could result in larger volumes of paper returns.  With the advent of automated teller machines, debit cards, and online banking, the use of PINs has become commonplace.  It seems unlikely that taxpayers who have experienced the advantages of filing electronically would return to filing paper returns because they were required to use a PIN.  In our opinion, the steps discussed by the IRS to improve the current Form 8453 process may help but will not eliminate the problems associated with requiring Forms 8453, including burden to taxpayers (particularly when the IRS loses the Forms) and the inequitable treatment of taxpayers.  Also, the steps will not reduce the increased costs associated with processing Forms 8453.

Recommendations

The Commissioner, Wage and Investment Division, should:

Recommendation 1:  Reconsider eliminating the use of Form 8453 as a signature document and mandate the use of a PIN.  At a minimum, this should be required for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites.

Management’s Response:  IRS management agreed with this recommendation.  Initially, management will develop a comprehensive action plan to pursue mandating the use of PINs by Electronic Return Originators for the 2008 Filing Season.  Management will also evaluate mandating PIN usage by online filers in the 2009 Filing Season.

Recommendations 2 through 4 were contingent upon whether the Wage and Investment Division agreed with Recommendation 1.  They are no longer applicable because IRS management has agreed to eliminate the use of Form 8453 as a signature document.

Recommendation 2:  Ensure the Warning and Suspension Letters are issued timely.

Recommendation 3:  Continue to monitor the availability of the Employee User Portal and continue raising concerns about system availability to representatives from the Modernization and Information Technology Services organization. 

Recommendation 4:  Revise guidelines for handling undeliverable Warning and Suspension Letters to require assistors to attempt to contact e-file Providers by telephone to obtain new addresses.

 

Appendix I

 

Detailed Objective, Scope, and Methodology

 

The overall objective of this review was to determine why the IRS experienced a backlog of suspended electronic-file Providers prior to the start of the 2007 Filing Season.[27]  The audit was initiated because of a complaint received by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration regarding the timeliness of IRS assistance in reinstating e-file Providers that had been suspended because of noncompliance with U.S. Individual Income Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return (Form 8453) submission requirements.  To accomplish our objective, we:

I.                   Determined if the IRS experienced a significant backlog of suspended e-file Providers just prior to the 2007 Filing Season by interviewing appropriate IRS management and obtaining and analyzing statistical reports for the Form 8453 program.

II.                Determined what factors contributed to the backlog.

A.    Identified factors that resulted in the untimely issuance of Warning Letters (Letter 2750) and Suspension Letters (Letter 2752) to e-file Providers with missing Forms 8453.

B.     Identified Employee User Portal[28] problems (instability and downtime).

C.     Identified how inaccurate Provider addresses contributed to the backlog.

III.             Determined if the IRS adequately planned resources to address e-file Providers that were suspended as a result of noncompliance with the Form 8453 requirements. 

A.    Obtained and reviewed the Submission Processing function workplans for the e-file Units in the Andover, Massachusetts, and Austin, Texas, Campuses[29] for Fiscal Year 2006 and Calendar Year 2007.

B.     Obtained and reviewed workplans for the E-Help Desk for Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007 to determine if the Business Architect and Business Strategist office planned additional resources to handle the increase in telephone calls from the issuance of Warning and Suspension Letters for missing Forms 8453.

C.     Determined if additional resources were scheduled and the impact on providing quality customer service to suspended Providers.

 

Appendix II

 

Major Contributors to This Report

 

Michael E. McKenney, Assistant Inspector General for Audit (Wage and Investment Income Programs)

Augusta R. Cook, Director

Russell Martin, Audit Manager

Pamela DeSimone, Lead Auditor

Jerry Douglas, Auditor

 

Appendix III

 

Report Distribution List

 

Acting Commissioner  C

Office of the Commissioner - Attn:  Chief of Staff  C

Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement  SE

Deputy Commissioner, Wage and Investment Division  SE:W

Director, Customer Account Services, Wage and Investment Division  SE:W:CAS

Director, Customer Assistance, Relationships, and Education, Wage and Investment Division  SE:W:CAR

Director, Electronic Tax Administration, Wage and Investment Division  SE:W:ETA

Director, Strategy and Finance, Wage and Investment Division  SE:W:S

Chief, Performance Improvement, Wage and Investment Division  SE:W:S:PI

Chief Counsel  CC

National Taxpayer Advocate  TA

Director, Office of Legislative Affairs  CL:LA

Director, Office of Program Evaluation and Risk Analysis  RAS:O

Office of Internal Controls  OS:CFO:CPIC:IC

Audit Liaison:  Senior Operations Advisor, Wage and Investment Division  SE:W:S

 

Appendix IV

 

U.S. Individual Income Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return (Form 8453)

 

The form was removed due to its size.  To see the form, please go to the Adobe PDF version of the report on the TIGTA Public Web Page.

 

Appendix V

 

Management’s Response to the Draft Report

 

The response was removed due to its size.  To see the response, please go to the Adobe PDF version of the report on the TIGTA Public Web Page.



[1] The filing season is the period from January through mid-April when most individual income tax returns are filed.

[2] To ensure electronic tax returns comply with the law, the IRS created Form 8453 and a Personal Identification Number; the IRS allows individual taxpayers to sign their electronic tax returns via a Form 8453 or a Personal Identification Number.

[3] October 2005 through January 2006.

[4] Campuses are the data processing arm of the IRS.  They process paper and electronic submissions, correct errors, and forward data to the Computing Centers for analysis and posting to taxpayer accounts.

[5] Requiring Personal Identification Numbers for Electronically Filed Returns Could Improve Tax Administration and Reduce Costs (Reference Number 2006-30-160, dated September 20, 2006).

[6] The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program originated in 1969 and provides no-cost Federal tax return preparation and electronic filing to specific underserved segments of individual taxpayers.

[7] Individual taxpayers file a U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (Form 1040).

[8] Internal Revenue Code Section 6061. 

[9] See Appendix IV for a copy of Form 8453.

[10] Campuses are the data processing arm of the IRS.  They process paper and electronic submissions, correct errors, and forward data to the Computing Centers for analysis and posting to taxpayer accounts.

[11] The filing season is the period from January through mid-April when most individual income tax returns are filed.

[12] In total, 46 percent of the 28,649 Warning Letters were issued late.

[13] A total of 12,588 e-file Providers were suspended, with 431 e-file Providers being suspended by both the Andover and Austin Campuses.  The 431 e-file Providers were authorized to electronically file tax returns at both Campuses; therefore, they were suspended by both Campuses.

[14] The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program originated in 1969 and provides no-cost Federal tax return preparation and electronic filing to specific underserved segments of individual taxpayers.

[15] The Business Performance Review report shows the collection and use of measurement information and details on performance measures.

[16] Total impact is the hours of lost productivity.  In Figure 2, hours multiplied by the number of employees do not equal Total Impact because the Total Impact is calculated daily based on the total hours the Employee User Portal is unavailable multiplied by the number of employees affected. 

[17] October 2005 through January 2006.

[18] A comparison of calls received versus calls answered cannot be made for specific E-Help Desk sites because the IRS routes calls nationwide to one of the four sites.

[19] Services Provided represents the number of calls answered by the E-Help Desk for which a service was provided.

[20] Average Handle Time is equal to Talk Time plus Hold Time plus Wrap Time.

[21] Average Talk Time is the average amount of time the caller spent on the telephone with the assistor. 

[22] Average Hold Time is the average amount of time the caller was on hold after getting through to an assistor.

[23] Average Wrap Time is the average amount of time the assistor took to document the call after the call ended. 

[24] Requiring Personal Identification Numbers for Electronically Filed Returns Could Improve Tax Administration and Reduce Costs (Reference Number 2006-30-160, dated September 20, 2006).

[25] Consortiums are members of the Free File Alliance that provide free electronic filing services to taxpayers that meet certain criteria.

[26] The Tax Return Database contains tax return source information for all electronically filed tax returns.  It also contains electronically filed tax forms.  It is the legal repository for all electronically filed returns for Tax Year 1998 and beyond.  Beginning with Tax Year 2002, it also contains transcribed portions of paper returns.

[27] The filing season is the period from January through mid-April when most individual income tax returns are filed.

[28] The Employee User Portal is the primary computer system used by IRS employees to access an e-file Provider’s information and to reinstate a suspended Provider.

[29] Campuses are the data processing arm of the IRS.  They process paper and electronic submissions, correct errors, and forward data to the Computing Centers for analysis and posting to taxpayer accounts.