Treasury  Inspector General for Tax Administration

Inspections and Evaluations

Highlights

Highlights of Report Number:  2010-IE-R004 to the Internal Revenue Service Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support.

WHY TIGTA DID THIS STUDY

This project was initiated to determine if the Internal Revenue Service has met the requirements directed to Federal agencies in preparing for a potential outbreak of a pandemic influenza like the H1N1 virus.

In 2006, the Homeland Security Council requested that department and agency heads certify that their department or agency was addressing the applicable elements of pandemic planning set forth in a checklist it developed.  In August 2008, the checklist was updated to reflect current Federal Government guidance.

The Department of the Treasury used the Homeland Security Council checklist to assess pandemic preparations by each of the Treasury Bureaus.  TIGTA chose to use the same criteria and shared the results of this inspection with the Department of the Treasuryís Director, Emergency Programs.

WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED

TIGTA recommended that the Internal Revenue Service implement a process to provide management with daily information on attendance levels.  Also, in expanding the teleworking program, the Internal Revenue Service should include a provision for directed teleworking of qualified employees in an emergency.

In their response to the report, Internal Revenue Service officials stated that the Wage and Investment Division has incorporated procedures for reporting absenteeism into their Business Resumption Plans, and the Human Capital Office plans to modify telework agreements to stipulate that employees may be directed to telework during emergency situations.

Issued on May 13, 2010

INSPECTION OF THE IRSíS PANDEMIC INFLUENZA PREPAREDNESS PLAN (Phase II)

WHAT TIGTA FOUND

In an interim report, TIGTA found that the Internal Revenue Service had addressed the majority of the pandemic checklist issued by the Homeland Security Council and was taking steps to complete the remainder.

While acknowledging the Internal Revenue Service has addressed the pandemic checklist, there were additional aspects of a potential outbreak that the TIGTA believed warranted additional review.  This included the tests, training, and exercises related to local business continuity plans (using a pandemic scenario); contingencies if a campus or field office had to completely close down due to expected high absenteeism; and the Internal Revenue Servicesís ability to use telework in the context of a pandemic.

In the course of this review, we determined that guidance related to pandemic influenza developed by the Internal Revenue Service was distributed to field operations and that seasonal and pandemic vaccinations will be provided for employees.  We found that while continuity exercises are improved, planned further development of the exercises is warranted.  In addition, we noted that even with the potential of high absenteeism due to pandemic, daily staffing levels at large Internal Revenue Service facilities is not consistently tracked, and the Internal Revenue Service does not include a provision in teleworking agreements for directed teleworking of qualified employees in an emergency, such as a pandemic.

 

READ THE FULL REPORT

To view the report, including the scope, methodology, and full Internal Revenue Service response, go to:

http://www.treas.gov/tigta/iereports/2010reports/2010IER004fr.html

Email Address:   inquiries@tigta.treas.gov

Phone Number:   202-622-6500

Web Site:   http://www.tigta.gov