Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
March 3, 2009
Contact: Robert Sperling
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) today announced the public release of its review of the IRS's (Internal Revenue Service) data strategy.
The review is the latest of TIGTA's ongoing oversight of the IRS's modernization program. In recent months, TIGTA has issued reports on the Modernized Electronic Filing, Customer Account Data Engine and Account Management Services projects.
The data strategy is designed to provide standardized access to IRS data sources, eliminate, redundant, inconsistent and outdated data; and provide guidance to identify and use data effectively and efficiently to gather and manage taxpayer account information.
"All of the IRS's compliance activities rely on data. By improving the quality and accessibility of the data, the IRS will be better equipped to enforce the nation's tax laws," commented J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
TIGTA's audit found that the IRS is making progress in developing a consolidated database of tax return and account data that uses a consistent vocabulary to categorize data and ensure a consistent meaning of the data throughout the IRS. However, the data strategy relies on funding by the IRS divisions that anticipate using the strategy's capabilities. The IRS estimates it will cost $180 million to complete the data strategy but has not quantified the benefits it expects the strategy to provide.
TIGTA recommended that the IRS should consider the priority of the data strategy effort in relation to its overall modernization program and provide the necessary funding; quantify and communicate the benefits that will be realized through implementation of the data strategy and determine the priority for IRS systems and data assets to begin following the data strategy and when systems and assets can be retired. The IRS agreed to quantify the benefits and develop a plan for prioritizing when systems and data assets will be incorporated into the data strategy. While the IRS agrees with the intent of the recommendation to consider the priority of the Data Strategy effort, it could not commit funding any one project without considering each year's annual budget.
To view the full report, including the scope, methodology and the IRS's response to a draft of the report:http://www.treas.gov/tigta/auditreports/2009reports/200920022fr.html
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