Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
September 1, 2009
Contact: Li-Yun Chien
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) today publicly released its review of the Embedded Quality Review Program used by the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) Division to measure the quality of work performed by its Field Collection Program.
The Embedded Quality Review Program allows SB/SE Division management to measure Field Collection Program employee performance on casework and identify areas for organizational and individual improvement. It consists of two parts: a national quality review of a statistical sample of closed cases; and cases reviewed by first-line managers.
TIGTA found that, overall, the Embedded Quality Review Program provides an effective measure of Field Collection Program work quality. However, although IRS managers rated most quality attributes accurately, TIGTA identified some inaccuracies in such ratings. In addition, TIGTA found that Field Collection Program managers were sharing national quality review data from specific cases with individual employees.
IRS guidelines prohibit national case-specific quality review data from being used to evaluate individual employees or as a substitute for first-line managerial review responsibilities. In addition, an agreement between the National Treasury Employees Union and the IRS states that national case-specific quality review data will not be used as individual employee performance feedback. Although TIGTA did not identify such prohibited use, sharing national case-specific quality review data with employees could be considered a type of performance feedback, even if only by appearance.
TIGTA recommended that the SB/SE Division study alternative methods to ensure accuracy in the first-line manger reviews and assess whether its managers should continue sharing national case-specific quality review data with employees. SB/SE Division officials agreed with TIGTA's recommendations.
"Without appropriate employee performance feedback, errors in collection procedures could continue to occur and affect taxpayer rights and collection of tax liabilities," commented J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
To view the report, including the scope, methodology, and full IRS response, go to: http://www.treas.gov/tigta/auditreports/2009reports/200930104fr.pdf..
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