Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
September 8, 2009
Contact: Li-Yun Chien
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) today publicly released its review of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) termination of the My IRS Account (MIRSA) project.
The MIRSA project was designed to improve the IRS' ability to meet taxpayers' needs by developing secure online procedures for electronic access to tax return information.
TIGTA found that the first release of the MIRSA project, which would allow taxpayers to view their tax account information online, was developed and near deployment when the IRS decided to terminate the project. Also, the IRS has not yet developed an enterprise-wide electronic authentication strategy and solution to ensure secure online transactions. In addition, TIGTA found that the IRS did not formally develop a plan for the MIRSA project that addressed all facets of archiving, transferring, and disposing of the system and its data in the event the project was discontinued or terminated.
TIGTA recommended that the IRS develop a long-term strategy for the MIRSA project to facilitate a possible future deployment of MIRSA. If the project is restarted, it should be quickly deployed in order for the IRS to realize the maximum benefit from its $10 million investment by reusing the hardware and functionality developed for the initial release. The IRS should ensure that a strategy to develop and deploy an enterprise-wide electronic authentication solution is developed as quickly as possible. In addition, the IRS should ensure formal project termination procedures are developed for information technology projects that are shut down prior to deployment. At a minimum, these procedures should include a disposition plan addressing all facets of archiving, transferring, and disposing of the system and its data.
IRS management agreed with TIGTA's recommendations. The IRS is currently developing a comprehensive electronic strategy that will identify a set of electronic services for taxpayers, tax professionals, and other constituents. The MIRSA project is among the electronic services being considered.
"Successful implementation of online access to tax return information is essential to support taxpayers' ability to electronically fulfill their tax compliance responsibilities," commented J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. "However, the decision by the IRS to terminate deployment of the My IRS Account project jeopardizes the original goals of the project as well as the approximately $10 million spent to develop it."
To view the report, including the scope, methodology, and full IRS response, go to: http://www.treas.gov/tigta/auditreports/2009reports/200920102fr.pdf
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