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Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Press Release


March 19, 2012
TIGTA - 2012-7
Contact: David Barnes
(202) 622-3062
David.barnes@tigta.treas.gov
TIGTACommunications@tigta.treas.gov

The IRS Should Improve Documentation of all Pre-Screening Steps for New Hires

WASHINGTON -- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not consistently maintain documentation to verify that it completed all pre-screening steps before new hires reported for duty, according to a report publicly released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

Pre-screening applicants and conducting background investigations are the initial steps in the process of ensuring that new employees meet the IRS's standards of honesty integrity, and security. TIGTA conducted reviews at four of nine IRS Employment Operations branch offices to assess whether the IRS pre-screened applicants prior to hiring them. Nearly 77 percent of the cases reviewed lacked some documentation needed to readily determine that all of the pre-screening steps had been completed.

"Our report does not indicate that the IRS hired applicants who were not suitable or that the steps were not completed; rather, we found that the documentation of some of the prescreening steps was unavailable," said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. "As IRS employees are entrusted with sensitive financial information contained in more than 230 million tax returns, the IRS must ensure that all appropriate pre-screening procedures are completed and documented."

TIGTA recommended that the IRS develop policies to ensure that pre-screening actions are consistently completed and documented. The IRS responded that it had implemented interim procedures on December 19, 2011, and expects to complete the remaining corrective actions by March 12, 2012.

Those actions will include implementation of interim steps to verify that all pre-screening activities are completed before an applicant reports for duty, and enhancements to the computer application it will use to document the completion of each pre-screening step.

Read the report.

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Note: The difference between the date TIGTA issues an audit report to the Internal Revenue Service and the date TIGTA publicly releases the report is due to TIGTA's internal review process to ensure that public release is in compliance with Federal confidentiality laws.

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