Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
April 22, 2013
TIGTA - 2013-15
Contact: David Barnes
WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was not in compliance with all requirements of a 2010 law that increased agency accountability for reducing improper payments in Federal programs, according to a new report released publicly today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA) of 2010 increased agency accountability for reducing improper payments in Federal programs and required agencies to identify programs that are at high risk for improper payments. Agencies are also required to set annual improper payment reduction targets for high risk programs.
TIGTA initiated its audit because the IPERA requires TIGTA to assess the IRS's compliance with improper payment requirements. The objective of its review was to assess the IRS's compliance with the IPERA.
The only program the IRS has identified for improper-payment reporting is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Program. The IRS estimates that 21 to 25 percent of EITC payments were issued improperly in Fiscal Year 2012. The dollar value of these improper payments was estimated to be between $11.6 billion and $13.6 billion.
Specifically, TIGTA auditors found that the IRS has not established annual improper payment reduction targets for the EITC and has not reported an improper payment rate of less than 10 percent. This is the second consecutive year that the IRS has not been in compliance with the IPERA.
The Department of the Treasury identifies the programs for which the IRS must assess the risk of improper payments. The IRS compiles the required information and forwards it to the Department for inclusion in the Department's agency financial report. TIGTA's analysis of the information the IRS provided to the Department showed that the IRS is not in compliance with all IPERA requirements.
"Although the IRS has implemented a number of programs over the years to address Earned Income Tax Credit improper payments, our auditors have found that the IRS faces significant challenges to becoming compliant with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act," said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
Specifically, the process the Department uses to assess the risk of improper payments within its bureaus does not effectively assess the risk of improper payments in tax administration, TIGTA found. In addition, the ever-changing population of EITC claimants makes it difficult for the IRS to gain lasting improvements in EITC compliance through outreach, education, and enforcement.
TIGTA made no recommendations in this report. However, prior reports contained five specific recommendations for improvement to which the IRS agreed. The prior reports evaluated the IRS's compliance with improper payment requirements contained in Executive Order 13520 and the adequacy of the IRS's Fiscal Year 2011 assessment of the risk of improper payments.
Read the report.
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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