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Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Press Release


May 2, 2013
TIGTA - 2013-18
Contact: David Barnes
(202) 622-3062
David.barnes@tigta.treas.gov
TIGTACommunications@tigta.treas.gov

TIGTA Recommends Improvements to New Systems Development Process For A Key Project Under the Affordable Care Act Program

WASHINGTON – Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will use tax return data to determine taxpayer eligibility for the advanced premium tax credit for health insurance. The Income and Family Size Verification (IFSV) Project is one of the IRS’s core Information Technology (IT) components that address requirements for open enrollment under provisions of the new health care law.

The IRS is generally managing systems development risk areas for the IFSV Project within an agile IT development approach known as the Iterative path of the Enterprise Life Cycle, according to a new audit briefing report released publicly today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

However, process improvements are needed to ensure that: (1) the IFSV Project team adheres to guidelines when changes to baseline requirements are necessary; and, (2) the ACA Program Configuration Control Board emergency meeting processes are effectively communicated to project team members. Further, TIGTA recommended that IRS implement an integrated suite of automated tools to strengthen the IT requirements management and testing controls for IFSV and other ACA projects.

TIGTA reviewed whether the IRS adequately managed systems development risk for the IFSV Project.

“The IFSV Project is important to the functionality and success of the ACA Program because it will provide a solution to verify income and family size, based on tax return data, as needed to determine an individual’s eligibility for the advanced premium tax credit for health insurance,” said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “As such, the IRS must take care to follow sound project management principles as it develops and deploys this vital project,” he added.

TIGTA made three recommendations to the IRS’s Chief Technology Officer. IRS management agreed with TIGTA’s recommendations to: (1) review the effectiveness of controls over change requests and impact assessments; and, (2) update the ACA Program Configuration Management Plan to provide clear direction for convening emergency meetings. The IRS disagreed with TIGTA’s third recommendation to implement a standard suite of integrated, automated tools for the ACA Program. TIGTA believes that implementing this recommendation would enable the IRS to better ensure long-term success for the IFSV and other critical IT projects required to implement the ACA.

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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