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Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Press Release


November 29, 2013
TIGTA - 2013-52
Contact: David Barnes
(202) 622-3062
David.barnes@tigta.treas.gov
TIGTACommunications@tigta.treas.gov

TIGTA Releases Annual Assessment of IRS’s Information Technology

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has made progress improving information security, but weaknesses remain in system access controls, audit trails, and remediation of security weaknesses, according to a new report released publicly today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

Successful modernization of IRS systems and the development and implementation of new information technology applications are necessary to meet evolving business needs and to enhance services provided to the American taxpayer. As such, the IRS also needs to ensure that it leverages viable technological advances as it modernizes its major business systems and improves its overall operational environment.

This includes ensuring that information technology solutions are cost-effective and support mandatory Federal requirements and electronic tax administration goals. TIGTA annually assesses and reports on an evaluation of the adequacy and security of IRS information technology as required by the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998.

“Since the IRS now relies extensively on its computer systems to carry out the responsibilities of administering our Nation’s tax laws, it must ensure that those systems are effectively secured to protect sensitive financial and taxpayer data,” said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “TIGTA found that the IRS’s Modernization Program remains at risk.”

TIGTA found that since last year’s assessment report, the IRS has taken important steps to correct system performance issues of the Modernized e-File system to deliver a successful filing season. TIGTA identified several systems development issues that should be addressed to further strengthen and support the IRS’s modernization efforts. For example, TIGTA’s review of the Customer Account Data Engine 2 database determined that existing data quality issues prevented the downstream interfaces from being implemented. Further, the development and implementation of new systems for the Affordable Care Act present major information technology management challenges.

Achieving program efficiencies and cost savings is an important area for the IRS. In October 2012, the IRS achieved Information Technology Infrastructure Library® Maturity Level 3 to help achieve greater efficiency delivering information technology services. While the IRS has made progress on improving program effectiveness and reducing costs, TIGTA’s recent audit work involving data center consolidation, the Aircard and BlackBerry® smartphone program, and hardware and software management identified several opportunities for the IRS to achieve additional cost savings.

Because this was an assessment report of the IRS’s Information Technology Program through Fiscal Year 2013, TIGTA did not make any recommendations. However, TIGTA provided recommendations to the IRS in the audit reports referenced throughout this report.

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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