(Washington, DC) The IRS Oversight Board continued to discuss the IRS’ five-year strategic plan for 2010-2015 at its September 9-10, 2008 meeting in Washington, DC. The Board was also updated on the progress of the IRS’ Workforce of Tomorrow initiative and briefed on the IRS 2008 employee satisfaction survey.
The Board and the IRS discussed measures to assess the IRS’ overall performance under its draft strategic plan, which sets goals to improve service to taxpayers and enforce the tax law, while investing for high performance. The IRS’ strategic plan will be released later this year.
“A critical aspect of the IRS strategic planning is aligning its budget and performance through the use of measures. The IRS’ high-level goals, its resources, and its performance must be aligned with clear measures that are easy to understand. The Board has underscored the importance of long-term goals for the IRS, and is extremely pleased with its progress,” said Board Chairman Paul Cherecwich.
The Board also examined the goals and objectives of the Workforce of Tomorrow Task Force which is working to “make the IRS the best place to work in government.” The task force is soliciting comments from IRS employees and received more than 1,700 “extremely supportive and productive” responses to date, said Beth Tucker, the task force leader. Teams made up of IRS employees and executive mentors will kick off a meeting this month to energize participants, perform initial analysis, and establish next steps in meetings its goal.
Participation in IRS Employee Satisfaction Survey Steady
The Board reviewed the results from the IRS Annual Employee Engagement Survey. This year, 65 percent of employees took part in the survey, compared to 64 percent in 2007. The survey showed that 72 percent of participants are satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs, a three-percentage point increase from 2007 and a 21 percentage point from 2001.
“Employee satisfaction has grown steadily since 2001,” said Chairman Cherecwich. “The IRS’ most valuable asset is its workforce. The Board fully supports the IRS’ ongoing strategic efforts to engage its employees in work that is extremely important for the United States.”
Board Reviews IRS Whistleblower Office and Criminal Investigation Program
The Board discussed the activities of the IRS Whistleblower Office. Legislation enacted in 2006 requires the IRS to pay awards to informants who report violations of the tax law. Awards are based on the amount collected by the IRS. Previously, the Act focused on cases that resulted in median collections of less than $30,000. The 2006 changes have yielded higher-dollar cases. In the first eight months of this year, the IRS has been contacted by more than 800 whistleblowers with cases that allege $2 million or more in unpaid taxes.
The Board also was briefed on the IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) Program. CI investigates potential violations in the U.S. tax code and other financial crimes. According to CI Chief Eileen Mayer, CI law enforcement agents are highly sought after by other law enforcement agencies.
Farewell to Former Board Chairman
The Board thanks outgoing member Paul B. Jones for his service. Mr. Jones was confirmed as a Board member in 2004 and served as Board Chairman from 2006 to 2007. His term as member ended this month. “The Board appreciates the expertise and insight Mr. Jones shared with the Board and with the IRS. His guidance was much appreciated by all who worked with him. We wish him the very best of luck,” said Chairman Cherecwich.
The Board’s next meeting will be held in Washington, DC on December 3, 2008.