(Washington, DC) At its September 12, 2012 meeting, the IRS Oversight Board reviewed Customer Account Data Engine 2 (CADE 2) progress and commended IRS Chief Technology Officer Terence V. Milholland for leading the IRS information technology modernization efforts since joining the agency in 2009. Mr. Milholland manages all aspects of the IRS Information Technology infrastructure.
The Oversight Board presented Mr. Milholland with a letter that praised him for leading and supporting numerous initiatives, most notably the successful migration from a weekly processing cycle to daily processing of tax returns.
"As a result, tens of millions of individual taxpayers receive faster refunds and updates to account information," the letter states. IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman has previously noted that, "CADE 2 is a momentous step forward to help us meet the challenges of tax administration, both today and in the future."
IRS Next Strategic Plan, "Extenders" and Employee Engagement Discussed
Also at the meeting, the Board discussed the development of the next IRS strategic plan. The plan sets long-term direction for the agency and its major five-year goals. The agency's current plan expires next year. Under the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act, the Board must review and approve the plan.
"The Board plays an important role in providing continuity during the formation of a new strategic plan and changes in IRS leadership," commented Board Chairman Paul Cherecwich. "We are pleased to see the IRS moving forward on its next strategic plan, and look forward to working with the agency as work continues on this effort."
At the meeting, the Board voiced concern over Congress' inaction on the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and the so-called "tax extenders" package. A number of tax provisions already expired as of the end of 2011, including the state and local sales tax deduction for taxpayers in states without an income tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) patch. For years, Congress has passed a series of "patches" to the AMT to ensure that millions of middle-income taxpayers are not subject to the AMT which has never been adjusted to inflation.
Should Congress delay a decision on retroactive extensions to already expired provisions, particularly the AMT, the IRS could be forced to delay the opening of the filing season in order to reprogram its computer systems.
IRS strategies to boost employee retention were also reviewed at the meeting. The agency described its efforts to retain its talented, knowledgeable workforce in a time of government-wide pay freezes and budget restrictions. Retirements comprise the highest level of attrition at the IRS; in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, 69 percent of those leaving the IRS were retiring, up from 57 percent in FY2008. However, the IRS placed a strong emphasis in recent years to attract, hire, retain, train, engage, and empower its employees. In 2008, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman launched the Workforce of Tomorrow initiative to raise awareness around human capital concerns. In 2011, the IRS jumped from 8th place to 3rd place among the fifteen large agencies with over 20,000 employees in the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government survey.
Also at the meeting, the IRS briefed the Board on the status of its collection operations and discussed accomplishments of the Enterprise Collection Organization, which was created about 18 months ago. The IRS reported this new office is enhancing collaboration across collection functions, while focusing on long-term strategic issues, setting policy and spearheading innovative collection efforts, such as the Fresh Start program.
The Board also reviewed the status of the IRS budget for FY12 and discussed IRS budget prospects for FY13.
The Board's next meeting is scheduled for December 18, 2012, in Washington, DC.