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IRS Oversight Board Pleased with Boost in IRS Employee Engagement

 (Washington, DC) The IRS Oversight Board met on October 4th and reviewed the results of this year’s IRS employee engagement survey and the status of electronic filing of tax returns. The Board also discussed progress on the Customer Account Data Engine 2 (CADE 2) project and long-term opportunities to fully capture all data from individual tax returns as electronic filing continues to increase.

Previously, the IRS Oversight Board approved a long-term performance goal for the IRS, by 2012, to be in the top quartile of 14 large federal agencies in the category of employee engagement, based on the Office of Personnel Management Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (EVS).  This year, the IRS score for employee engagement is third highest of 14 large federal agencies. This score places the IRS in the first quartile – a jump from its third quartile position in 2008.

The results of the survey also gave the IRS a boost in the Best Places to Work rankings, rising from about the 42nd percentile in 2008 to the 65th percentile in 2010 for all sub-agencies. The Best Places to Work ranking, published by the Partnership for Public Service, is based on three questions from the EVS that focus on employee satisfaction with their job and with the organization.

“The IRS Oversight Board is pleased with the results from this year’s survey indicating an increase in IRS employee engagement,” said Board Operations Committee Chairman Bob Tobias.  “We believe that a more engaged workforce is a more productive workforce.”

The IRS also reported an increase in electronic filing of individual tax returns, which, based on returns received to date, is up to 70.7% from 67.5% last year. Online filing from home increased by nearly 8% over last year, while the percentage of those filing electronically through a tax preparer remained steady. Business e-filed returns increased by 9%; however, this only represents about a quarter of business tax returns filed. The Board will examine the 2010 e-filing results and their impact on the IRS’ 2012 goal of 80% electronic filing of all major tax returns in its Annual e-Filing Report to Congress.
The IRS also reported to the Board that it continues to meet its schedule on the CADE 2 project and expects to achieve the important Transition State 1 milestone in January 2012. Achievement of this important milestone will result in implementation of a new relational database and daily processing of taxpayer accounts.

The IRS and the Board also discussed long-term opportunities for the IRS to advance its paper processing strategy so that it can more cost-effectively capture data in electronic format from individual tax returns filed on paper. Several states use 2D bar-coding for this purpose, and the IRS briefed the Board on the benefits and costs associated with implementing this technology.

Finally, the Board met with representatives of the Government Accountability Office and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to share perspectives on major challenges and opportunities facing the IRS, both at present and over the next decade.
The IRS Oversight Board will next meet on December 16, 2010 in Washington, DC.

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