TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION

Highlights

Status of THE Implementation of Recommendations Related
to Conference Spending

Final Report issued on March 10, 2016

Highlights of Reference Number:  2016-10-020 to the Internal Revenue Service Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support and Chief Financial Officer.

IMPACT ON TAXPAYERS

Excessive conference and event spending by Federal agencies has been highlighted by recent Inspector General reports and the subject of congressional hearings.  Given its limited budgetary resources, the IRS must effectively manage conference and event spending to ensure that taxpayer funds are used efficiently.

WHY TIGTA DID THE AUDIT

This review is a follow-up to TIGTA’s May 2013 report, Review of the August 2010 Small Business/Self-Employed Division’s Conference in Anaheim, California.  The overall objectives of this review were to determine whether the IRS implemented corrective actions in response to TIGTA’s previous recommendations and to evaluate the IRS’s approval and reporting process for conference and event spending exceeding established thresholds.

WHAT TIGTA FOUND

The IRS updated its policies and procedures as recommended in the prior audit report on conference spending.  Specifically, the IRS addressed all nine recommendations made by TIGTA in its May 2013 report.  The IRS has designed controls to ensure that policies and procedures are being followed for event planning, approvals, and cost tracking.  For example, the IRS updated its policy for granting Continuing Professional Education credits for conference and training events.  The IRS also instituted a Service-wide Video Editorial Board to review and approve any IRS internally produced or commissioned videos in advance of production.  In addition, the IRS has continually updated its guidance to reflect the approval thresholds mandated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

During Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014, the IRS approved and reported (as required) almost 99 percent of the training and conference events reviewed by TIGTA.  Based on the estimated cost of an event, the IRS Commissioner or Treasury Department officials must approve the event in advance, and all events over $20,000 must be reported to the Treasury Department.  TIGTA determined that the IRS did not appropriately report (as required) eight events to the Treasury Department and did not report three events to the public.  TIGTA also found that 55 events did not receive the correct level of approval.  Lastly, TIGTA found several improvements needed in the management of training and conference reporting.

WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED

TIGTA made several recommendations on improving the management of event approval and reporting, including issuing a single list of all events over $100,000 to the Treasury Department to ensure public reporting and the centralized retention of event approval and reporting documentation.

In its response, the IRS agreed with our recommendations, stating that it has developed and implemented corrective actions to address TIGTA’s recommendations.  The actions include plans to provide the Treasury Department, in January of each year, detailed information on events in excess of $100,000 for the preceding year, and beginning in October of 2015, maintaining event approval and reporting information in one centralized location. 

 

READ THE FULL REPORT

To view the report, including the scope, methodology, and full IRS response, go to:

http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2016reports/201610020fr.pdf.

 

Phone Number   /  202-622-6500

E-mail Address  /  TIGTACommunications@tigta.treas.gov

Website             /  https://www.treasury.gov/tigta