USE OF OVER-AGE CORRESPONDENCE LISTS CONTRIBUTES TO
TAXPAYER BURDEN AND UNNECESSARY INTEREST PAYMENTS
Final Report issued on February 17, 2016
Highlights of Reference Number: 2016-40-023 to the Internal Revenue Service Commissioner for the Wage and Investment Division.
IMPACT ON TAXPAYERS
Delays in processing taxpayers’ correspondence create a burden for taxpayers who must wait to obtain assistance and, in some cases, receive refunds. Customer satisfaction surveys identified that taxpayers were dissatisfied with the length of time the IRS was taking to resolve their cases and to obtain information about their cases. In addition, these delays can result in the IRS unnecessarily paying interest to taxpayers.
WHY TIGTA DID THE AUDIT
Over-aged correspondence has steadily increased from 40 percent in Fiscal Year 2012 to 49 percent in Fiscal Year 2015. In prior reviews, TIGTA reported that the IRS should develop a consistent process to ensure that managers complete their reviews of Automated Age Listings, i.e., correspondence over-age reports. This audit was initiated to evaluate the IRS processes for timely resolving taxpayer correspondence.
WHAT TIGTA FOUND
TIGTA identified that the IRS has taken actions to improve correspondence inventory management. For example, the IRS developed and implemented its Phased Approach to Inventory in all campuses during Fiscal Year 2014. The objective of this approach is to close as many cases as early as possible to reduce inventory and improve the timeliness of case resolutions. The IRS also initiated a pilot in February 2015 to develop a consistent process for monitoring over-age reports.
However, despite these actions, the percentage of correspondence over-age continues to increase. This results, in part, from some managers continuing to not follow internal guidelines that require the use of over-age reports to monitor and reduce inventory. TIGTA’s analysis of eight customer service representatives’ over-age reports for three consecutive weeks identified that 16 to 82 percent of their over-aged assigned cases remained unresolved.
TIGTA has previously reported on this same issue. Management responded that they would ensure that these reviews are completed by managers noting that they would develop a consistent process to ensure that correspondence over-age report reviews are completed by managers. However, some managers continue to not adhere consistently to the required use of over-age reports, which contributes to the IRS’s inability to effectively reduce over-aged inventory.
WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED
TIGTA recommended that the IRS ensure that managers provide and receive annotated over-age reports from their employees on a weekly basis.
The IRS agreed with both recommendations and plans to assess current procedures to develop a consistent process related to the over-age reports.
READ THE FULL REPORT
To view the report, including the scope, methodology, and full IRS response, go to:
Phone Number / 202-622-6500
E-mail Address / TIGTACommunications@tigta.treas.gov
Website / https://www.treasury.gov/tigta