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Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Press Release


July 1, 2015
TIGTA - 2015-19
Contact: David Barnes
(202) 622-3062
David.barnes@tigta.treas.gov
TIGTACommunications@tigta.treas.gov

Taxpayer Online Account Access Is Contingent on the Completion of Key Information Technology Projects

WASHINGTON -- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has made progress in providing taxpayers with online customer service options; however, it needs to prioritize the completion of key information technology projects needed to develop future projects that will provide taxpayers with dynamic online access capabilities.

That is the finding of a new report publicly released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

“As taxpayers continue to be provided with the electronic products and services they desire to interact and communicate with the IRS, the risk associated with unauthorized access to tax accounts will continue to grow. As such, completion of those technology projects that improve online service while mitigating the risks must be a priority,” said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

In its most recent Strategic Plan, the IRS acknowledged that the current technology environment has raised taxpayers’ expectations for online customer service, and it needs to meet these expectations. The IRS’s goal is to provide taxpayers with dynamic online account access that includes viewing their recent payments, making minor changes and adjustments to their accounts in real-time, and corresponding digitally with the IRS to respond to notices or complete forms. TIGTA performed this audit to assess IRS efforts to identify taxpayers’ needs and preferences for online services and the actions planned or taken to deliver these online capabilities.

TIGTA found that the IRS has made progress in providing taxpayers with online customer service options. However, the IRS must complete three pillar information technology projects to establish the electronic platform for developing future projects that will provide taxpayers with dynamic online access capabilities. These three projects are Online Account Activity, Taxpayer eAuthentication, and Taxpayer Digital Communications. The completion of these projects is needed to provide the account features to enable taxpayers to view their accounts online, to accurately authenticate their identities online, and to enable the IRS and taxpayers to communicate with secure electronic messages.

Read the report.

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Note: The difference between the date TIGTA issues an audit report to the Internal Revenue Service and the date TIGTA publicly releases the report is due to TIGTA's internal review process to ensure that public release is in compliance with Federal confidentiality laws.

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