Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
December 2, 2015
TIGTA - 2015-42
Contact: Karen Kraushaar, Director of Communications
WASHINGTON ó The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) relies extensively on computerized systems to support its financial and mission-related operations. In its annual assessment of the adequacy and security of IRS information technology, required by the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found a number of program weaknesses that could result in compromised, disrupted, or outdated operations.
In Fiscal Year 2014, the IRS collected about $3.1 trillion in Federal tax payments, processed hundreds of millions of tax and information returns, and paid about $374 billion in refunds to taxpayers. In addition, the IRS employs almost 87,000 people in 551 facilities nationwide.
Weaknesses in its information technology program could adversely affect the IRSís ability to meet its mission of providing Americaís taxpayers with top-quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforcing the law with integrity and fairness to all.
Cybersecurity remains a major challenge for the Federal Government, and the IRS continues to work toward securing tax information and maintaining taxpayer privacy. TIGTA identified weaknesses within the IRSís Cybersecurity program pertaining to continuous monitoring, configuration management, identity and access management, privacy impact assessments, external connections, and audit trails.
In addition, the IRS is developing a new system that uses data analytics to combat identity theft and tax fraud. During its pilot in Calendar Year 2014, the Return Review Program identified 10,348 identity theft cases totaling $43 million in refunds and an additional 350,000 potentially fraudulent returns that were not detected by the existing fraud detection system. However, the IRS has not planned for the retirement of its existing fraud detection system.
The IRS continues to develop or upgrade its systems to meet its obligation as the Nationís tax administrator. TIGTA identified concerns with Windows workstation and server upgrades, Integrated Enterprise Portal operations, and the Customer Account Data Engine 2 program.
Finally, the IRS made significant progress developing new systems supporting the Affordable Care Act. However, TIGTA identified issues with the Coverage Data Repository, the Affordable Care Act Verification Service, interagency testing, and the Final Integration Test program.
Because this report was an assessment report of the IRSís Information Technology Program based on TIGTA audit reports issued during Fiscal Year 2015, TIGTA did not make any recommendations.
Read the report.
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.