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Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Press Release

March 21, 2016
TIGTA - 2016-08
Contact: Karen Kraushaar, Director of Communications
(202) 622-6500

TIGTA Sees Improvement in Conference Spending Controls at IRS

WASHINGTON – In an audit report publicly released today, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has updated its policies and procedures related to its spending on Government conferences.

The report released today is a follow-up audit to a May 2013 TIGTA audit report titled Review of the IRS’s August 2010 Small Business/Self-Employed Division’s Conference in Anaheim, California. That report detailed a lack of controls and several questionable expenditures at an IRS conference that cost over $4 million.

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.

In this audit, TIGTA found that the IRS addressed all nine recommendations that TIGTA made in its 2013 report.

“Our auditors found that, during Fiscal Year 2013 and 2014, the IRS approved and reported, as required, almost 99 percent of the training and conference events we reviewed,” said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “It is imperative that agencies effectively manage conference and event spending to ensure that taxpayer funds are used efficiently,” he added.

Excessive conference and event spending by Federal agencies has been highlighted by recent Inspector General reports and the subject of congressional hearings. Moreover, in November 2011, the President signed Executive Order 13589 to eliminate excessive spending and promote Federal Government efficiency, specifically directing agencies to control costs associated with conference spending.

In this current audit report, TIGTA made several additional recommendations on improving the management of event approval and reporting, including issuing a single list of all events with spending budgets 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 TIGTA’s recommendations, stating that it has developed and implemented corrective actions to address the recommendations. The actions include plans to provide the Treasury Department, in January of each year, detailed information on events that cost in excess of $100,000 for the preceding year, and, beginning in October 2015, to maintain event approval and reporting information in one centralized location.

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.