TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION Taxpayer Online Acc ount Access Is Contingent on the Completion of Key Information Technology Projects r

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The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released a report Wednesday calling on the IRS to examine how its prioritizes its Service on Demand initiative, which is aimed at enhancing how taxpayers interact with the agency online. Of the 71 projects tied to the initiative, the inspector general says the IRS has not given enough attention to features that would provide “dynamic online account access.”
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  TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION Taxpayer Online Account Access Is Contingent on the Completion of Key Information Technology Projects May 29, 2015 Reference Number: 2015-40-053 This report has cleared the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration disclosure review process and information determined to be restricted from public release has been redacted from this document. Phone Number / 202-622-6500 E-mail Address /    TIGTACommunications@tigta.treas.gov    Website /    http://www.treasury.gov/tigta    HIGHLIGHTS   TAXPAYER ONLINE ACCOUNT ACCESS capabilities. Although the IRS Commissioner IS CONTINGENT ON THE COMPLETION noted that the IRS expects to deliver these OF KEY INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY capabilities in three to five years and IRS PROJECTS stakeholders continue to emphasize the importance of providing taxpayers with online Highlights   account access, additional funding needs to be committed to fully complete the key information technology projects. Final Report issued on May 29, 2015 The Service on Demand Initiative is the IRS’s latest attempt to deliver such capability and Highlights of Reference Number: 2015-40-053 contains specific projects that will provide online to the Internal Revenue Service Deputy account access options.   This initiative identified Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. 71 projects to improve customer service but does not adequately emphasize dynamic online IMPACT ON TAXPAYERS account access when assigning a priority rank to these projects. For example, TIGTA determined Taxpayers continue to desire electronic products that 12 of the 71 projects directly address and services that enable them to interact and providing taxpayers with dynamic online account communicate with the IRS. In Calendar access or improved digital communication. Year 2013, the IRS started developing its latest strategy, called the Service on Demand However, five of these 12 projects are not Initiative, to improve customer service. Its vision included in the top 20 that the Service on is a tax administration that delivers tailored Demand team is emphasizing as the most efficient services where, when, and how important. Three of these five projects would customers want to be served. improve the IRS’s ability to address the WHY TIGTA DID THE AUDIT continued challenge of tax-related identity theft. Lastly, leading practices of successful State In its most recent Strategic Plan, the IRS agencies would assist the IRS in developing a acknowledged that the current technology long-term online strategy. Online account environment has raised taxpayers’ expectations access is a service that taxpayers already for online customer service and it needs to meet receive from some State tax agencies. these expectations. The IRS’s goal is to provide taxpayers with dynamic online account access WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED that includes viewing their recent payments, making minor changes and adjustments to their TIGTA recommended that the Deputy accounts in real-time, and corresponding Commissioner for Services and Enforcement digitally with the IRS to respond to notices or reprioritize the 71 Service on Demand projects complete forms. TIGTA performed this audit to to align with the IRS Commissioner’s long-term assess IRS efforts to identify taxpayers’ needs vision for modernizing taxpayer service. and preferences for online services and the The IRS agreed with the recommendation. The actions planned or taken to deliver these online IRS plans to use its annual Services Approach capabilities. reflection and refresh process to ensure that the WHAT TIGTA FOUND projects proposed for implementation, including the Service on Demand projects, align with the The IRS has made progress in providing IRS Commissioner’s long-term vision for taxpayers with online customer service options. modernizing taxpayer service.   However, it needs to prioritize the completion of key information technology projects that are needed to provide the electronic platform for developing future projects that will provide taxpayers with dynamic online access  DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY WASHINGTON, D.C. 20220   TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION May 29, 2015 MEMORANDUM FOR   DEPUTY COMMISSIONER FOR SERVICES AND ENFORCEMENT FROM:   Michael E. McKenney Deputy Inspector General for Audit SUBJECT:   Final Audit Report – Taxpayer Online Account Access Is Contingent on the Completion of Key Information Technology Projects (Audit # 201440011) This report presents the results of our review to assess Internal Revenue Service (IRS) efforts to identify taxpayers’ needs and preferences for online services and the actions planned or taken to deliver these online capabilities. This review included tests to assess efforts to identify taxpayers’ needs and preferences for online services and the actions planned or taken to ensure that the IRS’s online customer service strategy delivers the capabilities that taxpayers need. This audit was included in the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Audit Plan and addresses the major management challenge of Providing Quality Taxpayer Service Operations. Management’s complete response to the draft report is included as Appendix V. Copies of this report are also being sent to the IRS managers affected by the report recommendations. If you have any questions, please contact me or Russell Martin, Acting Assistant Inspector General for Audit (Returns Processing and Account Services).    Taxpayer Online Account Access Is Contingent on the Completion of Key Information Technology Projects Table of Contents Background  .......................................................................................................... Page 1 Results of Review  ............................................................................................... Page 3 Completion of Key Projects Is Needed to Provide a Platform for Dynamic Online Account Access ................................................................ Page 4 Prioritizing of Service on Demand Projects Did Not Sufficiently Focus on Delivering Dynamic Online Account Access ............................... Page 6 Recommendation 1:  .......................................................... Page 9 Leading Practices of Successful State Agencies Would Assist in Developing a Long-Term Online Strategy ................................................... Page 9 Appendices Appendix I – Detailed Objective, Scope, and Methodology ........................ Page 12 Appendix II – Major Contributors to This Report ........................................ Page 14 Appendix III – Report Distribution List ....................................................... Page 15 Appendix IV – List of Service on Demand Initiative Proposed Projects ..... Page 16 Appendix V – Management’s Response to the Draft Report ....................... Page 26
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