Security Replaces Modernization as Top IRS Challenge

In its 2011 annual report, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) said security is the top management challenge facing the IRS. Last year, TIGTA said modernization was the top challenge, but, “Due to recent events at IRS facilities and the potentially expanding role of the IRS, Security has replaced Modernization,” Inspector General J. Russell George wrote in his introduction to the report.

The report noted that attacks and threats against the IRS have risen steadily in recent years, and that the IRS must not only safeguard an enormous amount of sensitive financial and personal data, but must also protect approximately 100,000 employees and more than 700 facilities throughout the country. The report said the IRS is developing a Threat Information and Critical Incident Response Center to help it mitigate threats and share information.

TIGTA said the IRS’ other top 10 challenges, after security, are, in order of priority:

  • Modernization;
  • Tax compliance initiatives;
  • Implementing health care and other tax law changes;
  • Providing quality taxpayer service operations;
  • Human capital;
  • Erroneous and improper payments and credits;
  • Globalization;
  • Taxpayer protection and rights; and
  • Leveraging data to improve program effectiveness and reduce costs.

The report also noted that, while it is not on the list, tax law complexity also represents a serious challenge for both the IRS and taxpayers.

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