Internal Revenue Service:

Progress Continues But Serious Management Challenges Remain

GAO-01-562T: Published: Apr 2, 2001. Publicly Released: Apr 2, 2001.

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This testimony discusses the management challenges that continue to face the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These challenges include (1) computer security, (2) financial management, (3) organizational modernization and performance management, and (4) business systems modernization management. IRS must make progress in all four areas to improve the agency's efficiency and to significantly improve service to taxpayers. IRS has taken important steps in all of these areas, but significant obstacles remain. In the area of computer security, IRS corrected many previously reported weaknesses and is launching a computer security management program that should help it manage its risks in this area. However, serious weaknesses persist that could impair IRS' ability to perform vital functions. In financial management, IRS was able to prepare financial statements this year that received an unqualified opinion. However, this achievement came through the use of substantial, costly, and time-consuming processes to work around IRS' system deficiencies. IRS has reorganized into four taxpayer-focused divisions and has developed a performance management approach consistent with management principles contained in the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act and the Government Performance and Results Act. However, much work remains to be done to complete the foundation and to design and implement business practice changes that will noticeably improve service to taxpayers and IRS' administration of the tax system. Finally, in terms of business systems modernization, IRS has made important progress in developing and implementing fundamental modernization management controls, but considerable work remains.

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