Tax Systems Modernization:

Automated Underreporter Project Shows Need for Human Resource Planning

GGD-94-159: Published: Jul 8, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 8, 1994.

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GAO reviewed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Tax Systems Modernization (TSM) implementation plan, focusing on: (1) human resource planning for TSM; (2) strategies for meeting the human resource needs of the new IRS environment; and (3) IRS experience in implementing the Automated Underreporter (AUR) project.

GAO found that: (1) although IRS has identified how it plans to use human resources in the modernized environment, it has not yet determined workforce requirements, assessed its workforce's abilities, or developed detailed retraining and redeployment plans; (2) although IRS estimates that over 24,000 workers will no longer be needed for the jobs they are now doing, it has pledged that no career or career-conditional employees will lose their jobs because of TSM; (3) IRS plans to reassign some employees to new compliance and customer service jobs, reduce seasonal employment levels, and make selective use of voluntary early-out options; (4) IRS was not adequately prepared to redeploy the almost 1,900 employees displaced at 4 service centers due to its failure to conduct comprehensive human resource planning while implementing AUR; and (5) some IRS employees may have to be reassigned again because IRS began reassigning staff before it negotiated AUR redeployment guidelines.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As part of a reengineering project, IRS identified the competencies needed to effectively perform 8 core jobs and purchased off-the-shelf competency assessment instruments for assessing individual employee competencies in relation to those needed for a specific core job. If these instruments prove to be valid measures, IRS will use them to identify individual training needs, to select individuals for redeployment, and to maintain a skills inventory for assigning work. However, because IRS does not intend to compare available skills to overall new workforce requirements in order to identify and plan for meeting skills gaps, these actions were not fully responsive to the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should assess existing workforce knowledge, skills, and abilities and update this assessment periodically for later comparison with project requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: IRS has developed models for determining staffing requirements for the new environment and plans to periodically recompute requirements to reflect changes in project funding, performance, or implementation schedules.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should identify specific staffing requirements (numbers, skills, grades, and training) for all TSM projects that will have a significant effect on human resources.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In April 1994, IRS compared its existing workforce to its estimated staffing requirements by year, job series, and grade levels, for each site (rather than for each TSM project) affected by the new business vision. IRS plans to periodically rerun this redeployment model to reflect changes in output from the various workforce requirements models. However, IRS does not plan to use the employee skills inventories for comparison to overall workforce requirements in order to identify and plan for meeting overall skills gaps. Thus, these actions were not fully responsive to the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should compare project staffing requirements with the inventories of existing workforce knowledge, skills, and abilities and develop detailed retraining and redeployment plans to meet the requirements for TSM projects that will have a significant effect on human resources.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service

 

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