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    Results:

    Subject Term: Payroll

    7 publications with a total of 36 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Nancy Kingsbury
    Phone: (202) 512-2700

    5 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To support its strategic and open data goals, the Director of OPM should improve the availability of the EHRI payroll data--for example, by preparing the data for analytics, making them available through online tools such as FedScope, and including them among the EHRI data sources on the OPM website and Data.gov.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On 4/21/2017 OPM provided a status update based on our inclusion of this rec in the priority rec letter. "As communicated in our December 6, 2017, letter to the Comptroller General, OPM is developing a comprehensive strategy to improve the availability of EHRI payroll data for analytics. We have started an effort to standardize payroll data elements by engaging with the payroll subject matter experts through the shared service providers. We will keep GAO informed as we make additional progress."
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls for data quality, the Director of OPM should update EHRI payroll database documentation to be consistent with current field definitions and requirements, including the Guide to Human Resources Reporting and the Guide to Data Standards, Part B.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: No specific updates on this rec, but it would be addressed in the "comprehensive strategy to improve the availability of EHRI payroll data for analytics" that is noted in OPM's response to the priority recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls for data quality, the Director of OPM should consistently monitor system-generated error and edit check reports and ensure that timely action is taken to address identified issues.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On 4/21/17 OPM provided an update to their 60 day letter in response to our inclusion of this rec in the priority letter to OPM. Very soon, we will begin implementing follow-up activities with shared service centers and agencies regarding issues identified with the payroll data they submit to EHRI. We are also evaluating the feasibility of incorporating automated methods to validate agency data, to the extent possible. We will keep GAO informed as we make additional progress.
    Recommendation: To integrate the payroll data into the larger suite of EHRI databases, the Director of OPM should develop a schedule for executing these plans.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: No specific updates on this rec, but it would be addressed in the "comprehensive strategy to improve the availability of EHRI payroll data for analytics" that is noted in OPM's response to the priority recommendation.
    Recommendation: To integrate the payroll data into the larger suite of EHRI databases, the Director of OPM should evaluate existing internal control activities and develop new control activities for EHRI payroll data, such as implementing transactional edit checks that leverage the information in the other EHRI datasets.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: No specific updates on this rec, but it would be addressed in the "comprehensive strategy to improve the availability of EHRI payroll data for analytics" that is noted in OPM's response to the priority recommendation.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202) 512-9377

    12 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The IRS Commissioner should direct the appropriate IRS officials to establish a process to prevent Employment Operations staff from allowing potential employees to enter on duty without favorable determinations of suitability by Personnel Security adjudicators.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2015, the HCO developed a process and revised procedures in an attempt to improve the monitoring of Employment Operations office decisions to reasonably assure that new employees do not enter on duty before prescreening adjudications are completed and approved by Personnel Security adjudicators. However, during our fiscal year 2016 audit, we identified IRS employees who entered on duty without completed or approved suitability adjudication determinations. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The IRS Commissioner should direct the appropriate IRS officials to establish a policy and procedures requiring IRS officials to review and address situations in which it is later discovered that an employee deemed unsuitable for employment during the prescreening process was erroneously allowed to enter on duty.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: While IRS responded that it established a policy and procedures, it did not provide documentation to sufficiently demonstrate that the policy and procedures were implemented. During our fiscal year 2016 audit, we identified an instance where an employee was allowed to enter on duty and it was subsequently discovered that this employee was deemed unsuitable for employment during the prescreening process. IRS did not provide additional documentation to demonstrate that its procedures had been carried out for this employee. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The IRS Commissioner should direct the appropriate IRS officials to develop and provide training, on a recurring basis, to all Facilities Management and Security Services specialists and managers involved in the duress alarm validation and testing process to reinforce the related policies and procedures.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to IRS, in February 2016, AWSS developed and provided training on duress alarm validation and testing to FMSS specialists and managers. However, during our June 2016 field office audit testing, we found that the FMSS specialists responsible for the physical security at the sites we visited had not received training on duress alarm validation and testing. Further, our testing identified instances where (1) duress alarm testing did not include all duress alarms, (2) documented validations of the duress alarm inventory were not completed timely or available to individuals (FMSS and non-FMSS staff) before each test was conducted, and (3) descriptions of the duress alarm inventory used by the security specialist to conduct testing were labeled incorrectly. During follow up discussions with IRS officials, we were informed that FMSS specialists were not fully evaluating alarm test results and adhering to established procedures for monitoring those tests. We will continue to evaluate IRS's efforts to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The IRS Commissioner should direct the appropriate IRS officials to establish and implement a policy requiring recurring training for TAC group and territory managers on their TSRRD responsibilities, including detailed instructions for completing responses to questions in TSRRD and for reviewing TSRRD submissions for accuracy and completeness. This training should be updated for changes in TSRRD questions over time and be provided to new TAC group and territory managers soon after they are hired or appointed.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that during fiscal year 2017, the Wage and Investment organization will incorporate into the IRM its new training policy requiring training for TAC group and territory managers on their TSRRD responsibilities, including specific instructions for completing questions in TSRRD and for reviewing TSRRD submissions. According to IRS, this training will be provided on a recurring basis to account for changes in TSRRD questions and newly hired or appointed TAC group and territory managers. As these actions occurred after the end of fiscal year 2016, we will evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The IRS Commissioner should direct the appropriate IRS officials to determine the reason(s) why staff did not always comply with IRS's established policies and procedures related to initiating, monitoring, and reviewing the monitoring of manual refunds and, based on this determination, establish a process to better enforce compliance with these requirements.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that by September 2017, it will determine the reasons for staff noncompliance with established policies and procedures related to initiating, monitoring, and reviewing the monitoring of manual refunds, and based on this determination, establish a process to better enforce compliance with these requirements. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The IRS Commissioner should direct the appropriate IRS officials to enhance the training program provided to COs to address all the job responsibilities related to certifying manual refunds for payment, including the required review of supporting documentation for manual refunds.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS stated that in February 2016, it provided a refresher course to COs as part of their annual training to address their responsibilities related to certifying manual refunds. However, based on our review of the refresher course materials, the course did not address our recommendation to enhance the training program. For example, the materials did not provide guidelines on how to perform the required reviews related to certifying manual refunds. As a result, during our fiscal year 2016 audit, we continued to find instances where the COs did not comply with the review requirements. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The IRS Commissioner should direct the appropriate IRS officials to identify the cause of and implement a solution for dealing with the periodic backlogs of ICO inventory that is hampering the performance of quality reviews.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that by September 2017, it will identify a cause of and implement a solution for dealing with the periodic backlogs of ICO inventory. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The IRS Commissioner should direct the appropriate IRS officials to establish policies for (1) how long an asset can remain in missing status before it is removed from P&E reported on the financial statements and (2) how long assets can go unverified during the annual inventory process before they are identified as missing in the property management system.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS's IT organization issued AM064, Asset Management Policy Directive to Identify Uncertified Class A and Class B Assets as Missing in KISAM, effective October 1, 2016. The directive states that in accordance with the annual Hardware Asset Management Inventory Certification Plan, assets that are not verified or certified for more than two inventory cycles should be identified as missing in IRS's property management system. It further states that the property management system should be updated by the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year after an asset meets the "missing" criterion. In November 2016, IRS's CFO organization developed the Missing Assets Financial Reporting Assessment procedure, which states that assets in missing status for 1 year or more should be removed from the P&E reported on IRS's financial statements. As these actions occurred after the end of fiscal year 2016, we will evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The IRS Commissioner should direct the appropriate IRS officials to establish and implement procedures to reasonably assure that missing assets are timely removed from the financial statements when applicable.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, IRS's CFO organization established the Missing Assets Financial Reporting Assessment procedure, which included procedures for identifying assets that have been in missing status in the property management system for 1 year or more and removing them from the P&E reported on the financial statements. As this procedure was established after the end of fiscal year 2016, we will evaluate IRS's implementation of this procedure during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The IRS Commissioner should direct the appropriate officials to establish and implement monitoring procedures designed to reasonably assure that the key detailed information for tangible capitalized P&E is properly recorded and updated in the KISAM system.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS's IT organization established SOP FY17-01, Asset Management Program Monitoring and Review, effective October 1, 2016. The SOP details the IRS Asset Management Group's procedures for conducting a quarterly review on a sample of asset records and transactions in KISAM to verify the accuracy and completeness of key KISAM data elements and correct any discrepancies found. In September 2016, IRS issued AWSS-01-0916-0001, Interim Guidance for IRM 1.14.4, Personal Property Management, to require the FMSS territory manager or section chief to perform quarterly sample reviews of non-IT assets in KISAM to verify that key data elements are complete and updated. As these procedures were established after we conducted our internal control testing in fiscal year 2016, we will evaluate IRS's implementation of these procedures during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The IRS Commissioner should direct the appropriate officials to design a process to reasonably assure the adequacy of detailed supporting information for tangible P&E amounts recorded in the general ledger.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS's actions to address this recommendation are ongoing. According to IRS, by September 2017, its CFO organization will implement a P&E subsidiary ledger, and will design and implement processes based on the subsidiary ledger that will reasonably assure the adequacy of detailed supporting information for tangible P&E amounts recorded in the general ledger. We will assess IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The IRS Commissioner should direct the appropriate IRS officials to establish and implement detailed written procedures for calculating future lease payments for noncancelable operating leases that are reported in the notes to the financial statements. The procedures should (1) include steps for considering any ad hoc clauses that may have specific termination dates and (2) include a requirement for supervisory review to provide reasonable assurance of the accuracy of future lease payment amounts for noncancelable operating leases.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, IRS established procedures for calculating future lease payments for noncancelable operating leases that are reported in the notes to its financial statements. The procedures included (1) steps for considering any ad hoc clauses that may have specific termination dates and (2) a requirement for supervisor review to provide reasonable assurance of the accuracy of future lease payment amounts for noncancelable operating leases. As these actions occurred after the end of fiscal year 2016, we will evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    11 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the HRIT investment receives necessary oversight and attention, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to ensure that the HRIT executive steering committee is consistently involved in overseeing and advising HRIT, including approving key program management documents, such as HRIT's operational plan, schedule, and planned cost estimate.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS provided documentation demonstrating that the HRIT executive steering committee is consistently involved in overseeing and advising HRIT in response to our recommendation. DHS also provided documentation demonstrating that the Executive Steering Committee approved HRIT's operational plan for fiscal years 2016-2018. However, DHS still needs to demonstrate that the HRIT ESC has approved the schedule and cost estimate for HRIT.
    Recommendation: To address HRIT's poor progress and ineffective management, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Human Capital Officer to direct the HRIT investment to update and maintain a schedule estimate for when DHS plans to implement each of the strategic improvement opportunities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to HRIT officials, in response to our recommendation, DHS has developed an implementation plan, including a schedule estimate, for addressing HRIT's strategic improvement opportunities. We will continue to follow-up with them for documentation of this implementation plan.
    Recommendation: To address HRIT's poor progress and ineffective management, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Human Capital Officer to direct the HRIT investment to develop a complete life-cycle cost estimate for the implementation of HRIT.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, DHS prepared an independent cost estimate for the HRIT investment. When developing this estimate, the cost estimators made many assumptions about HRIT's strategic improvement opportunities that had not yet been defined, such as the scope and the preliminary acquisition strategies for each. We will continue to follow-up with DHS for supporting documentation for this estimate in order to better understand it.
    Recommendation: To address HRIT's poor progress and ineffective management, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Human Capital Officer to direct the HRIT investment to document and track all costs, including components' costs, associated with HRIT.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with the recommendation and is working to implement it. While DHS provided certain cost tracking information for HRIT, this information was incomplete and did not demonstrate ongoing tracking of all costs. We will continue to follow-up with DHS to obtain additional documentation.
    Recommendation: To address HRIT's poor progress and ineffective management, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Human Capital Officer to direct the HRIT investment to update and maintain the department's human resources system inventory.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS provided its updated human resources systems inventory that it developed in response to our recommendation. According to officials, the list is reviewed and updated on an annual basis or as-needed when a system is deployed or retired. We will continue to monitor this recommendation to ensure that DHS is maintaining this inventory.
    Recommendation: To improve the Performance and Learning Management System (PALMS) program's implementation of IT acquisition best practices, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to direct the PALMS program office to establish a time frame for deciding whether PALMS will be fully deployed at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and determine an alternative approach if the learning and/or performance management capabilities of PALMS are deemed not feasible for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, FEMA, the Transportation Security Administration, or USCG.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS officials stated that PALMS will not be fully deployed at FEMA, USCG, ICE, or TSA. The officials stated that future Human Resources Information Technology (HRIT) programs will include enhancing learning management and performance management capabilities. Officials stated that the details related to these efforts are to be discussed in the HRIT strategic improvement opportunity implementation plan. We will continue to follow-up with DHS for documentation of this plan.
    Recommendation: To improve the Performance and Learning Management System (PALMS) program's implementation of IT acquisition best practices, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to direct the PALMS program office to develop a comprehensive life-cycle cost estimate, including all government and contractor costs, for the PALMS program.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS officials stated that the PALMS program will move into an operations and maintenance phase once the PALMS learning management capabilities are deployed to U.S. Secret Service. As such, DHS does not plan to develop an updated life-cycle cost estimate (LCCE) for PALMS. We will continue to follow-up with DHS for documentation of PALMS's actual costs, including government costs.
    Recommendation: To improve the Performance and Learning Management System (PALMS) program's implementation of IT acquisition best practices, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to direct the PALMS program office to develop and maintain a single comprehensive schedule that includes all government and contractor activities, and includes all planned deployment milestones related to performance management.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, the PALMS program office updated its integrated master schedule. However, this schedule has not been appropriately maintained. We will continue to follow-up with DHS officials on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Performance and Learning Management System (PALMS) program's implementation of IT acquisition best practices, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to direct the PALMS program office to track and monitor all costs associated with the PALMS program.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with the recommendation and is working to implement it. DHS provided certain cost tracking information for PALMS, but this information did not include government costs or certain past PALMS costs, such as 2017 costs for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers' ongoing use of PALMS. We will continue to follow-up with DHS officials on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Performance and Learning Management System (PALMS) program's implementation of IT acquisition best practices, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to direct the PALMS program office to document PALMS's progress and milestone reviews, including all issues and corrective actions discussed.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, DHS is documenting certain PALMS progress reviews. We have requested documentation related to U.S. Secret Service's deployment of PALMS, to determine whether the Service conducted and documented a milestone review prior to deploying the system.
    Recommendation: To improve the Performance and Learning Management System (PALMS) program's implementation of IT acquisition best practices, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to direct the PALMS program office to establish a comprehensive risk log that maintains an aggregation of all up-to-date risks (including both government- and vendor-identified)and associated mitigation plans. Additionally, within the comprehensive risk log, the PALMS program office should (1) identify and document planned completion dates for each risk mitigation step (where appropriate), and (2) prioritize the risks by determining each risk's relative priority and overall risk level.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, DHS updated its PALMS risk register. However, this register was not comprehensive. We will continue to follow-up with DHS officials on this recommendation.
    Director: Charles A. Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address the legal uncertainty stemming from ERISA preemption of state laws while maintaining the advantages of ERISA for both employers and workers, Congress should consider providing states limited flexibility to pursue efforts to increase coverage under workplace retirement savings programs. To do this, Congress could, for example, direct or authorize the Secretary of Labor, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, to (1) promulgate regulations prescribing a limited safe harbor under which state workplace retirement savings programs with sufficient safeguards would not be preempted and would receive tax treatment comparable to that provided to private sector workplace retirement savings programs, or (2) create a pilot program under which DOL could select a limited number of states to establish workplace retirement savings programs subject to DOL and Treasury oversight. In either case, any such initiative should ensure that state programs include adequate participant protections and are subject to agency oversight, appropriate reporting requirements, and meaningful evaluation.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, no action has been taken.
    Recommendation: To facilitate state efforts to expand coverage in workplace retirement savings programs, the Secretary of Labor and Secretary of the Treasury should consider their authority and review and revise, if necessary, existing regulations and guidance causing uncertainty for state efforts. For example, the Secretary of Labor could direct the Employee Benefits Security Administration's (EBSA) Assistant Secretary to revise Interpretive Bulletin 99-1 to clarify whether states can offer payroll deduction Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and, if so, whether features in relevant enacted state legislation--such as automatic enrollment and/or a requirement that employers offer a payroll deduction--would cause these programs to be treated as employee benefit plans.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Treasury generally agreed with this recommendation and did not provide additional comments on actions to address it. As of October 2017, we have not received updated from Treasury on this recommendation.
    Director: Yvonne D. Jones
    Phone: (202) 512-2717

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies report comparable and reliable data to Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI), the Director of OPM, in coordination with agencies and payroll service providers, should develop guidance for agencies on which activities to enter, or not enter, as paid administrative leave in agency time and attendance systems.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: To address agency use of paid administrative leave that may exceed reasonable amounts as well as discrepancies in recording and reporting paid administrative leave, in December 2016, Congress passed the "Administrative Leave Act of 2016." The act mandates new categories of paid leave, including "investigative leave," "notice leave," and "weather and safety leave" and sets limitations on the duration of paid administrative leave as well as the new categories of investigative and notice leave. The Act also requires OPM to establish regulations on (1) when to grant administrative leave and the other new categories of paid leave, and (2) the proper recording and reporting of these types of paid leave. In July 2017, OPM proposed new rules to regulate paid administrative leave, which it will finalize after the public comment period ends in August 2017. In addition, in response to our recommendation, in May 2015, OPM issued a fact sheet on administrative leave, which discusses the appropriate use of an agency's administrative leave authority, including a definition of administrative leave as well as applicable government-wide, individual agency, and emergency policies on the use of administrative leave. However, this fact sheet will need to be revised to reflect the new regulations when they are in effect. Once finalized, the proposed rules, along with updated fact sheet guidance, should help agencies and federal employees appropriately use, record, and report administrative leave. We will update the status of this recommendation once the regulations are finalized and the fact sheet guidance is revised.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies report comparable and reliable data to EHRI, the Director of OPM, in coordination with agencies and payroll service providers, should provide updated and specific guidance to payroll service providers on which activities to report, or not report, to the paid administrative leave data element in EHRI.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: To address agency use of paid administrative leave that may exceed reasonable amounts as well as discrepancies in recording and reporting paid administrative leave, in December 2016, Congress passed the "Administrative Leave Act of 2016." The act mandates new categories of paid leave, including "investigative leave," "notice leave," and "weather and safety leave" and sets limitations on the duration of paid administrative leave as well as the new categories of investigative and notice leave. The Act also requires OPM to establish regulations on (1) when to grant administrative leave and the other new categories of paid leave, and (2) the proper recording and reporting of these types of paid leave. In July 2017, OPM proposed new rules to regulate paid administrative leave, which it will finalize after the public comment period ends in August 2017. OPM officials reported in June 2017 that they are working with payroll providers to revise reporting requirements. Once finalized, the proposed rules, along with updated guidance to payroll providers for reporting paid administrative leave and the new leave categories, should help agencies report comparable and reliable data to EHRI. We will update the status of this recommendation once the regulations are finalized and the guidance is revised.
    Director: James R. White
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider providing the Secretary of the Treasury with the regulatory authority to lower the threshold for electronic filing of W-2s from 250 returns annually to between 5 to 10 returns, as appropriate.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, no legislation has been enacted. Lowering the threshold would help the Internal Revenue Service prevent identity theft refund fraud by enhancing its ability to verify the employment information reported on tax returns before issuing refunds. Additionally, lowering the threshold would reduce the Social Security Administration's administrative costs of processing W-2 information.
    Recommendation: To provide timely, accurate, and actionable feedback to all relevant lead-generating third parties, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should provide aggregated information on (1) the success of external party leads in identifying suspicious returns and (2) emerging trends (pursuant to section 6103 restrictions).

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had taken steps to address GAO's August 2014 recommendation -- including developing timeliness metrics for managing leads and holding six feedback sessions with financial institutions participating in the External Leads Program -- but had not provided documentation that the agency is providing meaningful feedback to external parties. In November 2015, IRS reported that it had developed a database to track leads submitted by financial institutions and the results of those leads. IRS also stated that it had held six sessions with financial institutions to provide feedback on external leads provided to IRS. These quarterly feedback sessions contained various types of information, including overall statistics for the External Leads Program, individual statistics tailored to a specific external party, and solicitations for how to improve the program. In December 2015, IRS officials stated that the agency sent a customer satisfaction survey asking financial institutions for feedback on the external leads process and was considering other ways to provide feedback to financial institutions. In August 2016, an industry group representing financial institutions reported that IRS had not begun providing meaningful feedback to financial institutions that are providing leads to IRS. In March 2017, IRS officials told us they were holding more frequent, monthly, feedback sessions with financial institutions. GAO will follow up with financial institutions to understand the extent to which IRS's feedback has been timely and is actionable. Without accurate, timely, and actionable feedback, the more than 600 external parties participating in the External Leads Program do not know if the leads they provide to IRS are useful and they may not be able to assess their success in identifying identity theft refund fraud or improve their detection tools.
    Recommendation: To provide timely, accurate, and actionable feedback to all relevant lead-generating third parties, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop a set of metrics to track external leads by the submitting third party.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had taken steps to address GAO's August 2014 recommendation --including developing timeliness metrics for managing leads and holding six feedback sessions with financial institutions participating in the External Leads Program -- but had not provided documentation that the agency is providing meaningful feedback to external parties. In November 2015, IRS reported that it had developed a database to track leads submitted by financial institutions and the results of those leads. IRS also stated that it had held six sessions with financial institutions to provide feedback on external leads provided to IRS. These quarterly feedback sessions contained various types of information, including overall statistics for the External Leads Program, individual statistics tailored to a specific external party, and solicitations for how to improve the program. In December 2015, IRS officials stated that the agency sent a customer satisfaction survey asking financial institutions for feedback on the external leads process and was considering other ways to provide feedback to financial institutions. In August 2016, an industry group representing financial institutions reported that IRS had not begun providing meaningful feedback to financial institutions that are providing leads to IRS. In March 2017, IRS officials told us they were holding more frequent, monthly, feedback sessions with financial institutions. GAO will follow up with financial institutions to understand the extent to which IRS's feedback has been timely and is actionable. Without accurate, timely, and actionable feedback, the more than 600 external parties participating in the External Leads Program do not know if the leads they provide to IRS are useful and they may not be able to assess their success in identifying identity theft refund fraud or improve their detection tools.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD is better informed in its decision-making processes, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to utilize comprehensive and up-to-date furlough cost-savings information as it becomes available in the event that DOD decides to implement another administrative furlough in the future.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: We received the 60 day letter from DOD, it noted that the Department's position has not changed. In its written comments on the draft report, DOD partially concurred with the recommendation to utilize comprehensive and up-to-date furlough cost-savings information as it becomes available in the event that DOD decides to implement another administrative furlough in the future.