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Priority Open Recommendations: Internal Revenue Service

GAO-21-547PR Published: Jun 04, 2021. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 2021.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

This report outlines our 25 priority open recommendations for the Internal Revenue Service as of June 2021. For example, 6 recommendations focus on ways to improve compliance with tax laws and have taxpayers pay what they owe.

Since our previous letter in April 2020, IRS implemented 9 of our priority recommendations.

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What GAO Found

In April 2020, GAO identified 24 priority recommendations for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Since then, IRS has implemented 9 of those recommendations by, among other things, defining appropriate levels of telephone and correspondence service for taxpayers and developing a strategy to improve services to taxpayers across all service channels.

In June 2021, GAO identified 10 additional priority recommendations for IRS, bringing the total number to 25. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • Improve payment integrity
  • Reduce tax fraud
  • Improve information security
  • Improve audit effectiveness
  • Improve taxpayer services
  • Enhance strategic human capital management
  • Enhance information reporting

Full implementation of these recommendations could significantly improve IRS's operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact James R. McTigue, Jr. or Jessica Lucas-Judy at (202) 512-6806 or or

Full Report

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AuthenticationCompliance oversightHigh-risk issuesHuman capital managementImproper paymentsInformation securityPerformance goalsReporting requirementsTax lawTaxpayersWorkforce planning