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Priority Open Recommendations: Department of the Treasury

GAO-21-549PR Published: Jun 16, 2021. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 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 21 priority open recommendations for the Department of the Treasury as of June 2021.

For example, two would improve Treasury's information technology workforce planning to help ensure Treasury has the workforce needed to support its mission.

Since our previous letter in April 2020, Treasury implemented 14 of our priority recommendations.

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What GAO Found

In April 2020, GAO identified 31 priority recommendations for the Department of the Treasury. Since then, Treasury has implemented 14 of those recommendations by, among other things, developing a cybersecurity risk management strategy that includes key elements identified in federal guidance and by establishing a process for conducting an organization-wide cybersecurity risk assessment.

In June 2021, GAO identified 4 additional priority recommendations for Treasury, bringing the total number to 21. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • Improving payment integrity
  • Improving cybersecurity
  • Improving information technology workforce planning
  • Modernizing the U.S. financial regulatory system
  • Improving federal financial management
  • Evaluating the performance and effectiveness of tax expenditures

Full implementation of these open recommendations could significantly improve Treasury'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 Michelle Sager at (202) 512-6806 or

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Consolidated Financial Statements of the U.S. GovernmentCybersecurityEarned income tax creditFinancial managementFinancial regulatory systemHigh-risk issuesHuman capital managementImproper paymentsInformation technologyTax expendituresWorkforce planning