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Priority Open Recommendations: Internal Revenue Service

GAO-22-105632 Published: Jun 06, 2022. Publicly Released: Jun 13, 2022.
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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 IRS as of May 2022. For example, two recommendations seek to make it easier for taxpayers to get free help to prepare and file their taxes electronically.

Since our previous letter in June 2021, IRS implemented 4 of our priority recommendations. One additional recommendation was closed through congressional actions.

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2022 Priority Recs IRS graphic

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What GAO Found

In June 2021, GAO identified 25 priority recommendations for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Since then, IRS has implemented 4 of those recommendations by, among other things, linking performance measures to objectives for its correspondence audit program—facilitating informed decisions about resource allocation—and evaluating the costs and benefits of the Return Review Program, its key fraud detection program. In addition, GAO closed one recommendation as implemented because Congress addressed the issue by requiring third-party reporting for virtual currency transactions.

In June 2022, GAO identified 5 additional priority recommendations for IRS, bringing the total number to 25. These recommendations involve

  • Improving taxpayer services;
  • Reducing tax fraud and improper payments;
  • Improving cybersecurity;
  • Enhancing information reporting;
  • Improving audit effectiveness; and
  • Enhancing strategic human capital management.

IRS's continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government 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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CybersecurityFraudHuman capital managementImproper paymentsReporting requirementsTax return auditsTax returnsTaxpayer serviceTaxpayersHigh-risk issues