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Priority Open Recommendations: Internal Revenue Service

GAO-23-106470 Published: Jul 31, 2023. Publicly Released: Aug 07, 2023.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations.

This letter to IRS outlines 24 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, IRS could improve taxpayer services by modernizing its refund status-tracking tool, setting specific performance goals for the taxpayer experience, and giving taxpayers estimated time frames for when they can expect replies to backlogged correspondence.

IRS implemented 4 recommendations we identified as a priority last year.

We regularly update priority recommendations here.

A graphic that says "GAO's Priority Open Recommendations" with the Internal Revenue Service seal

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What GAO Found

In June 2022, GAO identified 25 priority recommendations for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Since then, IRS has implemented four of those recommendations by, among other things, reporting improper payment estimates for the Premium Tax Credit, and migrating 30 applications onto its new online taxpayer authentication platform. GAO closed one other recommendation for IRS to revise its estimated time frames for resolving the backlog of work from the 2020 tax filing season as not implemented because IRS reported it has cleared this inventory.

In July 2023, GAO identified four additional priority recommendations for IRS, bringing the total number to 24. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • Ensuring cybersecurity
  • Improving taxpayer services
  • Reducing tax fraud and improper payments
  • Enhancing information reporting
  • Improving audit effectiveness
  • 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

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