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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) efforts to improve customer service.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Internal Revenue Service 1. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop an approach and provide guidance to managers for determining the appropriate cost and benefit information for the customer service initiatives and for measuring the results of the initiatives in relation to IRS' customer service objectives.
Closed - Implemented
In August 2000, IRS officials provided data showing the steps IRS is taking to use cost and benefit information to make better up-front decisions regarding program initiatives and to measure future results. IRS now requires a decision document for all proposed new initiatives. Information is collected to assess programmatic impact (benefits) and identify funding availability (costs). Additionally, IRS is establishing a new methodology that will use information on benefits and costs in determining the level of priority given for all initiatives stemming from Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration (TIGTA) and GAO recommendations/corrective actions.
Internal Revenue Service 2. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should enhance the TSI database to include management information for the use of IRS' project teams, leadership, and other stakeholders.
Closed - Implemented
In August 2000, IRS officials provided information regarding steps IRS had taken to address this recommendation. As noted above, IRS now requires that a decision document be completed for all new initiatives and other initiatives stemming from TIGTA and GAO recommendations. IRS is also requiring that all initiatives be prioritized before implementation. As a result, IRS has issued new guidance on prioritization. The guidance, which references cost and benefit information, is being used to create a template for improvement project plans, and is being used by project teams, leadership and other stakeholders to drive decisions in the strategic planning and budgeting process.

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