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As of April 7, 2020, there are 4984 open recommendations, of which 369 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.
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Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct the referral programs to establish a mechanism to coordinate on a plan and timeline for developing a consolidated, online referral submission in order to better position IRS to leverage specialized expertise while exploring options to further consolidate the initial screening operations.
Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: As of March 2019, IRS had taken some action to establish a mechanism to coordinate on a plan and timeline for developing a consolidated, online referral submission, as GAO recommended in its February 2016 report. IRS established a cross-functional team in February 2016 to comprehensively review IRS's referral programs. Among other things, the team has explored options to consolidate the initial screening operations and determine the scope and complexity for moving the referral process to an online format. According to IRS, an electronic submission process is expected to provide better access to the program and reduce the burden associated with making a written report or referral. In November 2016, the cross-functional team requested information technology resources for fiscal year 2019 to develop an online system which could potentially replace four separate referral forms, filter out incomplete referrals, and electronically route referrals for further IRS action. As of March 2019, IRS was considering funding for fiscal year 2020 for the portal development. IRS assessed options for consolidating all forms for the various referral programs and determined that consolidating them to a single form was not feasible because of the technical nature and complexity of the various referral types. As of March 2019, the cross-functional team had worked with IRS On Line Services to develop an online application prototype and was considering the cost-effectiveness of a commercial off-the-shelf product. According to IRS, the online application will make it easier for the public to report possible tax violations. Also, the online system will improve efficiency in coordination and provide reports that will be incorporated into the quarterly coordination meetings to achieve a broader collaborative mechanism across the multiple referral programs. As of March 2019, IRS was still working on the charter for the new coordination working group. IRS said it will consider further consolidating the referral programs once the online application is in place. GAO will continue to assess these efforts as they are further developed.