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As of January 31, 2023, there are 4842 open recommendations that still need to be addressed. 473 of these are priority recommendations, those that we believe warrant priority attention. Learn more about our priority designation on our Recommendations page.

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1 - 20 of 175 Recommendations, including 25 Priority Recommendations
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Abusive Tax Schemes: Additional Steps Could Further IRS Efforts to Detect and Deter Promoters

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should ensure that the Director of the Office of Communications, in collaboration with other IRS organizational units as appropriate, amends the Dirty Dozen list publication to include telling taxpayers how to refer information to IRS on preparers and promoters involved in abusive tax schemes. (Recommendation 1)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should ensure that the Director of the Office of Promoter Investigations finalizes outcome-oriented goals and performance measures to evaluate the effectiveness of OPI. (Recommendation 2)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Paid Tax Return Preparers: IRS Efforts to Oversee Refundable Credits Help Protect Taxpayers but Additional Actions and Authority Are Needed

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6 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should test preparer education and compliance treatments in the Refundable Credits Return Preparer Strategy program that use digital services and assess the results of any tests. Examples include warning letters and secure document uploads. (Recommendation 1)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop a performance measure for the Refundable Credits Return Preparer Strategy program to assess how its preparer treatments affect compliance with due diligence requirements over time. (Recommendation 2)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should define and document program elements of the Refundable Credits Return Preparer Strategy program, including its goals, objectives, activities, and performance measures. (Recommendation 3)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop a long-term plan for the Refundable Credits Return Preparer Strategy program, in coordination with stakeholders, which outlines the program's vision for the future, links program elements together, and clearly aligns to agency strategic goals. (Recommendation 4)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should implement a systematic method of tracking internal recommendations for the Refundable Credits Return Preparer Strategy program. (Recommendation 5)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should finalize the Service-wide Return Preparer Strategy and identify the resources needed to implement it. (Recommendation 6)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Tax Equity: Enhanced Evaluation Could Improve Outreach to Small Business Owners

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of IRS should evaluate IRS's outreach efforts to very small businesses and owners with diverse backgrounds, using relevant and complete information, to inform future outreach. (Recommendation 1)
Open

IRS agreed with this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Management Report: IRS Should Test Videoconference Visits with Paid Preparers

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should pilot test and evaluate the costs, benefits, and challenges of using videoconferencing technology for its education and compliance visits with paid preparers. (Recommendation 1)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Internal Revenue Service If IRS finds the benefits outweigh the costs, IRS should implement the use of videoconferencing as a method for conducting and potentially expanding its education and compliance visits with paid preparers. (Recommendation 2)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

COVID-19: IRS Implemented Tax Relief for Employers Quickly, but Could Strengthen Its Compliance Efforts

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5 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop an integrated project management plan for the COVID-19 credits to improve IRS's ability to manage and plan compliance efforts related to these credits. The plan should include
  • measurable objectives;
  • key activities to support accomplishment of objectives, including documenting stakeholder involvement, knowledge sharing, and integrated change control; and
  • details surrounding measuring, tracking, or reviewing the performance of the project, such as steps to verify if the actions of the plan were successful at mitigating compliance risks IRS identified. (Recommendation 1)
Open

IRS disagreed with this recommendation. As of September 2022, we continue to wait for agency updates. We will update this recommendation when we receive additional information.

Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should document the processes being used to address compliance risks associated with Employee Retention Credit and leave credit claims on adjusted employment tax returns. (Recommendation 2)
Open

IRS agreed with this recommendation. As of September 2022, we continue to wait for agency updates. We will update this recommendation when we receive additional information.

Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should document the processes being used to address compliance risks associated with the Employee Retention Credit and leave credits that rely on wages that cannot be used for other tax credits. (Recommendation 3)
Open

IRS agreed with this recommendation. As of September 2022, we continue to wait for agency updates. We will update this recommendation when we receive additional information.

Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should implement additional controls to help identify tax credit recipients who may be ineligible employers. (Recommendation 4)
Open

IRS disagreed with this recommendation. As of September 2022, we continue to wait for agency updates. We will update this recommendation when we receive additional information.

Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should update and implement postfiling compliance or examination activities to address potentially invalid or inaccurate employer credit refund claims that were not prevented by internal controls. (Recommendation 5)
Open

IRS disagreed with this recommendation. As of September 2022, we continue to wait for agency updates. We will update this recommendation when we receive additional information.

IRS Free File Program: IRS Should Develop Additional Options for Taxpayers to File for Free

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3 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of IRS should seek agreement with FFI on incorporating recommended taxpayer experience improvements and relevant practices from guidelines for federal digital services, such as the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act requirements regarding access for users with disabilities. (Recommendation 1)
Open

IRS agreed with this recommendation. In October 2022, IRS's Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement stated IRS is identifying federal digital web requirements related to mobile accessibility. IRS also plans to review a sample of Free File providers' mobile capabilities to assess the mobile experience and then discuss with Free File, Inc. to identify opportunities for improvement and enhancement of the taxpayer experience. IRS expects to implement these actions by February 2024. We will continue to monitor IRS's efforts to address our recommendation.

Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of IRS should seek agreement with FFI on eliminating the MOU provision requiring IRS to notify FFI immediately if it commits funding to offer services for free to taxpayers. (Recommendation 2)
Open

IRS disagreed with this recommendation. In October 2022, IRS's Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement reiterated IRS's position. The IRS official stated that it continues to believe this provision is necessary to maintain trust and transparency with Free File, Incorporated (FFI). We understand IRS's concerns about maintaining trust in the program and our report recognizes IRS's efforts to communicate and coordinate with FFI. We continue to believe that IRS should work to eliminate this provision so that IRS can freely pursue new filing options for taxpayers as resources and

Internal Revenue Service
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Commissioner of IRS should, before the expiration of the current Free File MOU in October 2023, work with relevant stakeholders to identify and develop additional options for free online filing of tax returns that would reflect current guidelines for federal digital services. (Recommendation 3)
Open

IRS disagreed with this recommendation. In its April 2022 comments on the report, IRS officials stated that it currently does not believe a public free filing option would significantly improve the taxpayer experience and it does not have sufficient funding to do this. IRS leaves open the possibility that it would reconsider its position if Congress enacted new legislation or funding. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provided IRS with $15 million in funding to report to Congress by May 2023 on the cost of IRS developing and running its own electronic filing system, taxpayer opinions of such

COVID-19: Current and Future Federal Preparedness Requires Fixes to Improve Health Data and Address Improper Payments

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should enhance internal collaboration among its stakeholder outreach and education offices for refundable tax credit communications and outreach efforts by clearly establishing outcomes, roles and responsibilities, and developing resources to facilitate joint interactions and methods to document information sharing. See the Advance Child Tax Credit and Economic Impact Payments enclosure. (Recommendation 14)
Open

As of September 2022, IRS did not provide additional information.

Note: the list of open recommendations for the last report may continue on the next page.

Have a Question about a Recommendation?

For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation. For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.