A pair of influential lawmakers are asking the Internal Revenue Service to provide detailed information on its technology budget.
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Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., R-La., who chairs the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the ranking Democratic member of the subcommittee, sent a letter Monday to IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman asking for a full accounting from the IRS to ensure that American taxpayers are receiving the maximum benefit from the IRS’s work and that the modernized computer systems improve and enhance revenue collection and tax return processing. They noted that the IRS requested $2.5 billion for information technology in its fiscal year 2013 budget.
“Over the last decade the IRS has spent nearly $20 billion on information technology,” Boustany said in a statement. “Taxpayers deserve to know if they are getting their money's worth. These funds must be targeted at making it easier for families and businesses to comply and increase the IRS’s ability to detecting fraud and protecting hard-earned taxpayer dollars.”
Among other questions, they asked how the IRS determines which IT systems to pursue every year, whether the IRS re-examines its IT base budget on a yearly basis, and if the IRS analyzes how IT infrastructure spending correlates with improved taxpayer services.
“The IRS’s information technology budget has increased to more than $2 billion annually over the last three years,” said Lewis. “I would like to ensure that the investments being made improve both taxpayer service and tax administration. Our voluntary tax system will be strengthened if we provide taxpayers with more technology to meet their tax obligations and provide the IRS with better computer systems to process tax returns quickly and detect fraud.”