The Internal Revenue Service's Electronic Crimes Program needs to have more controls in place, says a new report.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration noted in its report that the IRS's E-Crimes Program enjoys an excellent reputation throughout the law enforcement community for digital evidence forensics, but warned that the absence of some program-level processing controls has created risks that could compromise investigations in worst-case scenarios. 

"As the volume of digital evidence significantly increases, the IRS must ensure that it treats this evidence properly and consistently to ensure its continued admissibility in court," said the report.

TIGTA conducted the review to determine whether E-Crimes personnel have properly controlled the collection and timely analysis of digital evidence in support of IRS special agents. E-Crimes has not established some common and necessary internal controls over digital evidence seized during investigations, TIGTA noted. For example, digital evidence is not backed up offsite, computer investigative specialist agents are not required to keep a detailed record of their activities relating to an investigation, and digital or physical evidence in the possession of the agents is not periodically validated.

In response to the report, IRS officials agreed with five of TIGTA's six recommendations and partially agreed with the other recommendation.


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