IRS needs to stay on top of its IT game

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An annual assessment of the Internal Revenue Service’s information technology program found that the agency could do more to leverage limited resources to upgrade systems and improve security.

As an example, the report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration noted that better identifying surplus funds could have freed up $67 million for spending on old hardware between 2013 and 2016.

It also noted that the IRS could do more to protect its systems and data by “improving disaster recovery planning and testing, general support system security controls, transfers of data to external partners, e-mail records management, and external network perimeter security.”

On a positive note, TIGTA’s reviews found that the IRS’s Return Review Program delivered higher levels of fraud detection with lower false detection rates than its earlier Electronic Fraud Detection System.

The assessment also looked specifically at how the agency spent extra money specifically designated by Congress for cybersecurity and anti-ID theft measures, and found that it “adequately tracked and monitored and correctly used the additional funding.”

The report, an annual exercise mandated by the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, includes detailed breakdowns of IRS IT spending and staffing.

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Tax preparation Cyber security IRS TIGTA