Many of the Internal Revenue Service’s plans to protect its employees and provide service to taxpayers during and after a major disruption are not up to date, have not been adequately tested and do not contain sufficient detail to be effective, warned a government watchdog.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released the latest in a series of reports on the IRS’s emergency preparedness and business continuity program. The report found an absence of detailed planning information and inadequate testing due to a lack of coordination between the IRS’s business units. In an emergency incident, TIGTA believes that these deficiencies could result in delays in recovering critical business processes at the IRS.

“This big picture look at the IRS’s ability to recover from a disaster like the 2006 flooding of the IRS’s headquarters building, or Hurricane Katrina in 2005, clearly shows the need for IRS business units to work together to develop and test business continuity plans,” said TIGTA inspector general J. Russell George in a statement.

The report recommended that the IRS appoint an executive with cross-organizational authority to oversee the IRS business continuity program. The IRS concurred and has appointed an executive who will direct the IRS’s overall emergency management program.

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