The Internal Revenue Service did not always follow the strict purchasing regulations required under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 when it spent the funds it received from the economic stimulus law, according to a new government report.

The IRS received $203 million in Recovery Act funds and, at the time of an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, planned to use approximately $85 million for Recovery Act-funded procurements. As of Feb. 18, 2011, the agency had awarded approximately $85 million in procurements for reprogramming IRS computer systems, updating the related tax forms and publications, and providing customer service to assist taxpayers.

However, TIGTA found three IRS procurements totaling approximately $58,000 that were not tracked or reported on a timely basis to the Office of Management and Budget and were awarded without meeting the Recovery Act’s procurement requirements.

TIGTA determined that the IRS Office of Procurement Policy did not take immediate corrective action once the unreported procurements were discovered. In addition, TIGTA’s auditors found that only one of the 19 additional Recovery Act procurements reviewed met all the necessary planning and award requirements.

“The Recovery Act required unprecedented levels of transparency, oversight, and accountability,” said TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George in a statement. “If the IRS does not consistently meet these requirements for its procurements, taxpayers will not always know how Recovery Act funds were used by the IRS.”

TIGTA recommended that the IRS evaluate the management control weaknesses and noncompliance issues identified during the audit and document any of the lessons learned which could be used as a reference for future legislation requiring special tracking and reporting requirements for procurements.

IRS officials agreed with TIGTA’s recommendations and said the Office of Procurement intends to work with its operating divisions to document any of the lessons learned, including an assessment of Recovery Act reporting and a discussion of ways to improve the process. Going forward, the Office of Procurement also plans to ensure that all procurement managers are briefed on new legislation, including any special requirements for planning, awarding, tracking, and reporting procurements.

In reponse to the report, the IRS pointed out that TIGTA had only identified three procurements totaling $58,000 that were not reported in a timely manner and did not meet all the Recovery Act prcourement requirements.

“We feel it is appropriate to note that the three transactions identified equate to less than three-tenths of one percent of the total appropriation of $203 million,” wrote IRS Chief of Agency-wide Shared Services David A. Grant.

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