GAO: IRS needs guidance policies on projects

Policies to guide the Internal Revenue Service’s modernization are not yet in place, according to a Government Accountability Office report. The agency is relying on interim rules from its four-month-old Requirements Management Office in lieu of permanent policies.

The report, released April 19, states that the agency needs to use the draft policies for now to avoid cost overruns and project delays. In its response, the IRS said it has done that, while continuing work on final guidance policies. The agency said it expects to need another year, pushing completion to March 2007.

Until the IRS has fully developed policies, the projects will not have sufficient guidance, which increases the risk of cost overruns, schedule delays and a longer wait for system improvements to become available, the most recent GAO report states.

IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, in a letter of response, said he agreed with the GAO’s recommendations. He told the independent oversight agency that its draft policies, currently under review, are robust enough to meet the GAO’s recommendations. RMO is scheduled to finish a full set of policies by March 2007.

As for cost overruns, he cited a previous GAO report that reviewed Business Service Management’s fiscal 2006 expenditure plan, which recognized improved performance in meeting costs and schedules.

In January, the RMO created draft policies addressing the key areas for establishing development and management of BSM projects.

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