Oversight

Congress not getting the whole IT picture from IRS

Shutterstock image: checking the books for errors.

The IRS has made limited progress on improving the reliability of the information it reports to Congress on how it is spending its IT dollars, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.                               

GAO said the agency had implemented only three of five GAO recommendations related to the reporting of cost, schedule and scope of IRS IT projects.

GAO called the implementation of the recommendations “critical” in ensuring Congress receives the correct information it needs.

“Providing summary-level risk ratings for all major investments would improve the visibility into changes in investment risk, and provide Congress with the information to more easily determine the investments requiring greater attention,” the report said.

GAO noted several projects that have been behind schedule and over cost, but weren’t transparent in congressional reporting because the IRS had not implemented previous recommendations. For example, the Return Review Program has exceeded planned costs by $86.5 million and has not delivered the functionality that was scheduled for September 2012, but none of that was detailed in IRS reporting to Congress.

The report said that 11 of 17 IRS projects were within 10 percent of cost estimates and 13 were within 10 percent of schedule estimates between October 2013 and September 2014. But six others that the IRS reports to Congress on do not have a rating.

About the Author

Colby Hochmuth is a former staff writer for FCW.

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