WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The GAO explained that the IRS used its flexibility to absorb the funding cut by allocating user fee revenue, which comprised 3.4 percent of its budget, or $416 million, in fiscal year 2014.
“Internal Revenue Service (IRS) total appropriations declined from a high of $12.1 billion in fiscal year 2010 to $11.3 billion in fiscal year 2014, a reduction of about 7 percent. IRS's budget decreased by an additional $346 million from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2015.”
Different business units within the IRS experienced large declines in funding, the GAO noted.
“To absorb budget cuts, the business units GAO reviewed — Human Capital Office, Office of Chief Counsel, and Small Business/Self-Employed Division — each reduced staff by 16 to 30 percent.”
The IRS also tried to respond to the budget cuts by limiting non-filer investigations, postponing software acquisitions as well as delaying approximately 24,000 employee background reinvestigations, according to the GAO.
“Such scaled back activities potentially reduce program effectiveness or increase risk to IRS and the federal government.”
US Tax Agency Failed to Present Accurate Data in $3.2Bln Request for New IT
The Internal Revenue Service wants to splurge more than $3 billion on new information technology, but it provided wrong and misleading data for the request to Congress, the report also says.
“IRS requested $3.2 billion for information technology (IT) investments. … However, IRS provided inaccurate data on actual obligations to date for major IT investments in its congressional justification for fiscal year 2016.”
The IT equipment request is so costly that it accounted for 23 percent of the IRS's budget request for fiscal year 2016, the GAO noted.
Because the IRS filed misleading and inaccurate data for its request, “Congress does not have accurate, reliable and complete data on IT investments to inform its budget decisions or aid in its oversight.”
Additionally, IRS did not use standard definitions for “life-cycle cost” and “projected useful life of the current asset” or explain the terms in a way that could be understood and used, the GAO explained.
The US Government Accountability Office is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress and investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars.