This IRS Needs to Go

First, it was the Internal Revenue Service targeting Conservative organizations that were applying for tax-exempt status by slow-walking approvals or outright denying approval on purely political grounds. Then it was the IRS “leaking” of a plethora of Conservative and Republican Americans’ personal tax information. There were, too, a host of similar IRS failures between those and since.

Now we get the Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration report that shows that this IRS misbehavior is longstanding and a feature of the agency. Here are a few of the things TIGTA found.

  • 19 contractors’ most recent background investigations were not favorable as of July 13, 2023. However, these contractors still retained their access to one or more sensitive systems because the IRS did not take action to suspend or disable the contractors from the IRS’s systems, as required
  • 279 contractors and employees no longer with the agency still had access to at least one sensitive computer system. “Actions were not always taken to timely remove users once they separated from the IRS”
  • For some sensitive systems, the IRS does not have adequate controls to detect or prevent the unauthorized removal of data by users

The IRS managers don’t even know what systems they have in operation.

  • the IRS struggled to come up with a complete list of sensitive computer systems, eventually identifying 319.
    To perform this evaluation, we [TIGTA] requested information from the IRS that identifies all sensitive systems. However, our ability to obtain a complete and reliable inventory of its sensitive systems was an ongoing challenge throughout this evaluation.

In fine, as TIGTA put it,

The fact remains that for some sensitive systems, the IRS does not have adequate controls to detect or prevent the unauthorized removal of data by users[.]

Plainly, the IRS’ managers aren’t even pretending to try to install controls.

We need a Federal Revenue facility to oversee Federal tax collection and collected revenue handling, even under a vastly simplified Federal tax code. But this agency is beyond repair. It must be disbanded entirely with its personnel returned to the private sector—most especially not reassigned elsewhere in the Federal government—and replaced with a new, streamlined Federal Revenue facility.

TIGTA’s report can be read here.

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