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Treasury IG Report on IRS e-Help Desk

Treasury IG Report on IRS e-Help Desk

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Treasury IG Report on IRS e-Help Desk reveals inadequate taxpayer data protection.

http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2011reports/201140073fr.pdf
Treasury IG Report on IRS e-Help Desk reveals inadequate taxpayer data protection.

http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2011reports/201140073fr.pdf

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Published by: Bad Government Review on Aug 24, 2011
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TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION 
Phone Number | 202-622-6500 Email Address TIGTACommunications@tigta.treas.gov  Web Site | http://www.tigta.gov 
Progress Has Been Made, but Additional Improvements to the E-Help Desk Are Needed to Support Expanding Electronic Products and Services 
July 28, 2011Reference Number: 2011-40-073
This report has cleared the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration disclosure review processand information determined to be restricted from public release has been redacted from this document.
 
HIGHLIGHTS 
 PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE, BUTADDITIONAL IMPROVEMENTS TO THEE-HELP DESK ARE NEEDED TOSUPPORT EXPANDING ELECTRONICPRODUCTS AND SERVICES
 
Highlights
 
Final Report issued on July 28, 2011
Highlights of Reference Number: 2011-40-073to the Internal Revenue Service Commissionerfor the Wage and Investment Division.
IMPACT ON TAXPAYERS
Customers who contact the e-help Desk may beexperiencing difficulty registering for e-Services,transmitting an electronically filed tax return, orapplying to be an Electronic Return Originator.Electronic products supported by the e-helpDesk include electronically filed tax returns ande-Services such as the Electronic Federal TaxPayment System and the Central ContractorRegistration. Progress has been made, butadditional improvements to the e-help Desk areneeded to support expanding electronicproducts and services. Improvements neededrelate to the protection of taxpayer data, theprocess of assessing customer satisfaction, andother enhancements that can increaseproductivity and reduce customer burden.
WHY TIGTA DID THE AUDIT
This audit was a follow-up to a prior TIGTAreview to determine whether the InternalRevenue Service (IRS) e-help Desk Program isproviding quality customer service.
 
WHAT TIGTA FOUND
The IRS continues to recognize the need toprovide assistance to customers usinge-Services. The IRS has addressed theconcerns reported in Fiscal Year 2007 and hasmade improvements to the e-help DeskProgram. Foremost was the establishment ofthe Electronic Products and Services Supportorganization.Using an automated scheduling system couldsave resources and improve the Level ofService. Although the Level of Service is morethan 80 percent, the scheduling process for thee-help Desk is labor intensive and inefficient.Other IRS telephone call sites use theE-Workforce Management (EWFM) System toschedule assistors, which provides automatedtools to forecast, schedule, and track call centerworkload and staffing requirements.
 
On October 1, 2007, a Customer SatisfactionSurvey was implemented. However, the Surveyresults may not be reliable because the IRScannot validate or verify the sample selectionmethodology and does not include allcustomers. In addition, assistors are oftenaware their calls have been selected for theSurvey. Without reliable information, the IRScannot provide a basis for comparing Programresults with established performance goals.In Fiscal Year 2010, there were 82,235instances in which the assistors did not take therequired steps to protect the confidentially of thetaxpayer information they disclosed. Managersare not holding employees accountable for notfollowing required disclosure procedures.A toll-free telephone line is not available forinternational calls to the e-help Desk.Furthermore, calls to the e-help Desk that arenot serviceable by the e-help Desk areincreasing, which burdens taxpayers and wastesresources.
WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED
TIGTA recommended and the IRS agreed toensure: 1) funding for the implementation of theEWFM System is considered in the annualbudget process; 2) oversight and accountabilityis improved so managers consistently andeffectively complete required evaluative reviewsof assistors; 3) assistors use the electronicversion of the Authentication Disclosure Guide;4) technological upgrades are used to improvethe Survey; 5) all calls are included in thepopulation to be sampled for the Survey; 6) thee-help Desk is considered in any plans the IRShas to fund toll-free service to internationalcallers; and 7) a study is completed to determinewhy the e-help Desk receives unrelated callsand the action needed to reduce these calls.
 
 
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20220
 
TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERALFOR TAX ADMINISTRATION
July 28, 2011
MEMORANDUM FOR
 
COMMISSIONER, WAGE AND INVESTMENT DIVISION
FROM:
 
Michael R. PhillipsDeputy Inspector General for Audit
SUBJECT:
 
Final Audit Report – Progress Has Been Made, but AdditionalImprovements to the E-Help Desk Are Needed to Support ExpandingElectronic Products and Services (Audit # 201140007)This report presents the results of our review in determining whether the Internal RevenueService e-help Desk Program is providing quality customer service. This audit is a follow-up toa prior Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration review
1
 
and is part of our FiscalYear 2011 Annual Audit Plan. The audit addresses the major management challenge of Providing Quality Taxpayer ServiceManagement’s complete response to the draft report is included as Appendix VIII.Copies of this report are also being sent to the Internal Revenue Service managers affected by thereport recommendations. Please contact me at (202) 622-6510 if you have questions orMichael E. McKenney, Assistant Inspector General for Audit (Returns Processing and AccountServices), at (202) 622-5916.
1
 
 Improvements to the E-Help Desk Are Needed to Support Expanding Electronic Products and Services
(Reference Number 2007-40-026, dated January 30, 2007)
.

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