GAO Reports  
T-AIMD/GGD-97-22 November 07, 1996

IRS Business Operations: Issues in Setting
Priorities & Managing for Results

GAO discussed the role of the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in improving IRS business operations. GAO noted that: (1) full and effective implementation of three recent management reform laws will help address the fundamental problems impeding IRS business operations; (2) IRS is being required to submit a strategic plan and detailed performance measures with its fiscal year 1998 budget request, and the Commission has an opportunity to engage in, and further, this debate; (3) it would be most helpful if the Commission could express its views on the appropriate business priorities for IRS, particularly since IRS may have taken on too many ambitious business goals and did not set priorities; (4) the Commission could also help to obtain consensus on IRS business goals and performance measures among the administration and key congressional committees; (5) IRS lacks well-defined strategies for making its business vision a reality, particularly regarding electronic filing of tax returns and taxpayer service and compliance; (6) the Commission needs to address directly the importance of IRS, Department of the Treasury, and Office of Management and Budget oversight of and management follow-through on IRS implementation efforts; (7) IRS has made some progress in responding to its persistent problems in preparing reliable financial statements, but many difficult problems remain to be corrected; and (8) the Commission can play an important role by recommending priorities and time frames for corrective actions in this critical area.

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