On the one-year anniversary of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of
1998, this testimony discusses the management challenges confronting IRS
as it modernizes its organization and reforms its culture. The IRS
Commissioner has painted a compelling picture of what he wants IRS to
become--a fully modernized agency providing top-quality service to
taxpayers. Given the reforms that are planned, it should surprise no one
that IRS--an agency with a long history of stovepipe management and a
culture driven by enforcement statistics--will be challenged to
accomplish so ambitious an agenda. In GAO's view, the modernization
effort has the potential to deliver better service to taxpayers. IRS'
agenda, however, is both ambitious and high risk. GAO has been impressed
by the Commissioner's leadership and commitment to change as well as
IRS' efforts so far. But sustained progress will depend on IRS' managers
successfully marshaling the agency's resources, both human and systems,
to deal with that challenging agenda.
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