This testimony discusses (1) how well the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is providing service to taxpayers and ensuring compliance with tax laws, and (2) IRS' progress in its long-term effort to modernize. GAO found that IRS posted mixed results in 2001 in collecting revenues, providing taxpayer service, and enforcing tax laws. On the plus side, IRS processed millions of tax returns and issued refunds without significant problems, taxpayers had an easier time getting through to telephone assistors, and IRS said that it made progress in correcting weaknesses that threatened the security of electronically filed tax information. On the down side, the quality of service provided to taxpayers who visited taxpayer assistance centers, trends in audit rates and enforcement programs, and productivity all experienced troubling declines. With respect to modernization, IRS is making incremental progress in overhauling its organization, performance management system, business processes, and information technology. IRS is also making important progress in implementing its new organizational structure, developing a blueprint for modernizing its business processes and information systems, and more fully defining its strategic direction. However, IRS progress has fallen short of expectations. For example, IRS is not where it should be in implementing management controls over business systems modernization, which has contributed to project delays.
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