GAO Reports  
GGD-96-3 October 10, 1995

Tax Administration: IRS Faces Challenges in
Reorganizing for Customer Service

GAO reviewed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) progress in realizing its plan for improving its customer service, focusing on: (1) IRS customer service goals and its plans to meet these goals; (2) the difficulty IRS has in meeting these goals; (3) current management concerns; and (4) important challenges IRS faces.

GAO found that: (1) IRS customer service goals are to provide better service to taxpayers, utilize its resources more efficiently, and improve taxpayers compliance with tax laws; (2) IRS expects to improve its efficiency by having fewer work locations and automated workload management, giving customer service representatives better computer resources and access to taxpayer accounts, and improving taxpayers accessibility to telephone service; (3) IRS has made some progress toward its vision by initiating limited operations in new customer service centers; (4) current IRS management concerns include the lack of ownership for customer service, the absence of owner's involvement during project development, and inadequate quality measures to evaluate interactive telephone systems performance; (5) these management issues have not had serious adverse effects on IRS goals because implementation of the customer service vision is still in the beginning stages; and (6) to achieve its customer service goals, IRS will have to overcome challenges including how to manage the transition to a different organization while maintaining ongoing workloads and developing and using new information technology.

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