GAO Reports  
GGD-99-88 May 05, 1999

IRS Customer Service: Management Strategy
Shows Promise But Could Be Improved

Improving customer service at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a priority for both the agency and Congress. GAO found that IRS' ambitious strategy to improve customer service shows promise but could be improved. As of January 1999, IRS has established priorities, reduced the number of initiatives to a manageable level, aligned them with its strategic goals and objectives, and assigned accountability for specific initiatives. IRS has also improved its ability to monitor and track individual initiatives by providing on-line access to its database and by asking management to enter information on milestones and completion dates. IRS' strategy could be enhanced by having information on expected costs and benefits, milestones and completion dates, and performance measures. IRS has already linked the initiatives to its strategic goals and objectives and has begun to collect information on timeliness. However, IRS has not determined how much the initiatives are likely to cost, what benefits are expected to be achieved, and how the results will be measured. The Taxpayer Service and Treatment Improvement Program database could serve as a tool not only to monitor implementation but also to facilitate effective management and oversight.

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