The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

IRS Undermines Congressional Budgeting

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


In a July 2016 report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could improve its budget data in its justifications to Congress.  The report found that the IRS, while it has taken steps to more effectively manage its budget, has not correlated its priorities to relevant appropriations accounts.  In its fiscal year 2017 justification, the IRS linked requests to priorities for increased funding, but failed to provide data on how much had been previously spent on each priority; as a result, the amount of each requested funding increase had no proper context.  IRS officials cited the lack of information as a result of not tracking spending, a failure exemplified by the GAO’s finding that the IRS underreported IT investment by $4 million.  The GAO said, “according to federal control standards, ongoing monitoring should occur in the course of normal operations.”

The GAO recommends that the IRS include all the data on funding on future justifications.  Without all necessary information, Congress’ ability to make reasonable budget decisions is negatively affected.  Limited information yields ineffective oversight.

This report is further evidence of an IRS run amok, no surprise to those who have fallen victim to their tactics.  Considering 48 percent of Americans view the IRS unfavorably (the least popular of all federal agencies), the IRS should be taking more steps to improve transparency and accountability while collecting taxes, rather than wasting taxpayer dollars. 

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