The IRS could benefit from using “critical position pay authority” (CPPA)—which allows paying above the general federal salary caps, up to the Executive Schedule Level I salary, currently $207,800—to fill critical technical, professional, or administrative positions, says an IG report.

The report noted that the IRS started using a similar “streamlined critical pay” (SCP) authority in 1998 but that authority expired in 2013; some employees remain under it but that grandfathering feature ends in September. “IRS officials have not pursued use of the CPPA because they believed that the expired SCP authority would be restored. Compared to the SCP, the CPPA process requires additional layers of approval and offers substantially less pay flexibility,” the report said.

The IRS has made plans to submit requests for CPPA for several positions but the IG recommended wider application. “Given the sensitive information housed by the IRS, using the CPPA to recruit highly qualified experts to lead IRS cybersecurity and other information technology and specialized functions may better protect taxpayers from having their sensitive information misappropriated and misused,” it said.

It said management agreed with a recommendation that the IRS test broader use of CPPA, starting with a planned request to its parent Treasury Department in November.