The IRS has strengthened controls over access to its facilities by former employees but those steps still “were not effective in preventing access to facilities and computers after employees separated,” an IG report has said.
“It is important for the IRS to recover security items, such as government identification, to prevent former employees from unauthorized entry to IRS facilities and workspaces, accessing IRS computers and taxpayer information, or potentially misrepresenting themselves to taxpayers,” it said.
The report was a followup to one in 2016 finding, among other things, that the IRS could not assure that access cards and other security-related items had been recovered from two-thirds of employees who had separated in 2014. During 2018, more than 4,400 full-time, permanent employees separated from the IRS, including more than 300 who left during a pending disciplinary case, the new report said.
It found for example that while most managers now collect departing employees’ ID cards and timely process their removal as required, the IRS didn’t recover those cards from nearly 400 separated employees, including 26 who left under “adverse conditions.” Managers did not always report that cards had not been collected, it added.
Further, the IG found that even when managers processed separations on time, facilities and security personnel did not remove building access within time requirements in four-fifths of the cases in a random sample by the IG.
It said that agency management agreed with its recommendations to address those issues.