Federal Manager's Daily Report

Agencies Inch Back toward Regular Operations, Look ahead to ‘New Normal’

The IRS addressed nine of the 24 high-priority recommendations that GAO listed for the agency in April 2020 but the GAO has now elevated another 10 to high-priority status, bringing the total to 25, including several regarding personnel management.

GAO pointed to one recommendation of March 2019 that the IRS fully implement a workforce planning initiative, to help it “to systematically identify and recruit the workforce needed for the future, develop strategies for identifying and closing skills gaps.” It said that as of March of this year the IRS “had established a workforce plan, including an enterprise strategy, and had initiated the associated workforce analysis needed to implement the initiative. Our review found IRS is on schedule to implement the workforce planning initiative and have a process in place to monitor and evaluate the results” by year’s end.

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However, the GAO also noted that in January 2020 it recommended that the IRS also develop better controls for managing overtime. “IRS agreed with the recommendation, but stated that its existing process for overtime use and approval is sufficient and that it plans no further action. We maintain that such a strategy, in combination with IRS’s strategic workforce planning initiative, would help ensure more efficient use of overtime,” it said.

GAO credited the IRS with addressing recommendations in areas including customer service strategy and assessments for mission-critical occupations. However, recommendations remain in areas including taxpayer services, payment integrity, tax fraud, information security, effectiveness of audits, and more.

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