TIGTA: IRS Failed to Perform Field Evaluations of Volunteer Tax Analysts

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jun 29, 2016
irs_hpWhile returns filed through the IRS Volunteer Tax Return Preparation Program were accurate, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration faulted the service for failing to perform field performance reviews of analysts to make sure they followed proper procedures. During the 2015 filing season, more than 90,000 volunteers at 12,057 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly sites assisted more than 3.6 million taxpayers, many in under served communities. As part of this process, the returns are reviewed by volunteer analysts. While IRS procedures require that these analysts undergo field performance reviews, TIGTA said this did not happen. 

“Without proper performance reviews, there is less assurance that results from Quality Statistical Sample site visits accurately measure the services offered through the Volunteer Program to ensure taxpayers are receiving accurate tax return preparation and quality service,” said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

TIGTA also said that the analysts did not report all identified Quality Site Requirement errors, which meant they overstated the adherence rate to these requirements. Of the 103 Site Review Sheets filed in the 2015 season, 26 incorrectly rated adherence to the Volunteer Program Quality Site Requirements. In addition, the TIGTA audit found that 130 volunteer sites used invalid Site Identification Numbers, and the IRS did not resolve these discrepancies. 

Finally, TIGTA said the analysts had trouble identifying which sites were and were not active: analysts erroneously identified 162 sites as not operating when, in fact, they were. 

The IRS, in response to the report, has agreed to take corrective action. 

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