Posted by Curt on 16 May, 2013 at 8:53 pm. 2 comments already!


Brianna Ehley @ The Fiscal Times:

The agency at the center of a criminal investigation for targeting conservative groups is fraught with problems well beyond political scandal.

A new report from the Government Accountability Office released Monday says the Internal Revenue Service must improve its internal controls to save millions of tax dollars.

The report shows that little oversight at the IRS has led to erroneous refunds sent to dead taxpayers, millions of extra tax credits mistakenly allocated to the Highway Trust Fund and major miscalculations of how much the agency is owed in unpaid taxes, among other issues.

GAO auditors found calculating errors totaling at least $829 million between 10 taxpayer accounts with balances equal to or exceeding $32 million, which went undetected by the agency’s internal review procedures.

“…IRS does not have a detailed listing, or subsidiary ledger that accurately tracks and accumulates unpaid tax assessments and their status on an ongoing basis,” the report said.

The IRS also lacked an effective policy to identify deceased taxpayers — leading the agency to send refunds to dead Americans. A surviving spouse or court-appointed representative is allowed to request a deceased taxpayer’s refunds, but the filing process is different. GAO sampled 74 refunds disbursed to deceased taxpayers during 2012, and found that 65 were invalid-based on an improper tax form, an improper filing status, or an unallowable exemption or tax credit, all of which got through the agency’s internal review process.

Add to this an almost comical mistake regarding the amount of quarterly excise tax revenues distributed to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and the Highway Trust Fund. For example, in March 2012, IRS added $138 million in kerosene credits to the HTF when it should have subtracted $166 million. In another instance, IRS erroneously omitted $3 million in collections from the AATF for the third quarter of 2012.

“These errors occurred because IRS did not provide the staff assigned responsibility for performing the excise tax certifications with any comprehensive formal training on the excise tax certification process, despite the complex combination of manual and automated procedures to be followed,” the report said.

As of September 2012, 46 of 69 previous GAO recommendations for the IRS remained unfinished, and 14 new recommendations have been added. Many cite the lack of proper oversight and suggest the agency make improvements to its internal controls.

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