WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should strengthen its controls over its investigative equipment to prevent waste and loss, according to a report publicly released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
The IRS’s Criminal Investigation (CI) Division has nearly 44,000 pieces of investigative equipment ranging from cars and badges to firearms and radios with a total value of nearly $126 million. This equipment is essential to accomplish the IRS’s investigative and enforcement functions.
TIGTA evaluated the progress made by CI in improving its property management since a September 2005 audit in which TIGTA determined that internal control weaknesses created an environment susceptible to the loss of investigative equipment.
Although CI took steps to strengthen controls over its equipment inventory, TIGTA’s new audit identified continued weaknesses. CI management did not properly conduct annual inventory reviews, update its inventory database to include all purchases of investigative equipment, conduct required security reviews, or restrict access to investigative equipment to authorized personnel.
“It is critical that the IRS establish effective protocols to ensure that its assets are adequately safeguarded against theft and loss,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
TIGTA visited CI headquarters and three field offices and physically verified a sample of investigative equipment items against the equipment database. TIGTA could not locate or find proper support for 23 or approximately 9 percent of the items valued at $82,326. Further analysis showed that 11 of those 23 items could not be located because they had been disposed of without adequate documentation.
TIGTA made eight recommendations to improve CI’s inventory management and controls. The IRS agreed with five recommendations, partially agreed with two recommendations, and disagreed with TIGTA’s recommendation for additional restriction of access to investigative equipment and weapons storage areas. The IRS said that access to CI offices is already limited to CI personnel.
To review the report, including the scope and methodology, go to: http://www.treas.gov/tigta/auditreports/2011reports/201130008fr.pdf.