Drive Increased Agility, Efficiency, Effectiveness and Security in IRS Operations

We will focus on streamlining and simplifying our business processes to serve taxpayers better and improve our stewardship of taxpayer resources. Efficient operations and modern infrastructure are the foundation of a stable, reliable organization and are essential elements of sustaining excellent service and enforcement capabilities. Strong data systems are critical to safeguarding taxpayer and employee data from threats.

Investing in a modern and secure IT network is critical to achieving our strategic goals, incorporating substantial tax law changes into our operations and delivering our mission. Continued expansion of digitized information, particularly of case files, will simplify our internal processes and encourage seamless integration across the organization. Digitization also will enable enhancements to taxpayer-facing systems, providing taxpayers and tax professionals with better and faster service.

Investing to replace our aged infrastructure will allow us to realize our mission, reprogram systems based on tax reform requirements and provide the foundation for improved service and enforcement capabilities. We’re dedicated to streamlining our processes and to managing costs by reducing redundancies, a task necessary for sound financial stewardship.

Finding Efficiencies

To modernize operations and align to growth seen in e-Filing, the IRS will consolidate Submission Processing (SP) Centers for the consolidation and treatment of paper returns by 2025. This will result in a reduction of both space and costs.

An increased reliance on technology creates the need for increased security, both physical and digital, to protect our employees and taxpayer information from threats. We understand our responsibility to safeguard taxpayer and IRS data, particularly given the growing incidence and sophistication of cyber and identity theft. We remain dedicated to maintaining the physical and digital security of our systems, enhancing internal controls, managing risk and upholding accountability across the agency.

Modernizing IRS Operations. The IRS is committed to modernizing operations through a variety of initiatives. These initiatives include: migration to the cloud, research analytics and behavioral insights, anomaly detection, integrated case management, tax processing, a highly skilled workforce, stabilization of IT operations, cybersecurity, and the automation of repetitive processes.

Objectives and Supporting Activities

  • Invest in the enhancement and integration of systems.

  • Adopt iterative and flexible approaches to technology development and system updates.

  • Maintain currency of hardware and software.

  • Invest in innovative technologies and enable the delivery of secure, agile and efficient service offerings through cloud services.

Aging IRS Hardware. 52% of IRS hardware is aged as of fiscal year 2018. This measure was computed at the start of fiscal year 2018.

  • Enhance physical security through increased use of new technologies and have standardized countermeasures and security policies.

  • Continue developing Authentication, Authorization and access abilities to provide the foundation for the move to digital services.

  • Assess and update data-sharing and access policies to protect the privacy of taxpayer data.

  • Adopt a proactive and analytics-driven approach to implement new offensive and defensive strategies to meet emerging cyber threats.

Safeguarding Taxpayer Data. 2.1 billion cyber access attempts were denied in 2016 and 2017, and the IRS protected over $12.4 billion of revenue in confirmed identity theft in 2016 and 2017.

  • Continue managing costs by reducing redundancies and finding efficiencies.
  • Review and monitor business outcomes to improve investment performance.
  • Identify financial management and systems internal controls deficiencies and address risks associated with them.
  • Strengthen acquisition planning and create innovative business strategies that achieve cost-effective contracting solutions.
  • Streamline internal agreements and standard operating processes (e.g., internal Memoranda of Understanding, Internal Revenue Manual) and modernize the communication of those policies.
  • Assess the IRS organizational structure to achieve proper functional alignment and appropriate spans of control.
  • Encourage feedback and idea-sharing from employees on potential improvements to IRS processes.

Measuring Success

Aged Hardware Percentage - Quantity of hardware in operation past its useful life as a share of total hardware in use and

Efficient Space Utilization - Ratio that measures overall rentable square footage per person (includes contractors).

Trends and Challenges

Addressing Cyber Threats

Many taxpayers use multiple devices to connect to the internet, making identity verification and protection more complex. At the same time, cybercriminals are more sophisticated than ever. As the IRS expands its digital efforts, it requires investment in robust security systems to enable secure access to digital services.

There are millions of cyber threats against the government each year. Between FY2006 and FY2015, the number of reported information security incidents increased 1,303 percent.1 For the IRS, the cyber risk is exacerbated by aging infrastructure and the complexity of our technology networks. Effective collaboration between partners in the tax ecosystem — the Security Summit, for instance — can strengthen defenses through the sharing of technology and intelligence .

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1. U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-16-501, Information Security: Agencies Need to Improve Controls over Selected High-Impact Systems, May 2016, 3-4.

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