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IRS E-Help Desk Not Always Protecting Taxpayer Privacy, IG Finds

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Assistors at the Internal Revenue Service’s e-help desk are not always taking the required steps to protect the confidentiality of taxpayer information, a Treasury Department audit found.

In a report dated July 28 and posted Monday, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found managers do not always hold employees accountable for following IRS disclosure procedures.

TIGTA surveyed nearly 430,000 calls the desk received in fiscal year 2010. In nearly 27 percent of the calls, assistors did not take the required steps to authenticate the callers’ identities to ensure they were authorized to receive tax account information.

Managers only completed 54 percent of required reviews for assistors, TIGTA auditors found.

“For example, some reviews are not performed if the assistor is in training and not
working the e-help Desk. However, documentation was not sufficient to determine when those instances were applicable,” the report said.

IRS management agreed to TIGTA’s recommendations, including improving oversight and accountability to ensure managers consistently and effectively complete reviews and hold employees accountable for not following procedures.

Click here to read the full report.

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