Report: IRS makes headway on managing employees

Since 2009, the IRS has completed corrective actions for 78 percent of TIGTA's recommendations and 91 percent of the 58 recommendations made by the IRS task force formed to address serious workforce issues, the report showed.

Despite progress, continued focus by IRS executive management is important because the agency's workforce has decreased by about 10,000 full-time employees in the past two fiscal years.  

TIGTA has reported that the IRS needs to develop a strategy for integrating new employees into the workforce. Some of best practices that would help new employees become more productive were not fully implemented, the report said.

For instance, contrary to IRS policy, about 25 percent of the new employees TIGTA contacted were not assigned a coach or mentor when they arrived. 

The agency also faces an array of other challenges, including that many of the IRS’s experienced leaders and employees will be eligible to retire in the next five years.

At the same time, significant tax code changes, such as implementing the healthcare law, are on the horizon, and the IRS needs to make improvements to stop billions of dollars in fraudulent or improper tax refunds resulting from identity theft and erroneous tax claims.

The IRS also is undergoing a change in leadership, as its Commissioner Doug Shulman completed his term in November.

Since 2002, TIGTA has designated the IRS's employees as one of the major management challenges facing the agency.  

TIGTA made no recommendations in this report. However, key IRS management officials reviewed it prior to issuance.