The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has released its semiannual report to Congress covering the period of October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018. According to the report, during this timeframe, TIGTA’s Office of Audit completed 22 audits, and its Office of Investigations completed 1,288 investigations. TIGTA’s combined audit and investigative efforts have resulted in the recovery, protection, and identification of monetary benefits totaling $7.4 billion.
“Cybersecurity is now one of the most critical challenges confronting the IRS and TIGTA”, said J. Russell George, the inspector general. “The IRS relies extensively on its computer systems to support both its financial and mission-related operations”, he said, adding that because the information compiled by the agency “is extremely valuable, the IRS is increasingly becoming a target of cybercriminals and identity thieves”. George also stressed that TIGTA is “concerned about the hardware failure that disrupted processing on the last day of this year’s filing season”.
An audit is now underway to evaluate the problem and identify ways to prevent such disruptions in the future, he said. In addition, George reported on “the largest and most pervasive IRS impersonation scam in the history of this agency”. As of March 31, more than 13,000 victims have paid IRS impersonators a total approaching $66 million. “However, I am pleased to report that, as of March 31, 2018, because of TIGTA’s relentless commitment to protecting taxpayers, a total of 111 individuals have been charged in federal court for their roles in this nationwide scam, George said.