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GAO Criticizes IRS Over Serious IT Deficiencies 57

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the gaozilla-vs-irsthra dept.
wiredmikey writes with an analysis of a GAO report on the dismal failure of the IRS to implement secure IT practices. From the article: "The Government Accountability Office has blasted the Internal Revenue Service for failing to implement stronger security measures after a succession of dismal reports on the subject. In a report issued to the Secretary of the Treasury last week, the GAO said that the IRS had met just 15 percent of the 105 previously reported recommendations where information security is concerned. Taking a blunt approach, the GAO said that the IRS 'lacks reasonable assurance as to the accuracy of financial information or the adequate protection of sensitive taxpayer information.' ... It also said it would issue a limited distribution report to the IRS that addresses details omitted from this most recent report due to the sensitivity of the information."
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GAO Criticizes IRS Over Serious IT Deficiencies

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  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @09:10AM (#38058618) Homepage

    I can't find the link after a few minutes on Google, but a couple years back there was news that some IRS employees were using their computer systems to snoop on celebrities and read their tax returns.

    This report seems basically like confirmation that once you're on the system, you can do whatever you want.

    I think a basic precaution would be that you have to know both the social security number and the name in order to open a file.

  • why bother with IRS? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @09:42AM (#38058858) Homepage Journal

    With all the inflation created by the Fed to feed the ever hungry Treasury, why bother with the IRS? Here is a cost cutting for you: abolish the IRS and just keep counterfeiting. There is no difference. IRS is just a token dep't, existing for the sake of existing, today, that government only collects a small part of its expenses in taxes and borrows and prints the rest.

    You KNOW the final result of this government agenda. The final result is massive inflation (maybe even hyper inflation). What difference does it make if you collect a few percentage points of your expenses in taxes, while the most of what you spend you print directly (QE) or indirectly - 0% interest at the discount window given to the banks, so they can buy US Treasuries?

    USA can never repay its debt with honest money, it is going to monetize the debt and destroy the value of USD further. Since 1913 the value of USD has come down by 99%, what's the big deal about the 1 remaining percent? What's so special about it?

    Since 1971 the end result was pre-determined. The fiat currencies of the world were going to come to a disgraceful end. Today in Greece they already don't bother with the fiat, people on the streets already found ways to exchange their labor and products/services by using other means of exchange, store of value and unit of account (all this to avoid the austerity imposed by the banks upon the country and to avoid the taxation.)

    Greeks are doing it right.

    At some point everybody else will wake up and do it right too.

  • Re:Identity theft? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @09:47AM (#38058896)

    Should I be thinking twice about filing my taxes? It seems like there's a pretty big risk for identity theft.

    Actually, you want to file as early as you can. One of the biggest identity theft targets is tax refunds: steal someone's SSN, and file. I've seen cases where the refund was sent to completely different States than where the real taxpayer lives. The IRS doesn't check DOBs, either so don't count on them not knowing that as a defense.

    And what do you do when that happens? Call the IRS and then they "investigate" while you go round and round with their customer service. So, be sure to call your Congressman and Senator if it happens. Their offices are pretty good at shaking up Government agencies.

  • by DudeTheMath (522264) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @11:52AM (#38060394) Homepage

    Amen! Congress has been starving the IRS of funding. The ROI to the federal government in terms of successful audits of the biggest tax cheats is huge, but with a tiny budget for audits, the IRS can't take on as many of the "big fish" who can mount strong defenses; it only has the resources to go after the minnows, even though there isn't much meat on them.

    A 2010 report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse found that the audit rate of large (> $250M in assets) corporations dropped from 42.6% to 25% since 2005, and that for huge (> $5B) corporations dropped from 78% to 64% since only 2007. Do you think this is because of increased compliance? Ha. Ha.

    Also see this 2008 OMB Watch [ombwatch.org] report.

  • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @03:57PM (#38064126)

    The ROI for the IRS is, indeed, fantastic.

    So keep this in mind - Any politician who says they want to reduce government debt but who does not also say they are willing to fund the IRS to the level it needs is a liar.

    Revenue Officers, even new ones, bring in 3 to 20 times their salary (sometimes much, much more) per year. So why aren't we hiring more Officers and Agents and all the support people they need? Because politician are liars, people with no integrity who will say whatever it takes to get elected whether it makes sense or not. Here's the most basic test I can think of - Any politician who says they want to abolish the IRS is too stupid to carry out any job more complex than janitor (and I really hate to insult janitors by suggesting politicians could do their job). Don't vote for them.

The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters. -- Jean-Paul Kauffmann

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