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August 11, 2008

Robert Sperling
(202) 927-7164

TIGTA Releases Report on IRS Planning Efforts for Economic Stimulus Payments

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) today publicly released its evaluation of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS's) planning efforts for the issuance of economic stimulus payments.

The review is the first in a series of TIGTA audits designed to provide Congress with an ongoing status of the IRS's implementation of the more than $100 billion in stimulus payments to more than 130 million households. TIGTA evaluated the IRS's efforts to plan for the implementation of the stimulus payments and its actions through April 1, 2008.

"Because Congress expected the stimulus payments to be in the hands of individuals as soon as possible, the IRS planned to execute the effort in tandem with the 2008 Filing Season," said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

TIGTA found that the IRS's planning for the stimulus payments was generally sufficient. The IRS's efforts included developing and executing a wide-reaching campaign to educate taxpayers about the stimulus payments while simultaneously assisting taxpayers who were in the process of filing their annual income tax returns. According to the report, however, some IRS functions had not developed action plans, and there was no consolidated review process in place to ensure that the information and guidance being shared internally and externally were consistent and accurate.

"When TIGTA raised concerns about inconsistent and incomplete information released by the IRS," said George, "the agency initiated mitigating actions in a timely manner."

TIGTA did not make any formal recommendations this report. IRS management did respond to provide additional perspective on agency efforts.