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February 23, 2009

Robert Sperling
(202) 622-6500

TIGTA Releases Review of the IRS's Emergency Preparedness Planning

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) today publicly released its review of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) business continuity program, which protects IRS employees and facilities and allows the IRS to resume operations following a disaster or emergency incident.

TIGTA found that many of the IRS's plans to protect its employees and provide service to taxpayers during and after a major disruption were not up to date, have not been adequately tested and do not contain sufficient detail to be effective. The absence of detailed planning information and inadequate testing are due to a lack of coordination between the IRS's business units, according to the report. In an emergency incident, TIGTA believes that these deficiencies could result in delays in recovering critical business processes.

TIGTA's review was based on the results of three previously issued TIGTA audit reports and a recent review by the Government Accountability Office of the IRS's emergency planning. TIGTA made recommendations in its previous reports to improve the development and testing of the IRS's business continuity plans. A list of the reports is provided below.

"This big picture look at the IRS's ability to recover from a disaster like the 2006 flooding of the IRS's headquarters building or Hurricane Katrina in 2005 clearly shows the need for IRS business units to work together to develop and test business continuity plans," commented J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

TIGTA recommended that the IRS appoint an executive with cross-organizational authority to oversee the IRS business continuity program. The IRS concurred and has appointed an executive who will direct and executive the IRS's overall emergency management program.

To read the full report, including the scope, methodology and IRS's response, visit www.tigta.gov.

Recent TIGTA Reports on the IRS's Emergency Preparedness

  1. Disaster Recovery Issues Have Not Been Effectively Resolved, but Progress Is Being Made (Reference Number 2008-20-061, dated February 29, 2008).
  2. Emergency Preparedness at Internal Revenue Service Facilities Needs to Be Improved (Reference Number 2008-10-148, dated September 17, 2008).
  3. Weaknesses in Business Resumption Plans Could Delay Recovery From a Disaster (Reference Number 2008-20-178, dated September 17, 2008).