President Obama recently named Daniel Werfel as head of the IRS, and the key findings of Werfel’s first 30 days on the job were released by the U.S. Treasury on Monday.
Werfel was nominated in response to an audit report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew provided Werfel with three objectives for his first month in the position: hold parties identified in the TIGTA report as behaving improperly, implement all nine TIGTA recommendations and examine and correct failures in administration that allowed the behavior to happen.
The TIGTA audit found that management failures contributed to “inappropriate treatment” of taxpayers applying for tax-exempt status. Since taking his position, Werfel implemented new leadership at five levels of management responsible for tax-exempt applications.
Additionally, the audit found that fact-gathering showed no evidence of intentional wrongdoing, involvement outside of the IRS or inappropriate criteria in other IRS operations. The newly established Accountability Review Board will recommend within 60 days any additional actions necessary to hold individuals identified in the TIGTA audit responsible.
The audit also indicated that nine TIGTA recommendations would help address the problems identified in the report. A voluntary, self-certification process will be available to expedite the application review for tax-exemption applicants who have waited more than 120 days for a decision.
Also according to the report, the IRS commissioner and other IRS leaders did not always have adequate knowledge of emerging risks, but Werfel assisted in the establishment of a new process to assess criteria and IRS screening procedures to help identify emerging risks.
The TIGTA audit found that existing mechanisms to help taxpayers are not understood or leveraged sufficiently. The IRS, however, will engage in education and outreach efforts on the role of the National Taxpayer Advocate.