IRS IT Chided Over Delegation of Reviews, Approval of IT Acquisitions

A report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) finds that the IRS failed to follow FITARA guidelines when purchasing new IT equipment and reporting on the FITARA scorecard.

According to TIGTA report, released July 27, IRS CIO Gina Garza “broadly delegated” the review and approval of major IT acquisitions. The report found this practice “contrary to the basic principles of FITARA.” This appears to be a holdover practice in the department, as TIGTA found that the guidelines for delegating IT acquisition approval date back to 2011. Under these guidelines, deputy CIOs, associate CIOs, and deputy associate CIOs were delegated unlimited IT approval authority.

Additionally, the TIGTA found that the IRS did not have the CIO review the contract sections of IT acquisitions as required by Treasury’s FITARA guidelines. While the law requires individual review and involvement, in business cases the IRS CIO received a summary presentation that did not include all vendor names, contract dollar amounts or contract purposes.

TIGTA also chided the IRS for not establishing a process to stay involved in IT acquisitions by other business units. The unclear lines between business information services and IT led to additional confusion, TIGTA said.

In response to these reports, the IRS CIO’s office agreed to establish new processes to review major IT acquisitions and implement a “light touch” approach to reviews outside of the IT organization, with a recently drafted list of IT products and services helping to establish this process.

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