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National Debt

IRS Wasted Millions on Technology Devices

  • March 08, 2013

    Most people know the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as the U.S. Government agency charged with collecting tax dollars. However, according to a report released late last month by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) the IRS wasted millions on aircrads and BlackBerrys without oversight.



    During Fiscal Year 2011 the IRS paid approximately $1.1 million for 13,878 aircards and 754 BlackBerrys that were not used for periods of three months to one year. Auditors from TIGTA found that 2,560 IRS employees may have been assigned an aircard or BlackBerry without required management approval. These devices cost the IRS more than $950,000 in Fiscal Year 2011, or about $4.8 million over five years. Also found in the audit were 45 aircards and 68 BlackBerrys that were not used at all for the entire 12 months of the fiscal year. Had the process for managing these technology devices been improved, taxpayers would have been saved approximately $5.9 million over five years.



    In its report, TIGTA recommended that the IRS develop processes to periodically evaluate who is elgible for aircards and BlackBerrys. Also, the IRS should ensure that approval of devices is based on business need; establish a pooling policy for aircards; review its inventory records to identify devices shown as assigned to employees without proper management approval; develop a formalized process to identify BlackBerrys with no usage; and identify whether BlackBerrys with no data use could be replaced with a lower costing cellular telephone.



    These are all simple management processes in place at private businesses, and in the home of Americans. After all – who wants to foot the bill for something going unused? These types of audits at other government agencies would sadly yield the same outcome – unused or unauthorized use of technology equipment adding up to millions of wasted taxpayer dollars. In a time of so-called “budget austerity” American taxpayers should expect that the government is undertaking every avenue to pick the low hanging fruit of budget waste. This is one which deserves much more travel.

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