Is TIGTA's Audit Process Missing a Step?

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The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is the government watchdog agency that makes sure the IRS does its job.  At least that’s what they’re supposed to do.  From where I sit, it looks like they do a great job identifying IRS problems, and describing the problems in audit reports, and even in recommending solutions to the problems.  But, what seems to be lacking is follow-up.

Case in point: according to the most recent TIGTA audit report, the IRS let about 1.5 million fraudulent refund returns slip by them in 2011 — a potential loss of $5.2 billion.  As usual, at the conclusion of the report, TIGTA made its recommendations to reduce these illegal tax relief schemes — seven of them this time.  But then what?  This is not a new audit topic, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that TIGTA has made similar (if not the same) recommendations before.  When does TIGTA follow up on this to see if the IRS made the recommended changes?

This is TIGTA’s detailed audit process (as shown on their website):

  1. Engagement letter
  2. Opening conference
  3. Fieldwork
  4. Discussion draft report
  5. Exit conference
  6. Formal draft report
  7. Agency response
  8. Final report

Shouldn’t there be a 9th item on this list for “follow-up”?