The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has released a report on suitability checks for participation in IRS programs. TIGTA initiated this audit to assess the effectiveness of IRS processes to ensure the suitability of applicants seeking to participate in IRS programs and to follow up on IRS planned corrective actions to address prior TIGTA recommendations.
The IRS’s suitability checks for applicants to the Acceptance Agent, Enrolled Agent, and e-File Provider Programs generally ensured that only reputable individuals were accepted in the programs during fiscal year 2018. Further, the IRS’s continuous suitability checks also ensured that individuals accepted in the programs prior to the initial suitability checks had not engaged in criminal activity warranting removal from the program. TIGTA also identified that when the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported a criminal history for an applicant, the adjudication process was inconsistent depending on the program to which the individual was applying. Finally, the IRS did not take sufficient actions to address the fraudulent submission of fingerprint cards by some applicants to pass their background investigations.
TIGTA recommended that the IRS:
- assess the risk to tax administration of performing inconsistent initial and continuous suitability checks on individuals seeking to participate or enrolled in the e-File Provider, Acceptance Agent, and Enrolled Agent Programs;
- assess the risk of the e-File Provider Program’s use of decision matrices to adjudicate an applicant’s criminal history that are inconsistent with the matrices used by the Acceptance Agent and Enrolled Agent Programs; and
- work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to identify additional individuals who may have submitted fingerprint cards that match the fingerprints of another individual.
The IRS agreed with all the recommendations.