Auditors: More IRS computers are missing

Auditors: More IRS computers are missing

The IRS cannot account for an unknown number of the 6,600 desktop and notebook computers it has loaned to volunteers who assist low-income, disabled and senior citizens to prepare tax returns, an audit has found.

IRS also did not ensure that taxpayer e-filing data, including Social Security numbers, was removed from the computers at the end of the 2001 tax filing season, the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration said in the report, released yesterday. Nor did IRS ensure that only authorized software was loaded on the computers used by the volunteers.

In the last three years, the IRS has reported about 2,300 missing computers. The most recent ones were missing from the IRS' Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs.

Agreeing with the inspector general's recommendations, the IRS said it will:
  • Perform a complete inventory assessment and validate the equipment used in tax preparation programs

  • Temporarily suspend computer acquisition from external sources

  • Tell IRS managers to delete all taxpayer data from volunteers' computers after a filing season

  • Include license authority in developing procedures for acquiring computers from internal and external sources.

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