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Buchanan Opening Statement at Hearing on the IRS’s Efforts to Modernize Its Information Technology

October 04, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) today delivered the following opening statement at a Subcommittee hearing entitled “IRS Reform: Challenges to Modernizing IT Infrastructure.”

CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.

Remarks as delivered:

“Today’s hearing will focus on the current state of IRS IT, the challenges faced as the IRS seeks to modernize itself, and areas where the IRS could improve its efforts.  The importance of this topic cannot be understated.  A modern and efficient IT infrastructure is essential for effective tax administration, something that we all would like to see.

“While I’m sure today we’ll hear a lot about the IRS’s budgetary needs, this is not simply budget issue.  Budget is one aspect of running a successful enterprise; however, as a small business owner, I don’t always have the money for everything that I would like to do.  Instead, I have to make tough decisions and prioritize the needs of my business to ensure its success. 

“Work from both GAO and the Inspector General has shown many instances where the IRS’s decision making has led to significant IT problems.  For example, in 2010, the IRS was instructed by the U.S. CIO to pursue a “cloud first” strategy.  However, the IRS did begin to work on cloud strategy until 2016 and could not readily produce a full inventory of its clouds.  The IRS has also spent millions of taxpayer dollars procuring IT systems that it later determined cannot be used.

“Again, examples such as these are not budget failures.  They are management failures. 

“As we examine tax administration reforms, we welcome a discussion on changes to the IRS IT budget.  However, changes to the budget must be coupled with better management and governance of the resources the IRS already has.

“As I have said before, we would also like to see the IRS work to improve how it procures and implements its IT systems.  We also want to see the IRS be good stewards of the resources that we have already given them.  To that end, I look forward to hearing from the witnesses today on ways we might improve the management of IRS IT investments.”