IRS Anti-Fraud Program Plagued by Delays, Costing Taxpayers Millions

(FoxNews.com) The rollout of an IRS program meant to catch fraudulent tax returns has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, according to a government watchdog – and one Republican lawmaker is demanding answers.

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John Koskinen/ C-SPAN via YouTube

Citizens Against Government Waste slammed the “wasteful” and “ineffective” program in a report timed with the tax-filing deadline earlier this week.

At issue is an IRS effort to replace the Electronic Fraud Detection System (EFDS) – which dates back to 1994 — with an update called the Return Review Program (RRP). In 2010, the IRS described the EFDS “too risky to maintain, upgrade or operate beyond 2015.”

However, despite the program being in development since 2009, the replacement is not expected to be completed until 2022.

And that time is money.

According to a 2015 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report, a two-year pilot program found the new program missed tens of thousands of fraudulent returns, amounting to a cost of $313 million.

The CAGW noted a 2015 Government Accountability Office report also found the program exceeded its initial budget by $86.5 million.

“This is unfortunately typical of information technology modernization projects throughout the federal government,” Tom Schatz, president of the CAGW, told Fox News. “The unfortunate result is that many of its projects are behind schedule, the technology is outdated, and they usually have large cost overruns.”

In March, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, wrote to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, expressing concern about the program and demanding answers to a series of questions about the state of RRP.

“In an era where new technologies rapidly become outdated, taking 14 years to fully implement a major IT system is simply unacceptable,” Hatch wrote. “Furthermore, the IRS has paid far more than the initial $57.5 million in estimated costs to date.”…

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