(NationalSentinel) Policy: It’s the thought that counts - right?

The IRS created and implemented a tax fraud prevention program more than two decades ago, updating the program in 2009. The program costs roughly $19 million a year.

The program doesn’t work.

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon:

An Internal Revenue Service program designed to prevent fraud costs taxpayers roughly $18.2 million per year, but doesn’t work, according to the taxpayer watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

In 1994, in an attempt to catch fraudulent tax returns, the IRS created the Electronic Fraud Detection System. In 2009, the IRS began to modernize this system by working on the Return Review Program to replace it.

“Despite the recognized need to get the [Return Review Program] in place in a timely manner, the program is still in development, and is now estimated to be completed in 2022,” the watchdog group said. “The program is also ineffective.”

The inspector general for the tax agency discovered in 2015 that the program 54,175 fraudulent returns that totaled $313 million. Also, the Government Accountability Office discovered that the program also wound up costing some $86.5 million more than it was budgeted.

“On far too many occasions, the federal government tries to build IT systems, particularly software, that is available in the private sector at a lower cost,” the group says. “As the IRS continues to process tax returns, it should provide a better return on its efforts to prevent the filing of fraudulent returns. The best way to accomplish that goal would be to immediately seek out and utilize existing, successful platforms in the private sector.”

In some cases, the government can’t use private sector software because it needs a very specific program to perform very specific functions for just a single federal agency. But other times it can pick up software in the private sector, but refuses to do so thanks to various logistics and acquisition policies.

This is all part of that “swamp” President Donald J. Trump has pledged to drain. His department heads will have their hands full for years wading through and reforming policies and procedures in over 430 federal agencies.


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