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IRS Audit – Accounting and Controls Need to be Improved for Excess Collections

News release: “Ninety percent of the records in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Excess Collection File (XSF) represent $4.75 billion in credits to which taxpayers no longer have a legal claim. This is a finding in an audit report that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) publicly released February 4, 2016. The XSF was established to contain both nonrevenue receipts and tax payments that cannot be associated with the appropriate taxpayers’ accounts. Weaknesses in the administration of the XSF can create an environment in which unapplied taxpayer credits are vulnerable to loss and can either overstate or understate potential Government obligations. Since January 2010, the XSF has grown from $4.7 billion to $5.8 billion, an increase of 23 percent. TIGTA initiated this audit to determine whether the controls over the XSF adequately prevent improper transactions and ensure that expired credits are appropriately accounted for and not exposed to fraud or abuse. TIGTA determined that 2.94 million (90 percent) of the 3.28 million records, involving $4.75 billion (82 percent) of $5.81 billion in the XSF database, were credits transferred to the XSF to which taxpayers no longer had a legal claim. The retention period for credits in the XSF database does not match the time frames for which taxpayers can claim the credits. Even though taxpayers have no legal claim to the funds, the IRS retains these credits in the XSF database for seven years, but IRS management could not explain why the credits are maintained for this length of time. The XSF database contains credits that date back to the 1960’s. The potential liability of credits in the XSF database was overstated by $4.7 billion as of July 2014. This amount includes more than $530 million in credits that entered the XSF in Calendar Year 2013. Although the IRS Chief Financial Officer accounts for excess collections on an annual basis, there is no attempt to keep track of the overall accumulated balance of the XSF. TIGTA reviewed all credits transferred from the XSF greater than $15,000 and found that transfers did not always comply with procedures and managerial approval is not required. Further, XSF controls do not allow managers to identify when taxpayer credits are transferred from the XSF. These control weaknesses increase the risk of undetected fraud.”

Executive Order – Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity

“By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to enhance cybersecurity awareness and protections at all levels of Government, business, and society, to protect privacy, to ensure public safety and economic and national security, and to empower Americans to takeContinue Reading

President Obama’s new Cybersecurity National Action Plan

“What is the President’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP)? It’s the capstone of more than seven years of effort from this administration that takes near-term actions and puts in place a long-term strategy to ensure the federal government, the private sector, and American citizens can take better control of our digital security. The President’s planContinue Reading

Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2017

Via GPO – “The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) makes available President Barack Obama’s FY 2017 Budget for the U.S. Government digitally, as a mobile web app for major mobile device platforms and in print at GPO’s retail and online bookstore.  GPO works with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to produce and distributeContinue Reading

ACSI Benchmarks for U.S. Federal Government 2015

ACSI Federal Government Report 2015 Citizen Satisfaction Dips, but Future Looks Brighter January 26, 2016 “Citizen satisfaction with services of the U.S. federal government declines for the third consecutive year, down 0.8% to an ACSI score of 63.9 on a 0 to 100 scale. The good news is that the pace of the decline hasContinue Reading

GAO Reports – DOD and Coast Guard, Special Education, Supply Chain Risks

DOD and Coast Guard: Actions Needed to Increase Oversight and Management Information on Hazing Incidents Involving Service members, GAO-16-226: Published: Feb 9, 2016. Publicly Released: Feb 9, 2016. “The Department of Defense (DOD), including each of the military services, and the Coast Guard have issued policies to address hazing, but generally do not know theContinue Reading

Accenture reports stats on corporate diversity and inclusion

Julie Sweet, Group Corporate Executive/Accenture: “At Accenture, our commitment to inclusion and diversity starts at the top. We believe strongly that inclusion and diversity are essential for a high performing, talent-led organization. Quite simply, our diversity makes Accenture stronger, smarter and more innovative, which helps us better serve the needs of our clients, our peopleContinue Reading

USGS Increases Public Access to Scientific Research

News release:  “The U.S. Geological Survey is implementing new measures that will improve public access to USGS-funded science as detailed in its new public access plan. The plan enables the USGS to expand  its current on-line gateways to provide free public access to scholarly research and supporting data produced in full or in part withContinue Reading

The Flash Crash: A New Deconstruction

Aldrich, Eric M. and Grundfest, Joseph and Laughlin, Gregory, The Flash Crash: A New Deconstruction (January 25, 2016). Available at SSRN: or “On May 6, 2010, in the span of a mere four and half minutes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost approximately 1,000 points. In the following fifteen minutes it recovered essentiallyContinue Reading

Comparative International Law, Foreign Relations Law and Fragmentation: Can the Center Hold?

Stephan, Paul B., Comparative International Law, Foreign Relations Law and Fragmentation: Can the Center Hold? (February 2016). Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 18. Available for download at SSRN: “This chapter represents my contribution to a book provisionally entitled Comparative International Law, scheduled for publication by Oxford University Press in 2017.Continue Reading

Federal Employees Health Benefits Program: An Overview

CRS – Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program: An Overview. Kirstin B. Blom, Analyst in Health Care Financing; Ada S. Cornell, Senior Research Librarian. February 3, 2016. “The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program provides health insurance to federal employees, retirees, and their dependents. This report provides a general overview of FEHB. It describes theContinue Reading

CRS – What Does the Gig Economy Mean for Workers?

What Does the Gig Economy Mean for Workers? Sarah A. Donovan, Analyst in Labor Policy; David H. Bradley, Specialist in Labor Economics; Jon O. Shimabukuro; Legislative Attorney. February 5, 2016. “The gig economy is the collection of markets that match providers to consumers on a gig (or job) basis in support of on-demand commerce. InContinue Reading