Audit prompts Treasury to seek help with ID cards

Audit findings have convinced the Treasury Department to abandon its solo effort to meet a governmentwide identification card mandate and seek the General Services Administration's help.

An 18-page report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, released Friday, stated that the Internal Revenue Service's attempts to develop its own system for issuing high tech cards required under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 risked wasting money and time.

"We believe the IRS was taking unnecessary risks, not only because its costs are likely to exceed the GSA solution, but because it was taking resources away from tax administration duties," the report stated.

The mandate requires agencies to verify employees' identities and issue cards to all workers with less than 15 years of service by Oct. 27, 2007. A year later, agencies must issue the cards to all employees. Some agencies, such as GSA, have said publicly that while they will not meet the 2007 deadline, they intend to meet the 2008 target.

The audit stated that despite assigning 68 employees and contractors to produce cards, the IRS never got around to purchasing the necessary hardware and software and did not plan to complete the program until September 2010, two years after the 2008 deadline.

IRS officials failed to provide cost projections showing the agency could issue compliant cards at a lower price than GSA, the IG noted.

In response to the report, Daniel Galik, chief of mission assurance and security services for the IRS, said the agency followed the auditors' recommendation and signed up for assistance from GSA on May 18.

The move is good news for GSA, which has struggled to attract larger agencies to use its shared services offerings to meet the ID mandate. Officials hoped that if enough agencies signed up with GSA, the economies of scale would allow GSA to issue to cards at a lower cost.

IRS officials initially believed that they were in a better position than GSA to distribute the cards to Treasury locations around the country, according to the IG report. The officials were concerned that GSA's technology would not be compatible with the IRS' information technology systems. And they were worried that GSA would not be able to produce the large number of cards needed to meet hiring demands during the tax return filing season. Difficulties with the contract for GSA's shared service offering also made IRS wary of signing on, the audit stated.

Despite GSA's plans to have over 225 nationwide stations to enroll employees and issue cards, including 25 mobile stations, IRS officials were concerned about the cost and time for employees traveling to the stations, according to the audit.

GSA had produced 100 cards to help the IRS meet an October 2006 deadline for agencies to issue at least one card to an employee. But the cards contained errors such as incorrect addresses and misspellings, according to the report. This also contributed to the IRS' initial decision to produce the cards on its own, auditors said.

Agencies that are planning to implement the mandate on their own include the Homeland Security, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Education and Labor departments, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Social Security Administration.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.