House Committee Questions Ability of IRS to Protect Taxpayer Data

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has the IRS in its crosshairs again. This time, the Committee wants more information on the agency’s response (or lack thereof) to a 2015 data breach that left the personal data of hundreds of thousands of taxpayers at risk.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is unhappy with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Chaffetz sent a letter this week to Koskinen in which he reprimanded the agency for its “apparent inability” to deal with its IT problems.

Chaffetz noted in the letter that a recent report from the Government Accountability Office found key faults in IRS’s security program, and by the agency’s own admission, its original estimates of the number of taxpayers’ personal records left vulnerable by breaches into its “Get Transcript” system have increased sevenfold since they were first reported.

Chaffetz added, “The agency’s apparent inability to accurately assess the scope of the 2015 breach and continuing problems in its information security program raises questions about whether the IRS can protect the data in its systems and respond to cyber fraud.”

For those reasons, the House Oversight Committee is asking the IRS to provide additional documentation on the 2015 data breach as well as all documents related to IRS policies and procedures on cybersecurity.

Chaffetz has been a prominent critic of the IRS. He recently introduced a resolution to have Koskinen impeached from his position as head of the IRS. That has gone nowhere so far and is unlikely to gain traction in the House.

House Oversight Committee Letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, April 27, 2016

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.