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TIGTA: IRS Knowledge Management System Needs Improvements

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
May 9, 2023

iStock-165645906 Cross-generational learning, knowledge, keys

IRS employees have experienced difficulties using the enterprise-wide Knowledge Enterprise System, a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report has found.

The enterprise-wide system was implemented in 2017 as a means of capturing the knowledge and experience of older employees to share with their younger and less experienced colleagues. Faced with an expected wave of resignations or retirements in the coming years—an estimated 63 percent by fiscal year 2028—the agency acknowledged that the resulting loss of knowledge and expertise is a significant top risk.

TIGTA surveyed around 6,300 IRS employees to gauge the system’s effectiveness. It found that some could not find pertinent information on the Virtual Library website, and some of those who did find it thought the information was hard to use and lacking in relevant data. Employees designated as subject matter experts were sometimes unhelpful due to their limited experience level, the report found, and Knowledge Management performance measures were found to be incomplete because they focused exclusively on high-activity measures such as the number of employees viewing the Virtual Library and the amount of content developed.

The report stated that the efficiency of the Knowledge Management program can be improved by monitoring employee costs. It found that “the reviewed business units were not consistent when capturing their employee costs pertaining to Knowledge Management.”

“TIGTA made seven recommendations to improve the operation, establish performance measures, and ensure accountability of the IRS Knowledge Management program,” it concluded. “The IRS agreed with all seven recommendations and plans to take appropriate corrective actions.”

"IRS is committed to continue taking steps to strengthen the KM Program, and better capture, share and apply employee knowledge across multiple channels, including Virtual Libraries, formal instruction, workshops and subject matter experts that work directly answering technical questions on casework," IRS acting human capital officer David Allen wrote in a statement, Accounting Today reported. "In addition, the IRS takes seriously its fiduciary responsibilities to taxpayers and the need to regularly and comprehensively assess program costs."

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