Here’s Why the IRS Could Lose Your Tax Information

Here’s Why the IRS Could Lose Your Tax Information

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The Internal Revenue Service has failed to back up stored data — including taxpayer information —effectively, according to a new audit report.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said in a report released Monday that the IRS needs to improve how it backs up and restores important information such as emails, personal and shared files and taxpayer information. If it’s not backed up properly, the data could be lost and unable to be recovered, the report said.

“If there is a failure in the ability to restore a system containing taxpayer data, it can have serious consequences in the IRS’s ability to administer the tax system,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration in a press statement.

The audit was conducted after the IRS found that a backup didn’t exist when it was needed to restore some data. Following the incident, the IRS didn’t take effective action, the report also found, including establishing goals and regularly collecting performance metrics to gauge the process of backing up data.

Related: Hacked Again: Can the IRS Protect Your Tax Info This Year?

The treasury inspector also recommended a host of other solutions for the IRS, including upgrades to software and aged hardware; creating a problem management process and backup strategy; and developing standard operating procedures, among other suggestions.

The IRS agreed to set goals and make plans, and to put in place performance measures as they address these concerns.