The IRS has taken “significant actions” to stop agents from targeting political groups based on their names and policy positions, according to a report issued Thursday by the government watchdog who disclosed the inappropriate activity two years ago.
The agency’s inspector general says the IRS is doing a better job of processing applications for tax-exempt status. His report said the IRS has eliminated intrusive, unnecessary questions, and has cleared a backlog of applications that had languished for months and years.
The IRS has improved training for agents, the report said, although the inspector general recommended even more training.
The report is a follow-up to the inspector general’s 2013 audit, which said agents had inappropriately singled out tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
The 2013 audit blamed poor management. It ignited a firestorm that led to numerous congressional investigations and the replacement of much of the agency’s top management.
John Koskinen, a former turnaround specialist, was confirmed as the new IRS commissioner in December 2013. He has vowed to restore trust in the agency, though he has sparred with Republican lawmakers over the IRS budget and the agency’s efforts to cooperate with congressional investigations.