The Internal Revenue Service is not adequately performing software license management and is not adhering to Federal requirements and industry best practices for software used on desktop and laptop computers, according to a new audit report released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
Computer software is typically protected by Federal copyright law, which requires users of software programs to have a license authorizing such use. Software licenses are legal rights to use software in accordance with terms and conditions specified by the copyright owner.
TIGTA conducted this audit to determine whether the IRS is adequately managing software licenses on laptop and desktop computers. They found that the IRS is not adequately performing software management and is not adhering to Federal requirements and recommended industry best practices. For example, the IRS does not have enterprisewide or local policies, procedures and requirements for software license management.
TIGTA also found that the IRS does not have specialized software license tools designed to be the repository for software and software license deployment. These tools should be used to discover, track, manage, and detect inactive usage of software. Finally, the IRS does not have an accurate inventory of software and related licenses that contains licensing models applicable to each software product which links data on the licenses purchased and deployed with the purchase costs, procurement information, and monitoring and usage data.
“Efficient and cost-effective management of the IRS’s software assets is crucial to ensuring that information technology services continue to support the IRS’s business operations,” explained J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “Our recommendations are intended to help the IRS provide efficient service to taxpayers.”
TIGTA recommended that the IRS:
- develop policies and guidance as well as roles and responsibilities for managing software assets and licenses;
- implement a specialized software license management tool and develop detailed standard operating procedures for using the tool;
- develop an inventory of software licensing data and maintain the inventory with a specialized software licensing tool; and
- maintain data in the inventory that the IRS can use to more effectively manage software spending.
In their response to the report, IRS officials agreed with all six recommendations, with slight modifications to four of them, and stated that they plan to take corrective actions. The full text of the TIGTA audit report is available for free here.