The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TIGTA”)—the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) watchdog—released its annual audit report today on IRS compliance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). The results of the review suggest that IRS disclosure officials may have improperly withheld information from the public in 12% of FOIA cases. Additionally, the review reveals that while increased training has reduced the number of inadvertent disclosures of confidential tax information, these unauthorized disclosures have not been entirely eliminated. Overall, the IRS FOIA backlog continues to grow and the agency has room for improvement.

These findings should be unsurprising to everyone who follows FOIA issues. The IRS has a long history of evading its obligations under that statute. Cause of Action Institute remains committed to fighting for transparency and openness at the IRS. We continue to litigate access to records about potentially unauthorized requests for taxpayer information from the White House. We recently filed another lawsuit to challenge the refusal of the IRS even to recognize, let alone process, two FOIA requests for records of communications between IRS officials and White House advisors.

Ryan Mulvey is Counsel at Cause of Action Institute.