IRS: Turn over a new leaf, Open up Data

Beth Simone Noveck and Stefaan Verhulst in Forbes: “The core task for Danny Werfel, the new acting commissioner of the IRS, is to repair the agency’s tarnished reputation and achieve greater efficacy and fairness in IRS investigations. Mr. Werfel can show true leadership by restructuring how the IRS handles its tax-exempt enforcement processes.

One of Mr. Werfel’s first actions on the job should be the immediate implementation of the groundbreaking Presidential Executive Order and Open Data policy, released last week, that requires data captured and generated by the government be made available in open, machine-readable formats. Doing so will make the IRS a beacon to other agencies in how to use open data to screen any wrongdoing and strengthen law enforcement.

By sharing readily available IRS data on tax-exempt organizations, encouraging Congress to pass a budget proposal that mandates release of all tax-exempt returns in a machine-readable format, and increasing the transparency of its own processes, the agency can begin to turn the page on this scandal and help rebuild trust and partnership between government and its citizens.”

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