IRS - audit thyself

The Internal Revenue Service, which holds taxpayers liable for accurate tax returns, is working to account for more than 2,300 computers that have gone missing over the past three years.

A recent audit was unable to determine whether the laptops and other computers were lost, stolen, or simply not properly documented. The IRS says it is reasonably sure that none contained sensitive data.

The loss of the computers was uncovered by a Treasury inspector general during an audit late last year that also identified six unaccounted-for IRS firearms and hundreds of lost investigative items such as badges and communications gear. All told, auditors could not account for 2,332 laptops, microcomputers, and microservers from Oct. 1, 1998, through Sept. 30, 2001. The IRS had 163,000 computers total as of September. IRS officials said they are working to improve their ability to investigate incidents of missing property.

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