Military Pay: The Defense Finance and Accounting Service--Indianapolis Could Improve Control Activities over Its Processing of Active Duty Army Military Personnel Federal Payroll Taxes

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "GAO first designated DOD financial management as high risk in 1995. GAO's biennial reports on high-risk areas are meant to bring focus to specific areas needing added attention. Areas are identified, in some cases, as high risk due to their greater vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. Since 1995, weaknesses in DOD's financial management have adversely affected not only the reliability of reported financial data, but also the efficiency and effectiveness of its business operations. The department has annually acknowledged that pervasive, long-standing weaknesses in business systems, ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. June 18, 2009.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "GAO first designated DOD financial management as high risk in 1995. GAO's biennial reports on high-risk areas are meant to bring focus to specific areas needing added attention. Areas are identified, in some cases, as high risk due to their greater vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. Since 1995, weaknesses in DOD's financial management have adversely affected not only the reliability of reported financial data, but also the efficiency and effectiveness of its business operations. The department has annually acknowledged that pervasive, long-standing weaknesses in business systems, processes, and controls have prevented auditors from determining the reliability of reported financial statement information. Weaknesses in Army military pay systems, processes, and controls have contributed to this problem. The Department of the Army paid about $4.7 billion in federal payroll taxes for approximately 638,900 active duty military servicemembers for calendar year 2007, from the active duty Army military personnel appropriation. The Secretary of the Army relies on the Defense Finance and Accounting Service-Indianapolis (DFAS-IN) for processing and accounting support in paying the taxes for active duty servicemembers. This support includes calculating and reporting federal payroll taxes for active duty Army servicemembers to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and paying those taxes to the Department of the Treasury. Federal payroll taxes are amounts withheld from employees' wages for federal income taxes, Social Security, and Medicare (Hospital Insurance) taxes, as well as the employer's mandatory matching contributions for Social Security and Medicare taxes. GAO's five standards of internal control provide the overall framework for establishing and maintaining internal control in the federal government. These standards help management identify and address major performance and management challenges and areas at greatest risk of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. Further, the Office of Management and Budget Circular No. A-123, Management's Responsibility for Internal Control, relies on GAO's standards to provide the specific requirements for federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense (DOD), to assess and report on controls. The scope of this review comprises control activities and monitoring--two of the five standards for internal control. Our prior reviews of the DOD budget requests for military personnel appropriations identified possible inaccuracies in the processing of the active duty Army military personnel federal payroll taxes and potential weaknesses in control activities at DFAS-IN. Following that identification of possible inaccuracies, under the authority of the Comptroller General to conduct evaluations under his own initiative, we conducted this performance audit to determine whether DFAS-IN has effective controls in place for processing of the active duty Army military personnel federal payroll taxes. We also assessed whether DFAS-IN conducted periodic monitoring of its processing of federal payroll taxes. We focused our review on federal payroll taxes for the period January 2004 through June 2008."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • June 18, 2009

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Military Pay: The Defense Finance and Accounting Service--Indianapolis Could Improve Control Activities over Its Processing of Active Duty Army Military Personnel Federal Payroll Taxes, text, June 18, 2009; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc301173/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.