The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has created a new Enterprise Digitalization and Case Management office, which will spearhead IRS efforts to allow taxpayers and IRS employees to resolve issues in a simplified digital environment.
The office’s efforts will support overall IRS modernization and implementation of long-term changes stemming from the Taxpayer First Act.
Serving as co-directors of the new office will be Hampden “Harrison” Smith, IV, currently the agency’s Deputy Chief Procurement Officer, and Justin Lewis Abold-LaBreche, who is the Director of Enterprise Case Management.
Smith has served as the deputy in the IRS procurement office since July 2019 and has recently been focused on the application of automation and machine learning technologies in the procurement space. Prior to joining the IRS, he served as the Industry Liaison for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he focused on industry engagement, innovation labs, and creative pricing arrangements, and also served as a principal adviser to the DHS Chief Procurement Officer. Smith has 15 years of operational procurement experience with various DHS offices and the Naval Sea Systems Command. A former Presidential Management Fellow, Smith also worked on policy and strategic analysis positions in Congress. He holds a B.A. in International Relations and an M.A. in US Foreign Policy from The American University, and an M.B.A. from George Washington University.
Abold-LaBreche has served as the Director, Enterprise Case Management Office since May 2019. Prior to this assignment, he held executive positions in each of the IRS’s business operating divisions including: acting Director, Government Entities and Shared Services, Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE) Division; Field Director, Accounts Management, Austin in the Wage and Investment (W&I) Division; acting Director of Examination Policy in Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) Division; and Assistant to the Industry Director, Global High Wealth in the Large Business and International (LB&I) Division. Abold-LaBreche also served as the Initiative Director and then acting Director and Senior Advisor to the IRS Commissioner in the Office of Compliance Analytics. Abold-LaBreche also worked in DHS and is a former U.S. Air Force officer. A Fulbright Scholar, he holds a PhD from Oxford University, M.S. in Strategic Intelligence from the National Defense Intelligence College and a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Yale University.
The new stand-alone office will focus on enhancing the taxpayer experience by improving business processes and modernizing systems. The office will apply agile, customer-centered thinking and draw on leading industry test-and-learn practices to rapidly identify what combination of business process and technology works best for the IRS’s customers and employees.
In the digitalization space, a portfolio-based approach will be utilized for the challenges the IRS faces, in the form of multiple small pilot projects for business process changes and technology solutions. The pilots will be focused on a desired outcome instead of a prescriptive approach, and they will be scaled and funded as they demonstrate value and return on investment.
In the case management space, the office procured a commercial-off-the-shelf platform earlier this year from Pegasystems Inc., and its first release is well underway.
The IRS’ Enterprise Case Management initiative is focused on a consolidated management approach to overcome the challenges the IRS currently faces from having case work taking place on more than 60 aging systems, most of which can’t talk with one another. The digitalization of processes was an integral part of improving overall case management and the mission of the agency.
“Ultimately, you cannot improve case management without improving the digitalization of paper records,” said Jeff Tribiano, Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support. “To reflect the importance of this area, we decided to establish this new office to help focus our efforts on moving forward.”
The office will report to both Tribiano and Sunita Lough, the Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. Staffing for the new office is still being determined, and employees currently working on case management issues will continue in their current roles.