Collection Department

By Thomas Duffy / November 16, 2010 at 3:31 PM

With money tight everywhere, the Obama administration is focusing on getting back taxpayer dollars that were doled out improperly.

In a 10-page memo sent out today to all federal agencies, the administration says it wants every department to submit a "recapture audit plan" by Jan. 14, 2011. These plans will form the main thrust of President Barack Obama's goal of cutting government-wide improper payments by $50 billion and retrieving at least $2 billion in improper payments by fiscal year 2012.

The memo explains:

As part of its Accountable Government Initiative, the Administration has moved to cut programs that do not work, streamline how government operates to save money and improve performance, and make government more open and responsive to the needs of the American people. One of the biggest sources of waste and inefficiency is the nearly $110 billion in improper payments1

made in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 to individuals, organizations, and contractors. Whether the errors resulted from inadequate record keeping, inaccurate eligibility determinations, inadvertent processing errors, the lack of timely and reliable information to confirm payment accuracy, or fraud, the amount of payment errors is unacceptable and must be addressed aggressively and comprehensively.

Each federal agency must publicly report its improper payments annually starting in FY-11.