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Mr. Koskinen acknowledged that the agency needs to take steps to assure taxpayers that audits are fair and said they look forward to the GAO review. He said the IRS has “significant controls” in place to try to make sure audits are fair.

“Every taxpayer deserves the right to assume that they will be treated fairly no matter what their political beliefs, what organization they belong to, who they voted for in the last election,” he said.

Mr. Koskinen said a “handful” of tea party groups caught up in the targeting are still awaiting approval.

On another matter, the commissioner told the panel that he is taking steps to be able to deny agency bonuses to IRS employees who hadn’t paid their taxes. The agency’s inspector general last month reported that more than 1,000 employees received bonuses within a year of having tax problems.

Mr. Koskinen said he is working with the IRS union to rewrite their agreement so that those employees can’t be paid bonuses.

“Going forward, if someone has been disciplined for failure to comply with the tax code, they will be ineligible for a performance award,” he said.

He also said the agency would try to fire employees who cheat on their taxes.