Internal Revenue Service: Enhanced Efforts to Combat Abusive Tax Schemes--Challenges Remain

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Estimating the extent of abusive tax schemes used by individual taxpayers is difficult because they are often hidden. Nevertheless, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) believes that the number and dollar consequences of these schemes has grown recently. IRS estimates that 740,000 taxpayers used abusive schemes in tax year 2000. IRS caught $5 billion in improper tax avoidance or tax credit and refund claims, but estimates that another $20 to $40 billion went undetected. Recent developments suggest that the number of individuals using an abusive tax scheme involving offshore ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. April 11, 2002.

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Estimating the extent of abusive tax schemes used by individual taxpayers is difficult because they are often hidden. Nevertheless, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) believes that the number and dollar consequences of these schemes has grown recently. IRS estimates that 740,000 taxpayers used abusive schemes in tax year 2000. IRS caught $5 billion in improper tax avoidance or tax credit and refund claims, but estimates that another $20 to $40 billion went undetected. Recent developments suggest that the number of individuals using an abusive tax scheme involving offshore accounts may be greater than estimated and potential lost revenues may be higher than estimated. Because no one individual or office could provide an agencywide perspective on IRS's strategy, goals, objectives, performance measures, or program results, it is difficult to provide a clear picture of IRS's efforts to address abusive tax schemes. IRS has created new offices, reemphasized and reorganized earlier efforts, and plans to assign at least 200 additional staff to its efforts. Limited data suggest that IRS's enhanced efforts have helped to successfully convict those promoting and taking advantage of abusive schemes, publicize these results, and uncover previously hidden major offshore compliance problems. The number of possible abusive tax schemes, however, could outstrip IRS's audit resources. Furthermore, identifying and handling these cases will require better coordination on IRS's part. IRS has not yet developed a way to track the resources used to combat abusive schemes, nor has it developed goals and measures to assess its progress."

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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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  • April 11, 2002

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  • June 10, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Internal Revenue Service: Enhanced Efforts to Combat Abusive Tax Schemes--Challenges Remain, text, April 11, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc289614/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.