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Internal Revenue Service--Status of the Modernized Research Operations

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Since 1998, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been undergoing a major effort to modernize its overall structure. This report examines the status of the IRS' efforts to improve its research operations. GAO discusses the (1) steps IRS has taken to modernize its research operations since October 1, 2000, (2) areas of concern raised in past reports and studies of IRS research operations, and (3) status of IRS' efforts to address these concerns within the new research operations. GAO found that IRS has completed the creation of research units within each of its operational divisions to work together collaboratively and has continuously placed staff in key leadership positions. IRS is just beginning its efforts to address past areas of concern. Challenges involving research leadership, human capital, organizational infrastructure, systems and data management, customer focus, and performance measures must still be addressed."
Date: April 26, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Correspondence to Taxpayers on Earned Income Credit Recertification

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) implementation of the Earned Income Credit (EIC) recertification requirement, focusing on the purpose of certain form letters that IRS has been sending to taxpayers in conjunction with this recertification process."
Date: July 30, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tax Administration: Possible Implications of Expanding Refund Offset Provisions

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Millions of federal taxpayers receive billions of dollars in income tax refunds every year. Many of these refunds are paid to taxpayers who owe money to the federal government or to their state or local government. The law allows certain types of debts to be collected through offsets of federal income tax refunds before payments are issued to taxpayers--in calendar year 2008, over $5 billion was deducted from income tax refunds and used instead to pay other federal agency nontax debt, state income tax debt, and overdue child support payments. Due in part to the current economic downturn and the financial problems of state and local governments, interest has grown in potential expansion of the refund offset program Congressional request, this letter's objectives are to describe (1) recent proposals to expand the refund offset program, and (2) challenges and design issues that would need to be addressed by policymakers and program administrators in the event of program expansion, including the implications of eliminating the current requirement that tax refund offsets for state income tax debts are allowed only when the affected taxpayer lives in the state seeking the offset."
Date: May 7, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Activities of the Treasury Inspector general for Tax Administration

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) audits and investigates the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) operations to (1) promote economy and efficiency and detect and prevent fraud and abuse and (2) recommend actions for improvement. TIGTA was established by the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (IRS Reform Act), which amended the Inspector General Act of 1978 (IG Act), to include an independent inspector general (IG) to provide oversight of IRS's activities, programs, and offices. This report responds to a Congressional request that we review the activities of TIGTA. We are providing information regarding (1) TIGTA's budget and staffing levels; (2) TIGTA's audit and investigative coverage of IRS, including oversight of IRS's offices and identified weaknesses in IRS's operations, and audit coverage of specific requirements of the IRS Reform Act; (3) TIGTA's audit and investigative accomplishments; (4) the quality assurance program, including the results of peer reviews; and (5) the audit follow-up process to track IRS's implementation of TIGTA's audit recommendations."
Date: September 27, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Management Report: Improvements Are Needed to Enhance IRS's Internal Controls and Operating Effectiveness

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In November 2008, we issued our report on the results of our audit of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) financial statements as of, and for the fiscal years ending, September 30, 2008, and 2007, and on the effectiveness of its internal controls as of September 30, 2008. We also reported our conclusions on IRS's compliance with significant provisions of selected laws and regulations and on whether IRS's financial management systems substantially comply with the requirements of the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996 (FFMIA). Additionally, in January 2009, we issued a report on information security issues identified during our fiscal year 2008 audit, along with associated recommendations. The purpose of this report is to discuss issues identified during our audit of IRS's financial statements as of, and for the fiscal year ending, September 30, 2008, regarding internal controls that could be improved for which we currently do not have a specific recommendation outstanding. Although not all of these issues were discussed in our report on the results of our fiscal year 2008 financial statement audit, they all warrant IRS management's attention."
Date: June 24, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Management Report: Improvements Are Needed to Enhance the Internal Revenue Service's Internal Controls and Operating Effectiveness

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "During our audit of IRS’s fiscal year 2011 financial statements, we identified new internal control deficiencies in the following areas:"
Date: June 25, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Restructuring Act Implementation

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) efforts to implement provisions of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, focusing on: (1) what can be done to ensure that levies and seizures are done in accordance with the law; (2) IRS' balanced performance measurement system of evaluating employees; (3) the misuse of enforcement statistics in evaluating IRS employees; (4) the impact of information management systems deficiencies on IRS work and on taxpayers' rights; (5) IRS' implementation of the Restructuring Act taxpayer protections; (6) problems with IRS' sale and custody of seized property; and (7) what can be done to ensure that seizure authority is appropriately used."
Date: February 28, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Management Report: Improvements Are Needed in IRS's Internal Controls and Compliance with Laws and Regulations

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The purpose of this report is to present internal control and compliance issues identified during our audit of IRS's financial statements as of, and for the fiscal year ending, September 30, 2009, for which we do not already have any recommendations outstanding. Although not all of these issues were discussed in our report on the results of our fiscal year 2009 financial statement audit, they all warrant IRS management's attention."
Date: June 28, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tax Administration: EEO Issues in IRS' Midwest District Office

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on equal employment opportunity (EEO) issues in the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Midwest District Office."
Date: June 24, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS and Terrorist-Related Information Sharing

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Events preceding and following the attacks of September 11, 2001, spotlighted ineffective information sharing, particularly related to intelligence and law enforcement activities, as a serious weakness. Poor information sharing hinders effectively identifying vulnerabilities and coordinating efforts to detect attacks. GAO monitored the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) efforts to enhance the security of the tax filing process, to study how terrorist-related threat information is shared with IRS. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uses task forces and electronic means to share terrorist-related threat information with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). More specifically, it shares information through its involvement with TIGTA and others in Joint Terrorism Task Forces and through electronic arrangements such as the National Threat Warning System. For its part, TIGTA uses formal communications to disseminate threat information to IRS. TIGTA and IRS officials were satisfied with the FBI's and TIGTA's information-sharing procedures, respectively."
Date: October 21, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS' Efforts to Evaluate the Section 1203 Process for Employee Misconduct and Measure Its Impacts on Tax Administration

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Congress has long stressed the importance of proper treatment of taxpayers by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This emphasis was a major impetus for the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, which included numerous additional protections for taxpayers. Among these was Section 1203, which defines 10 acts or omissions for which an IRS employee is to be fired. Most, but not all, of the acts or omissions involve mistreatment of taxpayers, such as by falsifying information or by harassing them. At the same time, Congress has been concerned about IRS's ability to administer the tax laws, including whether the Section 1203 provisions could hamper IRS's enforcement efforts by having a "chilling effect" on IRS employees' willingness to take appropriate enforcement actions against noncompliant taxpayers. Related concerns are whether the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) process for reviewing allegations made against employees is too time consuming and inconsistent, and whether all the Section 1203 provisions should be retained. In February 2003, we recommended that IRS evaluate the effectiveness of changes it made to speed up and otherwise improve the review of Section 1203 allegations. Congress is now considering legislation that would amend Section 1203 by, for example, deleting the requirement that IRS employees be fired for failing to file a tax return on time when they are owed a refund. This report responds to a Congressional request for information on IRS's Section 1203 process. Specifically, Congress asked for the (1) statistics on Section 1203 allegations and related actions taken; (2) status of any changes to the Section 1203 process and actions taken on our previous recommendation to evaluate the process; and (3) actions taken and data collected to measure the effects of Section ...
Date: September 27, 2004
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Refund Anticipation Loans

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Taxpayers who do not want to wait for their tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may choose to obtain refund anticipation loans (RAL). RALs are short-term, high-interest bank loans that are advertised and brokered by both national chain and local tax preparation companies. Although the annual percentage rate (APR) on RALs can be over 500 percent, they allow taxpayers to receive cash refunds quickly--sometimes within the same day and even within an hour of filing their tax returns. After filing a taxpayer's return electronically, the tax preparer works in cooperation with a bank to advance the refund as a loan minus tax preparation costs, other fees, and a finance charge. As part of the RAL process, the taxpayer provides authorization to IRS to send the refund directly to the bank to repay the loan. Despite the benefits of receiving cash quickly based on an expected refund, IRS officials and others have raised concerns about whether taxpayers are fully aware of the costs involved and their tax filing alternatives. For example, in a 2007 report to Congress, the IRS National Taxpayer Advocate questioned whether RAL consumers actually understand the nature of the loan product they are receiving. According to the Advocate, while tax preparers offering RALs are required to obtain taxpayers' signatures on written disclosure forms, there are no requirements that such disclosures be made orally. The Advocate wrote that despite the written disclosures provided to them, consumers may not fully understand that the RAL is in fact a loan and not simply a way to receive a faster refund from IRS. Further, without an oral explanation, consumers may lack a general understanding of the nature of the product and its impact on credit reports, as well ...
Date: June 5, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Guidance on Economic Analyses in Investment Business Cases

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) plans to spend $2.9 billion to modernize its information systems. This report reviews the latest draft of IRS' Investment Decision Management Business Case Procedure, which guides the agency's information technology (IT) investments. GAO discusses changes to the guidance that would ensure that the economic analyses in IRS business cases are consistent with commonly accepted principles. IRS' draft guidance on business case documentation represents an important step toward ensuring that IRS management has relevant information on which to base its critical IT investment decisions. However, some aspects of IRS' guidance are inconsistent with commonly held principles of public sector cost-benefit analysis. Most important, the guidance does not require the computation of a comprehensive social net present value (NPV)--the standard for deciding whether a government investment can be justified on economic grounds. The two partial NPV computations that IRS' guidance requires are inappropriate because they do not incorporate the proper values for all relevant benefits and costs for investment projects with significant effects outside of IRS. In addition, IRS' two NPV's are not additive, so even if all benefits and costs were properly valued, decision makers would be unable to determine the overall net value of an investment."
Date: May 9, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS's Use of Information on Taxpayers Claiming Many Allowances or Exemption From Federal Income Tax Withholding

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "In September 2003, we responded to a request from Representative Elton Gallegly to provide information on the number of taxpayers who claimed more than 10 withholding allowances and taxpayers who claimed exemption from federal income tax withholding. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) calls such claims questionable Form W-4s. However, in the course of performing our work, we became concerned about the reliability of the information that IRS maintains on these taxpayers and decided that we could not use it to answer Representative Gallegly's questions. The objectives of this letter are to summarize our findings about the reliability of the information IRS maintains on taxpayers who claimed more than 10 withholding allowances or exemption from federal tax withholding and to bring to the attention of the Commissioner, Internal Revenue, some resulting questions about the value of IRS continuing to collect the information."
Date: November 6, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Minimizing Inappropriate Levies in IRS's Federal Payment Levy Program

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Each year, thousands of taxpayers who owe delinquent federal taxes receive billions of dollars in federal payments. To help the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collect these delinquent taxes more effectively, the Congress passed the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, the provisions of which authorized the establishment of the Federal Payment Levy Program (FPLP), which allows IRS to continuously levy up to 15 percent of the payments made to delinquent taxpayers. The Department of the Treasury's Financial Management Service (FMS), which receives payment records from and makes payments on behalf of most federal agencies, collects the continuous levy from the federal payment after IRS has authorized the levy. Subsequent payments are continuously levied until such time that the tax debt is paid or IRS releases the levy. In a prior report, we noted that inappropriate levies--which subsequently must be refunded--could undermine support for the continuous levy authority, by generating negative public reaction to the program and frustrating taxpayers whose payments are inappropriately levied. Since October of 2001, the inclusion of Social Security recipients and others in the levy program has extended levy use substantially. This expansion heightens the importance of minimizing inappropriate levies. This report identifies one cause for inappropriate levies for which corrective measures can be taken before IRS completes the installation of the replacement for its master file."
Date: January 3, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Income Ranges of Taxpayers Who May Have Overpaid Federal Taxes by Not Itemizing

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "This report provides information on the income ranges of taxpayers who may have overpaid federal taxes by not itemizing. GAO found that of the returns filed for tax year 1998, 53 percent of taxpayers who may have overpaid federal taxes by not itemizing, had adjusted gross incomes of $50,000 or less. Eleven percent showed adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000. The median adjusted gross income for these returns was about $47,000. The median adjusted gross income for all returns filed in tax year 1998 was about $27,000."
Date: April 11, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Using Data from the Internal Revenue Service's National Research Program to Identify Potential Opportunities to Reduce the Tax Gap

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) most recently estimated that the gross tax gap--the difference between what taxpayers pay in taxes voluntarily and on time and what they should pay under the law--reached $345 billion for tax year 2001. The tax gap arises when taxpayers fail to comply with their individual income, corporate income, employment, estate, or excise tax obligations through (1) underreporting of tax liabilities on tax returns; (2) underpayment of taxes due from filed returns; or (3) nonfiling, which refers to the failure to file a required tax return altogether or on time. IRS's tax gap estimates are based on a variety of data sources. Recently, IRS studied individual taxpayer compliance through the National Research Program (NRP), and used the resulting compliance data to estimate the tax gap for individual income tax underreporting and the portion of employment tax underreporting attributed to self-employment taxes for tax year 2001. NRP, which involved reviewing around 46,000 individual tax returns, has yielded very important new information on taxpayer compliance for the first time since IRS's previous compliance measurement study was undertaken for tax year 1988. Compliance measurement studies such as NRP have the potential to identify ways to improve taxpayer compliance, which could in turn reduce the tax gap and improve the nation's fiscal stability. For example, each 1 percent reduction in the net tax gap would likely yield around $3 billion annually. Given its potential to improve individual taxpayer compliance, you asked us to review the results of the 2001 NRP study. In response, we agreed to identify (1) specific areas of individual taxpayer noncompliance that are promising targets for additional research to improve reporting compliance, and (2) opportunities, if any, found through the course of our work to ...
Date: March 15, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Earned Income Tax Credit Eligibility and Participation

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC), which is expected to provide more than $20 billion in refundable tax credits in fiscal year 2002, is intended to offset the burden of the Social Security payroll tax on low-income workers and encourage low-income individuals to work. About 75 percent of the 17.2 million eligible households have claimed the credit. GAO found that the participation rate varied by the number of qualifying children in the household. Participation rates for households with one or two qualifying children were 96 percent and 93 percent respectively. In contrast, the participation rate for households with three or more qualifying children was 62.5 percent. The participation rate for households with no qualifying children was 44.7 percent. Although qualifying households were eligible to claim $22.3 billion in EICs in 1999, the Internal Revenue Service estimates that participating households actually claimed $20.9 billion."
Date: December 14, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tax Gap: Sources of Noncompliance and Strategies to Reduce It

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Noncompliance does not have a single source but occurs across different types of taxes and taxpayers. For example, individual income tax accounts for the largest portion of the tax gap, but corporate income tax and employment tax are also significant. Further, misreporting by individuals involves business income, non-business income, deductions, and credits. The extent of misreporting depends on the extent to which income tax is withheld or reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by third parties. For example, nearly 40 percent, or $179 billion, of the 2006 gross tax gap is due to misreporting of non-corporate business income and related self-employment taxes. Much of this misreporting can be attributed to sole proprietors underreporting receipts or over-reporting expenses. Unlike wage and some investment income, sole proprietors’ income is not subject to withholding and only a portion is reported to IRS by third parties."
Date: April 19, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Management Report: Improvements Needed in IRS's Internal Controls

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In November 2004, we issued our report on the results of our audit of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) financial statements as of, and for the fiscal years ending, September 30, 2004 and 2003, and on the effectiveness of its internal controls as of September 30, 2004. We also reported our conclusions on IRS's compliance with significant provisions of selected laws and regulations and on whether IRS's financial management systems substantially comply with requirements of the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996. A separate report on the implementation status of recommendations from our prior IRS financial audits and related financial management reports, including this one, will be issued shortly. The purpose of this report is to discuss issues identified during our fiscal year 2004 audit regarding internal controls that could be improved for which we do not currently have any recommendations outstanding. Although not all of these issues were discussed in our fiscal year 2004 audit report, they all warrant management's consideration."
Date: April 27, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

May 20 Oversight Hearing on the Internal Revenue Service--Questions for the Record

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "GAO reviewed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) accomplishments in the 5 years since the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 was past. Specifically, GAO determined (1) how much money IRS has spent on upgrading its security, (2) whether the challenges associated with ensuring information security are technological or managerial, and (3) if IRS is taking sufficient steps to eliminate overpayments to the Earned Income Credit (EIC)."
Date: June 27, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Community Development Financial Institutions and New Markets Tax Credit Programs in Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The policies and procedures of the CDFI and NMTC Programs help ensure that awards and allocations generally are proportionate to the numbers of qualified applicants that serve metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The CDFI Program’s authorizing legislation and regulations require that award recipients constitute a geographically diverse group, serving metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas and Native communities from different U.S. regions. To meet this requirement, CDFI Program officials have used the application review process and established a goal of matching the proportion of awards to the proportion of qualified applicants that primarily serve nonmetropolitan areas. This proportion changed from year to year depending on the number of qualified applicants that served nonmetropolitan areas. According to officials, revisions to the award procedures in the fiscal year 2012 funding round will enhance the CDFI Program’s ability to achieve proportionality. In 2006, Congress, in the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, added a requirement for the NMTC Program that nonmetropolitan counties receive a proportional allocation of qualified equity investments. To meet this requirement, in 2008, the NMTC Program implemented two goals in its application review process. The first goal requires that a proportionate number of tax credits are allocated to recipients that principally serve nonmetropolitan counties. The second goal requires that at least 20 percent of all community investments resulting from the annual NMTC allocations are made in eligible nonmetropolitan counties."
Date: April 26, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fiscal Year 2002 Budget Request for the Internal Revenue Service

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "For fiscal year 2002, Congress has before it two separate budget requests for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)--the traditional request prepared by the administration and a separate request prepared by the IRS Oversight Board. There are some significant differences between the two requests. The administration is requesting about $9.4 billion while the Board is requesting an additional $300 million. This correspondence addresses several questions related to (1) the differences between the two requests, (2) IRS' hiring plans for its Staffing Tax Administration for Balance and Equity initiative, (3) the productivity of IRS staff, and (4) business systems modernization."
Date: May 1, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Management Report: Improvements Needed in Controls over IRS's Excise Tax Certification Process

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), along with other components of the Department of the Treasury, collects and distributes excise tax receipts to government trust funds. As the nation's tax collector, IRS plays a critical role in this process. Consequently, trust funds and their administrators depend on IRS to have sound procedures and controls over this process to ensure that excise taxes are appropriately distributed. This report is a follow-up to two reports we recently issued discussing procedures we performed to assist the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General (Transportation IG) in ascertaining whether the net excise tax collections and excise tax certifications reported by IRS for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2002, were supported by underlying records. The agreed-upon procedures, along with our audit of IRS's fiscal year 2002 financial statements, provided a sufficient basis to assist the Transportation IG in forming an opinion on the departmentwide financial statements and the financial statements of the trust funds administered by the department, including the Highway Trust Fund and the Airport and Airway Trust Fund."
Date: July 23, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department