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Tax Policy and Administration (21 - 30 of 1,532 items)
IRS Referral Programs: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Controls and Increase Coordination across Overlapping Programs
GAO-16-155: Published: Feb 23, 2016. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 2016.
Information referrals from the public alleging tax noncompliance must be submitted on paper forms by mail to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These referrals are manually screened by clerical staff and routed by mail to units across IRS for further action, as shown in the figure.Process for Screening and Routing Information Referrals for Further ReviewIneffective internal controls undercut IRS...
Small Employer Health Tax Credit: Limited Use Continues Due to Multiple Reasons
GAO-16-491T: Published: Mar 22, 2016. Publicly Released: Mar 22, 2016.
Claims of the small employer health tax credit have continued to be lower than thought eligible by government agency and small business group estimates, limiting the effect of the credit on expanding health insurance coverage through small employers. In 2014, about 181,000 employers claimed the credit, down somewhat from 2010 (see figure). These numbers are relatively low compared to the number of...
2015 Tax Filing Season: Deteriorating Taxpayer Service Underscores Need for a Comprehensive Strategy and Process Efficiencies
GAO-16-151: Published: Dec 16, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 14, 2016.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provided the lowest level of telephone service during fiscal year 2015 compared to prior years, with only 38 percent of callers who wanted to speak with an IRS assistor able to reach one. This lower level of service occurred despite lower demand from callers seeking live assistance, which has fallen by 6 percent since 2010 to about 51 million callers in 2015. Ove...
IRS Return Selection: Certain Internal Controls for Audits in the Small Business and Self-Employed Division Should Be Strengthened
GAO-16-103: Published: Dec 16, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 13, 2016.
The Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses over 30 methods, called workstreams, to identify and review tax returns that may merit an audit. These returns were initially identified through seven sources which include referrals; computer programs that run filters, rules, or algorithms to identify potentially noncompliant taxpayers; and related return...
IRS Return Selection: Wage and Investment Division Should Define Audit Objectives and Refine Other Internal Controls
GAO-16-102: Published: Dec 17, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 13, 2016.
Three offices in the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Wage and Investment division (W&I) are responsible for selecting returns for audit. Most returns are selected via computer systems that automatically send notices to taxpayers based on certain criteria, such as the validity of dependents. W&I program officials annually review the criteria and apply updates to the following filing season's retur...
IRS Whistleblower Program: Billions Collected, but Timeliness and Communication Concerns May Discourage Whistleblowers
GAO-16-20: Published: Oct 29, 2015. Publicly Released: Nov 30, 2015.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Whistleblower Office (WO) is responsible for processing thousands of tax whistleblower claims annually for two related whistleblower programs: for claims of $2 million or less, the 7623(a) program, and for claims over $2 million, the 7623(b) program. The whistleblower claim review process takes several years to complete, and GAO found that the WO is not using ava...
Financial Audit: IRS's Fiscal Years 2015 and 2014 Financial Statements
GAO-16-146: Published: Nov 12, 2015. Publicly Released: Nov 12, 2015.
In GAO's opinion, the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) fiscal years 2015 and 2014 financial statements are fairly presented in all material respects. However, in GAO's opinion, IRS did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting as of September 30, 2015, because of a continuing material weakness in internal control over unpaid tax assessments. GAO's tests of IRS's compliance w...
Independent Auditor's Report on Applying Agreed-Upon Procedures: Fiscal Year 2015 Excise Tax Distributions to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and the Highway Trust Fund
GAO-16-109R: Published: Nov 5, 2015. Publicly Released: Nov 5, 2015.
GAO performed the procedures contained in the enclosures to this report, which it agreed to perform solely to assist the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General in ascertaining whether the net excise tax revenue distributed to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) and the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2015, is supported by underlying records.GAO was...
Fiscal Outlook: Addressing Improper Payments and the Tax Gap Would Improve the Government's Fiscal Position
GAO-16-92T: Published: Oct 1, 2015. Publicly Released: Oct 1, 2015.
A number of strategies, including implementing preventive controls and addressing GAO's prior recommendations, can help agencies reduce improper payments, which have been a persistent, government-wide issue. The improper payment estimate, attributable to 124 programs across 22 agencies in fiscal year 2014, was $124.7 billion, up from $105.8 billion in fiscal year 2013. The almost $19 billion incre...
Electronic Cigarettes: Effect on Federal Excise Taxes Collected on Traditional Cigarettes Is Not Currently Evident
GAO-15-771: Published: Sep 14, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 14, 2015.
GAO's analysis found no evidence that use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) has affected federal excise tax (FET) revenue from traditional cigarettes, which has been declining over time (see figure). Possible reasons for the lack of a detectable effect include the small size of the e-cigarette market (estimated at $2.5 billion in 2014) relative to the cigarette market ($80 billion in the sam...