Taxes (31 - 40 of 129 items)
Home Mortgage Interest Deduction: Despite Challenges Presented by Complex Tax Rules, IRS Could Enhance Enforcement and Guidance
GAO-09-769: Published: Jul 29, 2009. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 2009.
The home mortgage interest deduction is the third most expensive federal income tax expenditure, with the government expected to forgo about $80 billion of revenue for the deduction in 2009.1 Subject to various limitations, taxpayers may deduct interest on home-secured loans, such as mortgages, mortgage refinancings, and home equity loans, including those taken as lump sum amounts and home equity...
Tax Compliance: Opportunities Exist to Improve Tax Compliance of Applicants for State Business Licenses
GAO-09-569: Published: Jun 15, 2009. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 2009.
The California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), requires applicants for California business licenses in three industries--farm labor contracting, garment manufacturing, and car washing and polishing--to be in compliance with federal employment tax obligations to qualify. Based on questions about whether the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is fully...
Real Estate Tax Deduction: Taxpayers Face Challenges in Determining What Qualifies; Better Information Could Improve Compliance
GAO-09-521: Published: May 13, 2009. Publicly Released: Jun 12, 2009.
The Joint Committee on Taxation identified improved taxpayer compliance with the real-estate tax deduction as a way to reduce the federal tax gap--the difference between taxes owed and taxes voluntarily and timely paid. Regarding the deduction, GAO was asked to examine (1) factors that contribute to taxpayers including nondeductible charges, (2) the extent that taxpayers may be claiming such charg...
Tax Administration: Many Taxpayers Rely on Tax Software and IRS Needs to Assess Associated Risks
GAO-09-297: Published: Feb 25, 2009. Publicly Released: Apr 2, 2009.
Individual taxpayers used commercial tax software to prepare over 39 million tax returns in 2007, making it critical to the tax administration system. The majority were then filed electronically, resulting in fewer errors and reduced processing costs compared to paper returns. GAO was asked to assess what is known about how pricing of tax software influences electronic filing, the extent to which...
Tax Administration: IRS's 2008 Filing Season Generally Successful Despite Challenges, although IRS Could Expand Enforcement during Returns Processing
GAO-09-146: Published: Dec 12, 2008. Publicly Released: Jan 12, 2009.
The tax filing season is when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has most of its contacts with taxpayers, answering questions and processing returns and refunds. The 2008 filing season was particularly challenging due to the unanticipated mandate to make economic stimulus payments. The filing season is also the start of IRS's efforts to ensure the newly filed returns are compliant with the tax law...
Tax Administration: IRS Needs to Strengthen Its Approach for Evaluating the SRFMI Data-Sharing Pilot Program
GAO-09-45: Published: Nov 7, 2008. Publicly Released: Dec 8, 2008.
The State Reverse File Match Initiative (SRFMI) is one of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) data-sharing strategies to reduce the estimated $345 billion gross federal tax gap. SRFMI matches federal and state taxpayer data to identify noncompliant taxpayers--individuals and businesses who do not file tax returns or do not report all of their income. IRS's document-matching program has proven to...
Tax Gap: Actions That Could Improve Rental Real Estate Reporting Compliance
GAO-08-956: Published: Aug 28, 2008. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 2008.
As part of its most recent estimate of the tax gap, for tax year 2001, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimated that individuals underreported taxes related to their rental real estate activities by as much as $13 billion. Given the magnitude of underreporting, even small improvements in taxpayer compliance could result in substantial revenue. GAO was asked to provide information on rental rea...
Tax Preparers: Oregon's Regulatory Regime May Lead to Improved Federal Tax Return Accuracy and Provides a Possible Model for National Regulation
GAO-08-781: Published: Aug 15, 2008. Publicly Released: Sep 15, 2008.
Millions of taxpayers use paid tax return preparers and many of these paid preparers are not subject to any qualification requirements. Paid preparers in California and Oregon are exceptions in that these states have set paid preparer qualification standards. Additionally, two bills before Congress would require national paid preparer regulations. To help Congress better understand the potential c...
U.S. Multinational Corporations: Effective Tax Rates Are Correlated with Where Income Is Reported
GAO-08-950: Published: Aug 12, 2008. Publicly Released: Sep 8, 2008.
U.S. and foreign tax regimes influence decisions of U.S. multinational corporations (MNC) regarding how much to invest and how many workers to employ in particular activities and in particular locations. Tax rules also influence where corporations report earning income for tax purposes. The average effective tax rate, which equals the amount of income taxes a business pays divided by its pretax ne...
Tax Administration: Comparison of the Reported Tax Liabilities of Foreign- and U.S.-Controlled Corporations, 1998-2005
GAO-08-957: Published: Jul 24, 2008. Publicly Released: Aug 12, 2008.
Concerns about transfer pricing abuse have led researchers to compare the tax liabilities of foreign- and U.S.-controlled corporations. (Transfer prices are the prices related companies charge on intercompany transactions.) However, such comparisons are complicated because other factors may explain the differences in reported tax liabilities. In three prior reports, GAO found differences in the pe...