Further Improvements Needed in Processing Tax Regulations

GGD-84-12: Published: Dec 1, 1983. Publicly Released: Dec 1, 1983.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the growing backlog of tax regulations and concerns that Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget constraints might be contributing to the backlog.

GAO found that the primary cause of growth in the backlog was an inadequate number of attorneys in the Department of the Treasury. Despite recent improvements, including the assignment of additional attorneys to work on tax regulations, GAO believes that prospects are not good for eliminating the backlog.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The agency contends that it has not experienced any difficulty in publishing Category I regulations and plans to continue to seek Treasury review.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, should experiment with publishing proposed Category 1 regulations in the notice stage for public comment without prior Treasury review.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, should refine the management information system in IRS and Treasury to: (1) highlight long-delayed projects; and (2) provide information on staff time devoted to each project. This additional management information should be used to expedite delayed projects and help assess whether more staff is needed.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

 

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