Tax Administration:

Status of IRS' Test of a Business Information Returns Program

GGD-90-38: Published: May 29, 1990. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) plans, time frames, and accomplishments concerning its evaluation of a business document-matching program.

GAO found that: (1) all the social security numbers (SSN) and employer identification numbers (EIN) associated with sole proprietor returns were accurately reflected in the newly developed cross-reference file; (2) IRS would use the cross-reference file in 1990 to identify tax evaders; (3) an IRS study showed that field contact with potential business nonfilers identified with information returns was not cost-effective, because IRS obtained only 16 delinquent tax returns per 100 cases in its business nonfiler program; (4) using information returns to identify potential business nonfilers would complement the program; (5) IRS said it would continue to explore ways to use information returns to identify business nonfilers and would test the productivity of sending correspondence to potential business nonfilers that it identified by using information returns; and (6) IRS estimated that the computer costs for personnel, space, equipment, and operations would be $166 million over 7 years.

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