Tax Administration:

IRS Activities to Increase Compliance of Overseas Taxpayers

GGD-93-93: Published: May 18, 1993. Publicly Released: May 18, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) efforts to improve overseas taxpayers' tax compliance.

GAO found that: (1) IRS efforts to encourage overseas taxpayers' voluntary compliance included reducing taxpayer filing burden, increasing taxpayer education, and improving enforcement efforts; (2) IRS was unable to assess the extent of overseas taxpayer noncompliance because it lacked reliable overseas taxpayer information, the Department of State and Social Security Administration restricted IRS access to data on Americans employed abroad, and data from its Information Returns Program were inadequate; (3) passport application data did not significantly improve IRS capability to identify or locate overseas nonfilers; (4) enforcement actions taken against nonfilers have not resulted in significant additional revenues, since IRS was not able to contact many nonfilers, many overseas nonfilers were not required to file U.S. taxes, and many nonfilers' tax liability was negligible after foreign-earned income exclusions were taken into account; and (5) IRS has planned to better target its enforcement activities by continuing its efforts to develop better overseas taxpayer data, reduce taxpayer burden, improve IRS internal systems, and obtain overseas taxpayer data from external sources.

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