Tax Administration:

Information on IRS' Taxpayer Compliance Measurement Program

GGD-96-21: Published: Oct 6, 1995. Publicly Released: Oct 6, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Taxpayer Compliance Measurement Program (TCMP) for tax year 1994, focusing on: (1) how IRS addressed the problems identified in a previous GAO report; (2) how persistent problems affect final TCMP results; (3) other informational sources that IRS could use to target its audits more effectively; and (4) the relevancy of TCMP data for alternative tax system proposals.

GAO found that: (1) IRS has taken appropriate actions to correct the previously identified problems in the implementation of TCMP; (2) due to uncertainties about its fiscal year 1996 budget, IRS has delayed TCMP audits until December 1, 1995; (3) the audit delay will allow IRS to complete testing of TCMP database components and data collections systems; (4) the audits could be further delayed if the tests reveal additional problems; (5) IRS plans to collect data on partners, shareholders, and misclassified workers which should allow it to better measure compliance levels and TCMP audit results; (6) computerized auditor comments should make it easier for researchers to analyze TCMP results and allow IRS to collect data on other tax issues that are not a part of TCMP; (7) IRS still needs to develop a research plan that would allow it to more timely analyze TCMP data; (8) no alternative information sources exist that could help IRS better target its audits; (9) IRS is developing a new identification system for tax return audits, but it will not be available until after year 2000; and (10) TCMP could be useful in designing and administering a new tax system and identifying compliance trends.

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