Ongoing GAO Assignment Is Examining Luxury Excise Taxes

T-GGD-91-44: Published: Jun 12, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 12, 1991.

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GAO discussed its ongoing evaluation of the policy and administrative issues associated with luxury excise taxes. GAO noted that it plans to: (1) assess Internal Revenue Service examination plans and early audit results; (2) review public comments on the proposed regulations implementing the tax to identify provisions that may present problems to taxpayers; (3) evaluate such policy issues arising from the design of the tax as definitional ambiguities in products covered and the exclusion of some used products from the tax; (4) obtain and analyze data on prices, labor costs, and income over time to calculate supply and demand elasticities for luxury products and to determine the relative incidence of the luxury excise tax; (5) study the impact of the tax on the boating industry; and (6) analyze measures to determine whether reported decreases in luxury item sales are due, in part, to the taxes and whether the legislative intent that wealthy consumers bear the burden of the tax is being achieved.

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