Tax Administration:

Opportunities to Reduce the Burden of Filing and Processing Tax Returns

T-GGD-92-41: Published: May 13, 1992. Publicly Released: May 13, 1992.

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GAO discussed opportunities to reduce the burden of filing and processing tax returns. GAO noted that: (1) although electronic filing can reduce returns processing costs and improve taxpayer service, taxpayers still have to accumulate their tax documents, prepare all or part of a return, and send the paper documents to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); (2) taxpayer burden would be significantly reduced if IRS found a way to relieve many taxpayers of the need to file a return; (3) in a 1987 return-free filing study, IRS concluded that timing and cost constraints would render such a system infeasible; (4) many countries use a final withholding system in which employees provide information to their employers on such items as marital status and number of children and the taxing authority tells the employer how much to withhold; and (5) a final withholding system in the United States would result in considerably fewer income tax returns to process, fewer unpaid accounts, and the more effective use of IRS audit resources.

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