Status of Tax Systems Modernization, Tax Delinquencies, and the Potential for Return-Free Filing

T-GGD/AIMD-96-88: Published: Mar 14, 1996. Publicly Released: Mar 14, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Tax Systems Modernization (TSM) Plan, focusing on: (1) IRS efforts to correct TSM management and technical weaknesses within an established time frame and cost figure; (2) IRS plans to collect delinquent taxes and correct accounts receivable discrepancies; and (3) the viability of return-free filing. GAO noted that: (1) IRS has attempted to address its management and technical weaknesses, but its initiatives do not satisfy previous recommendations or provide assurance that the problems will be timely corrected; (2) IRS continues to spend billions of dollars on TSM solutions, but it has little confidence in its ability to deliver an effective system within the established TSM time frame and cost figure; (3) IRS is rethinking its modernization and operational initiatives related to accounts receivable and delinquent taxes, but it projects a 13-percent decrease in collections for fiscal year 1996; and (4) return-free filing is a viable option if taxpayers continue to provide information regarding their tax status and number of dependents, and employers are legally authorized to compute tax liabilities under final withholding.

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