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    Subject Term: "Legal liability"

    5 publications with a total of 11 open recommendations including 3 priority recommendations
    Director: Cackley, Alicia P
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure spaceport operators' understanding of FAA's financial responsibility regulations for commercial space launches, the Secretary of Transportation should ensure that the FAA Administrator provides additional communication to clarify FAA's interpretation of the financial responsibility regulations for commercial space launches. The forms of communication could include, among other things, issuing additional guidance or using other forums to clarify when a spaceport operator is a third party to a launch and when it is not.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider the options for sustaining the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund as well as the optimal level of funding to be maintained in the Fund, in light of the expiration of the Fund's per-barrel tax funding source in 2017.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will continue to monitor the funding status.
    Director: Mctigue Jr, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-7968

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider altering the TEFRA audit procedures to require partnerships to designate a qualified Tax Matters Partner (TMP) and, if that TMP is an entity, to also identify a representative who is an individual and for partnerships to keep the designation up to date.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2015, H.R. 1314 was amended to include the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which included provisions that would repeal the TEFRA audit procedures and put in place new audit procedures for partnerships with more than 100 partners. This legislation was signed into law in November 2015. According to the legislation, the new audit procedures would require partnerships to designate a qualified representative for the partnership audit. However, the legislation did not require audited partnerships to identify a representative who is an individual nor do they require that audited partnerships keep the designation up to date as suggested in GAO's report. The legislation does give IRS the authority to develop regulations about how the partnership representative should be designated by the partnership and such regulations may address the items in GAO's report. Currently regulations are under development at IRS. The legislation specifies that the new partnership audit procedures apply to partnership returns filed for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should track the results of large partnerships audits: (a) define a large partnership based on asset size and number of partners; (b) revise the activity codes to align with the large partnership definition; and (c) separately account for field audits and campus audits.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: No executive action taken. IRS said that it plans to address parts of GAO's September 2014 recommendation about tracking the audit results on large partnerships but has not yet done so. In November 2014, IRS said that it plans to define large partnerships using asset size and the number of partners and to find an alternative method to account for field and campus large partnership cases using existing capabilities, but that revising IRS's activity codes to enable it to track large partnership audits would be dependent on future funding. In March 2017, IRS told GAO that it would need until September 2017 to address this recommendation as IRS continues to monitor efforts to implement the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA). Section 1101 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (Public law 114-74), which was enacted in November 2015, includes provisions that repeal TEFRA audit procedures and put in place audit procedures that would require partnerships with more than 100 partners to pay audit adjustments at the partnership level, among other changes. IRS explained that these changes significantly alter the procedural and administrative components of partnerships. IRS said it would need this additional time to analyze options and determine the most appropriate steps for effectively tracking the results of large partnership audits. Without changes to tracking partnership audit results, IRS cannot conduct analysis to identify ways to better plan and use IRS resources in auditing large partnerships as well as analyze whether large partnerships present a high noncompliance risk.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should analyze the audit results by these activity codes and types of audits to identify opportunities to better plan and use IRS resources in auditing large partnerships.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said that based on completion of GAO's recommendations on tracking results and after sufficient large partnership audit results have been obtained, it still plans to conduct a study to analyze these results and recommend any ways in which resource use can be improved. IRS still expects to complete this analysis by September 2018.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    5 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE's cooperative agreement and internal documentation supporting its June 2012 acceptance of depleted uranium tails are accurate and transparent, the Secretary of Energy should continue to review the accuracy of its documentation associated with this transaction and seek an independent review of this documentation by a third party, such as the DOE Inspector General.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE disagreed with our recommendation, and as of March 2017, has not taken steps to implement it. GAO staff will follow-up on this recommendation in fiscal year 2017.
    Recommendation: If DOE continues to transfer, sell, or barter depleted uranium tails pursuant to its general authority under the Atomic Energy Act, notwithstanding that the USEC Privatization Act likely prohibits such actions, to ensure that DOE is receiving the required compensation under the Atomic Energy Act and DOE policy, the Secretary of Energy should develop guidance for setting an appropriate method for determining the value of depleted uranium tails when transferring them as an asset and apply the method consistently and transparently, prior to conducting such transfers, sales, or barters.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOE disagreed with our recommendation and, as of March 2017, has not taken steps to implement it. DOE has maintained that the department is not required to establish guidance or a pricing policy for depleted uranium and that doing so would hinder DOE's ability to maximize the value received by the government in a given transaction. We continue to believe that having guidance that provides a consistent and transparent method of determining the value of tails in the context of a transaction is necessary to help DOE ensure that it is receiving reasonable compensation in return for its tails, especially given the potential for future tails transactions
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE mitigates risks associated with achieving the expected benefits of future uranium transactions that may rely on third-party contracts, the Secretary of Energy should take steps to mitigate the risks for each uranium transaction, in accordance with federal internal control standards.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE disagreed with our recommendation, and as of March 2017, has not taken steps to implement it. GAO staff will follow-up on this recommendation in fiscal year 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the quality, credibility, and transparency of any future uranium market impact studies, the Secretary of Energy should (1) conduct a rigorous and documented internal assessment consistent with contract provisions and the Department of Energy's Information Quality Guidelines of the quality of such studies and/or have an independent third party conduct a peer review; and (2) to the extent that market impact studies are made publicly available, require that studies include information on the methods, data sources, and assumptions used in such a way that allows others to understand, interpret, and evaluate the studies consistent with DOE's Information Quality Guidelines.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE disagreed with our recommendation, and as of March 2017, has not taken steps to implement it. GAO staff will follow-up on this recommendation in fiscal year 2017.
    Recommendation: To further ensure that DOE's future uranium transfers do not have an adverse material impact on the domestic uranium market, the Secretary of Energy should seek and consider industry input both on the amount of DOE sales or transfers of uranium the market can absorb annually and on whether there is a need to reinstitute a guideline that limits annual uranium sales or transfers.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE disagreed with our recommendation, and as of March 2017, has not taken steps to implement it. GAO staff will follow-up on this recommendation in fiscal year 2017.
    Director: King, Kathleen M
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the MSP program and process for NGHPs, and to improve the agency's communication regarding the MSP process for situations involving NGHPs, the Acting Administrator of CMS should develop guidance regarding liability and no-fault set-aside arrangements.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, CMS reported that it was still in the process of implementing this recommendation about developing guidance regarding liability and no-fault set-aside arrangements. CMS reported that in February 2017, the agency issued instructions to its contractors confirming that CMS' shared systems will offer functionality to annotate liability insurance and no-fault insurance Medicare set-aside arrangements and that this functionality will be available no later than October 2017. However, CMS officials told us that they were still in the process of developing sub-regulatory guidance about liability and no-fault set-aside arrangements that could be used by other stakeholders, such as insurers and attorneys, and that they were unsure when this guidance would be finalized and distributed to those stakeholders