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    Subject Term: "Tax evasion"

    5 publications with a total of 7 open recommendations
    Director: Gootnick, David B
    Phone: (202) 512-3149

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Disparities in tax rates on smoking tobacco products have negative revenue implications because they create incentives for manufacturers and consumers to substitute higher-taxed products with lower-taxed products. In light of that fact, as Congress continues its oversight of CHIPRA and Tobacco Control Act implementation, it may wish to consider modifying tobacco tax rates to eliminate significant tax differentials between similar products. Specifically, Congress may wish to consider equalizing tax rates on roll-your-own and pipe tobacco and, in consultation with Treasury, also consider options for reducing tax avoidance due to tax differentials between small and large cigars.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, Congress had not passed legislation to equalize taxes on roll-your-own and pipe tobacco and small and large cigars. In the 114th Congress, two bills were introduced to equalize taxes on roll-your-own and pipe tobacco, as GAO suggested in its April 2012 report. Additionally, in January 2017, House Bill 729, which would create tax parity for these products, was introduced in the 115th Congress. However, these bills have not been enacted. GAO's April 2012 report noted that prior federal and state legislation has aimed to discourage tobacco use and raise revenues by increasing excise taxes on tobacco products. Modifying tax rates to eliminate the tax differentials between similar tobacco products could address potential future revenue losses stemming from the substitution of higher-taxed products with lower-taxed products.
    Director: Mctigue, James R Jr
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that economically similar outcomes are taxed similarly and minimize opportunities for abuse, the Secretary of the Treasury should undertake a study that compares the current approach to alternative approaches for the taxation of financial derivatives. To determine if changes would be beneficial, such a study should weigh the tradeoffs to IRS and taxpayers that each alternative presents, including simplicity, administrability, and economic efficiency.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury disagreed with this recommendation based on the fact that many outside studies already exist and IRS did not comment. While Treasury disagreed with the recommendation, debate on tax reform, both in Congress and within IRS, continues and actions to ensure that economically similar outcomes are taxed similarly seem likely. GAO continues to maintain that further study is needed in coordination with IRS. If financial derivatives are included in tax reform, this could lead to savings for the federal government. GAO will continue to monitor progress on tax reform and whether it includes changes to the taxation of financial derivatives consistent with the recommendation.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202)512-5594

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress may wish to consider instituting a penalty on non-material advisor promoters for failing to provide investor lists to IRS within a specified time period when requested, comparable to the 20-business-day requirement for material advisors.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have not identified legislative action in the 114th or 115th Congress or any enacted legislation since 2011 amending section 6111 (disclosure of reportable transactions including the definition of a material advisor), section 6112 (requirement to keep lists of investors) or section 6708 (imposing the penalty for failure to maintain and provide lists to IRS).
    Recommendation: To improve reporting on the results of examinations on ATAT issues, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should separately track the tax amounts recommended, assessed, and collected between ATAT issues and non-ATAT issues.

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

    Comments: IRS has taken steps to check whether taxpayers filed all required ATAT-related disclosure obligations, but has not taken steps to track examination results for ATAT versus non-ATAT issues, as GAO recommended in May 2011. In July 2012, IRS told GAO that although it agreed with GAO's May 2011 recommendation, resource and capability constraints preclude it from capturing information in this way. In February 2013, IRS implemented a new indicator and matching process to regularly review whether taxpayers are meeting their ATAT-related filing obligations. Additionally, IRS developed a procedure to evaluate the completeness of ATAT-related disclosure forms and follow up on incomplete forms as necessary and updated the Internal Revenue Manual to reflect these changes. Developing and implementing these new processes and procedures will provide IRS with additional information for determining whether the disclosures are made as required and are complete. However, as of March 2017, IRS did not plan on taking any further actions on tracking examination results.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202)512-5594

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should establish an IRS-wide strategy with goals, which may need to be developed incrementally, to coordinate and plan ongoing and future efforts to identify and pursue network tax evasion. The strategy should include: (1) assessing the effectiveness of network analysis tools, such as yK-1; (2) determining the feasibility and benefits of increasing access to existing IRS data, such as scanning additional data from Schedule K-1, or collecting additional data for use in its network analysis efforts; (3) putting the development of analytical techniques and tools that focus on networks as the unit of analysis, such as GraphQuery, on a specific time schedule; and (4) deciding how network efforts will be managed across IRS, such as whether a core program team or management group is needed.

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS had not created a documented, agency-wide strategy to manage network noncompliance efforts. However, IRS has developed elements of the strategy, as GAO recommended in September 2010. For example, IRS has made and continues to focus on making iterative improvements to its network analysis tools. Although these improvements are not contained within an IRS-wide strategy, they relate to assessing effectiveness. For example, IRS has taken steps to assess its most predominantly used network analysis tool. As part of an annual survey, IRS asked users of this tool about its effectiveness and to suggest improvements. IRS also certified the tool as conforming to agency guidelines and requirements for usefulness. However, IRS has not created a strategic approach on managing network compliance efforts across IRS that includes time frames for network analysis tool development, and the agency has no plans to do so.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202)512-5594

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To understand the scope of the business nonfiler population, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should estimate the magnitude of business nonfiling among businesses registered with IRS, using data from its operational files to select cases for further investigation. Based on the results of this work IRS should develop a tax gap estimate for the impact of business nonfiling insofar as doing so is cost-effective.

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS said it did not plan to develop a partial estimate of the business nonfiler rate, as we recommended in August 2010. IRS reported that funding would likely be unavailable for it to do so using operational data. According to IRS, its existing operational data on business nonfilers are sufficient. However, even a partial estimate could give IRS additional information that would be useful in its strategic planning and help it determine what priority it should place on this type of noncompliance.
    Recommendation: To monitor the performance of business nonfiler activities, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should set a deadline for developing data that can be used to measure the performance of the BMF CCNIP and its business nonfiler compliance activities overall.

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

    Comments: IRS has determined that it does not have the necessary data that could be used to measure its business nonfiler efforts across the agency and that it therefore cannot set a deadline for developing such data, as GAO recommended in August 2010. According to IRS, developing such data would be prohibitively costly. Rather, as of March 2017, IRS plans to continue to use the data at the operating division level. Without going through the process of developing performance data, IRS is unable to know what data would aid in monitoring and evaluating its business nonfiler efforts. Absent cross-agency performance data, IRS is unable to fully understand the outcomes of its business nonfiler efforts.