Paperwork Reduction:

Reported Burden Hour Increases Reflect New Estimates, Not Actual Changes

PEMD-94-3: Published: Dec 6, 1993. Publicly Released: Jan 5, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the burden of federal paperwork, focusing on: (1) the changes in paperwork burden between 1987 and 1992; (2) the factors that contribute to changes in paperwork burden; (3) how some groups have been affected by information collections; and (4) the reasons for information collection changes.

GAO found that: (1) between 1987 and 1992, the number of paperwork burden hours increased by 261 percent; (2) the increases in paperwork burden reflect Treasury's reclassification and reestimation of burden hours, new paperwork requirements, and changes in new, ongoing, and terminated collections; (3) the actual increase in paperwork is due to changes in population size and revisions to collection instruments; (4) in 1991, the paperwork burden for estimated income taxes and business partnerships decreased due to revisions in forms; (5) information collection requirements increased significantly between 1987 and 1992; and (6) an evaluation of the totality of paperwork burden should include whether the data collected are reliable, total paperwork burden is underestimated, costs of collecting data is valuable, and data collected actually benefit the public.

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