Status of the 1989 Tax Return Filing Season

T-GGD-89-12: Published: Mar 16, 1989. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 1989.

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GAO discussed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) 1989 tax filing season. GAO found that: (1) IRS telephone accessibility improved slightly, and the overall accuracy of assistors' answers to individual tax questions was about the same as in 1988; (2) assistors had difficulty in interviewing taxpayers to determine their circumstances; (3) IRS had difficulty in hiring, training, and retaining qualified assistors; (4) none of the IRS distribution sites visited had available all IRS taxpayer assistance forms and publications; (5) almost half of those responsible for publications inventory management had not received the pertinent training; (6) publications shipments were frequently incomplete, with no explanation or indication that missing publications had been back ordered; (7) although IRS was processing tax returns more smoothly, some service centers had fallen behind the 1988 processing pace; (8) a greater proportion of taxpayers filed simpler tax forms than in 1988; (9) although taxpayers have made most tax return errors, both taxpayers and IRS have made fewer errors than in 1988; and (10) service center case inventory levels were running at or below 1988 levels, with the exception of the file update inventory.

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