Tax Administration:

IRS' Fiscal Year 1996 Budget Request and the 1995 Filing Season

T-GGD-95-97: Published: Feb 27, 1995. Publicly Released: Feb 27, 1995.

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GAO discussed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) fiscal year (FY) 1996 budget request and the status of the 1995 filing season. GAO noted that: (1) IRS has increased its FY 1996 budget request to $8.2 billion and 114,885 staff; (2) the increase is mainly for its Tax Systems Modernization Program (TSM), refund fraud prevention, and taxpayer telephone communication operations; (3) TSM has provided only marginal improvements in tax administration because IRS has not improved its business practices; (4) because IRS needs to improve its TSM efforts, it may not effectively use all TSM funding requested for FY 1996; (5) IRS has taken several steps to prevent refund fraud and, as a result, is delaying refunds to taxpayers who have Earned Income Credit (EIC) eligibility problems or have used invalid social security numbers; (6) IRS needs to improve the EIC program because of fraud and concerns that not all eligible taxpayers are receiving the credit; (7) IRS has requested more staff to answer telephones because of taxpayers' problems in reaching IRS by telephone; (8) IRS needs to adopt some of the practices of other large telephone assistance programs; and (9) other budget issues include program underfunding, the proposed restriction on the use of tax law enforcement appropriations, and a funding shortfall if the 1996 federal employee pay raises are greater than the budgeted 2.4 percent.

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