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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) needs up-to-date information on voluntary compliance in order to assess and improve its programs. IRS's last detailed study of voluntary compliance was done in the late 1980s, so the compliance information IRS is using today is not current. IRS is now carrying out the National Research Program (NRP), through which IRS auditors are reviewing about 47,000 randomly selected tax year 2001 individual tax returns. In June 2002, GAO reported that NRP was necessary, that its design was sound, and that it appeared to meet IRS's goals of acquiring useful compliance data while minimizing burden on taxpayers with returns in the sample. GAO was asked to review IRS's implementation of NRP. GAO reviewed IRS's method of gathering internal and third-party data (casebuilding) and IRS's process of reviewing casebuilding materials to determine if audits are necessary (classification) and assessed IRS's plans to ensure consistent data collection while minimizing burden on taxpayers.

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