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Highlights

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO determined what options exist, without a legislative change, to help financial institutions provide correct names and taxpayer identification numbers (TIN) to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Internal Revenue Service 1. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should encourage payors to obtain information from payees about name changes not reported to social security when they open new accounts and to include the names on information returns.
Closed - Implemented
IRS expanded the W-9 (Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification) to provide information about making name changes for the social security number. Payors must give the W-9 form to each person who opens a new account.
Internal Revenue Service 2. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should expand IRS plans to correct names of primary filers on income tax returns to include secondary filers.
Closed - Implemented
Action was completed January 1, 1992. IRS corrected the names of primary filers on income tax returns to include secondary filers.
Internal Revenue Service 3. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should tell payors when TIN are not in social security or IRS files when providing lists of incorrect TIN to payors.
Closed - Implemented
In April 1991, IRS began notifying payors when TIN are not in Social Security Administration or IRS files when it issued the tax year 1989 list of incorrect numbers. IRS plans to continue sending out these notices in future years.

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