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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO: (1) evaluated the effects of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Refund Offset Program on the filing behavior of guaranteed student loan defaulters; and (2) compared the program's estimated benefits resulting from increased debt collections with the program's estimated costs.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Internal Revenue Service 1. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct that IRS carry out its plans for future studies and specifically ensure that those studies: (1) control for as many meaningful tax and nontax characteristics as possible; (2) include an estimate of the potential revenue loss due to any noncompliant filing behavior; and (3) include a comparison of this loss with the program's benefits.
Closed - Implemented
IRS changed its approach and methodology as part of its recently issued study. As part of that study, nontax characteristics were included in the analysis and benefits and costs were calculated and compared.

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