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A congressional subcommittee requested that GAO determine the extent to which individuals may not be paying their social security taxes. The purpose of the request was to determine the size of the social security underground economy and the characteristics of individuals who did not pay their social security taxes. To address these issues, GAO used the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Exact Match File, which was developed to learn more about income distribution and redistribution in the United States. This File combines data from the 1973 Current Population Survey, 1972 SSA earnings and benefit records, and certain limited tax data from 1972 Federal income tax returns. Although the File shows detailed information for those who had self-employment earnings to enable a determination to be made about whether such employment is covered by social security, it does not indicate whether a worker's employment was covered by social security.

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