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    Subject Term: "Liability (legal)"

    4 publications with a total of 6 open recommendations including 1 priority recommendation
    Director: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202)512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Board of Directors should ensure that TVA better document and communicate its goals to reduce its debt and unfunded pension liabilities in its performance plans and reports, including detailed strategies for achieving these goals.

    Agency: Tennessee Valley Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: TVA concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. When we confirm what actions the TVA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Board of Directors should ensure that TVA propose, and work with the TVA Retirement System board to adopt, funding rules designed to ensure the plan's full funding.

    Agency: Tennessee Valley Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: TVA neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. We continue to believe action is needed and will monitor TVA's efforts to address it.
    Director: Mctigue Jr, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-7968

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To provide federal policymakers information on the relative effectiveness of Title IV programs and higher education tax expenditures, the Secretary of Education should take advantage of opportunities presented by recent and anticipated substantive program changes to sponsor and conduct evaluative research into the effectiveness of Title IV programs and higher education tax expenditures at improving student outcomes.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Education (Education) has made some progress toward sponsoring and conducting evaluative research into the effectiveness of Title IV programs and higher education tax expenditures at improving student outcomes, as GAO recommended. For example, in June 2014, Education signed an agreement with the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) to share data for the purpose of policy development and research. In particular, the agreement allows the agencies to coordinate their data to understand the relationship between Title IV student aid and tax benefits, and to model the effects of potential policy changes. Education officials noted the office of Federal Student Aid is also working with Treasury to generate outcomes data by institution and make that information publicly available. In June 2016, Education officials stated their website would be updated with these new data by the end of the year. In addition, in fiscal year 2014 Education launched the Enterprise Data Warehouse and Analytics (EDW&A) project to provide internal and external stakeholders, including researchers, timely and accurate access to centralized Federal Student Aid data and analytic tools. Education officials said that the agency is in the process of improving EDW&A for a variety of purposes, including research on Title IV program effectiveness. In July 2016, through the Education Research Grants competition, Education's Institute of Education Sciences awarded two grants to researchers looking at the impact of interventions related to applying for federal student aid on college enrollment, attendance, and degree completion. While sponsoring this research represents an important step toward understanding specific financial aid interventions, Education has identified a critical research gap in the area of linking higher education financing to student outcomes, and more evaluative research may be necessary to strengthen the evidence related to key federal strategies and programs. Although Education awarded several grants to evaluate the effectiveness of higher education programs and interventions, most of the studies do not focus on federal assistance. In 2018, Education noted that it would not be possible to conduct this evaluative research because researchers could not assign students to a control group in which they would not receive the higher education benefits, and Education does not have the authority to expand student financial aid programs to test the effectiveness of the programs through a pilot study. Quasi-experimental designs would also be inadvisable, according to Education, because students who do not receive federal student aid may be different than those who do receive the benefits, and it would not be possible to control for such differences. In addition, Education noted that to study tax credits, researchers would have to work with the IRS to access tax information. GAO believes that Education could engage in other efforts that result in research on the effectiveness of Title IV programs and federal higher education tax expenditures. This could be achieved through taking advantage of natural experiments such as those that might arise from legal changes in the higher education area. In addition, Education could plan research with Treasury, as appropriate, given existing data sharing agreements. GAO encourages Education to ensure that its data-sharing and future grant efforts result in actively sponsoring or conducting evaluative research on federal higher education assistance programs, and make plans to use the information in future policymaking, as appropriate. Making these data-sharing and research efforts a priority will help policymakers make fact-based decisions on the merits and value of various federal assistance efforts. To fully implement this recommendation, Education needs to ensure that its efforts result in evaluating the effectiveness of Title IV programs and federal higher education tax expenditures.
    Director: Cackley, Alicia P
    Phone: (202) 512-7022

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To reduce the varying interpretations of LRRA, which have led to uncertainty and disagreements among RRGs and state insurance regulators, and at the same time continue to facilitate the formation and efficient operation of RRGs, Congress may wish to consider clarifying certain LRRA provisions. For example, clarifying whether (1) RRG registration requirements beyond those currently specified in LRRA are permitted in nondomiciliary states and (2) fees in addition to premium and other taxes could be charged to RRGs by nondomiciliary states in which they operate. Congress may also wish to consider providing a more specific definition of the types of insurance coverage permitted under LRRA.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, Congress had not taken actions to clarify the provisions we had noted within the Liability Risk Retention Act as causing some uncertainty among risk retention groups and state insurance regulators.

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should match independent contractors' information returns with their tax returns to more systematically identify employers who are misclassifying employees as independent contractors and to better target audit resources for doing employment tax examinations.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: Call 202/512-6100 for additional information.
    Recommendation: Section 630 of the Revenue Act of 1978 restricts IRS' authority to ensure that current and future classifications will be correct. In view of the equity issues and tax revenues involved, Congress may wish to consider repealing this restriction against requiring employers to prospectively reclassify employees who have been misclassified as independent contractors.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Call 202/512-6100 for additional information.