Tax refunds (1 - 10 of 73 items)
2016 Filing Season: IRS Improved Telephone Service but Needs to Better Assist Identity Theft Victims and Prevent Release of Fraudulent Refunds
GAO-17-186: Published: Jan 31, 2017. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 2017.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provided better telephone service to callers during the 2016 filing season—generally between January and mid-April—compared to 2015. However, its performance during the full fiscal year remained low. IRS does not make this nor other types of customer service information easily available to taxpayers, such as in an online dashboard. Without easily accessible i...
Financial Audit: IRS's Fiscal Years 2016 and 2015 Financial Statements
GAO-17-140: Published: Nov 10, 2016. Publicly Released: Nov 10, 2016.
In GAO's opinion, the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) fiscal years 2016 and 2015 financial statements are fairly presented in all material respects. However, in GAO's opinion, IRS did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting as of September 30, 2016, because of a continuing material weakness in internal control over unpaid assessments. GAO's tests of IRS's compliance with...
Refundable Tax Credits: Comprehensive Compliance Strategy and Expanded Use of Data Could Strengthen IRS's Efforts to Address Noncompliance
GAO-16-475: Published: May 27, 2016. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 2016.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), and the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) provide tax benefits to millions of taxpayers—many of whom are low-income—who are working, raising children, or pursuing higher education. These credits are refundable in that, in addition to offsetting tax liability, any excess credit over the tax liability is refunded t...
Identity Theft and Tax Fraud: IRS Needs to Update Its Risk Assessment for the Taxpayer Protection Program
GAO-16-508: Published: May 24, 2016. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 2016.
Taxpayer Protection Program (TPP). While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has made efforts to strengthen TPP—a program to authenticate the identities of suspicious tax return filers and prevent identity theft (IDT) refund fraud—fraudsters are still able to pass through and obtain fraudulent refunds. TPP authenticates taxpayers by asking questions only a real taxpayer should know; however, fr...
Tax Filing: IRS Needs a Comprehensive Customer Service Strategy and Needs to Better Combat Identity Theft Refund Fraud and Protect Taxpayer Data
GAO-16-578T: Published: Apr 19, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 2016.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) improved phone service to taxpayers during the 2016 filing season compared to last year. According to IRS, this is due in part to the additional $290 million in funding Congress provided to improve customer service, identity theft (IDT) refund fraud, and cybersecurity efforts. However, IRS expects its performance for the entire fiscal year will not reach the leve...
Information Security: IRS Needs to Further Improve Controls over Taxpayer Data and Continue to Combat Identity Theft Refund Fraud
GAO-16-589T: Published: Apr 12, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 12, 2016.
In March 2016, GAO reported that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had instituted numerous controls over key financial and tax processing systems; however, it had not always effectively implemented other controls intended to properly restrict access to systems and information, among other security measures. In particular, while IRS had improved some of its access controls, weaknesses remained in...
2015 Tax Filing Season: Deteriorating Taxpayer Service Underscores Need for a Comprehensive Strategy and Process Efficiencies
GAO-16-151: Published: Dec 16, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 14, 2016.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provided the lowest level of telephone service during fiscal year 2015 compared to prior years, with only 38 percent of callers who wanted to speak with an IRS assistor able to reach one. This lower level of service occurred despite lower demand from callers seeking live assistance, which has fallen by 6 percent since 2010 to about 51 million callers in 2015. Ove...
IRS Return Selection: Wage and Investment Division Should Define Audit Objectives and Refine Other Internal Controls
GAO-16-102: Published: Dec 17, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 13, 2016.
Three offices in the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Wage and Investment division (W&I) are responsible for selecting returns for audit. Most returns are selected via computer systems that automatically send notices to taxpayers based on certain criteria, such as the validity of dependents. W&I program officials annually review the criteria and apply updates to the following filing season's retur...
Identity Theft and Tax Fraud: Enhanced Authentication Could Combat Refund Fraud, but IRS Lacks an Estimate of Costs, Benefits and Risks
GAO-15-119: Published: Jan 20, 2015. Publicly Released: Feb 19, 2015.
Identity Theft (IDT) Refund Fraud Cost Estimates. The Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) fraud estimates met several GAO Cost Guide best practices, such as documenting data sources and detailing calculations. However, the estimates do not reflect the uncertainty inherent in measuring IDT refund fraud because they are presented as point estimates. Best practices suggest that agencies assess the effec...
Tax Filing Season: 2014 Performance Highlights the Need to Better Manage Taxpayer Service and Future Risks
GAO-15-163: Published: Dec 16, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 16, 2014.
The Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) processing of tax returns was timely, even though the filing season was delayed due to the 2013 government shutdown. Continued growth in e-filing allows IRS to reduce costs and issue refunds faster. Although IRS received fewer calls in 2014, the percentage of callers seeking help who received it remained low and wait times remained high compared to prior years...