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GAO Offers Recommendations To Reduce The Tax Gap

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is offering recommendations to close the tax gap, a move it says could yield large fiscal benefits even if there is only a modest narrowing of the gap between what is paid and what is owed.

In a “snapshot” report issued February 27, 2023, the GAO cited Internal Revenue Service-reported figures for the years 2014-2016 that show taxpayers owed $3.3 trillion in taxes but paid only $2.8 trillion. GAO analysis of IRS data attributes the gap to three key factors: underreporting ($398 billion); underpayment ($59 billion); and nonfiling ($39 billion).

GAO reported a number of factors that have contributed to the tax gap, including limited third-party information reporting, declines in audit rates, worsening customer service and the complexities of the tax code. It also noted that abusive tax shelters also play a role in contributing to the tax gap. The report did not quantify how much these factors contributed to the tax gap.

“Our work shows there are no easy ways to reduce the taxgap,” the report states. “Multiple approaches are needed to address the many causes of tax noncompliance.”

The government watchdog recommends that the IRS re-establish quantitative goals to reduce the tax gap; expand third-party information reporting; digitize taxpayer returns to make them more readily available to enforcement programs; and make it easier for individuals to report preparers and promoters involved in abusive tax schemes.

It also is recommending that Congress give the IRS explicit authority to establish professional requirements for paid preparers; expand third-party reporting requirements related to real estate; expand IRS authority to correct errors and discrepancies between taxpayer reported and other government collected information; and requiring paper returns include a scannable code to allow information to be processed digitally.

The GAO did not quantify how much benefit the federal government could get with even a modest reduction in the tax gap.

IRS Highlights Home Energy Credits for Taxpayers, IR-2024-137

The IRS has advised taxpayers that making specific energy-efficient updates to their homes could qualify them for home energy credits. This guidance comes under the expanded provisions of […]

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IRS Highlights Home Energy Credits for Taxpayers, IR-2024-137

IRS Issues FAQs on Disaster Relief Related to Retirement Plans, FS-2024-19; IR-2024-132

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IRS Issues FAQs on Disaster Relief Related to Retirement Plans, FS-2024-19; IR-2024-132

2025 Inflation Adjustments for Health Savings Accounts Released, Rev. Proc. 2024-25

The IRS has released the 2025 inflation-adjusted amounts for health savings accounts under Code Sec. 223. For calendar year 2025, the annual limitation on deductions under Code Sec. 223(b)(2) for an […]

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FL - Gas and Sulfur production tax rates for 2024-2025 announced

Florida has issued the severance tax rates for the production of gas and sulfur effective July 1, 2024, through June […]

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No Further Funding Cuts For IRS In FY24

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IRS Criminal Investigation Releases COVID Fraud Conviction Statistics, IR-2024-83

The IRS released statistics that showed 1,644 tax and money-laundering cases related to COVID fraud, totaling $9 billion investigated by the Criminal Investigation (CI). CI is the law enforcement […]

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IRS Criminal Investigation Releases COVID Fraud Conviction Statistics, IR-2024-83

IRS Updates FAQ on Commercial Clean Vehicle Credits (FS-2024-14; IR-2024-111)

The IRS updated frequently asked questions (FAQ) on New, Previously Owned and Qualified Commercial Clean Vehicle Credits. These FAQs provide guidance on how the Inflation Reduction […]

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IRS Updates FAQ on Commercial Clean Vehicle Credits (FS-2024-14; IR-2024-111)

2024 Foreign Housing Expense Amounts Released, Notice 2024-31

KPMG TaxNewsFlash – United States March 20, 2024 The IRS today released Notice 2024-31 [PDF 156 KB] providing the adjustments to the limitation on housing expenses, under […]

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