GAO Reports  
GGD-96-172 September 18, 1996

Earned Income Credit: IRS' 1995 Controls Stopped Some
Noncompliance, But Not Without Problems

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) efforts to reduce Earned Income Credit (EIC) noncompliance in calender year 1995.

GAO found that: (1) the up-front controls used by IRS in its Electronic Filing System helped IRS reduce some EIC noncompliance and identify about 1.3 million Social Security number (SSN) problems on electronically filed tax returns in 1995; (2) IRS placed increased emphasis on validating SSN on paper returns, since it identified about 3.3 million returns with missing or invalid SSN for EIC-qualifying children; (3) although IRS identified 3.3 million returns with problems, IRS only had the resources to follow up on 1 million cases; (4) IRS delayed refunds on about 4 million EIC returns that did not have any SSN problems to check for the use of duplicate SSN, but released almost all of those refunds without checking for duplicate SSN; (5) IRS has taken steps to better utilize its resources in 1996, such as attempting to identify more productive cases and limiting the number of delayed refunds; and (6) the overall impact on IRS efforts to reduce EIC noncompliance cannot be assessed because IRS commingled 1995 data with data from previous years.

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