GAO Reports  
GGD-96-48 December 29, 1995

The 1995 Tax Filing Season: IRS Performance Indicators Provide Incomplete Information About Some Problems

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) performance during the 1995 tax filing season, focusing on the: (1) processing of individual income tax returns and refunds; (2) ability of taxpayers to reach IRS by telephone; and (3) new IRS computer system for processing returns.

GAO found that: (1) of the 74 million refunds IRS issued as of June 16, 1995, 7 million were delayed for up to 8 weeks because of systematic checks for questionable refund claims; (2) IRS delayed refunds on returns with missing or invalid social security numbers (SSN) to identify duplicate uses of the same SSN and fraud schemes; (3) although IRS answered 11 percent more calls from taxpayers in the 1995 filing season, the chance of reaching an IRS assistor was not very good; and (4) IRS experienced numerous problems with its electronic image computer system, including extensive downtime and slow processing rates, that hampered productivity.

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