GAO Reports  
GGD-96-72 May 13, 1996

Internal Revenue Service: Results of Nonfiler
Strategy & Opportunities to Improve Future Efforts

GAO reviewed the results of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) nonfiler strategy and opportunities to improve any similar future efforts.

GAO found that: (1) IRS actions to achieve its Nonfiler Strategy's goals included deploying examination staff to work on nonfiler cases, increasing other IRS functions' emphasis on nonfiler activities, eliminating old cases from inventory, establishing cooperative relationships with states and the private sector, and implementing a refund hold program; (2) IRS believes that its Nonfiler Strategy was generally a success, since it reduced its nonfiler inventory, eliminated unproductive cases, increased the number of returns from and dollars assessed against individual nonfilers, and created closer working relationships with outside stakeholders and professional associations; (3) although IRS reduced its nonfiler inventory, there are not enough data to determine voluntary compliance improvement or the program's cost-effectiveness; (4) returns from business nonfilers and collection of delinquent taxes decreased during the 2 years the strategy was in effect; (5) IRS made measuring the strategy's success more difficult by failing to establish measurable goals; (6) at least 38 percent of nonfilers who eventually filed a return became recidivists in the following year; (7) future IRS nonfilers efforts could be improved by shortening the time before first notices and telephone contacts are made, using lower-grade staff to pursue nonfiler cases, and revising notices sent to recidivists to increase their urgency; and (8) IRS has reduced the time before sending first notices and developed special recidivist procedures, but it continues to send several notices before making telephone contact.

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