Tag Archive for Government Accountability Office

Landscape Of The U.S. Retirement System Has Shifted

According to the United States Government Accountability Office,  “Fundamental changes have occurred over the past 40 years to the nation’s current retirement system, made up of three main pillars: Social Security, employer-sponsored pensions or retirement savings plans, and individual savings. These changes have made it increasingly difficult for individuals to plan for and effectively manage retirement. In particular, there has been a marked shift away from employers offering traditional defined benefit (DB) pension plans to defined contribution (DC) plans, such as 401(k)s, as the primary type of retirement plan. This shift to DC plans has increased the risks and responsibilities for individuals in planning and managing their retirement. In addition, economic and societal trends—such as increases in debt and health care costs—can impede individuals’ ability to save for retirement.

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Opportunities Exist To Improve Monitoring And Transparency Of Appeal Resolution Timeliness

According to the Government Accountability Office “Opportunities Exist To Improve Monitoring And Transparency Of Appeal Resolution Timeliness”. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a standard process to resolve a diverse array of taxpayer requests to appeal IRS proposed actions to assess additional taxes and penalties or collect taxes owed. The process begins with a taxpayer filing an appeal with the IRS examination or collection unit proposing the compliance action and ends with a decision from the Office of Appeals (Appeals).








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U.S. Government Accountability Office: Foreign Asset Reporting

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently presented a very extensive report to Congressional Committees. TaxConnections believes it is vitally important to read the GAO’s Report since it states they interviewed officials from IRS, other federal agencies and organizations, selected tax practitioners, and more than 20 U.S. persons living overseas.

TaxConnections believes that the GAO will benefit hearing from thousands of citizens abroad how who now come to our site to learn the stories of U.S. citizens affected by foreign asset reporting requirements.

Here is the report word for word:


Actions Needed to Enhance Compliance Efforts, Eliminate Overlapping Requirements, and Mitigate Burdens on U.S. Persons Abroad

Why GAO Did This Study

Concerns over efforts by U.S. taxpayers to use offshore accounts to hide income or evade taxes contributed to the passage of FATCA in 2010, which sought to create greater transparency and accountability over offshore assets held by U.S. taxpayers. House Report 114-624 included a provision for GAO to evaluate FATCA implementation and determine the effects of FATCA on U.S. citizens living abroad. GAO—among other things— (1) assessed IRS’s efforts to use FATCA-related information to improve taxpayer compliance; (2) examined the extent to which Treasury administers overlapping reporting requirements on financial assets held overseas; and (3) examined the effects of FATCA implementation unique to U.S. persons living abroad. GAO reviewed applicable documentation; analyzed tax data; and interviewed officials from IRS, other federal agencies and organizations, selected tax practitioners, and more than 20 U.S. persons living overseas.

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Why You Shouldn’t Self-File Your U.S. Expat Tax Return

Ephraim Moss

As this year’s tax season heads towards its end, we continue to see more and more self-filers who have received notices from the IRS reassessing their tax liabilities due to mistakes or miscalculations on their original returns. In many cases, the filers should have no tax liability, but a missing form or incorrect information triggers a hefty IRS tax bill.

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IRS Collected $5.5 Billion From OVDI, But According to GAO, May Be Missing Billions More?

The IRS may be missing potential taxCayman_Islands dodgers who report their foreign accounts but who avoid paying penalties by not reporting previous years’ returns. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released Offshore Tax Evasion: IRS Has Collected Billions of Dollars, but May be Missing Continued Evasion (GAO-13-318):

Tax evasion by individuals with unreported offshore financial accounts was estimated by one IRS commissioner to be several tens of billions of dollars, but no precise figure exists. IRS has operated four offshore programs since 2003 that offered incentives for taxpayers to disclose their offshore accounts and pay delinquent taxes, interest, and penalties. GAO was asked to review IRS’s second offshore program, the 2009 OVDP. This report (1) describes the nature of the noncompliance of 2009 OVDP participants, (2) determines the extent IRS used the 2009 OVDP to prevent noncompliance, and (3) assesses IRS’s efforts to detect taxpayers trying to circumvent taxes, interests, and penalties that would otherwise be owed.

IRS has detected some taxpayers with previously undisclosed offshore accounts attempting to circumvent paying the taxes, interest, and penalties that would otherwise be owed, but based on  GAO reviews of IRS data, IRS may be missing attempts by other taxpayers attempting to do so. GAO analyzed amended returns filed for tax year 2003 through tax year 2008, matched them to other information available to IRS about taxpayers’ possible offshore activities, and found many more potential quiet disclosures than IRS detected. Read more

“Quiet Disclosures” – Is the Jig Up?

iStock_tax evasionXSmallCertain findings and recommendations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) about offshore tax evasion and the IRS efforts to combat it have many taxpayers worried. The GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress and is often referred to as the “congressional watchdog.” It investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars and makes recommendations as to how a governmental agency can be more efficient and effective.

Recently issued GAO report, Offshore Tax Evasion: IRS Has Collected Billions of Dollars, but May be Missing Continued Evasion, provides key information about the IRS’ offshore voluntary disclosure initiatives. More importantly, however, GAO indicates its review of IRS data shows that the IRS is missing what appear to be rampant “quiet disclosure” and “new account” filings.

“Quiet Disclosures” / “New Account” Filings

With a “quiet disclosure”, taxpayers quietly amend past tax returns and FBARs reporting previously unreported income and accounts. With “new account” filings, taxpayers report the existence of any offshore accounts as well as income from the accounts on the current year tax return, without amending any prior years’ returns. They often also disclose the existence of the accounts by filing FBARs for the current calendar year making it appear as if the account was just newly opened.

GAO takes the IRS to task for not finding enough “quiet disclosures” and “new account” filings which lose billions of Read more

How Can Theft Prevention, Reporting and Return Filing Be Improved?

Changing the April 15 due date, moving taxpayer information to the cloud, and allowing personal identification numbers (PINs) for taxpayers who want them were all on the table at a Thursday hearing held by the IRS Oversight Board to explore ways to combat fraud and improve tax administration. The board, composed of presidential appointees with tax, technology, or business expertise, advises the IRS on the best ways to meet taxpayer needs.

Fraud and Identity theft

Fraud and identity theft are still rampant, according to Michael Phillips, acting principal deputy inspector general, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), who cited billions of dollars fraudulently claimed on refundable credits such as the American Opportunity tax credit. He said “the IRS recently prevented $12.1 billion of potentially fraudulent refunds from being issued, but more work needs to be done”.

Fraud comes in many forms, observed James R. White, director of tax issues for the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). Given its many sources, such as failure to file, underreporting, and off-shore tax evasion, Read more

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