Category Archives: Tax Policy and Administration

Tackling the Tax Code – How the IRS Communicates with Taxpayers

The tax code is complex, so taxpayers rely on the IRS to help them understand and follow the law. But the IRS publishes thousands of guidance documents a year, so where should taxpayers start? As we near the end of … Continue reading

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Achieving Financial Benefits—One Action at a Time

Since 2011, we’ve outlined actions federal agencies and Congress can take to reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in federal programs and activities—work that resulted in $56 billion in financial benefits to the federal government between fiscal years 2010 and 2015 … Continue reading

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What You Need to Know about Tax Incentives and the Federal Budget (infographic)

The federal budget consists of revenue (mostly taxes, but also things like user fees and intragovernmental revolving funds) and spending. But not all spending looks the same. Spending through tax provisions—known as tax incentives or expenditures—is not as well-known as … Continue reading

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The Stubborn Problem of Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud (podcast)

The Internal Revenue Service estimates that it paid out more than $3 billion in identity theft tax refund fraud in 2014—i.e., fraudsters using stolen identities to file taxes in someone else’s name, collecting tax refunds, and then disappearing. Jay McTigue, … Continue reading

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Will “Hamilton” Win Big? Its Namesake Already Inspired a Lot of GAO Work

Alexander Hamilton has quite the legacy: he was the first Secretary of the Treasury; he created a plan for managing the national debt; and he is now the inspiration behind the Tony Award-nominated musical, Hamilton. In anticipation of this Sunday’s … Continue reading

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Auditing the Government’s Books

Congress and the President need reliable, useful, and timely financial information so they can make difficult budget choices and deal with the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges. Each year, we audit the governmentwide financial statements to help make sure good information … Continue reading

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E-cigarettes and FDA’s New Rule

E-cigarettes have rapidly become more popular since they first appeared on the U.S. market about 10 years ago. Just last week, the Food and Drug Administration issued a rule to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products. This follows recent e-cigarette legislation … Continue reading

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The Taxman Cometh

Usually, April 15 is the deadline for filing federal individual income tax returns. However, this year, due to Washington, D.C.’s celebration of Emancipation Day on Friday, April 15, the deadline for most of the nation is today, April 18. (Due … Continue reading

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What Large Corporations Pay in Income Tax (podcast)

The corporate federal income tax rate tops out at 35 percent. But what do corporations actually pay? We recently reviewed federal corporate income tax, and how much of it U.S. corporations paid. Listen to Jessica Lucas-Judy, a director in our … Continue reading

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Weaknesses in IRS Information Security (podcast)

To do its job, the IRS has to collect and keep a variety of sensitive information about taxpayers. But how does it make sure this information is secure? Listen to Greg Wilshusen, a director in our Information Technology team, discuss … Continue reading

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