IRS and SSA Can Improve the Verification and Recording of Data Provided by Self-Employed Taxpayers

Gao ID: GGD-85-21 May 28, 1985

GAO reviewed processing of self-employment earnings information to determine whether the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) are properly processing such information and crediting it to taxpayers' accounts.

Workers are required to report self-employment earnings on a form known as schedule SE. IRS processes the schedule, collects any social security taxes that are due, and reports the information to SSA, which credits earnings information to individuals' social security accounts. GAO found that, while the system is functioning well, IRS and SSA could: (1) increase the amount of self-employment earnings that get properly credited; and (2) more accurately account for due taxes. GAO also found that: (1) IRS does not always detect errors in computing self-employment earnings on SE schedules; (2) IRS does not verify wage amounts reported by self-employed persons who report other earned income, which causes underpayments of social security taxes; (3) IRS could help SSA correctly credit earnings to individuals' social security accounts by ensuring that, whenever it corrects social security numbers (SSN) on tax returns, corrected numbers are provided to SSA; and (4) SSA and IRS need to establish better control over SE schedules to help ensure that all self-employed persons are receiving credit for self-employment earnings.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Jennie S. Stathis Team: General Accounting Office: General Government Division Phone: (202) 275-6407

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