Status of the 1988 Tax Return Filing Season

Gao ID: T-GGD-88-13 February 23, 1988

GAO discussed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) preparation for the 1988 tax filing season. GAO found that: (1) IRS adequately prepared its employees and taxpayers for the 1988 filing season; (2) although IRS telephone assistance personnel have met taxpayer demand in terms of quantity, they answered only 74.8 percent of those calls correctly; (3) taxpayers were generally satisfied with IRS assistance at the walk-in offices; (4) although some walk-in offices did not stock all forms and publications because of space limitations, IRS filled about 98 percent of the 4.8 million mail and telephone forms requests; (5) tax practitioners predicted that the lack of early guidance to help interpret the 1986 Tax Reform Act provisions could result in increased errors on returns and taxpayer extensions; (6) 4 of 10 IRS service centers indicated that returns processing was progressing smoothly and service center inventories were at manageable levels; and (7) although error inventories were lower than at the same time last year, taxpayers continued to make errors on their returns.

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