IRS' Handling of Undelivered Income Tax Refund Checks

Gao ID: GGD-81-71 April 10, 1981

GAO was asked to review the actions taken by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in response to previous GAO recommendations that IRS: (1) furnish the news media with lists of individuals entitled to undelivered tax refunds; and (2) determine if information in the Social Security Administration's (SSA) benefit files would be useful in locating individuals entitled to undelivered tax refunds.

IRS does not actively furnish newspapers with lists of individuals due undelivered income tax refunds; instead, it passively makes the lists available and achieves mixed results in getting them published. IRS needs to make additional efforts to get these lists published, including the monitoring of district office efforts and the examination of alternatives when lists are not published. IRS and SSA have discussed the recommendation that SSA match its computer files on SSA beneficiaries with IRS computer files on individuals due undelivered refund checks. Although IRS has continuously sought assistance from SSA, it has been unable to determine the usefulness of SSA benefit files. In addition, SSA has been slow in resolving the issue of how it can provide SSA beneficiary information to IRS in a manner consistent with the Privacy Act and SSA regulations.


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