ERIC Number: ED480909
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Taxpayer Information: Increased Sharing and Verifying of Information Could Improve Education's Award Decisions. Report to the Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate.
The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) was asked to determine whether the U.S. Department of Education uses taxpayer information to verify information provided by student aid applicants, and the benefits of increasing data verification activities, and whether the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses personal information maintained by Education to ensure that taxpayers meet their tax obligations and the benefits of increasing these activities. From various sources, the GAO found that the Department of Education uses taxpayer information for several purposes, such as locating loan defaulters, researching and computing statistical data on overall borrower debt, and, in taxpayers consent, determining loan repayment amounts. However, Education is not authorized to receive taxpayer information from the IRS to verify eligibility for student financial aid provided under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The IRS does not use personal information collected from applicants and maintained by Education to ensure that taxpayers meet their tax obligations because IRS believes the taxpayer information IRS receives is more accurate. In general, this view is supported by past estimates of taxpayers levels of compliance and information from Educations studies and investigations. In this report, GAO does not make any recommendations; however, earlier in 2003, GAO recommended that Congress consider legislation to authorize IRS to release individual income data to Education, a change the Department of Education would support. Three appendixes describe study methodology and present commentary from Education and the IRS. (SLD)
Descriptors: Agency Cooperation, Eligibility, Financial Aid Applicants, Higher Education, Information Dissemination, Student Financial Aid, Taxes
U.S. General Accounting Office, 441 G Street NW, Room LM, Washington, DC 20548 (first copy free; additional copies, $2 each). Tel: 202-512-6000. For full text: http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-821.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.