Taxpayer Information: Increased Sharing and Verifying of Information Could Improve Education's Award Decisions

GAO-03-821 Published: Jul 18, 2003. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 2003.
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Data sharing can be a valuable tool for federal agencies in determining applicants' eligibility for benefit and loan programs. Congress has authorized the Department of Education, among others, to have limited access to federal taxpayer information collected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Likewise, IRS is able to use personal information collected by outside sources to better ensure that taxpayers are meeting their tax obligations. GAO was asked to determine whether Education uses taxpayer information to verify information provided by student aid applicants, and the benefits of increasing data verification activities, and whether IRS uses personal information maintained by Education to ensure that taxpayers meet their tax obligations, and the benefits of increasing these activities.

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