The Internal Revenue Service has experienced declines in enforcement productivity in the past, according to the Government Accountability Office. 

Since the IRS's ability to correctly measure its productivity has important budget implications, the GAO was asked to illustrate methods to better measure productivity at the IRS.

The GAO said that the IRS can improve its productivity measures by using a variety of methods for calculating productivity that adjust for complexity and quality.  In its report, the GAO said that activities such as exams or audits conducted must be adjusted for complexity and quality.  For example, an increase in exams closed per employee would not indicate an increase in productivity if the IRS had shifted to less complex exams, or if quality declined.The GAO recommended that the IRS improve its productivity measures by using a variety of methods for calculating productivity that adjust for complexity and quality.  The methods range from ratios using a single output and input to methods that combine multiple outputs and inputs into composite indexes.  Mark Everson, commissioner of Internal Revenue, agreed with the recommendation.

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