The Internal Revenue Service recently estimated that the 2001 tax gap ranged from $312 billion to $353 billion. Although the IRS said that it would eventually recoup some of that shortfall, it still leaves a huge net tax gap that the IRS sets at between $257 billion and $298 billion.Previous estimates of the tax gap relied on research conducted for tax years 1988 and earlier. The National Research Program, which examined 2001 returns, was completed in the fall of 2004, and provided the data that the IRS now uses to project estimates of the tax gap. The study found that underreporting of income is the largest component of the tax gap, accounting for more than 80 percent of the total. Non-filing and underpayment account for about 10 percent each.
Long-term budget simulations show large and growing structural deficits due to known demographic trends and rising health care costs, according to the Governmental Accountability Office.
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