According to a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the nation's tax gap -- the annual difference between federal taxes owed and those paid -- could in fact exceed the $345 billion estimate from Internal Revenue Service.

The agency said that the IRS projection of the tax gap probably underestimated things like non- or underreporting filers. The IRS arrived at its figures following a study of 46,000 audits for the 2001 tax year.

In its report the TIGTA said, "We concluded the IRS still does not have sufficient information to completely and accurately assess the overall tax gap and voluntary compliance."

In response, to the TIGTA conclusions, the IRS said that it would investigate establishing a tax gap advisory panel.

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