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GAO says paperwork still piling up. (Up front: news, trends & analysis).

A recent U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) report on the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) reveals a record increase in federal agencies' burden estimates. Victor S. Rezendes, GAO managing director for strategic issues, reported that as of September 30, 2002, federal agencies estimated that there were about 8.2 billion "burden hours" of paperwork government-wide--an 8 percent increase over 2001's 7.65 billion burden hours.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) paperwork requirements accounted for about 6.7 billion burden hours, or 81 percent of this estimate. Rezendes said that the "federal paperwork estimate increased by about 570 million burden hours during fiscal year 2002--nearly double the previous record increase for a one-year period. IRS increased its paperwork estimate by about 330 million burden hours during fiscal year 2002. IRS increases were due largely to changes made to the tax code by Congress, most particularly changes made by the 2001 tax cuts, which alone added nearly 17 million hours to the burden associated with IRS reporting requirements. The Department of Transportation's estimate rose by about 165 million burden hours, an increase that the department said was attributable almost entirely to the "reintroduction and re-estimation of one information collection."

Rezendes also identified 244 paperwork "violations"--information collections that take place without first undergoing PRA clearance at OMB--a more than 40 percent reduction in violations from the previous year, but still a cause for concern. John D. Graham, administrator of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, said more than 2 billion burden hours have been reduced in his department. Graham attributed the progress to his office's aggressive enforcement of the PRA, as well as implementation of new technologies to reduce paperwork burdens. Paper violations also have declined, he said, because of OMB's implementation of a "zero-tolerance policy."
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Title Annotation:General Accounting Office
Author:Swartz, Nikki
Publication:Information Management Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2003
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