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An Act to Improve Oversight of State Government (H.4)

State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump has brought forward legislation that would remove a statutory provision that prohibits auditors in her office from accessing tax records maintained by the Department of Revenue (DOR).

Table of Contents

Overview

Massachusetts is among only a handful of states that deny access to information on tax records to state auditors. This prohibition hinders the Office of the State Auditor’s ability to provide adequate accountability and oversight of one of the primary functions of DOR: the administration and collection of taxes in the Commonwealth.

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Expands Oversight of State Revenue

This bill will empower our office to examine topics at the heart of the work of the Department of Revenue (DOR). For example, it will enable our office to examine: 

  • DOR’s collection of child support payments;
  • DOR’s process for garnishing wages and tax refunds of individuals who have tax liens;
  • Whether DOR is holding corporations that are tax-delinquent accountable; and
  • Whether DOR is properly remitting to cities and towns the local option tax revenues that is collected.

Increases Overall Oversight

Updating current law will have implications far beyond the confines of the programs administered by DOR. These proposed changes will enhance our ability to audit the processes of agencies that rely on DOR tax data to fulfill their mission. For instance, we will be able to properly ensure agencies that administer public assistance programs confirm the income of applicants and program participants to ensure they qualify for these benefits.

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