The Internal Revenue Service has increased its examination of municipal bonds as that area of debt has expanded, said a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
State and local governments owe more than $3.7 trillion dollars in municipal bond debt, the report said. Tax on income from the interest on the bonds could reach $310 billion, but the interest is tax exempt, the study said.
Medicare and Medicaid are major campaign issues this election season, and watchdogs are always looking for examples of waste or fraud. Today brought three examples from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General:
Special teams from the Transportation Security Administration designed to support airport security need greater clarity on how they're to interact with law enforcement, said a report by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General.
The Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams, or VIPR, are designed to help screen passengers, look for suspicious behavior and act as a visible deterrent to terrorists, the report said. The teams are made of specialized personnel including air marshals, explosives experts and canine teams, among others.
Parts of an Energy Department waste clean-up project are ahead of schedule, according to a report by the department's Office of Inspector General.
The agency is completing 30 sub-projects designed to help deliver hazardous waste to a treatment plant in Washington state. Several of the sub-projects have been completed sooner than expected, the inspector general said, and the rest are expected to be completed on schedule.
Problems have arisen around some tanks designed to mix waste, but the Energy Department said it expects the issues will be fixed soon.
The Internal Revenue Service is improving its ability to process tax returns on a daily basis, making the process safer and getting refunds to taxpayers sooner, according to a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
In the first four months of 2012, the IRS had processed 71 million tax returns using the daily process, the report said.
States are required to collect financial asset information from Medicaid beneficiaries, but the thoroughness and timeliness of the information varies widely from state to state, said a report by the Government Accountability Office.
31 states require beneficiaries to report less than 60 months of documentation on financial assets, a time frame that may lead to inefficient and inaccurate reporting, the study said.
Plans to create an alternate way to train flight controllers could save the Federal Aviation Administration money, but could be offset by a number of other factors said the Government Accountability Office.
The proposed plan would shift initial courses in specialized training to 36 schools that partner with the FAA to provide basic air traffic curriculum. Currently, initial specialized training is completed at the FAA Academy, but after the shift only more advanced specialization classes would be taught there.
The nation's chemical safety agency needs to update and better track its recommendations, said a report by the Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general.
The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board does not have the power to enforce recommendations, but the report found that better and more timely communication of safety recommendations could lessen the risk of chemical accidents.
CSB is an independent federal agency, but it often works closely with the EPA, and both share the same Office of Inspector General.
The Federal Aviation Administration isn't doing enough to reduce the number of collisions between wildlife and aircraft, said a report by the Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General.
The Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Program requires airports to take action to reduce the number of wildlife strikes, but the FAA's oversight of the program has been limited, according to the inspector general.
A database of wildlife strikes is incomplete, investigators said, because the FAA does not require airports to report all incidents involving wildlife.