Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene are national experts in government management and policy.E-mail: email@example.com
States and the federal government might be able to save a fair amount of money if they paid attention to some developments in Oregon, according to the Government Accountability Office.
States and the federal government might be able to save a fair amount of money if they paid attention to some developments in Oregon, according to the Government Accountability Office. Only two states, California and Oregon, have requirements that paid tax preparers have some kind of formal accreditation in order to fill out tax forms. Oregon has the more stringent of the two: a two-tiered licensing system that includes education requirements, state-administered examinations and work-experience prerequisites. The results, according to the GAO: "Oregon returns were more likely to be accurate ... compared to the rest of the country. ... In dollar terms, the average Oregon return required approximately $250 less of a change in tax liability than the average return" elsewhere. The GAO is wary of stating that there's absolute cause and effect here, indicating that there may be other factors at play. But it sure seems like a practice worthy of further research. And, though the GAO doesn't say this, it would seem likely that similarly dramatic improvements would be found in other states that adopted these kinds of regulations. This item first appeared in the September B&G Report, which is part of a monthly e-newsletter on management. Sign up now to receive the Governing Management Letter.