OMB orders federal agencies to ease paperwork burden; targets IRS.

Position:Office of Management and Budget - Brief Article

When President Clinton signed the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, he said he wanted to conquer a mountain of paperwork that was "crushing our people and wasting a lot of time and resources." While recent efforts to reduce paperwork have been laudable, they are not enough, according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The OMB issued a bulletin to the executive departments and agency heads to prepare and implement a paperwork reduction plan, calling for a 25% reduction by 1998 from 1995 yearend levels.

At the end of fiscal year 1995, the total federal paperwork burden--measured in hours agencies spent complying with information collection requirements--was over 6.9 billion hours. The Internal Revenue Service was responsible for 77% of the total, or a burden of approximately 5.3 billion hours. To meet the OMB's 25% reduction goal the IRS would have to cut its paperwork burden by over 1.3 billion hours by the end of fiscal year 1998 (see graphic below).

The OMB bulletin (no. 97-03) instructs executive departments and...

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