Set-Asides

IRS to relax tax rule

The Internal Revenue Service may soon loosen a requirement that will result in fewer small businesses having to file taxes electronically.

The IRS now requires small businesses that pay more than $50,000 in payroll taxes to use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) to pay them. The new rules would raise the threshold to $200,000 in payroll taxes beginning in 2000.

The increase would free about 65 percent of businesses that currently use EFTPS from being required to use the system.

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GAO: Coast Guard upgrade project not justified

The Coast Guard has not sufficiently justified the need for a program to modernize or replace many of its ships and aircraft, according to John Anderson Jr., director of transportation issues at the General Accounting Office's Resources, Community and Economic Development Division.

The Coast Guard does not have accurate and complete information on the current performance of its ships and aircraft. It needs the information to justify development of its Deepwater Replacement Project, Anderson said in written testimony before the House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on Transportation and Related Agencies.

In addition, the costs for the Deepwater Replacement Project may outstrip the Coast Guard's ability to pay for it, he said. The project may cost as much as $9.8 billion over the next 20 years. The Coast Guard must improve its capital planning process to prioritize and manage its capital projects more effectively, according to Anderson.

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Interior: We're Y2K ready

The Interior Department announced last week that all 90 of its mission-critical systems are Year 2000-compliant, several days before the governmentwide Year 2000 deadline.

"Everything is up and running,'' said David Brandt, Year 2000 program coordinator at the Interior Department.

Interior joins five other agencies that reportedly have fixed all computer systems. The Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Small Business Administration and the Social Security Administration are the other agencies that have reported all systems Year 2000-compliant.

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