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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Response Mode and Bias Analysis in the IRS' Individual Taxpayer Burden Survey
Year 2010
Access date 31.05.2011

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) conducted a survey to measure the time and money that individuals spend on pre-filing and filing activities in response to the requirements of the U.S. federal tax system. The sampling frame was taxpayers who filed a 2007 income tax return in 2008.

The data collection protocol depended on whether the sampled taxpayer could be matched to a telephone number. Telephone numbers were found for approximately 76 percent of the sampled taxpayers and these were classified as ‘telephone matches’, the remainder are ‘nonmatches.’ Both groups were sent an initial mailing providing a detailed description of the purpose of the survey along with a letter from an IRS executive emphasizing the importance of the study and ensuring that the information collected would not be used for enforcement purposes. It also included a one-dollar bill as “an attention getter” and indicated that respondents would receive $25 if they completed the survey.

In the initial mailing, the telephone matches were informed they could wait for a call from the survey administrator or complete the survey on-line by going to a specified URL. The “non-matches” group members were sent a letter that provided the web address (URL) and were told a mail questionnaire was being sent.

The overall response rate was 47.7 percent. Of the three-fourths that were telephone matches (76.2 percent), the response rate for the matched cases was 51.6 percent; the response rate for the nonmatches (23.8 percent) was 35.2 percent. One interesting finding is that a surprisingly high percentage responded by the web. Overall, 28 percent of all the responses were completed on-line, which is higher than in other data collection efforts that have been reported in the literature.

This paper explores characteristics of respondents and non-respondents and highlights those who responded on-line.


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Year of publication2010
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations