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The rapid pace of globalization and technological change has created demand for more and better analysis to answer key policy questions about the role of businesses in innovation. This demand was codified into law in the America COMPETES Act. However, existing business datasets are not adequate to create an empirically based foundation for policy decisions. This paper argues that the existing IRS data infrastructure could be used in a number of ways to respond to the national imperative. It describes the legal framework within which such a response could take place, and outlines the organizational features that would be required to establish an IRS/researcher partnership. It concludes with a discussion of the role for the research policy community.
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