Excerpt from Problems With Internal Revenue Service Communications With Taxpayers and Collection of Tax Debts: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, First Session; November 9, 1993; Serial 103-71
For the third consecutive year, irs' collection of delinquent taxes declined in 1993. Gao believes that increased collections may be achieved from delinquent tax accounts that irs has deemed currently not Questionable work and faulty monitoring systems have allowed taxpayers earning more than to pay nothing towards their tax debts. Irs' uneven staffing and antiquated collection process don't help the situation. With staffing imbalances, the extent of collection action may vary depending on where a taxpayer lives. Thus, the amount of revenues collected per staff year varies considerably among irs districts. More fundamental changes are needed in the collection process, with more emphasis on earlier telephone contact, tailoring actions to the taxpayer's situation, and evaluating Collection staff performance.
Gao found that the 1993 tax filing season, while generally successful, was clouded by a few problems. About 2 million fewer returns were filed in 1993 than 1992. The main reason for this appears to be the revised 1992 withholding tables which resulted in more taxpayers owing taxes at the end of the year. Also, electronic filing fraud grew in 1993. In the first 8 months of 1993, irs identified 100 percent more fraudulent electronically filed returns than in 1992. One reason may be irs' improved detection; however, no one knows how much fraud is not being detected. Also, taxpayers continued to have problems calling irs. In 1993 taxpayers had a 1 in 4 chance of getting through to an irs assistor-even worse than the l in 3 chance the year before.
Written communication is another continuing problem. Inaccurate, incomplete, confusing, and late responses to taxpayers continue to be problems for irs. Forms, notices, and publications are also of concern and gao suggested 59 changes to 19 of the commonly-used ones. Irs has made many of the suggested changes in forms and publications but will not be able to clarify the notices before 1995 because of computer constraints.
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