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The Internal Revenue Service's Use of Private Debt Collection Agencies: Current Status and Issues for Congress

Description: Under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (AJCA, P.L. 108-357), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has acquired for the second time in its history the legal authority to hire private debt collection agencies (PCAs) to assist in the collection of certain individual tax debt. The grant of authority grew out of a proposal made by the Bush Administration in its budget request for the IRS in both FY2004 and FY2005. This report focuses on IRS’s current plan for hiring PCAs to collect delinquent individual taxes and the policy issues it raises. It begins with an examination of the scope of IRS’s authority to use PCAs under the AJCA and concludes with a discussion of the main issues for Congress as it oversees IRS’s efforts to implement and manage the private tax debt collection initiative. The report will be updated to reflect significant legislative action and new developments related to the initiative
Date: January 11, 2006
Creator: Guenther, Gary
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Modernization: Continued Improvement in Management Capability Needed to Support Long-Term Transformation

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses (1) how well the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is providing service to taxpayers and ensuring compliance with tax laws, and (2) IRS' progress in its long-term effort to modernize. GAO found that IRS posted mixed results in 2001 in collecting revenues, providing taxpayer service, and enforcing tax laws. On the plus side, IRS processed millions of tax returns and issued refunds without significant problems, taxpayers had an easier time getting through to telephone assistors, and IRS said that it made progress in correcting weaknesses that threatened the security of electronically filed tax information. On the down side, the quality of service provided to taxpayers who visited taxpayer assistance centers, trends in audit rates and enforcement programs, and productivity all experienced troubling declines. With respect to modernization, IRS is making incremental progress in overhauling its organization, performance management system, business processes, and information technology. IRS is also making important progress in implementing its new organizational structure, developing a blueprint for modernizing its business processes and information systems, and more fully defining its strategic direction. However, IRS progress has fallen short of expectations. For example, IRS is not where it should be in implementing management controls over business systems modernization, which has contributed to project delays."
Date: May 8, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Modernization: Long-term Effort Under Way, but Significant Challenges Remain

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) progress in implementing its modernization effort and the challenges that remain."
Date: May 3, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Management: Formidable Challenges Confront IRS as It Attempts to Modernize

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) efforts to implement the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, focusing on IRS': (1) reorganization processes; (2) performance management system; and (3) systems modernization efforts."
Date: July 22, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Management: Challenges Facing the National Taxpayer Advocate

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the challenges facing the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, focusing on IRS' need to: (1) address complex staffing and operational issues within the Advocate's Office; (2) strengthen efforts within the Advocate's Office to determine the causes of taxpayer problems; and (3) develop performance measures that the National Taxpayer Advocate needs to manage operations and measure effectiveness."
Date: February 10, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Modernization: Continued Progress Necessary for Improving Service to Taxpayers and Ensuring Compliance

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Congress passed the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 in response to frustration with the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) inability to effectively carry out its mission. IRS's inability to deliver new computer systems that worked, allegations of abuse of taxpayers by IRS employees, and taxpayers greeted by busy signals when calling IRS for assistance all fed the frustration. The act set two goals for IRS--improve service to taxpayers while continuing to enforce compliance with the tax laws. The act also mandated annual joint congressional oversight hearings, of which this is the fifth and final."
Date: May 20, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Taxpayer compliance from three perspectives: A study of economic, environmental, and personal determinants.

Description: Tax evasion is a serious issue that influences governmental revenues, IRS enforcement strategies, and tax policy decisions. While audits are the most effective method of enforcing compliance, they are expensive to conduct and the IRS is only able to audit a fraction of the returns filed each year. This suggests that audits alone are not sufficient to curb the billions of dollars of tax evaded by taxpayers each year and that a better understanding of factors influencing compliance decisions is needed to enable policymakers to craft tax policies that maximize voluntary compliance. Prior research tends to model compliance as economic, environmental, or personal decisions; however, this study models it as a multifaceted decision where these three perspective individually and interactively influence compliance. It is the first to decompose perceived detection risk into two dimensions (selection risk and enforcement risk) and investigates how these two dimensions of risk, decision domains (refund or tax due positions), and three personal factors (mental accounting, narcissism, and proactivity) influence taxpayers’ compliance decisions. I conducted a 2x2 fully crossed experiment involving 331 self-employed taxpayers. These taxpayers have opportunities to evade that employed taxpayers do not. For example, they can earn cash income that is not reported to the IRS by third parties. For self-employed taxpayers (especially those wanting to evade), perceived selection and enforcement risks may be distinctly different depending on a taxpayer’s situation, what they believe they can control, and what risk they are willing to accept. For example, selection risk may be perceived as the greatest risk for those with unreported items on their return, while enforcement risk may be more prominent for those perceiving certain levels of selection risk. Thus, I believe self-employed taxpayers are the most appropriate population to sample from and are likely have reasonable variation in the three personal factors ...
Date: May 2016
Creator: Hunt, Nicholas C
Partner: UNT Libraries

IRS Lockbox Banks: More Effective Oversight, Stronger Controls, and Further Study of Costs and Benefits are Needed

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Lockbox banks are commercial banks that process certain taxpayer receipts on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Following an incident at a lockbox site during 2001, which involved the loss and destruction of about 78,000 tax receipts totaling more than $1.2 billion, the Senate Committee on Finance asked GAO to examine whether (1) provisions of the contracts under which lockbox banks operate address previously identified problems or might contribute to mishandling of tax receipts, (2) oversight of lockbox banks is adequate, (3) internal controls are sufficient, and (4) IRS and Treasury's Financial Management Service (FMS) had considered the costs and benefits of contracting out the functions performed by lockbox banks."
Date: January 15, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Seizures: Limited Progress in Eliminating Asset Management Control Weaknesses

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) progress in eliminating asset management control weaknesses, focusing on: (1) the implementation of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act's mandate to remove revenue officers from the asset sale function; and (2) other internal control weaknesses identified in GAO's 1992 testimony."
Date: November 29, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Telephone Assistance: Limited Progress and Missed Opportunities to Analyze Performance in the 2001 Filing Season

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Congress has long been concerned about the quality of service that taxpayers receive when calling the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for help in understanding and meeting their tax obligations. IRS has taken steps to improve its responsiveness to the tens of millions of telephone calls it receives each year, from expanding the hours of service to increasing the use of automation. In the 2000 tax filing season, the quality of telephone assistance was mixed and below IRS' long-term goal of providing world-class service. Overall, IRS made limited progress toward its goal of providing world-class telephone service. When compared with the 2000 tax filing season, access and accuracy in 2001 improved in two of six comparable measures, declined in one, and changed two percentage points or less in the others. IRS fell considerably short of its target to reduce the time that taxpayers spend waiting to speak with an assistor. Although assistors exceeded quality-of-service targets when responding to taxpayer questions, they did not meet higher targets for providing correct answers and account adjustments. IRS officials missed opportunities to analyze data to better understand the factors affecting telephone performance, including the actions it took to improve performance. IRS managers sometimes reached conclusions about key factors without conducting analyses to test their conclusions. IRS officials also missed opportunities to plan evaluations to determine the effectiveness of the actions taken to improve access and accuracy."
Date: December 7, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Modernization: Continued Progress Requires Addressing Resource Management Challenges

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since the passage of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has faced the challenge of managing its resources to simultaneously improve service to taxpayers, assure taxpayers' compliance with the tax laws, and modernize its antiquated information systems. As requested, this statement provides our assessment of IRS's current performance in the areas of taxpayer service, tax law enforcement, and systems modernization. Looking ahead, this statement also describes the challenges that IRS faces in addressing resource constraints as well as realizing efficiency and information systems improvements."
Date: May 19, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Contracting: New Procedure Adds Price or Cost as a Selection Factor for Task Order Awards

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is in the midst of a massive effort to reorganize its structure and modernize its technology. To help with this effort, IRS obtains services through task orders under its Treasury Information Processing Support Services (TIPSS-2) contracting program. In this study, GAO reviewed the 6 largest competitive task orders that IRS awarded between July 1, 2001 and December 31, 2001 to determine if IRS used price or cost as a selection factor in the award of these task orders."
Date: December 10, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Telephone Assistance: Quality of Service Mixed in the 2000 Filing Season and Below IRS' Long-Term Goal

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must significantly improve telephone assistance if it is to meet its long-term goal of providing world-class customer service to the tens of millions of taxpayers who call. Although IRS has tried to analyze its performance and identify ways to improve, these efforts have been incomplete. IRS' analyses did not cover all of the key management decisions and other key factors that affect telephone performance. Designing and conducting a comprehensive analysis of the key management decisions and other key factors that affect telephone performance in each filing season will be difficult because the factors that affect performance are multiple and interrelated. However, without a more comprehensive analysis of the factors that affect performance, IRS lacks the information it needs to make decisions to improve performance."
Date: April 6, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Systems Security: Although Significant Improvements Made, Tax Processing Operations and Data Still at Serious Risk

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) progress in correcting serious computer security weaknesses at five IRS facilities, focusing on: (1) additional security weaknesses identified at the five facilities and at an IRS facility not included in GAO's previous report; and (2) steps IRS has taken or plans to take to implement a service-wide computer security management program."
Date: December 14, 1998
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS 2014 Budget: Improvements Made to Budget Request and Cost Estimate, but Further Actions Needed

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "For the fiscal year 2014 budget formulation process, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) implemented a new process that uses templates to help screen, prioritize, and select new initiatives before detailed business cases are developed to support funding requests. The template information that GAO reviewed varied in detail and scope; for some, IRS guidance may have contributed to incomplete submissions to senior leadership. According to Office of Management and Budget Circular A-94, in order to evaluate and compare funding initiatives, decision-makers need to be aware of benefits, costs, and strategies related to achieving program goals. By improving guidance on the type of data to include, IRS could help ensure the templates are fully completed."
Date: September 26, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS's Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program: 2009 Participation by State and Location of Foreign Bank Accounts

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "We reported the number of 2008 tax returns by state for IRS's 2009 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) participants. OVPD offered incentives for taxpayers to disclose their offshore accounts and pay delinquent taxes, interest and penalties. Generally, the program offered somewhat reduced penalties and no risk of criminal prosecution, if eligible taxpayers fully disclosed their previously unreported offshore accounts, and paid taxes due plus interest. To safeguard taxpayer identifies, we suppressed the totals for any state with fewer than 10 OVDP participants."
Date: January 6, 2014
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Management: IRS Faces Challenges as it Restructures the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the operations of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Office of the National Taxpayer Advocate and the Problem Resolution Program (PRP) that it administers, focusing on: (1) challenges the Taxpayer Advocate faces in managing program resources; (2) the potential effects of workload fluctuations on program operations; (3) information available to help the Advocate determine the causes of taxpayer problems and prevent their recurrence; and (4) the adequacy of performance measures the IRS uses to gauge program effectiveness."
Date: July 15, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Seizures: Needed for Compliance but Processes for Protecting Taxpayer Rights Have Some Weaknesses

Description: A chapter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) use of seizure authority, focusing on whether: (1) IRS targeted the most noncompliant taxpayers; (2) IRS brought affected taxpayers into compliance; (3) IRS exercised appropriate discretion in conducting seizures; and (4) IRS' implementation of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 would address any weaknesses found in the pre-Restructuring Act seizure process."
Date: November 29, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Employee Evaluations: Opportunities to Better Balance Customer Service and Compliance Objectives

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the extent to which the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee evaluation system can support the new mission statement during the period IRS will need to revamp its performance management system, focusing on: (1) determining the relative emphasis on revenue production, efficiency, and customer service in enforcement employees' annual written evaluations; (2) identifying features of the evaluation process that might be used to greater advantage to reinforce the importance of customer service; and (3) describing IRS initiatives to promote customer service, including those to encourage enforcement employees to be taxpayer oriented."
Date: October 14, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS' Year 2000 Efforts: Status and Remaining Challenges

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) year 2000 efforts and the remaining challenges IRS faces in making its information systems year 2000 compliant, focusing on: (1) the extent to which IRS monitors the year 2000 status of its mission-critical systems in their entirety; (2) whether IRS met the January 31, 1999, completion goal for the areas that it monitors--application software, systems software, hardware, and telecommunications networks; (3) the status of two remaining, critical year 2000 tasks--conducting year 2000 testing and completing 36 contingency plans; and (4) the fact that other business initiatives are creating competing demands on staff needed for year 2000 efforts."
Date: February 24, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Management: Business and Systems Modernization Pose Challenges

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the management challenges facing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and its progress in implementing its new restructuring initiative."
Date: April 15, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IRS Modernization: Business Practice, Performance Management, and Information Technology Challenges

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) modernization efforts, focusing on the business practice, performance management, and information technology challenges IRS faces."
Date: April 10, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department