TAX ADMINISTRATION: Impact of Compliance and Collection Program Declines on Taxpayers
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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For the last several years, Congress and others have been concerned about declines in the Internal Revenue Services IRS compliance and collection programs. Many view these programs-such as audits to determine whether taxpayers have accurately reported the amount of taxes that they owe and collection follow-up with taxpayers who have not paid what is owed-as critical for maintaining the publics confidence in our tax system. Taxpayers willingness to voluntarily comply with the tax laws depends in part on their confidence that their friends, neighbors, and business competitors are paying their share of taxes. As we previously reported, some declines in compliance and collection programs have been dramatic.1 For example, from fiscal year 1996 to fiscal year 2000, the number of individual tax returns audited by IRS declined by over 60 percent. Furthermore, IRS was unable to pursue many delinquent taxpayers, deferring collection action on billions of dollars in unpaid taxes.
- Government and Political Science