The Jackboots Are Restless.....
John A. Quayle
blueoval at SGI.NET
Wed Jan 26 07:18:52 MST 2000
[Boy! Talk about being "in your face" on taxation! Folks, check out the
language from the government whiners. It's an amazing level of unmittigated
gall. This is courtesy of Rich Martin, a/k/a: "Rich Slick". If your
bloodpressure doesn't hit a dangerous level, you're either dead, or a
closet liberal! - John Quayle]
IRS Collections Actions Drop $1.3B
December 13, 1999
By CURT ANDERSON
AP Tax Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Internal Revenue Service collected
$1.3 billion less over the past year through enforcement actions
such as property seizures and liens, a trend top agency officials
say must be stopped.
``We really don't want it to go down any more than it has,''
IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti said in a recent interview.
``We're trying to keep the ship afloat.''
A combination of fewer agents and new laws giving taxpayers
broad new rights has led to the reduction, which IRS officials say
threatens to undermine the integrity of the tax system.
IRS statistics on major enforcement actions _which included
exact numbers only for fiscal 1999_ show:
_There were 504,403 levies on delinquent taxpayers' bank
accounts and wages in fiscal 1999, which ended Sept. 30.
That compares with 2.5 million in 1998 and 3.1 million in 1997.
_IRS property seizures, which totaled 10,000 in fiscal 1997,
declined to 2,300 in 1998 and to only 161 in 1999. Property
liens fell from 544,000 two years ago to 167,867 in 1999.
_Money collected from these major delinquent cases amounted
to $6.5 billion in 1999, down from $7.8 billion in 1998 and $8.7
billion in 1997.
IRS officials stressed that overall enforcement collections
dropped just 2.5 percent from 1998 to 1999 _from nearly $30 billion
to $29.2 billion_ as the agency improved compliance through mailed
notices and other efforts to collect tardy taxes.
Even though the major actions represent only a fraction of the $1.8
trillion in taxes the IRS collected in 1999, there is
concern that more erosion could entice more people to cheat.
``What we want to achieve is maximum compliance,'' Rossotti
said. ``Everybody should want that, if they're an honest taxpayer,
because it means nobody is getting away with something.''
As of October 1998, the congressional General Accounting
Office estimated there was $222 billion in unpaid taxes
outstanding; about $119 billion was likely to be written off as not
One reason for the enforcement decline is a steady reduction
of 15,000 IRS employees over the past few years and the
temporary shift of some collections agents to other duties,
such as answering taxpayer telephone queries.
But of equal importance is the IRS overhaul law passed by
Congress in 1998. The law shifted the burden of proof from the
taxpayer to the agency and granted other new rights to people involved in
That law also made serious violations of those rights
especially agent harassment or retaliation against taxpayers
punishable by immediate dismissal that cannot be appealed
under a provision known as Section 1203.
There was widespread confusion among agents and fear that
they would be fired for simple mistakes, said Colleen Kelley,
president of the National Treasury Employees Union.
``There was a lot of uncertainty,'' Kelley said. ``Employees did
need clarity about the new rules and what was expected of them.''
Employee anxiety has eased somewhat as the first round of
Section 1203 allegations in August turned up only one probable
violation out of 141 investigations -- and for nonpayment of taxes
by an IRS worker.
Kelley said it appeared the IRS was ``applying appropriate
standards'' in these investigations.
``What we have seen is that the investigations are done
fairly,'' she said. ``There has not been an overreaction by the
service to the allegations.''
Rossotti said thousands of agents have undergone intensive
training about the new law and taxpayer rights. But he said Congress
must set aside more money for staff and better technology if the
enforcement slide is to be stopped over.
Sen. William Roth, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
that held hearings into the IRS in 1998, said the IRS is undergoing a
``transition period'' as the reform law is implemented.
``The goal is to create an efficient tax system where the
taxpayers are treated fairly,'' said Roth, R-Del. >>
Anybody want to comment on what the IRS is really saying in the above?
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