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IRS Tax Debt Collection Processes Criticiized

by Scott Hamilton, Tax-News.com, Washington

16 September 2016


The priorities of the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when deciding which tax debt cases to pursue through its Field Collection program need to be made clearer to its own revenue officers, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

GAO explained that it was asked to review the processes the IRS uses to select Field Collection cases, where IRS revenue officers make in-person contact with noncompliant individuals and businesses to enforce tax return filing and payment requirements.

It found that, while the IRS uses automated processes to prioritize cases to be potentially selected for in-person contact to resolve a tax collection issue, group managers in the Field Collection program manually select the cases to assign to particular revenue officers.

GAO found weaknesses in the Field Collection program's internal controls over that case selection, including that program objectives are not clearly defined and communicated, which "undercuts the effectiveness of Field Collection management's efforts to measure performance and assess risks."

The program, GAO also said, "lacks sufficient guidance for group managers to exercise judgment in case selection." In addition, the program "does not have documented procedures for periodically reviewing the automated aspects of case selection."

TAGS: individuals | compliance | tax | business | tax compliance | law | Internal Revenue Service (IRS) | enforcement | tax authority | United States

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