Tax Administration:

IRS Can Improve Its Collection Procedures for Taxpayers Living Overseas

GGD-87-14: Published: Dec 12, 1986. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 1986.

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GAO: (1) evaluated Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collection policies and procedures as they relate to taxpayers using Army Post Office (APO) and Fleet Post Office (FPO) addresses; and (2) identified alternatives for needed improvements in the APO/FPO collection process.

GAO found that: (1) IRS domestic offices, which are responsible for handling APO/FPO collection cases, are not in the best position to deal effectively with overseas taxpayers; (2) telephone and personal contact, which are two essential tools for dealing with delinquent taxpayers, are generally not available to domestic offices to resolve overseas collection cases; and (3) the IRS Foreign Operation District, which has collection responsibility for overseas taxpayers other than those with APO/FPO addresses, has offices overseas and is experienced in dealing, through both telephone and personal contact, with U.S. taxpayers living in foreign countries.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: An IRS report, issued as a result of GAO work, recommended that responsibility for APO/FPO collection cases, as well as other responsibilities relating to APO/FPO taxpayers, be assigned to the Assistant Commissioner (International). That recommendation was implemented in February 1990.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should assign responsibility for APO/FPO collection cases to the Assistant Commissioner (International).

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: IRS has centralized the filing of all APO/FPO returns, about 450,000, at the Philadelphia Service Center.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should require APO/FPO taxpayers to file their tax returns at the Philadelphia Service Center.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: IRS has arranged for a quarterly match of delinquent taxpayers with the Defense Manpower Data Center's database to obtain more current address information. According to IRS, the first match was successfully completed on January 24, 1990.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should arrange for access to the Defense Manpower Data Center's information base.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service

 

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