Tax Administration:

IRS' Implementation of the Restructuring Act's Taxpayer Protection and Rights Provisions

GGD-00-85: Published: Apr 21, 2000. Publicly Released: May 22, 2000.

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James R. White
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO: (1) reviewed the status of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) implementation of the taxpayer protection and rights provisions in title III of its Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998; and (2) determined what, if any, tax administration or other concerns IRS has identified in implementing these provisions.

GAO noted that: (1) IRS reported that, as of January 31, 2000, it had met the legal requirements to implement the taxpayer protection and rights provisions that had reached their effective dates, and was integrating these requirements into its daily work processes, procedures, and interactions with taxpayers; (2) as part of its overall strategy to implement the Restructuring Act, IRS had developed action plans for each of the 72 taxpayer protection and rights provisions showing the steps IRS officials considered necessary to implement the provisions; (3) IRS reported that it had completed these action plans for more than half the provisions and was continuing work to complete the others; (4) in implementing the taxpayer protection and rights provisions, IRS has identified several tax administration concerns; (5) two provisions--one to grant tax relief to innocent spouses and another to increase taxpayers' rights during collection actions--increased IRS' workload far more than anticipated; and (6) two other provisions--one requiring IRS to notify taxpayers before contacting third parties about their tax situation and one which eliminates the difference in interest rates on overpayments and underpayments for any period of mutual indebtedness--proved difficult to put into practice.

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