Information on IRS Service Centers in Austin, Texas and Fresno, California

GGD-85-89: Published: Sep 30, 1985. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 1985.

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GAO reviewed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) service centers in Austin, Texas and Fresno, California to: (1) analyze all service center functions; (2) identify problems occurring or likely to occur at the centers, their causes, and possible solutions; and (3) evaluate allegations that both centers inappropriately destroyed taxpayer correspondence.

GAO found that both centers experienced problems in controlling their workloads at the beginning of 1985. A number of problems were associated with a new computer system, including: (1) insufficient computer capacity and software; (2) lack of employee familiarity with the new system; and (3) insufficient staff and equipment. GAO also found that: (1) newspaper accounts alleged that the Fresno center destroyed over 50,000 pieces of taxpayer correspondence in order to create the appearance of increased productivity; (2) the allegations arose because the center changed its procedures for resolving taxpayer correspondence to reduce the amount of research performed and amount of return correspondence; and (3) while the center apparently processed the questioned correspondence in accordance with its procedures, these procedures could have left certain taxpayers in doubt about the status of their cases. In addition, GAO found that the Austin center inadvertently destroyed between 4,000 and 6,000 pieces of taxpayer correspondence in December 1984 but: (1) it has since changed its correspondence handling procedures to prevent a recurrence; and (2) the employee who was apparently responsible was no longer employed by IRS.

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