Tax Administration:

IRS' Automated Collection System

GGD-86-120BR: Published: Jul 31, 1986. Publicly Released: Sep 2, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO monitored telephone calls at four Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Automated Collection System (ACS) sites and provided: (1) a general overview of the IRS system for obtaining delinquent returns and collecting delinquent taxes; (2) a description of how ACS fits into the IRS overall collection system; and (3) the results of the monitored calls and a case analysis.

The IRS process for obtaining delinquent returns and collecting delinquent taxes has three phases, including: (1) mailing computer-generated notices or bills to delinquent taxpayers; (2) telephone contact through ACS; and (3) personal contact by revenue officers. ACS consists of a network of computer systems located at the 10 IRS service centers and 21 ACS sites nationwide. ACS personnel automatically dial a taxpayer's telephone number, access case information, update the case, and initiate actions for follow-up. GAO monitored 198 telephone calls and found that: (1) ACS personnel generally treated the taxpayers fairly when processing calls; (2) if a taxpayer claimed that IRS was in error, ACS attempted to reconcile the problem before taking any additional actions; and (3) IRS actions to resolve errors were generally reasonable, based on information available to ACS personnel. GAO also found that most of the problems involved in taxpayers' records were due primarily to errors in the processing and posting of tax information and payments and the unavailability of certain taxpayer information to ACS personnel.

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