More Aggressive Collection Trend at IRS

In a report released publicly this week, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) stated that taxpayer satisfaction should be a factor in measuring the effectiveness of the IRS Collections Department.  I like to think the IRS will also be concerned with the satisfaction levels of taxpayers’ representatives.  In all my years of practice, I have never been asked about how satisfied I was with the interactions I had with a call center employee.  I have never been asked to complete a satisfaction survey at the conclusion of a revenue officer case.  But, maybe things are going to change.

Although they would have you believe otherwise, based on my experience, the IRS is primarily concerned with collecting revenue.  Afterall, just how effective would Collections be if they focused mainly on customer satisfaction?  The report doesn’t seek to conceal this fact.  Here are some interesting statistics that caught my eye:

  • The average dollars collected per revenue officer was 14 percent higher in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 than in FY 2009.
  • The dollars collected through installment agreements in FY 2011 were 32 percent higher than the amount collected in FY 2009.
  • Overall, the total dollars collected in FY 2011 were 20 percent higher than the amount collected in FY 2009 even though there were fewer revenue officers on staff.

This is not the best news for those with unpaid taxes.  When revenue officers go about collecting dollars, they do so through asset seizures, wage garnishments, bank levies, etc.  So the fact that this statistic is on the rise, I think tells us something about the aggressiveness of IRS collections, especially because they’re doing it with fewer people these days.

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