July 28,2005

Baucus Continues Campaign to Improve IRS Taxpayer Assistance

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) hasreleased the results of a study evaluating the process used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)to determine the types, times and locations of services it provides to taxpayers who want face-tofaceassistance.

Taking into account the complexity of a tax return, the report noted that mistakes andmisinformation can easily contribute to noncompliance and that IRS Taxpayer AssistanceCenters (TACs) provide a valuable service to taxpayers wanting face-to-face interaction to helpthem meet their tax obligations. TIGTA noted that the IRS lacks sufficient management tools tomake sound decisions regarding the best mix of services and locations.

The IRS, which recently announced plans to shut down almost seventy TACs, agreedwith TIGTA’s recommendations to improve its processes. Both the Senate and the HouseAppropriations Committees have approved legislation barring further IRS action to shut downthe TACs until TIGTA performs another study to determine the impact on taxpayers.

Senator Max Baucus, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance and theleader of Senate efforts to stop the IRS’s plan to close TACs, is also an outspoken critic of theIRS’s general lack of reliable information to measure productivity and performance.

In response to the study, Senator Baucus commented, “This report reinforces my positionthat the IRS should not be closing TACs. It is clear the IRS’s decision to reduce face-to-facetaxpayer service was made to save money and not to serve the best interests of America’staxpayers. How the IRS could take such an important step without thorough and reliableinformation is beyond me. Congress is doing the right thing to stop the IRS from followingthrough on this rash decision.”

The complete report, entitled “The Effectiveness of the Taxpayer Assistance Center ProgramCannot Be Measured” is located at http://www.treas.gov/tigta/.