GAO Reports  
GAO/GGD-00-54 March 28, 2000

Tax Administration: Tracking Taxpayer Information
About IRS Notices Could Reduce Burden

Annually, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sends millions of collection notices to individual taxpayers to request payment of tax assessments and the related penalty and interest assessments. IRS is to send additional collection notices if payment has not been made. Some taxpayers have complained to Congress that IRS sends collection notices for the same tax assessment after the payment has been made. When IRS sends collection notices after payments are made, IRS incurs greater costs and taxpayers may incur greater burdens than necessary.

Because of your interest in minimizing unnecessary costs for IRS and burdens for individual taxpayers, you asked us to provide information about multiple collection notices. On the basis of discussions with your office, our objectives were to determine (1) how many individual taxpayers were sent multiple notices to collect the same tax assessment, particularly after IRS received full payment of the assessment and (2) IRSí reasons for sending collection notices after receiving full payment. To fulfill these objectives, we analyzed transcripts containing information from IRSí Individual Masterfile (IMF) for a representative random sample of taxpayers to whom IRS sent collection notices from January 1999 through November 1999. We also talked to responsible IRS officials to obtain their views.

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