Focus Point - IRS FolliesCommentary by Pete du Pont
August 03, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. How bad is IRS information doled out to taxpayers? Worse than you imagined.
The Treasury Department sent snoops to IRS walk-in centers all around the country to ask simple questions about filing or figuring taxes. IRS agents gave incorrect or insufficient answers 73 percent of the time -- and that's an improvement over last year.
As reported in the Washington Times, one investigator was left waiting 90 minutes, only to be given a stack of papers and told to "do her own homework." Another investigator went to a site at 11 in the morning, was told the agency wasn't answering any more questions, and was instructed to come back the next day.
According to Pamela Gardiner of the Treasury Department, of 90 questions on tax law, 61 were answered incorrectly and service was denied in seven more cases. It is inconceivable any private business could survive a week with such a performance. But the IRS can, and you pay for it -- in more ways than one.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know that ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.