Thursday, April 2, 2015
Leandra Lederman (Indiana) presents Does the IRS Need Further Reform? Or Does IRS Oversight? at DePaul today as part of its Faculty Workshop Series:
The IRS has a difficult mission and sometimes has failed quite publicly. It last underwent a major structural reform in the late 1990s, in accordance with the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. The restructuring imposed major costs on the IRS’s tax collection mission. The reform was spurred in part by horror stories solicited by Congress, to which the IRS could not respond for fear of disclosing confidential taxpayer information. More recently, the IRS did not respond effectively to accusations that it inappropriately scrutinized and delayed the tax-exemption applications of right-wing organizations. Numerous Congressional committees held hearings regarding the alleged targeting, and Congress’s rhetoric was quite partisan.
The IRS does need to be held accountable, but it should not be a political football. This Essay therefore argues that what the tax system currently needs is not IRS reform, per se. A tax administration ombudsman that would oversee all tax administration, including Congress’s relevant actions, would help balance the substantial oversight and critique the IRS already receives.