Before you think you might be off the hook for your taxes, reading that headline, know that they will eventually get around to you. In fact, with news like this, I would be surprised if the Service doesn’t request and get a fat new increase in their budget to plug this hole, especially given the current state of the Federal government’s finances.
According to the IRS, $23 billion in unpaid individual income tax debt existed in 2001, the agency’s most recent estimate. The notice phase is the first of the IRS’s three-phase process to collect unpaid debt. The IRS annually sends notices to millions of individual taxpayers for billions of dollars of unpaid tax debt. But Congress and others have questioned the effectiveness of the IRS’s collection process, the GAO noted.
Although the notice phase is a key part of the IRS’s approach and strategy for resolving billions of dollars of individuals’ unpaid tax debt, the IRS lacks certain internal controls to assure that notices to individuals are achieving the most benefits — such as debt collected or unpaid debt cases otherwise resolved — with the resources being used, according to the GAO. The IRS has no documented objectives for the notice phase and no performance measures to indicate how well the phase is performing in resolving debt cases or achieving other desired results.