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Restructuring commission holds more public hearings.

The National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service held its second round of public meetings in November on the organizational structure and functions of the IRS, strategic planning and implementation, priority setting and performance measures. The commission also heard testimony on the burdens of an overly complex tax code on taxpayers and the IRS.

Congressman Rob Portman (R-Ohio), commission cochairman, said the group was still gathering information but should have an idea of the direction it would take in February. Among those testifying were former IRS senior staff members, representatives from the General Accounting Office and the American Institute of CPAs and a University of Chicago assistant law professor.

More oversight

Gene L. Dodaro, GAO assistant comptroller general, said the IRS needed stronger oversight, citing past failures of agencies and congressional committees in not having been tough enough in making the IRS determine how it would carry out its business vision. He said the commission should ensure the IRS will have effective implementation strategies.

Blueprint for simplification

Michael E. Mares, chairman of the American Institute of CPAs tax executive committee, said virtually every year Congress passes tax legislation of increasing magnitude and complexity. Treasury regulations interpreting those new provisions also are getting more complex. "As time passes, taxpayers, their advisers and the IRS face increasing uncertainty as to the correct tax treatment of an item." Mares said tax simplification would yield a number of benefits, including a more efficient IRS, better compliance and less frustrated and confused taxpayers.

Mares also told the commission the AICPA had established a task force that will submit additional comments and suggestions to the commission on the privatization of tax collection and processing as well as the need for a new approach to audit research, the modernization of tax systems and a business approach to IRS operations. For more information on the AICPA task force, contact Jean E. Trompeter, technical manager of the AICPA tax division, at 202-638-4512.

What's next

Jeffery S. Trinca, the commission's chief of staff, told members attending the AICPA Federal Tax Conference in Washington, D.C., that the commission would hold its next set of hearings in January and would hear from private-sector task forces in April. He also said the commission would perform a benchmarking study to examine various state and local tax collection processes. The restructuring commission is expected to issue its final report in July.

"The commission was given only one year," said Trinca. "We need to draw on the expertise of organizations such as the AICPA to point out problems and offer solutions"

More information on the National Commission on Restructuring the IRS is now on the World Wide Web. To read about the group's progress, objectives and issues as well as updated news and information on future meeting dates, visit its Web site at
Six Core Issues

Jeffery S. Trinca, the commission's chief of staff, told
members attending the AICPA Federal Tax Conference in
November that the commission would focus on the following
six core issues as it examines the practices of the IRS
in the coming year:

* Service quality.
* Organizational structure.
* Workforce quality.
* Technology.
* Financial accountability.
* Tax code complexity.
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Title Annotation:National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Date:Jan 1, 1997
Previous Article:IASC amends standard on income taxes and issues ED on employee benefits.
Next Article:GAO studies benefits of alternative tax system.

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