Low-income Taxpayers and the Modernized IRS: A View from the Trenches

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This article examines the continuing effects on low-income taxpayers of the 1998 Internal Revenue Service reorganization and computer modernization of the agency. Specifically, the article highlights the severe hardships that have been experienced by that segment of the taxpayer population resulting from agency efforts to streamline resolution of postfiling disputes. Those efforts include acceleration of the administrative process, centralization of agency function, elimination of local contracts, and increasing reliance on computer-generated correspondence. The authors believe that the net result for many taxpayers has been the trading of fairness for administrative efficiency and the contraction - and often denial - of taxpayer prepayment rights.