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IRS Chief Says Problems in Tax Processing Will Persist in 1986

December 17, 1985|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Internal Revenue Commissioner Roscoe L. Egger Jr., responding to charges of lost tax returns and failures to make refunds, said Monday that steps are being taken to improve the situation but the problems will persist in 1986.

"There will be problems and there will be errors," the head of the Internal Revenue Service told a House oversight subcommittee headed by Rep. J. J. Pickle (D-Tex.).

"I have frequently been asked whether I can guarantee that the 1986 filing season will be problem-free," he said. "Unfortunately, any such statement would be unrealistic."

Egger said that the IRS was "well on the way" to improving the tax system and was moving faster than it did in 1984 in processing tax returns.

Improvement in the handling of tax returns also was reported by the General Accounting Office, an investigative arm of Congress.

Johnny Finch, GAO associate director, said that new computer systems at the 10 IRS centers and other improvements "should go a long way toward alleviating many of the problems experienced in 1985."

But Finch said that there were "a few potential problems," including staffing and a question of whether the IRS can clean up its backlog of about 25,000 late refunds and about 1.4 million returns held up due to possible errors before the end of this year.

The GAO official again questioned allegations that thousands of tax returns and letters from taxpayers were shredded at some IRS service centers--particularly those in Philadelphia, Austin, Tex., and Fresno, Calif.

Investigations, he said, found that some employees had "acted inappropriately" but revealed "no evidence of a systematic effort" to destroy returns.

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