Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Mark W. Everson praised the agency's improvement in taxpayer service and its renewed emphasis on enforcement of the tax laws. In a speech at the National Press Club, Everson noted that the playing field is no longer tilted toward tax evaders, with only the amount of tax owed at risk. "Now they might have to pay the entire tax, interest and a stiff penalty," he said. "A taxpayer might have to wrestle with questions like, 'How much am I going to have to pay the lawyers and expert witnesses to litigate this thing?' And going to court is a public matter. Damage to one's reputation is a potential factor." Everson said that as the tax reform process unfolds, he doesn't expect to offer support for, or to oppose, any particular policy options. However, he offered these pointers to consider when reforming the code: _ Construct a tax system that recognizes the dynamic of an evolving economy; _ Assess policy options for their potential impact on attitudes towards compliance; _ Any new system should be administratively feasible; _ When looking at policy options, don't compare a sub-optimized existing system to a perfect, theoretical system; and, _ Recognize that transition to a new code must be properly planned and managed, or it may take decades to recover.
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