Washington (Nov. 14, 2003) -- Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and ranking member Max Baucus, D-Mont., have released a report from the General Accounting Office stating that the Internal Revenue Service collects just 12 percent of the preparer penalties that it assesses.

According to the GAO, of the $2.4 million in penalties the IRS levied against paid preparers over the years 2001 and 2002, the service collected just $291,000 of that total.

The GAO said that the IRS’s Small Business/Self-Employed Division is charged with assessing and collecting penalties against paid preparers. But the IRS said that collections have not been a top priority due to other more pressing matters such as tax shelters.

-- WebCPA staff

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