Washington (Aug. 5, 2004) — While the Internal Revenue Service has improved in its assistance programs, its enforcement program remains woefully underfunded and undermanned, according to the annual report released by the IRS Oversight Board.

The report said the IRS has to fortify a “weakened and vulnerable” enforcement program, one that was able to pursue just 18 percent of all known abusive tax avoidance cases during 2003, which left a void of roughly $450 million from the remainder of the open cases.

Neither the funding problem nor the lack of manpower, however, is likely to be resolved anytime soon.

Recently a House A subcommittee voted to slash some $382 million off the IRS's $10.67 billion budget request for 2005 — a figure that was still  $230 million short of what the Oversight Board determined the IRS needs.

Meanwhile the number of revenue agents and other enforcement workers at the IRS has declined by 36 percent since 1996.

— WebCPA staff

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