The Internal Revenue Service's process for collecting unpaid taxes is overly complicated and delayed, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

Because the IRS has a very large debt workload and limited resources spread across multiple units, it must make numerous decisions about how best to handle debt cases, noted the GAO. Debt cases can take various routes based on about 70 IRS decision rules used for handling cases. The rules depend on a wide variety of debt characteristics, information known about the taxpayer, and the results of attempts to contact the taxpayer or take enforcement action.

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