Everyone in Washington seems to be in agreement that there needs to be a better way of closing the tax gap, but like the other problems facing the Internal Revenue Service, there’s seems to be little Beltway consensus  over how to meaningfully tackle the problem.It wasn’t lost on me that the same week that the IRS released its 2008 budget proposal --complete with a number of legislative proposals, a Congressman and the National Taxpayer Advocate continued to spar over the future of one of the agency’s newer attempts to combat the tax gap -- the outsourcing of simple collection cases to private companies as part of a pilot program.

Barely five months old, the pilot has come under heavy attack, without any cases of abuse making their way to the public. Washington’s inability to solve the nation’s other tax conundrums, including the fate of the alternative minimum tax, the future of President Bush’s first-term tax cuts, or even the inexpedient passage of the infamous extender breaks that have cause paperwork nightmares for the IRS should all serve to underscore just how tought the feasibility of eliminating something as amorphous at the tax gap really is.

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