In violation of a longstanding court order, the Internal Revenue Service has stopped providing detailed statistics about how the agency enforces the nation's tax laws, according to a motion filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.The legal challenge was brought by Susan B. Long, a professor of management information and decision sciences at Syracuse University's Martin J.Whitman School of Management.
Long has used the IRS data to document its performance for more than 30 years. Since 1989 she also has been co-director of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data-research organization that provides the public with detailed information about the operation of hundreds of federal agencies, including the IRS.
Long obtained a court order in 1976 requiring the IRS to provide her statistical data on an ongoing basis about its audit, collection and other enforcement activities. Although the IRS complied with the order for years, since mid-2004 it has refused, with no explanation.
TRAC's motion is separate from its still-pending lawsuit in the District of Columbia brought under the Freedom of Information Act. In that action, TRAC charged that the IRS was illegally withholding selected information about its operations, claiming that some of the requested material would compromise homeland security.
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