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edhopper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:06 AM
Original message
NY Times - Privatizing the IRS
From todays Times: (may be Times Select)
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/business/20tax.html

Key passages:
Within two weeks, the I.R.S. will turn over data on 12,500 taxpayers each of whom owes $25,000 or less in back taxes to three collection agencies...

The move, an initiative of the Bush administration, represents the first step in a broader plan to outsource the collection of smaller tax debts to private companies over time. Although I.R.S. officials acknowledge that this will be much more expensive than doing it internally, they say that Congress has forced their hand by refusing to let them hire more revenue officers, who could pull in a lot of easy-to-collect money.

The private debt collection program is expected to bring in $1.4 billion over 10 years, with the collection agencies keeping about $330 million of that, or 22 to 24 cents on the dollar.

By hiring more revenue officers, the I.R.S. could collect more than $9 billion each year and spend only $296 million or about three cents on the dollar to do so, Charles O. Rossotti, the computer systems entrepreneur who was commissioner from 1997 to 2002, told Congress four years ago.


How many ways can they steal from the taxpayers and destroy America.
Worst President EVER!!

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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:16 AM
Response to Original message
1. another waste of taxpayers money, have they no shame
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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
2. Business to their contribtors.....
Follow the money....
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bleedingheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
3. if AMS gets one of those contracts....or one of their customers
then you know why Rossotti has done this..
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. Explain? NT
NT
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bleedingheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. American Management Systems was founded by Rossotti
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Management_System...

He was an executive there before taking the job with the IRS.

They were a consulting outfit that produced software for tax authorities around the world...a friend of mine worked there about 15 years ago...

Don't know if they could do processing..but it is likely that through AMS Mr. Rossotti could be making some friends very rich via the IRS.
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chastitybeaverhausen Donating Member (37 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:20 AM
Response to Original message
4. Not to mention...
Sensitive personal taxpayer information will be disclosed to these contractors. IRS employees are heavily monitored and must adhere to a myriad of complex disclosure rules regarding protecting the privacy of taxpayer information. Failure to do so results in disciplanary action, possibly losing your job, fines and even imprisonment. I doubt these contractors will be held to the same standards. Besides, there is no real way to monitor their behavior or any recourse if they breach the disclosure policies. Also, it appears they will be "getting a cut" of what they collect, unlike IRS employees who are paid a set wage. This will encourage all kinds of bad collection practices in the pursuit of more money in their pockets. A bad situation for the American taxpaying public, certainly.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
5. They have done similar things with the immigration service
the contractors are poorly trained and don't know the law - they request or demand things the law does not require.

Incompetence in the IRS will get people hot, though. That's one agency that is fully manned and staffed and has to go by the book or people will scream. It's one thing to give an alien a green card or a status, but another to take the citizen's money or claim an American has done something wrong on a tax return. This could be a really bad one for *.
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Nikki Stone 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
6. Drowning the government in a bathtub
"Although I.R.S. officials acknowledge that this will be much more expensive than doing it internally, they say that Congress has forced their hand by refusing to let them hire more revenue officers, who could pull in a lot of easy-to-collect money. "

Congress has forced their hand by starving the government so it can't do its job.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. Bingo.
What happens next year when they beg to raise the dept cap again...
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
7. Why $25,000 or less?
Seems discriminatory. Why not subject bigger taxpayers to the same thing?
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edhopper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Because
People who owe $25,000 or less are probably poor or lower middle class and can't afford a lawyer or accountant to fight for them.
They are the low hanging fruit that these vultures can prey on.
It's all part of our wonderful growing oligarchy.
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 06:56 PM
Response to Original message
9. There is also the privacy issue in giving our financial information
...to companies which can make money by re-selling it.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:24 PM
Response to Reply #9
15. Exactly. Government can't do that. Businesses can.
Good way to get around the Constitution, wouldn't you say?
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brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 06:59 PM
Response to Original message
11. I.R.S. officials...appointed by Bush
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Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:21 PM
Response to Original message
13. Oh - a collection agency's wet dream n/t
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DemoTex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:27 PM
Response to Original message
16. Privatize the FAA, the FCC, the NTSB ..
Might as well!
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Nikki Stone 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:08 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. May be the plan
...
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:08 AM
Response to Reply #16
19. Privatize the whole government!
Oh, wait...I think that's already been done.

Taxation Without Representation
Bribery rules America

Our representatives acceptance of donations from sources with conflicts of interest in their votes creates both the appearance of, and the opportunity for, bribery. The fact that the merging of corporate power and government power (especially in the context of illegal war, violations of human rights such as torture, excessive government secrecy and curtailment of civil liberties) has a rather infamous history should be of special interest to the citizens of the American democratic republic. Benito Mussolini, the inventor of fascism, defined it as a religion<1> and the as a merger of corporate and government power.<2>

Today, a president who routinely violates international, federal and human rights law under the imprimatur of war leads a United States government solidly in the control of a single political party in pursuit of radical military, environmental, tax and social policies, while quietly suffocating centuries old traditions of freedom under the noses of an adoring corporate press. Massive amounts of money flow between our representatives and the corporations who bribe them in the form of both bribes and kickbacks, apparently unnoticed by reporters who appear incapable of reporting upon anything but the political angle of a story. Only recently the moral watchdog of the previous presidents consensual sexual affairs and a primary cheerleader for his impeachment, todays press corps is either stunningly ignorant of events widely known to the international press and virtually anyone with access to the Internet, or actively colluding with these apparently criminal activities by refusing to report upon them.

Many of the same representatives in office today impeached Americas last president for lying about a consensual extra-marital affair. They also systematically blocked so many of his judicial nominees that they described the number of empty seats in the courts as a crisis (until achieving one-party dominance allowed numerous decisive, albeit controversial confirmations). President Bush has been caught lying red handed repeatedly, often about issues of critical importance such as the causus belli for the pre-emptive attack upon Iraq (a war crime under the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Principles). Most recently, several previously top secret documents from the highest levels of the British government demonstrate that President Bush repeatedly lied to the American People, the Congress, Americas allies and the People of the World. We pay our representatives to defend the Constitution and the nation, and it appears that they were either unaware of facts available to millions of people all over the world who demonstrated against the war before it began, or willingly participated in activities that appear as war crimes in the context of history and international law. As the details of these criminal activities become better known, the behavior of our representatives will help us to recognize their level of participation in these continuing infamous events.


--more--
Congress.org
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The Count Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:01 AM
Response to Original message
18. Eliminating the middle man- government was working for corporations anyway
Now we get to be taxed directly by the thieves. And remember, as if with everything, there's no accountability with these people - if they make a mistake - sue the corporation?
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SlipperySlope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 05:43 PM
Response to Original message
20. A good first step...
1: Privatize the IRS
2: Companies given the "tax business" profit.
3: Eliminate taxes on individuals.
4: Pass new taxes on "private tax businesses".

There! Let the rats and vultures eat each other, and leave the citizens alone!
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Phoebe Loosinhouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 06:49 AM
Response to Original message
21. And let's not forget that they were collecting party affiliations(!)
This is a dupe of a reply that I just posted onthe thread in Editorials about this.



http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/story/5440902p ...

IRS tracked taxpayers political affiliation

The News Tribune
Published: January 6th, 2006 02:30 AM

WASHINGTON As it hunted down tax scofflaws, the Internal Revenue Service collected information on the political party affiliations of taxpayers in 20 states.

skip

The bottom line is that we have never used this information, said John Lipold, an IRS spokesman. There are strict laws in place that forbid it.

skip

Murray and Kelly, however, remained skeptical. Kelly said the collection of such data was even more troubling because the IRS intends to start using private collection agencies later this year to go after back taxes.

We think Congress should suspend IRS plans to use private collections agencies until these questions have been resolved, she said.



Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelly are the Murray and Kelly referred to in the quoted text above.

Lipold says that "we"(the IRS) never used this information. Well, why was it collected in the first place? I'm sorry, but I have no confidence that private outside (possibly crony, connected Republican) vendors would not use this information for political advantage and to harrass those with differing political viewpoints.

IN my opinion, this is one of the MOST outrageous instances of privatizing and outsourcing what is CLEARLY a governmental function - taxation and collection. Secondly, how are these vendors paid? On a percentage of taxes collected? How accoutable are they and what protections are inplace for the private citizen if one of these "contractors" goes after them?


More, from the Electronic Privacy Information Center




http://www.epic.org/privacy/surveillance/spotlight/0306 /

Spotlight on Surveillance
March 2006:
IRS's Inadequate Security Leaves Taxpayer Data Largely Unprotected


Another problem concerning IRS arose when one of its contractors spent several months improperly collecting information about taxpayers' political party affiliations.26 Washington Sen. Patty Murray, Ranking Member of the Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development and Judiciary Appropriations Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, called the practice an "outrageous violation of the public trust."27 The law forbids IRS from collecting such data. Because IRS did not properly supervise its contractor, this sensitive taxpayer information was improperly gathered. IRS ordered the contractor to discontinue the political party data collection when the agency learned of it from a complaint.28

IRS, in some ways the largest and most powerful of all federal enforcement agencies, also has failed to operate with the transparency necessary for open government. In January, for example, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse filed a suit against IRS, stating that since the middle of 2004 the agency had ceased disclosing data about its operations. 29 The agency's withholding violated a permanent court order that required it to disclose to Susan Long, the co-director of TRAC, "statistical data on an ongoing basis about its audit, collection and other enforcement activities." 30 While the agency had generally complied with this 1976 order for several decades, in 2004 it stopped providing the basic enforcement data "even while acknowledging the existence of the court order and its current collection of statistical material that is covered by the order." 31

The agency's poor physical and electronic security systems and lack of oversight of contractors have placed sensitive taxpayer information at risk. IRS has said that it has limited resources to conduct such oversight. In light of this, the agency's refusal to
operate with transparency makes it all the more difficult for citizens to hold the agency and its contractors accountable for their actions.






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Phoebe Loosinhouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 07:34 PM
Response to Original message
22. kicking . nt.
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