1600% Increase in IRS Tax Levies since 2000

<span [Audit Report No. 2008-30-095]:

Fiscal year 2007 marked another period of improvement in IRS’s compliance activities, continuing an eight-year period of upward trends in such endeavors, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) said in a new audit.

Many enforcement activities continued to increase despite a slight reduction in the staffing of the Collection and Examination functions, the audit said, adding that both functions plan to hire enforcement personnel during FY 2008. The Collection and Examination Enforcement budget was flat for FY 2006 through FY 2008, but President Bush’s budget proposal for FY 2009 calls for an 8% increase, the audit noted. The amount of enforcement revenue collected increased by almost 74% in the last five years.

The number of Collection Field function (CFf) revenue officer personnel working assigned delinquent cases decreased by 4% to 3,724 by the end of FY 2007. “Although revenue officer staffing is down, many compliance activities continued to increase and results improved during FY 2007,” TIGTA said. Some of the improvements may be attributable to an FY 2005 organizational change in the Small Business/Self-Employed Division and efforts to improve business processes, the audit said. Activities showing positive results for the Collection function during FY 2007 included the followingdollars collected on Taxpayer Delinquent Accounts (TDAs) by Automated Collection System and CFf employees increased by 3% over FY 2006; the average amount collected per CFf staff year on TDAs increased by 2% over the preceding year; and the number of TDAs closed and the number closed by full payment increased by 7% and 6% respectively.

In FY 2007, the number of liens issued was 683,659, while levies totaled 3,757,190 and seizures totaled 676. All of these were upward movements. In comparison, in FY 2000, there were 287,517 liens issued, the number of levies was 219,778 and seizures amounted to 74.

The audit is available at https://treas.gov/tigta/auditreports/2008reports/200830095fr.pdf.