Statement by IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson
Nov. 3, 2005
This week marks the mid-point in my five-year term as Commissioner of Internal Revenue. When I was before the Finance Committee in March 2003 for my confirmation hearing, I articulated three goals for the IRS: better serving the taxpayers; continued modernization; and enhanced enforcement activities to ensure everyone pays their fair share.
These remain the goals established in our strategic plan, and I am pleased to report that we are making progress in each area. Today we are releasing our enforcement results for fiscal year 2005. We have augmented our enforcement efforts and brought in billions more to the Treasury, but not at the expense of services to taxpayers.
Enforcement highlights for the fiscal year ended September 30th include the following:
• Enforcement revenues – the monies we get from our collection, examination, and document matching activities – increased by 10% to a record $47.3 billion.
• Total individual returns audited increased by over 20% to 1,216,000 from 1,008,000 in 2004. The number completed is back to a level last achieved in 1998.
• Audits of individuals with incomes over $100,000 surpassed 221,000, the highest figure in 10 years, and well over double the 92,000 completed in fiscal year 2001. The coverage rate in this category is still too low, but at 1.58% is double what it was four years ago.
• Audits of small businesses organized as corporations turned up after years of decline. 17,867 were completed in 2005 against 7,294 a year earlier.
• Audits of larger corporations – those with assets over $10 million – also increased, up 14% from a year ago to 10,878. The coverage rate of 20% has rebounded significantly from that of 12% just two years ago.
• In our collection activities, levies and liens have recovered to pre-RRA ’98 levels. Seizures remain a little used tool but have increased from last year.
• Criminal prosecutions recommended to the Justice Department did show a modest decline of 6% from a year ago. The decline is attributable to lower numbers of narcotics and money laundering cases. Tax and tax-related cases were flat year over year.
I want to emphasize that these gains have been made while the IRS has continued to make strides in customer services. This year for the first time over half of all individual returns were filed electronically. Our toll-free tax law accuracy hit a high of 89%. Telephone level of service was 83%, well above the 62% of just 4 years ago. And customer satisfaction with our toll-free service was a record 95%.