Modernizing America's Tax Agency


Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

Former Commissioner Rossotti's vision of the new IRS and how we'll get there.


The modern IRS was reorganized in 1952 to collect federal taxes according to the law, free of political or corrupt influence. In that sense, the IRS has succeeded. Today, it collects more than $2 trillion in tax revenue, and deals with more Americans than any other institution, public or private. Corruption cases are rare and vigorously investigated or prosecuted, and the IRS is insulated from political influence.

In the late 1990s, however, the IRS was the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism. A Presidential commission, Congress, and the Vice President's National Partnership for Reinventing Government looked closely into the way the IRS did its work. The overall finding was that the IRS was expected to do a far better job in serving the public, based on a much better understanding of the taxpayers' point of view.

The IRS responded to this challenge as an opportunity to rise to a new and much higher level of performance. This is not a simple task. It requires fundamental change to almost all aspects of the agency. It affects the way almost all employees work with taxpayers and each other.

However, if the IRS succeeds, millions of American taxpayers and thousands of IRS employees will benefit for years to come through better service and an improved organization.

Modernizing America's Tax Agency provides an overview of the process of change the IRS is undertaking to meet the public's expectations.