Transformation at the IRS
Article written by: Amy Edmondson & Frances Frei
In the article “Transformation at the IRS”, authors Amy Edmondson and Frances Frei provide an in-depth analysis of the recent transformation that has taken place within the Internal Revenue Service. Their report consisted of a brief synopsis of the problems that the IRS was facing in the late 1980s and 1990s and the solutions that were adopted during the Clinton administration to solve them. By global comparison, the IRS has been extremely effective at the business of collecting taxes. As reported by our authors, the collection of taxes by means of voluntary compliers was at 85% as compared to a single digit success rates in other countries. Despite this success, the American taxpayer feared the employees of the IRS and often believed that their rights were violated or ignored. In addition, the voluntary compliance was not improving and in many cases getting worse. This coupled with a complicated tax code which was not getting any simpler it was determined that changes needed to be made. In 1997, President Clinton appointed Charles Rossotti as commissioner of the IRS. Rossotti was a successful private sector manager with extensive experience in information technologies. Rossotti wanted to prove that the IRS could function as a well-managed private-sector service organization. I believe that Rossotti could be classified as a transformation leader given that he set forth with a vision statement and always attempted to move the IRS in the direction of fulfilling that mission. The vision created by Rossotti was to “Provide America’s taxpayer’s top-quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.” While Rossotti was working towards changing the IRS, President Bill Clinton was also exploring new options for reform. Clinton formed a bi-partisan presidential commission, a task force and eventually...
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