IRS Control Board Proposed

The chairmen of a congressional commission on restructuring the IRS announced last week that they want Congress to create an independent control board to improve operations at the troubled agency.

Sen. Bob Kerrey, D.-Neb., and Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, chairmen of the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service, said they will ask their 18-member commission to recommend the creation of an executive board outside of the IRS and the Treasury Department to oversee modernization, customer service and compliance enforcement efforts.

Treasury Department officials said there was no need for an independent board. The Modernization Management Board, established last year to fix IRS's problems, is capable of taking care of business at IRS, department officials said. Scott Gould, deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury Department, told the Bureau of National Affairs, a Washington newsletter firm, that the department would be open to the creation of an external advisory board, but executive power should stay within Treasury.

Portman and Kerrey said the modernization board does not have the statutory authority to assume responsibility for all IRS operations. Kerrey said an independent executive board would be independent of the Treasury Department and would not be subject to politics, as the modernization board is.

Portman said that IRS testimony before the commission demonstrated that "the taxpayers' $4 billion investment in the computerization effort has produced almost no return. Clearly, IRS needs outside help to get the modernization job done."

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