Friday, January 13, 2006

Following up on the QRP

See also "Has an IRS Anti-Fraud Program Run Amok?" from Wednesday.

In the wake of Nina Olson's criticism of the Questionable Refund Project (QRP), additional voices have joined the discussion. Former Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE), a member of the IRS Reorganization Committee during the 1990s, criticized the apparent tendency of the QRP to target low-income taxpayers. Present Senate Finance Committee chair Charles Grassley (R-IA) was disturbed about the secrecy and lack of due process. David Keating of the conservative-leaning National Taxpayers Union, expressed concern about the slow processing of frozen returns, citing a median time of eight months to issuance of refunds. Obviously, this would be particularly hard on taxpayers with lower incomes. Meanwhile, the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS defended the program, saying that Ms. Olson had overstated the problem and that the program had saved $5 billion in tax revenue.

It would seem at the very minimum that a better process for notifying taxpayers of deferred returns should exist. Moreover, justified refunds delayed by the QRP by more than 45 days should earn interest based on present IRS procedures.


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