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IRS Oversight Board

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Vast Majority of Taxpayer Still Have No Tolerance for Income Tax Cheating; Solid Majority Trust IRS and Support Additional Funding

(December 8, 2014) Almost nine out of 10 taxpayers say it is not at all acceptable to cheat on their income taxes, according to the IRS Oversight Board 2014 Taxpayer Attitude Survey; unchanged since last year’s survey. Ninety-four percent agree that it is every American’s civic duty to pay their fair share of income taxes.
The survey also found that a solid majority of taxpayers – 61 percent – trust the IRS to fairly enforce the tax laws. Trust in enforcement is noticeably higher – 73 percent – among younger age groups (ages 18 to 24) as compared to those 65 years and older who registered a 56 percent level.
Taxpayer satisfaction with their personal interaction with the IRS dropped in 2014 to 74%; while still a large majority, this is the lowest level of satisfaction with the IRS ever recorded in the Board’s survey. In the view of the Board, this drop likely reflects the impact of significant cuts in walk-in office services, coupled with a continuing low level of service on IRS’ toll-free assistance lines—all of which tie to insufficient funding for the IRS.
The survey found that a majority of taxpayers – 61 percent – expressed support for providing the IRS extra funding to assist more taxpayers over the phone and in person. Fifty-six percent support IRS extra funding to enforce the tax laws.
“There are a number of takeaways from the latest IRS Oversight Board 2014 Taxpayer Attitude Survey,” said Board Chairman Paul Cherecwich, Jr. “First, in spite of all the controversy over the past few years, there is still no tolerance for tax cheating. More than nine out ten taxpayers cite personal integrity as the greatest influence on whether they honestly report and pay their taxes. This goes to the heart of our federal tax system, which is based on voluntary compliance.”
“Second, although the IRS still has a way to go to regain the public’s trust, the survey suggests that most taxpayers, especially younger ones, trust the IRS to enforce the tax laws.”
“This brings me to my third and last point,” the Chair said. “Taxpayer satisfaction with IRS customer service has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade. The Board believes this can be directly tied to deep cuts in IRS funding which have served only to punish honest America’s taxpayers who must endure long wait times over the IRS toll-free telephone lines and at walk-in centers. Taxpayers understand what’s going on – a solid majority supports extra funding for IRS customer service. However, Congress is turning back the clock on the significant gains made in customer service since the passage of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. It is time to reinvest in the IRS to help honest taxpayers comply with a complex tax code and to protect the integrity of our tax system.”
The complete IRS Oversight Board 2014 Taxpayer Attitude Survey can be found at www.irsoversightboard.treas.gov.
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