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Mark Everson

Internal Revenue Service commissioner Mark Everson was Wednesday's guest. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

On individual compliance with federal tax laws:

"We have an ... 84 to 85 percent overall compliance rate. That is very good rate when you look across other countries. That having been said, it leaves a lot of money on the table - over $300 billion a year that doesn't come in."

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On challenges due to business globalization:

"You've got a group - I consider them a stateless consortium of accounting firms, law firms, investment banks - and ... those folks are no longer trying to help folks find a low-tax jurisdiction. They are trying to [arrange] it so that there is no tax."

On the declining share of government revenue from the corporate income tax:

"I do think that that [corporate tax] system is broken. And I don't think tinkering around the edges is going to fix this."

On IRS plans to use private collectors for overdue taxes, starting in 2006:

"This does supplement our resources in a very important way.... It will reduce the tax gap and help budget deficit reduction. We are extremely cognizant of the fact that we need to be attentive to taxpayer rights."

On what it's like to serve as IRS commissioner:

"It is such a fascinating place. The IRS touches everything. [But] there is a certain amount of notoriety. Occasionally, the kids will come home and have some story about a bad audit or something that happened. It cuts both ways."


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