No one believed the IRS could ever run like a twenty-first-century business. Until it did.
When Charles O. Rossotti became Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service in 1997, the agency had the largest customer base-and the lowest approval rating-of any institution in America. Mired in scandal, caught in a political maelstrom, and beset by profound management and technology problems, the IRS was widely dismissed as a hopelessly flawed enterprise.
In Many Unhappy Returns, Rossotti-the first businessperson to head the IRS-recounts the remarkable story of his leadership and transformation of this much-maligned agency. In the glare of intense public scrutiny, he effected dramatic changes in the way the IRS did business-while it continued to collect $2 trillion in revenue.
Through fascinating accounts of heated Congressional hearings, encounters with Washington bigwigs, frank exchanges with taxpayers and employees, and risky turnaround strategies, Rossotti serves up a colorful story of leadership and change against daunting odds. He also underscores why every honest taxpayer should demand reform in the broader U.S. tax system.
Infused with keen wit and hard-won business wisdom, Many Unhappy Returns illuminates the perils and possibilities of leading large, complex organizations in a transparent world.
Table of Contents
|Prologue: Why I Wrote This Story||1|
|Part I||From a Political Storm to a Practical Plan|
|1||The IRS Is Out of Control: A Growing Crisis||7|
|2||Operating on Good, Sound Business Principles: A Family Tradition||25|
|3||You're Gonna Do What? From Businessman to Taxman||37|
|4||Promising Everything to Everybody Will Not Get Us There: Regaining the Initiative||53|
|5||If You Already Have an 83,000-Page Rules Manual, Will More Rules Solve Your Problems? Legislating Change||71|
|6||So Many People, So Much Distrust: Rebuilding Relationships||81|
|Part II||Fixing the Plane While Flying to a New Destination|
|7||Will People Always Hate the Tax Collector? Changing the Culture||103|
|8||When Everybody Is Your Customer and the Tax Code Is Your Bible: Providing Quality Service||127|
|9||When Are You Going to Fire the Management and Punish the Wrongdoers? Reconciling the Past While Focusing on the Future||149|
|10||Replacing the Furnace in the Basement and Calling It a Christmas Present: Reorganizing the IRS||165|
|11||You Want More Money After Wasting $4 Billion on Computers That Don't Work? Modernizing IRS Technology||195|
|12||The Cover-Up Is Worse Than the Crime: Averting and Managing Crises||221|
|13||Why People Think the IRS Picks on the Little Guy and Lets the Big Guy Get Away: Making the IRS Effective at Enforcing Compliance||239|
|14||The IRS Can't Fix the Tax Code and the Budget: What Honest Taxpayers Should Demand||269|
|Epilogue: What the Story Tells Us||287|
|Appendix||IRS Budget and Productivity: How the IRS Uses Its Budget||301|