Many Unhappy Returns: One Man's Quest to Turn Around the Most Unpopular Organization in America

Many Unhappy Returns: One Man's Quest to Turn Around the Most Unpopular Organization in America

by Charles O. Rossotti


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Many Unhappy Returns: One Man's Quest to Turn Around the Most Unpopular Organization in America by Charles O. Rossotti

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591394419
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 03/08/2005
Series: Leadership for the Common Good Series
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 684,582
Product dimensions: 6.46(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.23(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: Why I Wrote This Story1
Part IFrom a Political Storm to a Practical Plan
1The IRS Is Out of Control: A Growing Crisis7
2Operating on Good, Sound Business Principles: A Family Tradition25
3You're Gonna Do What? From Businessman to Taxman37
4Promising Everything to Everybody Will Not Get Us There: Regaining the Initiative53
5If You Already Have an 83,000-Page Rules Manual, Will More Rules Solve Your Problems? Legislating Change71
6So Many People, So Much Distrust: Rebuilding Relationships81
Part IIFixing the Plane While Flying to a New Destination
7Will People Always Hate the Tax Collector? Changing the Culture103
8When Everybody Is Your Customer and the Tax Code Is Your Bible: Providing Quality Service127
9When Are You Going to Fire the Management and Punish the Wrongdoers? Reconciling the Past While Focusing on the Future149
10Replacing the Furnace in the Basement and Calling It a Christmas Present: Reorganizing the IRS165
11You Want More Money After Wasting $4 Billion on Computers That Don't Work? Modernizing IRS Technology195
12The Cover-Up Is Worse Than the Crime: Averting and Managing Crises221
13Why People Think the IRS Picks on the Little Guy and Lets the Big Guy Get Away: Making the IRS Effective at Enforcing Compliance239
14The IRS Can't Fix the Tax Code and the Budget: What Honest Taxpayers Should Demand269
Epilogue: What the Story Tells Us287
AppendixIRS Budget and Productivity: How the IRS Uses Its Budget301

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