But, what we lack, and other agencies have, is great technology. It's easy to tell you what kind of technology we need: the kind that provides accurate updated information about the taxpayer's problem so you can solve his or her problem whatever it is. The problem is, we don't have it yet.

Question: How do you get the technology you need?

Answer: That's what our Technology Program is all about. The difficulty is that we're far behind, and we're very big. We have to go after what we need year by year and try to catch up.

Question: On taking office, President John F. Kennedy said one of his greatest shocks was discovering things were just as bad as he'd been saying they were during the campaign. What were your greatest challenges when you arrived at the IRS?

Answer: Well, by the time I arrived at the IRS, several years ago, the IRS had already weathered plenty of years of heavy criticism from many sources, and there were many recommendations as to how things should be improved. There wasn't any doubt in anyone's mind that there were problems, and we needed solutions. But, the real question was how to get there from here. What we decided to do was prioritize, figure out what we could do right away, what services we could provide in the near term for business. We focused on services like e-filing and, at the same time, we went to work on getting the things we need to make it through the long-term, like technology.





Question: Commissioner Rossotti, changes like the ones you want to make at the IRS generally meet resistance, not just outside, but inside the agency as well. Did you find that to be so, and if you did, how are you dealing with that resistance?

Answer: There was so much activity that preceded my taking office [like] the National Commission on Restructuring the IRS and the Vice President's Commission -- a major NPR project. There were GAO and IG reports, high-profile Congressional Hearings, and press stories. So, at the time I came in, "Is there going to be change?" was not the question. The question was, "What are we going to change TO?" At that time, the agency was more in a reactive mode, which was not very productive and which generated a lot of cynicism in the ranks - - a "Hey, what's going on here?" kind of attitude that happens over and over again in large organizations.

Question: In an ideal world with unlimited resources, what kind of an IRS would you want to see created?

Answer: Well, I think that we'd want to execute our mission, which is to provide America's taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.


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