Would you be more inclined to pay your overdue tax bill if the Internal Revenue Service was able to report your tax delinquency to the national credit reporting agencies?
That's one of the questions asked in a recent Government Accountability Office, or GAO, report about such a possibility.
In its report to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, the GAO noted that millions of people owe billions of dollars -- $258 billion in fiscal year 2011 alone -- and that the IRS spends substantial resources, both in dollars and personnel, trying to collect the overdue taxes.
Other federal agencies that are owed debts are allowed to report those unpaid bills to the three major credit bureaus (Transunion, Experian and Equifax).
The IRS, however, isn't allowed to do so because of long-standing federal privacy laws with regard to tax information.
The credit agencies do take note when unpaid taxes ultimately lead to the IRS filing liens against taxpayers.
But would it help the Treasury get the money it's owed sooner if taxpayers knew their unpaid IRS bills would be a ding on their credit sooner?
As I mentioned last week at my other tax blog, my major concern here is one that is already a major problem: Incorrect debt information being added to reports.Also last week at my Bankrate Taxes Blog, I looked at tax whistleblower rewards.
It's been a pretty good year for tax tattlers, but some folks are not happy that tax scofflaws are among those who've gotten reward money.
Case in point is Bradley Birkenfeld, who got a record $104 million reward for revealing secret Swiss bank accounts held by U.S. taxpayers.
Birkenfeld couldn't come to Washington, D.C., to pick up his reward because he remains under house arrest as part of his sentence for conviction on one count fraud conspiracy in connection with the alleged UBS schemes to evade taxes.
You can check out what I have to say about taxes each Tuesday and Thursday (usually) at my other tax blog. If you happen to miss my posts there on those days, look for a wrap-up here the following weekend.
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