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Pauper Chase at the IRS

Wednesday, December 15, 2004; Page A32

Before the Internal Revenue Service outsources its debt-collection function ["Private Firms to Chase Delinquent Taxpayers," news story, Dec. 5], Congress and taxpayers need assurance that it has purged its files of known uncollectable debts. Otherwise, good taxpayer money will chase after bad.

On IRS records is the fact that my brother, Aldrich Ames, was stripped of all assets and possessions in 1994 following his conviction for espionage. He is serving a life term without parole in a federal penitentiary. He also is a court-recognized pauper.

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Yet since 1996 the IRS has sent my brother yearly statements detailing his tax liability plus ever-mounting yearly increases of interest and penalty. As of tax year 2002 the amount exceeds $1 million. This clearly is an unrecoverable amount and no doubt only one of many such cases.

If accounts such as my brother's are outsourced, taxpayer monies will be expended in a purposeless pursuit. Where proven assets are zero, recovery is zero. A simple concept. The IRS should recognize this and purge accounts such as my brother's from its books. Then the billions of debt might shrink to a level that the IRS feels competent to handle.



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