If Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Lawrence Gibbs really believes that the IRS is "trying to treat taxpayers like customers" {"Abashed IRS Pledges to Keep Hands Off Piggy Banks," news story, Aug. 5}, then why is he so afraid of the proposed Taxpayer Bill of Rights legislation pending in the Senate? Why shouldn't the IRS have to comply with the Fair Debt Collections Act, as does any other business that deals with "customers"?

There are a couple of sayings in the retail-business world that the IRS ought to pay more attention to: "the customer is king" and "the customer is always right." There is no question the IRS has a long way to go before it achieves that understanding and before the public will trust this government agency that has such an incredible history of brute force, harassment, lies and cover-ups.

Mr. Gibbs and the IRS could help themselves and regain the status of "service" that the agency's name implies if they would support the Taxpayer Bill of Rights -- or perhaps Congress ought to scrap this nightmare of a tax system we have and pass a flat-rate tax that is truly fair and simple, not like the 38-pound so-called tax simplification bill that was passed last year.

JOHN F. SCORESBY Washington