The Administration Of The U.s. Tax System

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In 1990, the IRS commissioned a comprehensive nationwide survey of taxpayers to obtain their overall perception of its administration of the U.S. tax system. NPM related questions from this survey were re-asked to taxpayers to determine any potential changes in response patterns (VanDenburgh 2004, 2). Several questions were re-asked to allow for an assessment of differences between the 1990 responses and the 2004 responses during research by William M. VanDenburgh (2004).
The concept of logic of action, which derives from institutional theory, is valuable to understanding why the IRS case is not aberrant and why there exists an implicit tension between merit ideals and the performance paradigm (Thompson 2006, 498). Patterns of behavior derive from institutional rules that create incentives to act in one way or another. They also derive from norms that have arisen over time that govern what behaviors are considered “appropriate.” Important for the purpose of this argument is the existence of an underlying logic according to which behavioral patterns, incentives, and norms are interlocked (Thompson 2006, 498). Adoption of a new NPM requires an agency organizational structure to become more competitive and business-like. In other words, a private market focus is to be incorporated in the organization. The IRS was heavily criticized because auditors forcefully went after non-filers when some IRS employees themselves were not filing tax returns (VanDenburgh 2004, 91).
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