In 1976, a court ordered the Internal Revenue Service to disclose records showing how thoroughly it audits big corporations and the rich, and how much it discounts the additional taxes assessed after audits. And, “For decades, the information was given at no charge to a professor at Syracuse University, Susan B. Long, who made it available on the Internet at trac.syr.edu, with tools for people to conduct their own analyses.” But, “In May 2004, the service told her that it would not provide the information and ordered its statisticians to stop answering her questions. It also advised her that if it ever did make the data public again, the information would cost $12,000 a month to receive electronic copies.”
Much of what the public knows about the efficiency, effectiveness and evenhandedness of the revenue service and other big federal agencies is based on the figures that Professor Long collects and posts.
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