The Failure of Adversary Process in the Administrative State

Research output: Other contribution


In a series of hearings in 1997 and 1998, Congress heard allegations that the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS" or "Service") was abusing taxpayers during the process of collecting taxes. The resulting distrust of the tax bureaucracy led Congress to create a special adversary proceeding providing for judicial review of IRS collection decisions. The proceeding is beguilingly titled "Collection Due Process" (and commonly referred to as "CDP"). My study of CDP's structure, operation, and of 976 court decisions issued through the end of 2006 demonstrates that it has not fulfilled its promise. It is instead an outstanding regulatory failure. Of the over 15 million collection decisions made since 2000, courts have reviewed at most 3,000 and have reversed only 16. That is a reversal rate of about one in a million. Adversary process is not an effective regulatory mechanism to check government abuses in the modern administrative state. <br><br>This article pursues two goals.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherIndiana Law Journal
StatePublished - Jan 2009


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