Taxpayers to IRS: You Got A Friend

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Despite all the gripes over delayed refunds and jammed telephone help lines, the Internal Revenue Service does have its fans. A surprising 72 percent of 1,008 U.S. adults polled give a thumbs-up to the agency's performance in processing tax returns and questions. Only 23 percent of the taxpayers surveyed by ICR, a Media, Pennsylvania-based polling firm, say they have little or no confidence in the nation's tax machine. Outdated computer systems and creaky bureaucracy means the IRS collects a whopping $150 billion a year less in taxes than it should, according to a recent TIME investigation But that shortfall doesn't bother respondents, who give the much-maligned agency high scores for its "fairness" in dealing with filers. Roughly 51 percent of respondents say the IRS treated them even-handedly "just about always" or "most of the time," while 33 percent said for "some of the time" and 12 percent for "almost never." Even so, sixty-one percent of respondents say the IRS has too much power in the U.S.; thirty percent deem it "about right."