IRS Employees Evade Tax Payments, Receive Bonuses Anyways
May 15, 2014
The Inspector General for Tax Administration at the U.S. Treasury Department has issued a report finding more than 2,800 workers received bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes. Specifically, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with recent disciplinary problems, including $1 million to workers who owed back taxes. The report issued by Inspector General J. Russell George found the bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012.
Misconduct by IRS employees receiving bonuses included: misusing government credit cards for travel, drug use, violent threats, fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits, in addition to the failure to pay taxes. The report found nearly 1,200 employees with tax issues or official-conduct violations who received a total of $1.1 million in monetary bonuses, and about 11,000 hours of time off. One employee who was suspended for 10 days in September 2011 received a $1,300 performance award in August 2012, the report said.
In the 2011 budget year, more than 70,000 IRS workers got cash bonuses totaling $92 million, and in the 2012 budget year, nearly 68,000 workers received cash bonuses totaling $86 million. While there are no government-wide policies on providing bonuses to employees with conduct issues, a 1998 federal law allows for removing IRS employees who are found to have intentionally committed certain acts of misconduct, including willful failure to pay federal taxes.
The practice of IRS employees and other government officials failing to pay taxes and receiving bonuses is nothing new, and has been a point of concern by CapitolWatch in the past. Any U.S. Government employee who fails to pay taxes should not be receiving a performance bonus, additional time off, and should be subject to termination. Members of Congress, including Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), have rightfully criticized this practice. It’s time for Congress to act and hold accountable those who are in a position of public trust.