As the Internal Revenue Service grapples with budget cuts, a newly reported audit reveals the federal tax collection agency doled out bonuses and other rewards to more than 2,800 workers who had conduct and tax-evasion issues.
The audit—issued March 21 by an IRS watchdog agency, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)—showed that between October 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012, the IRS gave out more than $2.8 million in monetary awards, 27,000 hours in time-off awards, and 175 other awards to employees who had tax compliance problems and other work issues.
“With few exceptions, the IRS does not consider tax compliance or other misconduct when issuing performance awards or most other types of awards,” TIGTA stated, noting the audit was part of new federal guidelines that require agencies to reduce spending on awards programs.
“Thus, while not specifically prohibited, providing awards to employees with conduct issues, especially those who fail to pay [f]ederal taxes, appears to create a conflict with the IRS’ charge of ensuring the integrity of system of tax administration,” the audit added.
Overall in fiscal year 2012, the IRS gave out $86 million in cash awards and almost 490,000 hours of time-off awards to 67,870 of its approximately 98,000 employees, the report found.
In a written statement to USA Today, David Krieg, the agency’s chief human capital officer, responded: “We take seriously our unique role as the nation’s tax administrator, and we will strive to implement a policy that protects the integrity of the tax administration system and the reputation of the service.”
While the audit revealed that the IRS, for the most part, complied with federal requirements to limit its awards spending, this issue is yet another eyesore for an agency that has been charged with corruption for targeting Tea Party groups and wasting $4.1 million in taxpayer funds on a lavish conference that included $64,000 in free “swag” for attendees.