Tags: GAO | IRS

The Infernal Revenue Service: It's More Than a Nickname

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Thursday, 26 Mar 2015 01:16 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The Internal Revenue Service collects money, interprets tax law and finances the parts of the federal government the Chinese don’t want to encourage. Ideally an organization like this would be like Caesar’s wife: Above suspicion. But the only way this proverb would apply to the modern day IRS is if Pompeia Caesar ran a bordello.

The fact that Lois Lerner can still rummage through my tax returns — even though she is now working as Hillary Clinton’s email archivist — frankly doesn’t bother me. This year I paid for the expensive version of TurboTax and even if Lois does find something suspicious, like a donation to Bobby Jindal, I also paid extra for the audit defender protection.

(Before the IRS became the enforcement arm of the Democrat Party, an audit wasn’t all that terrible assuming you’d made a good faith effort to pay up. In the late 90’s. A young female auditor from one of the regional offices spent about three days being appalled by my lack of accounting acumen and then presented the bill. I thought she was more than fair. In fact, until I later lost touch, I used to call her for tax advice. A much better experience than calling the official IRS “help” line, which I’ve written about here.)

No, what bothers me is how the general organization of the IRS has deteriorated. I know the excuses: It was just a few bad apples that happened to hold major supervisory positions running entire divisions of the agency who went astray over a period encompassing half a decade.

That and a rogue office in Cincinnati or Cleveland.

The fact the director of the IRS didn’t have a problem with misleading Congress, was probably just the byproduct of a turf war. No real concern for taxpayers. Still the human resources office at the IRS appears to be taking its management advice from the bad apples.

The Washington Times reports the “IRS rehired hundreds of employees who had prior records of bad performance at the agency, including 141 former workers who had botched their own tax returns and others who had used their positions to peek at private tax information, the agency's inspector general said in a report.”

And naturally being rehired after HR knew you were a bad employee was a liberating experience. Twenty percent of the retreads had more problems after they went back on the taxpayer dime. And now that the bad apples have been reintroduced to the barrel, good luck on getting rid of them.

The Washington Free Beacon found that if a federal agency does everything correctly (what are the chances of that happening?) it takes a minimum of 170 days to fire an incompetent, untrustworthy, lazy, dishonest or dangerous employee.

In fact, the “government firing process is so lengthy that departments often keep bad employees to avoid it, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).” Which doesn’t say much for the IRS “Human Capital” department that has no problem rehiring proven bad performers.

It’s difficult to fathom the reasoning behind the rehiring decision. Was that the only way to get child support current? Are they relatives? Neighbors? Former ISIS members who left the caliphate after they heard the Obama administration was hiring?

And the report instills even less confidence when taxpayers learn Obama has proposed hiring 9,000 new IRS employees. A tax collection agency filled with incompetents might be an agency small government conservatives could support. But an agency that’s incompetent and vindictive is a positive menace.

This latest batch of recidivists even contained five employees that “were rehired even though the agency knew they had intentionally failed to file their taxes within the last two years,” according to the Times. Which means they should fit right in.

Some of the employees that evidently haven’t been tainted are still issuing a report called the Federal Employee/Retiree Delinquency Initiative that details the number of federal employees that owe taxes.

At of the end of the last fiscal year, 1,305 Department of the Treasury employees, which contains the IRS, owed almost $10 million in back taxes. Now I realize that is just a fraction of the 30,220 postal service employees that owe $316 million, but it would seem to me the least the department that collects taxes could so is set an example for the rest of us.

It also makes one wonder how many other IRS employees didn’t pay taxes, but were smart enough to game the system so they weren’t caught.

Formerly when Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he was going to abolish the IRS I thought the claim was so unlikely it made him look less than serious. Now that the IRS appears determined to destroy its own credibility, Cruz is beginning to look prescient.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.



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MichaelShannon
A tax collection agency filled with incompetents might be an agency small government conservatives could support. But an agency that’s incompetent and vindictive is a positive menace.
GAO, IRS
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2015-16-26
Thursday, 26 Mar 2015 01:16 PM
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