Report reveals decade of misconduct, tax violations at IRS

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) on Wednesday responded to a new report that found the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has repeatedly retained employees over the last decade who knowingly violated tax laws, as well as other rules of misconduct.

“Earlier this year, we learned the IRS rehired hundreds of employees formerly fired for performance or misconduct issues, including improperly accessing private taxpayer information,” Roskam, the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee chairman, said. “Today, we also learn that the agency acted with impunity in purposely refusing to fire a majority of employees who violated tax law, including some repeat offenders with other documented misconduct issues.”

The report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that more than 60 percent of the employees who were in violation of tax law were retained or rehired by the IRS. In a number of situations, more than half of the employees with tax violations had additional issues of misconduct.

The law states that IRS employees who willfully break tax laws must be terminated, unless the IRS commissioner specifically intervenes in the case. Based on the TIGTA report, there was no documentation as to why the penalties were reduced in these cases. Even more concerning, the report also indicated that a significant number of the violating employees not only retained their jobs, but were actually promoted or were awarded with bonuses or salary increases.

“The IRS owes the American people an explanation for this display of bureaucratic incompetence,” Roskam added. “To argue that budget cuts provide ‘a tax cut for tax cheats’ while harboring employees who violate the laws they are supposed to enforce quite frankly defies logic. The gulf of trust between taxpayers and the IRS has never been wider, and the IRS can and must do better.”