Close to 1,600 IRS workers have evaded taxes over a ten-year period. Some of the offenders were responsible for enforcing the country’s tax laws.
A new report by the IRS’s inspector general has concluded that most of the agency’s tax offenders were not fired, even though under a 1998 law IRS workers found to willfully evade taxes must be terminated. That penalty must be waived by the IRS commissioner.
Among the offenses uncovered by the watchdog were: improperly claiming dependents, repeated failure to file timely tax returns, and claiming a tax credit for first-time homebuyers when the worker didn’t buy a house.
1. Close to 1,600 IRS workers have evaded taxes over a ten-year period, a new report found (image: Wikimedia).
Some of the offenders even received promotions, pay raises and bonuses after they were caught not paying their taxes, according to the report. J. Russell George, Treasury inspector general for tax administration, said:
Given its critical role in federal tax administration, the IRS must ensure that its employees comply with the tax law in order to maintain the public’s confidence. Willful violation of the law by IRS employees should not be taken lightly.
The watchdog investigated the period between 2004 and 2013, before IRS Commissioner John Koskinen took the job.
The agency said that more than 99 percent of its 85,000 employees pay their taxes on time which, the report emphasized, is the highest rate of any major federal agency. Statistically, about 8 percent of the American public owes back taxes.
2. Some of the offenders even received promotions, raises and bonuses after they were caught not paying their taxes (image: Wikimedia).
The IRS said offenders who weren’t fired faced disciplinary actions instead, including suspensions and reprimands. Last year, the IRS began denying performance bonuses to employees who fail to pay their taxes. The agency said in a statement:
The IRS is committed to ensuring that employees meet their tax compliance responsibilities. Nonetheless, the IRS agrees that we can improve this process.
Over the 10-year period that was examined, the agency found 18,300 cases of IRS employees owing back taxes, however the delinquency was not willful, according to the report. There were 1,580 cases in which employees willfully failed to pay their taxes.
The agency fired 25 percent of employees who willfully failed to pay their taxes and an additional 14 percent retired or resigned. The other 61 percent received a lesser penalty.
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