Another Scandal at the IRS

Audit finds misuse of credit cards.

(Page 2 of 2)

Anyone who has ever been audited or felt the threat of an audit by the IRS may find this point in TIGTA’s IRS audit particularly interesting:

“Because the IRS’s mission includes requiring taxpayers to pay taxes owed on time and voluntarily, the IRS should take further steps to address employees who do not voluntarily pay their travel card bills on time,” the report states.

TIGTA recommends the IRS improve controls in several areas, including designing controls to detect personal use of the travel card while employees are on official travel.  TIGTA also recommends the IRS develops a process for referring cardholders with evidence of financial problems to personnel security officials for reevaluation of the employees’ security clearances and suitability for their positions.

The IRS agreed with the recommendations and says it plans to implement several corrective actions, according to the audit.

This article originally appeared at Watchdog.org.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    At the end of 2012, the IRS workforce totaled 97,717 employees,

    That's a huge retard pile.

  • John C. Randolph||

    As I recall, Apple only has about 30K employees. Seems to me that the IRS's staffing level is a patronage scandal by itself.

    -jcr

  • dikyfuqazoniA2||

    Grayson. I agree that Eddie`s bl0g is great... I just got Land Rover Defender since I been bringin in $7002 this past 4 weeks and just a little over 10/k lass-month. this is certainly the coolest job I've ever had. I started this three months/ago and immediately began to bring in more than $85, per/hr. I follow the details on this straightforward website.... grand4.com
    (Go to site and open "Home" for details)

  • Entropy Void||

    Alan Grayson?

  • ||

    Perhaps in stead of blowing your money on an expensive SUV you should have invested in an English tutor?

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Hold on there, the Defender isn't the luxury model and hasn't been imported for some fifteen years.

    (Would love a diesel Defender. Fuck the EPA and safety regs.)

  • ||

    When I left the AF there was about 320K people in it. So the number of people to collect taxes is one third the size of the United States Air Force? And they could ALL (or nearly all) be eliminated with a flat or fair tax.

    What do you suppose their average salary is (with benefits)? $100K?

    Let's see, math in public, thats... $9.8B/year.

    THERE IS NOTHING LEFT TO CUT!

  • jdgalt||

    The budget is around $6T a year now. $10B is 0.16%. Cut at least 90% or give it up.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "The budget is around $6T a year now."

    What is this "budget" that you speak of?

  • jessie||

    This is a problem in every business and government organization on the planet. It's not limited to the IRS, or even to the federal government. One of the largest expenses in retail happens to be employee shrinkage.

    --While the IRS’ travel card program controls are “generally effective” and delinquency rates are below 1 percent, the audit found the disciplinary actions imposed by IRS management for confirmed card misuse are sometimes “overly lenient.”

    Wow, massive scandal you've uncovered here, guys. GJ, everyone. GJ.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    As a sometimes government employee, I have to agree with you. Travel card problems are sometimes legit, but many times they're an administrative problem e.g. administrators don't apply the payments on time; the charges are simply incidental and would (or should) have been allowed, etc.

  • jessie||

    My husband is in the military, and he was required to get a government card. (Which was just a citi card in his name.) What a load of crap that was. We've always paid cash for his travel and submitted a claim. In the case of the government card, he'd put travel on the card and get reimbursed. However, the bill would actually come to us, and we had to pay it regardless of whether or not he'd be reimbursed. And that is just stupid. We got one, as required, and then never used it.

    Why would anyone abuse these things? You get stuck with a bill either way.

    http://www.feddesk.com/freehandbooks/081408-1.pdf

  • StacyKay||

    The GTC is a scam in and of itself. When my husband went to France he didn't have one. We had to pay a 50$ "rush" delivery fee and it didn't come for 30 days. He was only there for 29 days and thank god we didn't use it because there are exorbitant fees for not paying the balance within 30 days and finance took two months to reimburse us. Reimburse used loosely because we got back an estimate of what it cost to live there and so he got back way more than he actually spent. Thanks for the motorcycle taxpayers.

    I don't know if all government employees have the same kind of system on their travel cards.

  • jessie||

    It would appear they do, which is funny considering the fuss raised when you hear about people abusing them. The audit linked actually mentions financial problems and security clearances, which says to me this is a personell issue and has nothing to do with supposed waste. Since you have to pay the cc bill anyway, misusing them can signal financial problems. This has nothin to do with fraud, but Reason doesn't get clicks by writing stories about personell issues.

    I really think there's some dirty business behind making people get the credit cards, some kind of kick back program. We were a military family for 11 years or so and were free of credit card debt when they decided to make him get a credit card. The card is in his own name and he has to pay the bill. Previously, we had just paid travel expenses with cash and got reimbursed. There was no reason to make us get that stupid card. None. I regret that I didn't throw a bigger fit over it.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    My private employer has a similar program, but it's for all minor expenses, not just travel. Only expenses charges to the "corporate" card are reimbursed now. Cash and personal cards aren't.

    The "corporate" card is issued in the employee's name, against their credit, and they're personally liable for the bill regardless if it's reimbursed or not or reimbursed on time. But corporate policy still applies and charging a personal expense, even though the employee is paying the bill, is a disciplinary action.

  • Number 2||

    Perhaps. But "every business" is not in the business of dropping interest charges, penalties and criminal liability on others for doing what they themselves also are doing.

    Whatever happened to leading by example?

    And did you happen to catch the point about how 50% of the offenders studied received a lesser penalty than what the IRS' own guidelines call for? Think offending taxpayers get such leniency?

  • jessie||

    These are individually billed cards. They work the same as your credit card. When the bill comes, it shows up to the employee who has to pay it. They're not passing on the fees or fraud to anyone. If the travel claim gets rejected or the card is misused, the employee is on the hook for the bill.

    Honestly I don't give a shit what these cards are used for as long as they pay the bills. Get your hair did. Go to Vegas. It doesn't matter, and that's probably why the discipline was so lenient. Personally I think it's bullshit that that make these people get these cards and then tell them what to do with it. My husband had to get one too, and it was infuriating to me.

  • General Butt Naked||

    If the travel claim gets rejected or the card is misused, the employee is on the hook for the bill.

    Why assume that the every time the card is being misused the funds are automatically withheld? They could be using the card and being reimbursed for bullshit, and it wouldn't surprise me.

    If someone misuses the card and tries to get reimbursed, that is stealing and tax evasion. They should be prosecuted for those acts.

    Get your hair did.

    Jesus Christ.

  • jessie||

    "Why assume that the every time the card is being misused the funds are automatically withheld? They could be using the card and being reimbursed for bullshit, and it wouldn't surprise me."

    Because you don't get reimbursed by what's on the card. You get reimbursed based on the receipts you turn in. I know this because I am not only familiar with the cards on a personal level, but I also did a quick googling to make sure that these work the same as mine. It took me about 3 minutes.

    I don't want you to feel bad though for commenting without having any idea what the hell is going on. It appears to be standard here, both for the comments and the writing here at reason.

  • Erik Jay||

    The point is principle, once again. It appears there would be at least 520 deadbeats, 260+ of whom get next-to-no disciplinary action for it. As others have noted, it's just another notch in the belt, another indication of the government-apparatchik class getting over, another few ounces added to the tons of waste and crap and hypocrisy and nonsense that this illegitimate regime calls "governing." That's why it matters. Goddamn, man, it all matters, what's the matter with YOU?

  • jessie||

    These are credit cards that in their own names, that go on their own credit reports, that they have to pay. These are incidents of people using their own cards and paying the bills with their own money. It's been this was for years and years... It has nothing to do with this "regime."

  • Teaching Student||

    It does in the sense that this is the exact type of structure the Administration wants to expand. It's important because if these people are not trustworthy enough to handle their own, albeit work-related, finances, how can we trust them to objectively, and correctly work with our personal information?

  • jessie||

    These people are a sample of the general population. Do you think the employees at Apple don't ever have money problems? Or Starbucks employees?

  • wareagle||

  • Irish||

    Two Labour Party members and one member of the Ulster Unionist Party accused of selling political access.

    Sunday Times reporters approached Cunningham, a former minister under then Prime Minister Tony Blair in the 1990s, pretending to represent a South Korean solar energy company.

    "Are you suggesting 10,000 pounds a month? Make that ... 12,000 pounds a month. I think we could do a deal on that," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper during a discussion about his fees for what was described as consultancy work.

    Cunningham later sent a statement to the Sunday Times saying he had referred to "a fanciful 12,000 pounds a month" to test his suspicion that he was talking to undercover journalists.

    I thought I was talking to an undercover journalist, so I purposefully said something hugely incriminating.

  • Mike M.||

    Just finished watching the Scripps Howard Spelling Bee championship on ESPN, and every one of the last seven finalists appeared to be of Indian descent.

    It's not too hard to tell who's hitting the books and working hard while the other kids are getting fat and stupid on TV and video games. I think I can guess who owns the future.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Because there is so much money in memorizing the spellings of obscure words?

  • Mike M.||

    Because kids who are disciplined and taught to work hard at a young age are more likely to grow up to become disciplined, hard-working adults than video game addicted little piglets.

  • Not Sure||

  • SugarFree||

    Those little fat shits owe it to America to stay healthy enough to be killed gruesomely in the name of pointless interventionalism.

  • robc||

    What was the home school percentage, high as usual?

  • Acosmist||

    The tiny sliver of a percentage of those of Indian descent you saw there? Is that who will own the future?

    The Indian mean IQ isn't very high.

  • Sevo||

    "The Indian mean IQ isn't very high."

    So
    .
    .
    .
    .
    what?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Would it be really bigoted of me to suggest that they develop spelling skills learning to spell their names?

  • Anomalous||

    "I am an immigrant to this great land, and I love it, but I will make a small observation from my years in the United States which I hope won’t be taken the wrong way: Like citizens of almost all Western democracies in the 21st century, Americans are overly deferential to bureaucracy, but, in my observation, they are uniquely fearful of the state’s tax collectors to a degree I have never seen with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs in London or equivalent agencies in Paris, Ottawa, Rome, Canberra."

    -Mark Steyn

  • Mike M.||

    America has the most dedicated and fanatical tax collectors on the planet. In most countries they're easily bribed, but here they would rather throw you in prison.

  • jdgalt||

    What that says to me is that we don't have the rule of law here (meaning: way too much is left to the "discretion" of some unaccountable bureaucrat).

    No one in government except a judge should be allowed any discretion at all.

  • PapayaSF||

    This just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it? What an opportunity this is to destroy the image of big government. Democrats must be crapping their pants thinking about how this will impact the 2014 midterms.

  • ||

    "Democrats must be crapping their pants..."

    In a display of epic stupidity they are not. On top of that they are still making gun control noises.

    I cant decide which is worse, the dems or the republicans. If both parties are incessantly pushing policies and positions that the majority of Americans oppose.....

  • PapayaSF||

    I think the pants-crapping is happening behind closed doors, because there's no percentage in admitting that they are scared. Instead they are trying to minimize the whole thing.

  • Sevo||

    Suthenboy| 6.2.13 @ 4:12PM |#
    "Democrats must be crapping their pants..."
    In a display of epic stupidity they are not. On top of that they are still making gun control noises.
    -------------------------
    I HOPE you're right, but I'm lacking in certainty.
    Ignoring shithead, who is simply around the bend, our resident shreek who claims to have some sympathy for libertarian views continues in the glassy-eyed apologies for Obozo.
    Faucahantas got elected in Mass, regardless of the obvious lies.
    We'll ignore CA; too embarrassing.

  • ||

    Probably the single biggest step we could take to making this country resemble a free one would be tax reform. By reform I mean ditching the whole tax code and rewriting it in a simple, understandable way leaving out the personal income tax entirely. Suthenboy's plan would also include cutting the power of the IRS by 50% and downsizing their workforce to 1/10th of what it is now.

    Even a fraction of those measures are probably unthinkable to the slavering vampires in Washington. Likely the only way it could be accomplished is a rebellion.

  • robc||

    Repeal the 16th amendment and just bill the states their proportionate share.

    Save the feds a ton of expenses too.

  • PapayaSF||

    I agree. Let's strike while the iron is hot. Cato should be whipping up some tax reform proposals, or at least dusting off some old ones.

  • Sevo||

    Suthenboy| 6.2.13 @ 4:00PM |#
    "Probably the single biggest step we could take to making this country resemble a free one would be tax reform."

    I don't think it would take that. Just remove witholding.
    Instant savings to businesses and *INSTANT*, eye-opening info to low-info voters.

  • carolacosta1||

    my buddy's aunt makes $76 every hour on the computer. She has been out of a job for seven months but last month her check was $14817 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more here... http://www.Taz1.com

  • ||

    She's due for an audit. Thanks for the head's up.

  • Erik Jay||

    "“Because the IRS’s mission includes requiring taxpayers to pay taxes owed on time and voluntarily, the IRS should take further steps to address employees who do not voluntarily pay their travel card bills on time,” the report states."

    Hope that clears up the whole thing about taxes being "voluntary" -- the IRS is "requiring taxpayers to pay taxes...voluntarily" and that's that! Doublespeak forever.

  • PapayaSF||

    The idea that there are federal employees who owe the federal government money for taxes or expenses is bizarre to me. Why not just dock their pay or even fire them?

  • jessie||

    These aren't bills due to the government for expenses. They are due to the credit card companies.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Exactly--there's a hell of a lot worse to hate the IRS for, like this:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/sc.....l-records/

    Travel card purchases are small potatoes compared to this.

  • PapayaSF||

    Now is the time to add even small potatoes to the pile. The worse the IRS looks, the better the chance for real reform, and for a crushing smackdown for Obama in the 2014 midterms.

  • WomSom||

    Every now and again you jsut have to roll with it dude.

    www.WorldPrivacy.tk

  • ||

    Laws and rules are for little people.

  • AlexInCT||

    All you need is a web cam, a charge to account, and the will to do things while nekked! If you are decent looking it is a plus.

  • PapayaSF||

    The spammers are getting rather thick around here. Let's have a "Flag as spam" button, please. And fix Preview. Sheesh.

  • jdgalt||

    Audit! Audit! Audit!

  • Albert Michael||

    "The IRS agreed with the recommendations and says it plans to implement several corrective actions, according to the audit."

    Yeah? Like what? I worked for the elections office and became familiar with property appraiser, county sheriff, commissioners and most other offices. The upper echelons who supposedly hand down recriminations are the problem, not the fix. Only a select few friends and family get to go to these parties (I mean meetings and functions). Myself and the other "unblessed ones" had to hear about what a blast the trip to Tallahassee is, how drunk they got, etc. This is not going to stop, it's just too much fun.

  • BeBraveUSA||

    employees with indications of financial problems present a risk to taxpayers, especially when these IRS employees have access to sensitive taxpayer information,” the audit states.

    ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY HAVE ACCESS TO OUR MONEY and USE IT TO PERSECUTE US!

  • juliusaugustus||

    The IRS is a private corporation and not part of the government. It was chartered in Delaware and eventually moved to Puerto Rico where it became Puerto Rican trust #62
    Not a division of the US Treasury
    http://famguardian.org/TaxFree.....070630.pdf
    "Revenue Agent. Any duly authorized Commonwealth Internal Revenue Agent of the Department of the Treasury of Puerto Rico."
    http://iamthewitness.com/doc/I.....orated.pdf

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement