IRS Blows Big Bucks on Unnecessary Travel for Top Executives


Reason 24/7

You know how your employer (or you!) has to watch the perks offered to employees lest something cross the line into "taxable benefit" territory. Hell, Oprah couldn't give cars to lucky recipients without bending them over a barrel for the Internal Revenue Service. But there are people who don't have to worry so much about the tax implications of goodies from the boss. Yeah, that's right: the folks who enforce the tax rules.

From USA Today:

WASHINGTON — Two high-ranking IRS employees were on the road so often in the past two years that they may have traveled more days than they worked, according to a report by Treasury inspectors released Tuesday.

And at least 15 executives traveled to another office — typically Washington — for more than half of their work days, raising questions about whether they should have been assigned to IRS headquarters in the first place, said the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

The inspectors are looking into whether the tax agency may have itself evaded taxes by failing to disclose the benefit of the travel on withholding statements for those employees. Under IRS regulations, travel expenses are taxable if the employee works at a location for more than a year.

It would just be infuriating if the IRS were cleverly ignoring the tax rules in order to grease valued (or well-connected) workers. But there's a strong hint here that the IRS actually stumbled through this process, with little or no idea of the implications of paying people to spend half their time napping on the Acela Express.

Well … Then again: "One executive — identified only as 'Executive D' — spent 413 days on the road in 2011 and 2012, spending $283,491 on travel, according to the report. Almost all of that travel was to Washington."

That's either epic incompetence, or somebody's very special friend. We're talking about the federal government, here, so I say it's a toss up.

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  1. I’d be more shocked if there was a headline that read: “IRS Acts Responsibly With Taxpayer Money, Says Inspector General”
    “Government Agency (X) Operates At Surplus, Vows To Voluntarily Cut Budget Next Year”

    Make up your own. It’s cathartic.

    1. “ATF 80 Year Shutdown Plan Nearly Complete, Will Cease Operations in December”

      1. I am the only one who originally saw this story headline as
        “IRS Blows Big Executives”?

    2. Is the J sub D Memorial happening again this year?

      1. ^this

      2. Absolutely. The 3rd annual will be announced in a couple of weeks. Tulpa will need to be replaced and there may be some promotion/relegation.

        Details to come early next week.

        1. Cool, Tulpa wasn’t so bad in the league though.

    3. I’d be more shocked if there was a headline that read: “IRS Acts Responsibly With Taxpayer Money, Says Inspector General”

      If an independent audit said it, I’d be shocked. If the IG said it, I’d believe he was covering up for his fellow government-sector workers.

  2. If they traveled to and from Cinti, it’s an odds-on bet they were getting instructions.

    1. The IRS Commissioner visited the Obama White House hundreds of times, because, you know, Easter Egg Roll.

    2. In person = no paper trail.

      1. This.

        One might suppose that, of practically all government agencies, the IRS would most lend itself to electronic correspondence and video conferencing.

  3. Thats what Uncle sam does best, WASTE money!

    1. wrong.
      2nd best.
      best is murder-droning innocents.

      1. Bah. They waste trillions of dollars, they only kill hundreds by drone!

        /Moral Calculus

  4. Speaking of out of control government:

    The National Security Agency called for a “top secret” meeting with members of the House on Tuesday to lobby against the first House amendment to challenge the agency’s authority to cull broad swaths of communications data, according to an invitation circulated in Congress.

    The amendment was authored by Rep. Justin Amash, a libertarian Republican from Michigan, and cosponsored by former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and liberal Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers. The House ruled the amendment in order on Monday, and it is expected to get a vote sometime this week.

    NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander scheduled a last-minute, members-only briefing in response to the amendment, according to an invitation distributed to members of Congress this morning and forwarded to HuffPost. “In advance of anticipated action on amendments to the DoD Appropriations bill, Ranking Member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of the House Intelligence Committee invites your Member to attend a question and answer session with General Keith B. Alexander of the National Security Agency,” reads the invitation.

    The invitation warned members that they could not share what they learned with their constituents or others. “The briefing will be held at the Top Secret/SCI level and will be strictly Members-Only,” reads the invite.

    Double secret probation!

    1. I’m thinking Amash better be careful about being in open places. He’s liable to get droned. Or at least have his phones/emails/bathrooms tapped.

      1. His phones and emails are already tapped. Everybody’s are. 🙁

    2. And since Di Fi swore this was all on the up-and-up, we can trust that there was no log-rolling in the meeting, right?
      Disregarding the obvious that Di Fi’s husband has never profited by Di Fi’s position in the government and Paul Pelosi’s gambling interests have nothing to do with that hag’s support of Tribal casinos! No!
      Just disregarding the obvious dollar-denominated log-rolling, there was nothing here about who gets support in the next election and who might have been tracked contacting, well, who knows? Right? Of course there was none of that. We can trust it to be so!
      Personally, I’m hoping for a report by Russia Today, The Guardian or Der Spiegel to read what went on.

      1. Another fun detroit one is the city employee in a union of one. 47 public employee unions, at the time, this one had one person in it (now has three or so)


        1. The paperwork must be strange and burdensome.

    1. Nope.
      Pull quote, some info or no clickee.

        1. Well, I see my computer still works, so I’ll dispute the claim.

          1. It’s a music video of asians playing video game music on stringed instruments.

            1. One of the best console rpg soundtracks ever.

          2. your computer breaks on Youtube videos?

            1. You never know around here.

      1. If you hovered over the link, you’d know it leads to Youtube.

        Since I have my browser set up not to play Youtube videos automatically, I can click on the link and find out what the title of the video is before I decide whether I actually want to see it. In this case, that title is

        “Guardia Millenial Fair – Chrono Trigger (?????????? – ???????)”

        (Let’s hope this doesn’t get flagged as spam for the Japanese characters.)

    2. …OK, that’s pretty good.

  5. Steam Question: Who is the target audience for Farming Simulator 2013?

    1. People who played Farmville and yearned for a more authentic experience?

      1. Part of the Farming Simulator should be being stuck behind a tractor on a back country road that has an attachment that takes up both lanes.

        1. There’s an optional hardware attachment that blows dust, hay, and the smell of manure on you.

      2. Simfarm had a futures market; do any other farming games have such?

    2. Mellencamps. It’s mostly about growing subsidies.

    3. Europeans, just like all those retarded simulator games.

  6. Hi I find interesting service can help in student travel. Look all current students can get a 5% rebate on their hotel booking expenses. Look more

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