If you and I pay the Internal Revenue Service less than it claims it owes us, we can get slammed pretty hard with fines, penalties, and even jail time. The IRS even stages armed raids in its search for a few more sheckels to feed the government's appetite. We even can get dinged $5,000 for filing "frivolous" returns that just annoy the tax collectors.
But there is one class of people that can misbehave and even stiff the IRS, and receive rewards in return. Who has that sweet deal? IRS employees.
According to a press release from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration:
between October 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012, more than 2,800 employees with recent substantiated conduct issues resulting in disciplinary action received more than $2.8 million in monetary awards and more than 27,000 hours in time-off awards. Among these, more than 1,100 IRS employees with substantiated Federal tax compliance problems received more than $1 million in cash awards and more than 10,000 hours in time-off awards.
Among the most serious misconduct the full report revealed among employees who were later awarded was "late payment and/or nonpayment of Federal taxes, Government travel card misuse or delinquency, Section 1203(b) violations, misconduct, and fraud issues."
Section 1203(b) violations include assaults on, harassment of, and retaliation against taxpayers, if you're curious.
To put this in context, the full report notes that for 2011, the IRS awarded almost $92 million in cash and almost 520,000 hours of time off to 70,500 of its approximately 104,400 employees. So there are plenty of goodies to go around, and they're not all going to malefactors, as the tax agency defines them. But still, to be a tax collector who skates along on the company credit card, abuses taxpayers, and holds back on your own taxes while getting a pat on the back and a bonus has to be a pretty sweet deal.
The inspector general's office urged the IRS to consider requiring management to take into account conduct issues resulting in disciplinary actions, especially the nonpayment of taxes, prior to awarding all types of performance and discretionary awards.
They'll get right on that. Right after they finishing scrutinizing your tax return for clerical errors.