As You Gather Your Tax Documents, the IRS Rehires Tax Dodgers and Data-Snoopers it Fired

This shouldn't be a problem as you submit your sensitive personal information to the IRS, and total up the government's take. Right?


Matthew G Bisanz

I don't normally use the term "tax dodger" because anything you do to keep your cash out of the hands of government officials is just self-preservation. But for tax collectors who strong-arm the public on the one hand, while skating on their own payments to the state, it's a fair term. And as it turns out, the Internal Revenue Service has a history of firing people who don't pay their taxes, then quietly rehiring them later. It's not just tax dodgers, either. The IRS has rehired people it originally fired for digging through taxpayers' personal information without good reason, as well as other, perhaps lesser, transgressions.

According to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report released last week, from January 2010 through September 2013:

141 former employees with prior substantiated tax issues, including five who the IRS found had willfully failed to file their Federal tax returns, were hired. Other substantiated issues from previous IRS employment included unauthorized access to taxpayer information, leave abuse, falsification of official forms, unacceptable performance, misuse of IRS property, and off-duty misconduct.

Overall, during the time examined by the report, "hundreds of former employees who had a wide range of previous performance and conduct issues at the IRS" were brought back into the fold—11 percent of the rehired total. I'm sure they were all delighted to be received into the loving embrace of such a forgiving employer. And to have access to IRS databases, tax forms, government property and the like.

Surprisingly, about 20 percent of the rehired problem employees missed the implied "and sin no more" condition of their renewed employment. They promptly engaged in "new conduct or performance issues, such as tax noncompliance, attempted unauthorized access to tax account information, and leave abuse, while others had new legal or off-duty issues, such as bankruptcy."

Of course, none of this should be a problem at all as you prepare to submit your sensitive personal information to the IRS, and total up the government's take, which some of its own employees aren't paying.