Employees at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) who deliberately did not pay their own taxes were rewarded with bonuses, according to a new inspector general report.
“As the Federal Government agency primarily responsible for administering the Federal tax law, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must ensure that its employees comply with the same tax law to which all taxpayers are subject,” the audit, released Wednesday by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) said.
Employees who are found to willfully violate tax law are supposed to be fired, according to a federal law passed in 1998 known as the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights.”
However, the IRS has not only allowed thousands of its employees to avoid paying taxes, but has rewarded many with time off, raises, and bonuses.
The audit found 1,580 employees who willfully did not pay their taxes, and 18,300 others who unintentionally did not comply with tax laws their agency is responsible for enforcing.
Of those who willingly did not comply with federal tax law, 61 percent received counseling, suspensions, or reprimands. Another 14 percent resigned or retired to avoid being fired, and 25 percent were terminated.
Only 1 percent of the 18,300 employees who were found to be in “nonwillful tax noncompliance” were fired.
Other IRS employees were rewarded with for “outstanding performance” within a year after intentionally avoiding their taxes.
“In addition to not being terminated for willful tax violations, some IRS employees also received promotions, performance awards, and permanent pay increases within one year after their willful tax noncompliance case was closed,” TIGTA said. “Specifically, 108 of 364 employees with willful tax noncompliance cases closed between October 1, 2008, and September 30, 2013, received one or more awards, promotions, quality step increases, or Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VSIP) within one year after being disciplined for the tax noncompliance.”