IRS Paid Bonuses to 1,100 Employees Who Owed Back Taxes

The Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)
The Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

Failure to pay taxes usually is bad news for most Americans, but apparently not for some employees of the Internal Revenue Service –- they received performance bonuses from the agency despite failing to submit what they owed.

The IRS paid a total of about $1.1 million in bonuses over approximately a two-year period to more than 1,100 employees who had been disciplined for “substantiated federal tax compliance problems,” according to an inspector general’s report.

Those employees also received awards of more than 10,000 hours of extra time off and 69 faster-than-normal pay grade increases. They were among more than 2,800 IRS employees during that period who got performance awards within one year of disciplinary action, such as suspensions or written reprimands, the report found.

The performance awards did not violate the law, said J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.

But he said that “providing awards to employees who have been disciplined for failing to pay federal taxes appears to create a conflict with the IRS’ charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration.”

The IRS’ contract with the National Treasury Employees Union says disciplinary action or investigations do not preclude an employee receiving a bonus or other performance award unless it would damage the integrity of the agency.

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SOURCE: Jim Puzzanghera
The Los Angeles Times

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