SHAHEEN CALLS ON IRS TO IMPLEMENT COMMON SENSE REFORMS, END ABUSES OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS

New Report: IRS Paid More than $1 Million in Bonuses to its Employees Delinquent in Taxes

April 24, 2014

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) is today calling on the IRS to implement common sense reforms to better protect taxpayer dollars after it was reported that the agency paid out more than $1 million in bonuses to its employees who were delinquent on their own personal taxes.  According to the Associated Press, the agency in total paid out $2.8 million in bonuses to more than 2,800 employees with “recent disciplinary” problems, including more than $1 million that was paid to 1,150 who owed back taxes. The findings were discovered in a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

“As the new Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), one of your chief responsibilities should be restoring the public’s confidence in the agency,” Shaheen said in a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.  “To do that, the IRS needs to lead by example,” she added.

“American taxpayers are frustrated with their government, and this type of behavior undermines their confidence that federal agencies are acting in their best interests… There is no reason for the IRS to award bonuses to employees who are unable to demonstrate their own compliance with our nation’s tax laws,” she added.

The full text of Senator Shaheen’s letter is included below:

April 24, 2014

The Honorable John Koskinen

Commissioner

Internal Revenue Service

1111 Constitution Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20224

Dear Commissioner Koskinen,

As the new Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), one of your chief responsibilities should be restoring the public’s confidence in the agency.  To do that, the IRS needs to lead by example.  That’s why I was deeply troubled by the recent report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) finding that the IRS awarded more than $1 million in bonuses from 2010 to 2012 to employees that were delinquent on their taxes.  I write today to urge you to act quickly and implement TIGTA’s recommendation that future bonuses and performance awards be limited to IRS employees who are fully compliant with federal tax law.

American taxpayers are frustrated with their government, and this type of behavior undermines their confidence that federal agencies are acting in their best interests.  Although these bonuses were awarded before your tenure, it is critical that you take swift action to implement TIGTA’s recommendations so that this abuse of taxpayer dollars does not happen in the future.  All federal agencies must be careful stewards of taxpayer dollars, but the IRS’s unique role in our tax system gives it a special responsibility.  There is no reason for the IRS to award bonuses to employees who are unable to demonstrate their own compliance with our nation’s tax laws.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Jeanne Shaheen

United States Senator