Your tax dollars at work – IRS Star Trek parody film (with video)

posted at 1:01 pm on March 23, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

Who doesn’t love a good story of the IRS sticking its foot in its mouth? This month’s edition of what is apparently a never ending story finds a rather awkward video from 2010 surfacing in the public domain. CBS news filed a FOIA request and obtained one of two “training videos” produced by the tax agency in their own television production studio which doesn’t really look like a very good investment of your tax dollars. (Wait… the IRS has their own television studio?) The details:

“Space: the final frontier
These are the voyagers of the Starship Enterprise Y
Its never-ending mission is to seek out new tax forms
To explore strange new regulations
To boldly go where no government employee has gone before.”

Thus begins a six-minute “Star Trek” parody starring IRS employees and paid for with your tax dollars. It’s not likely to go over well with some Americans and members of Congress, especially since federal agencies have been complaining that it’s difficult to find trims under forced sequestration.

CBS News filed a Freedom of Information request asking for the video after the IRS earlier refused to turn over a copy to the congressional committee that oversees tax issues: House Ways and Means. According to committee Chairman Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-LA), the video was produced in the IRS’s own television studio in New Carrollton, MD. The studio may have cost taxpayers more than $4 million dollars last year alone.

Four million dollars a year? Gee… I wonder if they couldn’t use that money to keep another airport control tower open. In any event, there were two such “training videos” produced during that period. One was the Star Trek parody featured here and the second was a Gilligan’s Island knockoff. (Sadly, the latter is not available for screening.) The two videos alone are estimated to have cost $60,000 of your cash. But the IRS is doubling down, saying this was actually saving you money!

IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller said in a statement that one of the two videos was played in 400 locations and saved taxpayers $1.5 million over what it would have cost to train employees in person.

I’ll let you be the judge as to whether this “training material” was a good substitute for actual classroom time learning the rules of the tax code. The video actually had me chuckling in a couple of spots, if only for the campy nature of the film work and the clumsy dialogue, but they probably blew more on the set and uniforms than the original Star Trek series did. Some of the “jokes” they work into the script are reminiscent of other government agencies making fun of wasteful spending of tax dollars and idiotic policies.

Yeoman: Sorry about the uniforms, Captain. The dry cleaner gave me the wrong order. Starlight Coffee while you wait sir? It’s better than McDonalds and only twice the price.

Captain: No can do, Yeoman. I’ve already spent my per diem for the day.

Another aside between two crew members working at the helm is along the same lines.

Crewman 1: “Back in Russia, I dreamed someday I’d be rich and famous.”

Crewman 2: “Me too, That’s why I became a public servant.”

[fist bump]

Finally, we come to the astounding idea that people in the 23rd century will still have problems with taxes and fraud, but the solution will be to go back to our time to consult our amazing leaders in this field.

SPOCK: Captain, there may be another solution. I took the liberty of doing a time warp scan of the galaxy and believe I have found a gathering of leaders who could be of assistance. They met in the 21st century in Anaheim, California. Earth, sir.

BONES: That’s perfect, Chris. We can go back in time and bring the leaders into our century and pick up some tax gap vaccine in a local pharmacy. Their travel and medical expenses can be itemized.

CAPTAIN: Excellent idea, Bones.

Those are only a few highlights. Here’s the entire 6 minute video.


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H.O.R.I.B.L.E…. on every single human level.

Warner Todd Huston on March 23, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Not even the Borg would want to assimilate this!

pilamaye on March 23, 2013 at 1:10 PM

They should have engaged the destruct sequence.

“Destruct sequence 1, code 1-1 A…”

Liam on March 23, 2013 at 1:10 PM

This isn’t training. This is a joke, and is a complete waste of money. It’s also typical of “training” sessions offered by the government: a complete waste of time and money.

Put government employees to work doing their jobs, not wasting their time on crap like this.

Stoic Patriot on March 23, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Isn’t that cute! When I think of the IRS, I think, my cuddly, adorable, furry friend.

And it’s going to get so much more cuddly, adorable and furry, in Utopia.

Burn it all.

Let’s get it on.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 23, 2013 at 1:10 PM

H.O.R.I.B.L.E…. on every single human level.

Warner Todd Huston on March 23, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Horrible

brut4ce on March 23, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Perhaps I missed something. I saw not one nanosecond of training going on in that video. I’ll keep it for any future audit ammo, however.

totherightofthem on March 23, 2013 at 1:16 PM

H.O.R.I.B.L.E…. on every single human level.

Warner Todd Huston on March 23, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Horrible

brut4ce on March 23, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Thirded. Unbelievable awful. Not funny, entertaining, or useful at all. And, most important…

Perhaps I missed something. I saw not one nanosecond of training going on in that video. I’ll keep it for any future audit ammo, however.

totherightofthem on March 23, 2013 at 1:16 PM

This, this, a thousand times this. I could forgive everything else, even the sub-preschool acting, if the video actually imparted any information whatsoever. But it doesn’t. Unless this is all in governmentese, which ordinary English words all have entirely different meanings, there’s no way this video trains anyone to do anything except hate Federal bureaucracies.

Um, on the other hand, maybe it’s not so bad after all…

WesternActor on March 23, 2013 at 1:22 PM

…out of control!

KOOLAID2 on March 23, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Star Dreck. I know where you won’t find intelligent life-the IRS.

Mr. Curly on March 23, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Flat tax. Nationwide Ids. A pop culture and media program honoring those who pay a lot of tax.

And if we hear of an outrage like the Kennedys running a billion or so though FIJI, we do the top three people of the IRS, whomever in congress drafted sloppy laws and their tax lawyer like the Chinese did that commerce guy. BTW, I heard they were passing his head around as a curio.

And if a future POTUS candidate has overseas accounts, we make him man up and explain how much money he gave away over his life so I don’t spend decades hearing Democrat carping about all the tax the rich don’t pay.

I have made numerous tax remarks and I am very careful on what I claim.

Watch what you say on this thread! O’Reilly got audited every year for three years while Pres. Clinton was in power.

IlikedAUH2O on March 23, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Excellent! This is the most useful thing that the Feds have done since 1945!

ss396 on March 23, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Quick, we must harass the population and spy on everything they do or there will be anarchy!

ebrawer on March 23, 2013 at 1:29 PM

So – We ALL KNOW that this is ALL Leading to Brutal, French-Revolution-Style Violence….Right?

The question is – will THIS be enough to INITIATE it?

Will THIS initiate a swath of “Vlad The Impaler” – type retributive justice?

What are the limits, here?

williamg on March 23, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Does ANYONE have the personal information on any of these people?

Names, addresses, phone numbers – ANYTHING?

williamg on March 23, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Recent headlines: Biden’s Hotel bill for two days to Rome, $2,000,000.00. Put another way, that’s 2 ½ times the ANNUAL inflated cost of the White House tours that were canceled.

This total administration just doesn’t get it. They do not even try.

jpcpt03 on March 23, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Keep videos like this, please.

It is all fun and games for libs while a community organizer calls the shots.

If the Supreme Court continues to shred the Bill of Rights, an if our economy collapses, I am running for POTUS on a “Kill the B*stards” program.

I have a magnificent white stallion and arm bands ready for the inauguration! (joke)

For some reason, libs don’t find that funny.

IlikedAUH2O on March 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM

This total administration just doesn’t get it. They do not even try.

jpcpt03 on March 23, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Why should they, long as there is someone else to falsely blame and accuse? Just the shrill cries of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz complaining about subsidized lunches for Congressional staffers being somehow menaced says everything a thinking American needs to know.

Liam on March 23, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Well, we have nanny fascism, now…

IlikedAUH2O on March 23, 2013 at 1:39 PM

For some reason, libs don’t find that funny.

IlikedAUH2O on March 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM

“For some reason”? Liberals have no sense of humor. Nor of irony. Nor of reason. Nor of compassion. Nor of___________.

I know you have a few favorites of your own.

Liam on March 23, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Landing party person 1: These people on the Anarchy planet are not paying their “penalty” for Obamacare. They don’t think it’s Constitutional.

Entire crew: Hahahahaha! Eff em!

WhatSlushfund on March 23, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Too bad for words.

The Rogue Tomato on March 23, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Can someone please explain why government is a necessary evil?

John the Libertarian on March 23, 2013 at 1:49 PM

This is supposedly a training film.

What was the lesson? What advanced tax collection course was this video designed for? How many ‘students’ took and passed that class.

All snark aside, these are the questions that to be answered.

This video is emblematic of why I’m forced, by the government, to take a 20% pay cut.

“I came for the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and all I got was an IRS video”

BobMbx on March 23, 2013 at 1:50 PM

IRS to to tax payers. How does my ass taste?

ronsfi on March 23, 2013 at 1:50 PM

I am willing to bet with no fear of losing a dime that whoever wrote the “screenplay” for this drivel has never watched one single solitary episode of any Star Trek series or film in their entire life!

pilamaye on March 23, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Can someone please explain why government is a necessary evil?

John the Libertarian on March 23, 2013 at 1:49 PM

You already know why. The Founding Fathers did their level best to mitigate it.

Work with me here. You know why; you know better than the question you asked.

Liam on March 23, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Next Generation uniforms and the Original Series bridge? Cant even get the details right…Pathetic.

Jack_Burton on March 23, 2013 at 1:52 PM

I am willing to bet with no fear of losing a dime that whoever wrote the “screenplay” for this drivel has never watched one single solitary episode of any Star Trek series or film in their entire life!

pilamaye on March 23, 2013 at 1:51 PM

On top of it, they didn’t pay royalties to the copyright holders of the franchise.

Government at work.

Liam on March 23, 2013 at 1:53 PM

I don’t mind the method so much. I do mind the fact that it’s apparent the people in charge of training IRS employees don’t know what they should be training them to do.

A government filled with responsible people who hold some esteem for the other people’s money, which they hold in trust to spend wisely, could have nipped this in the bud at any of a dozen early points of supervision. Sixty thousand bucks is the equivalent of two hard working entry level middle class, income tax paying American’s yearly salary and they blew that money on a lark.

Someone should be fired for that.

Dusty on March 23, 2013 at 1:54 PM

“CBS news filed a FOIA request and obtained one of two “training videos” produced by the tax agency in their own television production studio which doesn’t really look like a very good investment of your tax dollars.”

Makes me want to see the content of the other video, but for other reasons.

Dusty on March 23, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Work with me here.

Liam on March 23, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Sometimes my snark meter blows a fuse. I suppose it’s better than vomiting.

John the Libertarian on March 23, 2013 at 1:59 PM

[Dusty on March 23, 2013 at 1:57 PM]

Now that I think of it, I’d like to see the training videos for a lot of the agencies that are in charge of running our lives.

Dusty on March 23, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Sometimes my snark meter blows a fuse. I suppose it’s better than vomiting.

John the Libertarian on March 23, 2013 at 1:59 PM

I can relate. But sometimes an upchuck is needed, to cleanse the body and the mind.

Liam on March 23, 2013 at 2:04 PM

When you are such a bunch of straight-laced, stuffed shirted, broomstick shoved up your rear end bureaucrats like the IRS is that you can’t drum up even a thimbleful of humor to do a simple parody, you know there is a very serious problem with the system!

My grandson’s sixth grade elementary school class could have done this parody 100 times better and it would have been 100 times smarter and funnier than what the combined force of the IRS could have come up with!

The end result video proves that!

pilamaye on March 23, 2013 at 2:04 PM

There is a sickness that has taken over DC, it’s called liberalism. Anything goes.

JimK on March 23, 2013 at 2:05 PM

I watched it, but didn’t get the message it was supposed to give to the IRS employees. All I gathered from this video is that black people are infiltrating Star Fleet at unprecedented levels.

keep the change on March 23, 2013 at 2:06 PM

“Bow Down B**ches”

THAT is the video I want to see a government agency do.

…..and I hear Obama is ratcheting up the pressure to take everyone’s guns and telling Congress to get after it. But hey, we’re the idiots that keep electing these fools that lead us.

PappyD61 on March 23, 2013 at 2:09 PM

I think that, perhaps, the more driving question is, WHAT THE HELL IS THE IRS DOING WITH THEIR OWN PRIVATE TELEVISION STUDIO?!!?
If they need “training” films, they can contract with a private company that does that sort of thing for their living. That way, regular Americans have a job, the .gov saves money and the company and its employees pay taxes on their income.

How many other departments/agencies have their own television studios? Why? At what cost?

Solaratov on March 23, 2013 at 2:09 PM

The cost to produce this atrocity is nothing – bread crumbs. The REAL COST is the wages paid to THOUSANDS/TENS OF THOUSANDS of employees while they were were rounded up and forced to watch this tripe. The 6 minutes was most certainly wrapped with a command to stop working and assemble for the session, the walking and chattering time, the scrambling to sit next to their best friend, the manager harumphing for 5 minutes thanking everyone for attending – but they’ll wait another 5 minutes before starting so the stranglers can come in and not miss a moment of the lesson, the viewing of this crap, the laughing and joking afterward, more manager harumphing and trying to re-explain the “lesson” of the video, dismissal of the employees, the 20 minute prolonged walk back to their cubicles stopping for coffee along the way, another 20 minutes back in the cubicles calling management names for coming up with this useless dreck, seeing it is close enough to the end of the day (or lunch) to just quit early since nothing meaningful can be finished in the remaining time so why bother.

This little video cost taxpayers millions of dollars in wasted time and this type of travesty is repeated every day in every government agency in this once proud country.

in_awe on March 23, 2013 at 2:14 PM

I think that, perhaps, the more driving question is, WHAT THE HELL IS THE IRS DOING WITH THEIR OWN PRIVATE TELEVISION STUDIO?!!?

Solaratov on March 23, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Back between 1978 and 1995, major corporations like Sears, Marshall Field, Arthur Andersen, GTE Automatic Electric and others employed what was know as Industrial Media, having their own fully-functional video studios producing their own training films and media presentations. I know this from firsthand experience because I worked video duplication for 8 years for what was once one of the world’s largest training companies in the world, Deltak Inc.

Interest in Industrial Media pretty much died out with the advent of the digital age.

The fact that the IRS is still employing their own TV studio is yet another example just how far behind the times they really are.

pilamaye on March 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Not even the Borg would want to assimilate this!

pilamaye on March 23, 2013 at 1:10 PM

.
Thread winner !

listens2glenn on March 23, 2013 at 2:24 PM

The performances were as bad as the tax code. What were the teaching here? More of my tax money wasted on a futile exercise in government waste. A flat tax would solve this whole problem, but then they wouldn’t have their phoney baloney jobs!

flytier on March 23, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Unfortunately, there were a lot of “lessons” and “messages” embedded into that video:
1) Without a strong government taxing agency, society will devolve into anarchy, therefore a heavy IRS presence is critical.
2) The IRS needs to be monitoring various communication channels (like Twitter) to ferret out tax cheats
3) Identity theft to the IRS is people using falsified SS numbers and possibly avoiding taxes
4) There is something called a Tax Gap that the IRS for some reason fears
5) That’s 6 minutes of my life I want back

If you look past the silliness this was a 6 minute cheerleading video for IRS agents to be as invasive as needed, oh, and by the way, follow per diem rates and other government civil service rules while you do so

AZfederalist on March 23, 2013 at 3:04 PM

So depressing. We’ll have the IRS at least for another 200 years according to this video.

OliverB on March 23, 2013 at 3:11 PM

A flat tax would solve this whole problem, but then they wouldn’t have their phoney baloney jobs!

flytier on March 23, 2013 at 2:29 PM

You didn’t get a harrumph out of that guy….

ScottG on March 23, 2013 at 3:12 PM

The good news is, they don’t have time to harass Americans while making goofy, expensive videos.

PattyJ on March 23, 2013 at 3:13 PM

How much you want to bet that the brain trust that came up with this video got the idea from watching smoker films while on the clock.

OliverB on March 23, 2013 at 3:17 PM

In this administration’s mind, the American people are the ones wearing the red shirts.

PackerBronco on March 23, 2013 at 3:18 PM

Every time anyone takes Amtrak into DC, they pass right by that IRS studio. It’s located in buildings just next to the New Carrollton station, out the right side of the train, in those three big IRS buildings across the street.

They have a piece of sculpture out front of the offices, and I’m not kidding here, portraying a hand grasping at something. I’ve always thought the sculptor should have put a taxpayers wallet just above the hand to give the piece greater focus, but nobody asked my opinion at the time.

MTF on March 23, 2013 at 3:27 PM

How much you want to bet that the brain trust that came up with this video got the idea from watching smoker films while on the clock.

OliverB on March 23, 2013 at 3:17 PM

That, or just by watching Star Trek re-runs…on their office intertubes interface device.

They need to be beamed up.

BobMbx on March 23, 2013 at 3:30 PM

How much you want to bet that the brain trust that came up with this video got the idea from watching smoker films while on the clock.

OliverB on March 23, 2013 at 3:17 PM
That, or just by watching Star Trek re-runs…on their office intertubes interface device.

They need to be beamed up.

BobMbx on March 23, 2013 at 3:30 PM

You give them the benefit of the doubt. You have to be one depraved individual to work at the IRS. And what was up with the Captain? Was his front tooth knocked out?

OliverB on March 23, 2013 at 3:50 PM

So if this was a training video is it a deductable expense since I do, in fact, pay taxes? Seriously, this was clearly an opener for some sort of “conference” in Anaheim. There was no sort of training savings out of that. But at the same time, when did any sort of tax training for professional IRS employees have to double as entertainment?

In the meantime did you all here the latest atrocity of sequestration. Debbie Wasserman Schultz actually went to the floor of the House and complained that the House restaurants were raising prices so much that staffers can’t get a good meal.

Per the Washington Times, an 8-ounce bowl of Ham and Bean soup at the Cannon Office Building’s carry-out café costs $2. A gourmet wrap or sliced bread sandwich sells for about $5. And in the Longworth Building’s sit-down cafeteria, a serving of stuffed chicken, asparagus and mashed potatoes sells for about $7.

These are the prices that are malnourishing staffers, who make between $60K and $160K per year. Will these horrors ever stop?

Happy Nomad on March 23, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Ug. Reminds me of the psudo-video game that IT security training has morphed into.

Count to 10 on March 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM

I was talking with the owner of the local boat and marine supply dealer in my area last year. He had begun the process of closing down due to the economy and had laid off 4 people. He made it another year.

Out of the blue he received and offer for 2 very high end boats he had for sale through his internet site. They were full price offers but the only catch was he had to deliver them to a ramp on the potomoc. It was 800 miles away but he made over $70,000 on each boat. Total bill was just under 1.7 million.

The buyers? Two middle level IRS execs. Probably the same arsebandits that put this crap together.

It’s good, good times when you are part of the ruling elite. Not so good if you are a working stiff in the private sector.

acyl72 on March 23, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Our federal government spending money they don’t have at warp speed.

bgibbs1000 on March 23, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Oh, it’s a training video alright. How to waste taxpayer dollars 101. I’m sure there will be repercussions for this… NOT. Set phasers to gag and please, please beam these people anywhere but here.

ghostwalker1 on March 23, 2013 at 6:10 PM

I laughed
I cried
I kissed $60,000 goodbye!

Haiku Guy on March 23, 2013 at 7:21 PM

I enjoy cheesy sci-fi, so I was entertained. But it was so terrible I had to laugh. Didn’t really get the penny on the dollar thing. But that seemed to be the best part.

MrX on March 23, 2013 at 7:42 PM

they probably blew more on the set and uniforms than the original Star Trek series did.

The set, maybe. The ‘actors’ probably already had them hanging up deep in the back of their closets.

James on March 23, 2013 at 7:51 PM

The uniforms, that is.

James on March 23, 2013 at 7:52 PM

This total administration just doesn’t get it. They do not even try.

jpcpt03 on March 23, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Oh, they get it. And we’re getting it, iykwim.

Corrupt treasonous bastiches, all of ‘em.

Who is John Galt on March 23, 2013 at 8:23 PM

Wait . . . why was the captain in a red shirt? Weren’t the red shirts for the security guys who were the first to die in a phaser fight?

dissent555 on March 24, 2013 at 11:41 AM

The IRS needed a training film for this small bit of mindless info? The message could have been summarized in about 3 sentences and sent by email for a fraction of the cost. The rest of the production is just shtick at the taxpayer’s expense, and nearly as funny as an SNL skit (not saying much).

Did the production crew get permission to use the imagery and Star Trek theme? Or is the IRS above the law? (rhetorical question).

Pazman on March 24, 2013 at 5:28 PM

All 3D movies are actually 4D.

Did the production crew get permission to use the imagery and Star Trek theme? Or is the IRS above the law? (rhetorical question).

Pazman on March 24, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Looks like fair use to me. Parody — even bad parody — is allowable.

Can someone please explain why government is a necessary evil?

John the Libertarian on March 23, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Imagine what might happen if there were no government. It’s as bad as imagining too much government.

I think we go through these cycles where governments become too much and the people arise and throw away their too much government for no government at all — and then the cycle begins anew.

For years we had just the right amount of government — one which attempted to maximize each person’s right to their own property. We now have a government which is trying to equalize everyone’s possessions by (a) making possessions and giving them to people, and (b) taking possessions away from “the rich” and giving them to “the poor”. We now have Government as Robin Hood, and it’s turning out about as one might expect — an initial feeling of exhilaration as the poor suddenly have more money than they might ever dream of having, and, after a bit, a dawning realization that the rich aren’t as rich as the poor thought they were.

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2013 at 11:39 PM

“Bow Down B**ches”…

PappyD61 on March 23, 2013 at 2:09 PM

That’s the real message here.

Haiku Guy on March 25, 2013 at 7:54 AM