Video: IRS agents who didn’t pay their taxes get $1 million in bonuses

posted at 10:11 pm on April 22, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

The rules are for thee, not for me:

The Internal Revenue Service has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with recent disciplinary problems, including $1 million to workers who owed back taxes, a government investigator said Tuesday.

More than 2,800 workers got bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes, said a report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. The bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012.



And, in the Hall of Fame of terrible defenses.

George’s report said the bonus program doesn’t violate federal regulations, but it’s inconsistent with the IRS mission to enforce tax laws.

“These awards are designed to recognize and reward IRS employees for a job well done, and that is appropriate, because the IRS should encourage good performance,” George said. “However, while not prohibited, providing awards to employees who have been disciplined for failing to pay federal taxes appears to create a conflict with the IRS’s charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration.”

Surely in the untold reams of regulations, they could codify that they shouldn’t give piles of money to people charged with collecting your piles of money who then neglect to pay the proper piles of money to the organization for whom they’re charged with collecting piles of money! Lord knows they can’t use common sense, so it must be a law. Pretty sure they could find my lawnmower gas tank in violation of some federal regulation if they tried, but this? No prob, moving on.

Exit question: How many regular Americans have seen a bonus during the Obama years? How many of them also faced disciplinary action at their place of work? It’s good to be the state.


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…when did all this “bonus” crap start…in the government?

KOOLAID2 on April 22, 2014 at 10:21 PM

Who do they fear…? They are untouchable….See Lois Lerner.

d1carter on April 22, 2014 at 10:22 PM

It is simple. They are not our countrymen.

Subotai Bahadur on April 22, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Double bonus is you “get” a conservative……

d1carter on April 22, 2014 at 10:24 PM

is = if…..sheesh.

d1carter on April 22, 2014 at 10:25 PM

The bigger bonuses will come after they pass out hollowpoints to collect barkycare fines.

Mwybe on commission.

wolly4321 on April 22, 2014 at 10:31 PM

It’s totally normal folks, don’t be so selfish, these folks deserve every penny of your taxes they collect, jeez, lighten up folks. And anyone who doesn’t agree with the current and future govt entity named the IRS, well, they got it coming! /

Scrumpy on April 22, 2014 at 10:32 PM

“However, while not prohibited, providing awards to employees who have been disciplined for failing to pay federal taxes appears to create a conflict with the IRS’s charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration.”

Well, I’m sure once they receive their bonuses, they will use them to pay their back taxes. So it’s all good.

climbnjump on April 22, 2014 at 10:33 PM

The IRS garnishees the pay of non-IRS employees who are way behind on their federal income tax payment.

bw222 on April 22, 2014 at 10:34 PM

We are allowing this. We have the ultimate say. What are we going to do about it? Go on a tax strike? Occupy IRS offices? Vote for another establishment two party nominee who will sustain the status quo?

How much more of our labor needs to be stolen from us and squandered by reprobate morons? We are already paying more per year in taxes to Fedzilla than we are on food and shelter. How much longer are we going to put-up with this shit?

Murphy9 on April 22, 2014 at 10:38 PM

This sickens me. I have lost almost all of my respect for the federal government.

jazzuscounty on April 22, 2014 at 10:40 PM

and the beat goes on….oversight does nothing.

CoffeeLover on April 22, 2014 at 10:41 PM

George’s report said the bonus program doesn’t violate federal regulations, but it’s inconsistent with the IRS mission to enforce tax laws.

It is however entirely consistent with wink/wink nudge/nudge regulations of going after ‘conservative’, ‘tea party’ and ‘patriot’ groups.

“These awards are designed to recognize and reward IRS employees for a job well done, and that is appropriate, because the IRS should encourage good performance,” George said.

What “job well done” did you think the bonuses were for? Paying yuor taxes on time? Ask your self this: do YOU get a bonus for paying yours on time?

ghostwalker1 on April 22, 2014 at 10:41 PM

We are allowing this. We have the ultimate say. What are we going to do about it? Go on a tax strike?

Hmmm. ;)

I’m not going to pay any barkycare fine.

It’s just not going to happen.

Ever.

wolly4321 on April 22, 2014 at 10:46 PM

This sickens me. I have lost almost all of my respect for the federal government.

jazzuscounty on April 22, 2014 at 10:40 PM

…the politburo…has definitely taken over since 2009!

KOOLAID2 on April 22, 2014 at 10:47 PM

Imagine any private sector company in debt like the federal government giving employees bonuses.

bw222 on April 22, 2014 at 10:47 PM

Maybe Issa will look in to it..lol

wolly4321 on April 22, 2014 at 10:48 PM

When the idiots charged with enforcing the laws, fail to follow the law, the law becomes worthless. Then the idiots who make the laws promise to pass new idiotic “comprehensive” laws. Which are ignored by the idiots who enforce them.
The law making idiots are then re-elected by a country of IDIOTS.

Ufdaubet on April 22, 2014 at 10:51 PM

When the idiots charged with enforcing the laws, fail to follow the law, the law becomes worthless. Then the idiots who make the laws promise to pass new idiotic “comprehensive” laws. Which are ignored by the idiots who enforce them.
The law making idiots are then re-elected by a country of IDIOTS.

Ufdaubet on April 22, 2014 at 10:51 PM

…it started with Illegal aliens…not applying the laws…then starts spreading elsewhere!…but it’s all being done…”out of love” !

KOOLAID2 on April 22, 2014 at 10:54 PM

This story is deliberately deceptive.

#1: “Disciplinary action”. The ABC quotes some of the worst offenses, ones that certainly led to separation. Disciplinary actions are very broad… For example, in my department, if we’re reviewed, there are two types of errors we can get, 715 (Customer Accuracy) and Procedural. 715′s are disciplinary actions. I got a 715 for not including the current balance due in a letter asking for signatures for an amended return, when that amended return would resolve the balance due.

#2: People love to complain about “back taxes” owed by IRS employees. Under Section 1203, if we owe money, cannot pay in full by the due date (typically 4/15), and do not set up and maintain an active installment agreement (monthly direct debit from our bank accounts) by 4/15, we’re fired. No appeals, no grievances, no exceptions. Every single one of those people who owe back taxes and is still employed here is making payments designed to resolve the debt in 72 months.

#3: The nature of the bonuses. In my area (ID Theft-related tax fraud) we have no set production rate, due to the complexity of the cases. However, the department is budgeted for a little under 2 cases per rep per day in closures, with a minimum accuracy of 85% for procedural issues and 97% accuracy for customer resolutions. We managed 30-40% over production budget while exceeding both accuracy marks. That allowed us to be furloughed two months early. The bonus we received was a little over one paycheck, and the taxpayer got to skip paying 4 paychecks. Do the math; without the bonus for motivation, the motivation changes to stretch the season as long as possible. Almost every department is seasonal, and operates on the same principle.

Asurea on April 22, 2014 at 11:05 PM

Pig. Trough.

Shy Guy on April 22, 2014 at 11:05 PM

Off topic:
Does anyone else have trouble typing in the comment box? I have to type at the speed of molasses in January at times or the letters don’t appear. I’m not sure if it my computer or big brother. ;)

Ufdaubet on April 22, 2014 at 11:10 PM

Ufdaubet on April 22, 2014 at 11:10 PM

It’s probably a combination of the multitude of plug-ins HA loads in your browser by default, combined with background activities on your network.

Ed really needs to get with the owners about the ad providers they use…

Asurea on April 22, 2014 at 11:15 PM

KOOLAID2, I totally agree. It began with lost sovereignty and has now spread.

Ufdaubet on April 22, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Ufdaubet on April 22, 2014 at 11:10 PM

It’s probably a combination of the multitude of plug-ins HA loads in your browser by default, combined with background activities on your network.

Ed really needs to get with the owners about the ad providers they use…

Asurea on April 22, 2014 at 11:15 PM

Thank you.

Ufdaubet on April 22, 2014 at 11:19 PM

The IRS garnishees the pay of non-IRS employees who are way behind on their federal income tax payment.

bw222 on April 22, 2014 at 10:34 PM

I don’t think the greedy-union that the IRS employees belong to would allow that.

slickwillie2001 on April 22, 2014 at 11:21 PM

How do I get a job at the IRS?

COgirl on April 22, 2014 at 11:37 PM

Given the number of long-term unemployed in this country, here’s a thought:

You’re hired to do a job. Do it sans “bonus”, or quit. We’ll find someone else.

GarandFan on April 22, 2014 at 11:49 PM

GarandFan on April 22, 2014 at 11:49 PM

See my third point above, first.

Then consider this: You want to draw a line in the sand over $1200 with someone who costs over 100x that to train, with job skills worth much more in the private sector for many of us. That’s… Not a very efficient plan.

Asurea on April 23, 2014 at 12:17 AM

I don’t think the greedy-union that the IRS employees belong to would allow that.
slickwillie2001 on April 22, 2014 at 11:21 PM

NTEU can’t affect that at all. Even with IRS employees, though I can’t think of anything that would lead to garnishment that wouldn’t lead to termination, other than payroll errors.

Asurea on April 23, 2014 at 12:23 AM

This is another example of why we are going to have a civil war in this country. The only thing that will clean this mess is blood.

nobama1267 on April 23, 2014 at 12:34 AM

Video: IRS agents who didn’t pay their taxes get $1 million in bonuses

They Live.

This is another example of why we are going to have a civil war in this country. The only thing that will clean this mess is blood.

nobama1267 on April 23, 2014 at 12:34 AM

Sure, and in 10 years we’ll be right back where we are now. There is no solution. As with market forces, societal and economic pressures will sort it all out in the long run. But we may not end up with what we here desire.

Dr. ZhivBlago on April 23, 2014 at 12:38 AM

The cost of many things is mostly taxes.

Most people don’t think about all the taxes that have to be paid.

Let’s take a pack of gum as an example.

The people who work for the gum factory have to be paid, taxes are taken from their pay, plus the employer has to match the SS and Disability tax. The company has to pay taxes and fees on the electricity, trash, water, phones and misc supplies. If the company makes a profit, they pay taxes on it also.

The shipping company that delivers the gum to the stores has to pay its employees. Taxes are taken from their pay, plus the employer has to match the SS and Disability tax. The company has to pay taxes and fees on the electricity, trash, water, phones and misc supplies. If the company makes a profit, they pay taxes on it also.

Now it gets to the store, let’s not forget the store where you buy the gum from has to pay their employees, where taxes are taken from their pay, plus the employer has to match the SS and Disability tax. The store has to pay taxes and fees on the electricity, trash, water, phones and misc supplies. If the store makes a profit, they pay taxes on it also.

A little side note, on some items that you buy you may be hit with an additional sales tax, not to mention if you buy alcohol or cigarettes, you get hit with an additional SIN tax..

All of those taxes are reflected in the price of the item you are buying, which you are paying for with money you have left after you have paid your taxes.

The tax system is worse than the damn mafia

free on April 23, 2014 at 12:44 AM

The tax system is worse than the damn mafia
free on April 23, 2014 at 12:44 AM

Absolutely, with all the favored industry carve-outs, coercive manipulation of behaviors with sin taxes, and all controlled by 537 people in one city…

Hell, they even sponsor tax fraud and get away with it.

Asurea on April 23, 2014 at 12:50 AM

The IRS!
Now I know what the south end of a north-bound mule looks like, just not as good.

Another Drew on April 23, 2014 at 2:30 AM

See my third point above, first.

Then consider this: You want to draw a line in the sand over $1200 with someone who costs over 100x that to train, with job skills worth much more in the private sector for many of us. That’s… Not a very efficient plan.

Asurea on April 23, 2014 at 12:17 AM

You make good tactical points, but miss the big picture. What does your valuable job skills say about the nature of our tax law?

Fenris on April 23, 2014 at 7:00 AM

This is just an attempt to shift the Overton window.

We should be outraged at the fact that government employees are getting bonuses to begin with, regardless of whether employees are tax cheats.

We should be outraged at the fact that government employees are tax delinquents.

Now, the media is trying to tell us that the appropriateness of tax cheats getting bonuses as “civil servants” is the unresolved matter of public debate.

blammm on April 23, 2014 at 8:52 AM

I worked for the phone company as hourly and management for 27 years and I never saw a bonus. Why is there a bonus plan for govt employees anyway? They are paid on average higher than the private sector and I’m sure they have great benefits, too. How many other agencies pay bonuses? Maybe the blm swat team sent to Bundy’s ranch should get hazardous duty pay.

Kissmygrits on April 23, 2014 at 9:31 AM

These bonuses are obscene on so many levels.

First, very few companies award bonuses – those that do normally limit those to a) top management, and it is tied to ACTUAL performance – meeting goals on sales, profitability, growth, etc and they get dinged for not making any one of the goals; or b) sales force, but it is not really bonus for doing well, it is part of the compensation package, which they pay for with reduced salaries during the year.

And these bonuses are like nothing I have seen in the real world. Lois Lerner’s salary was in the $170k’s range, and her bonuses averaged over $30K per year – almost 20% of salary! This is clearly just a method to get around federal pay level requirements.

We hear the argument that government pay is lower than private sector, but it is not any more; through all the recessions and lack of income growth over the last 20 years in the private sector, federal pay is as good or better than most. And the benefits are THE gold standard compared to any private sector companies. Retirement alone would more than offset any lower wages, but tag on cadillac health care, the fact that they don’t really do that much, they have no measurements that they are held to, no one can be fired, etc, etc and then the bonuses?

Laugh in the face of anyone who claims that they are in public “service” or a “public servant”. We are the servants now.

GlobalTrvlr on April 23, 2014 at 9:37 AM

You make good tactical points, but miss the big picture. What does your valuable job skills say about the nature of our tax law?
Fenris on April 23, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Not much, in my case. A third of the training is the ancient core system, another third is the suite of secondary and tertiary systems surrounding it (I personally use 9 of them, and know of four more directly), and the last third is tax law. That last third is more extensive than most, as I’m in identity theft fraud prevention.

That’s not to say the tax code isn’t an obscene, bloated fabrication of politicians and their pet projects. I have all thirteen, 1000-1200 page long, volumes of the Internal Revenue Code sitting on my desk. I, along with my team, fight with this monstrosity of absurd technicalities daily to stop criminals, thieves, and fraudsters, by identifying and assisting their victims before working back to the source.

These bonuses are obscene on so many levels.

Let’s look into the details behind that statement, shall we?

First, very few companies award bonuses – those that do normally limit those to a) top management, and it is tied to ACTUAL performance – meeting goals on sales, profitability, growth, etc and they get dinged for not making any one of the goals; or b) sales force, but it is not really bonus for doing well, it is part of the compensation package, which they pay for with reduced salaries during the year.

I’ve worked in the private sector 12 years before moving to the public sector. Almost every company I’ve worked for has had some sort of profit sharing, supplemental commission, or other “bonus” scheme by another name based on store performance against budgets. It’s considered normal “best practices” for encouraging performance in the modern world, from entry level to CEO’s.

And these bonuses are like nothing I have seen in the real world. Lois Lerner’s salary was in the $170k’s range, and her bonuses averaged over $30K per year – almost 20% of salary! This is clearly just a method to get around federal pay level requirements.

Whoa. I’d really like a bonus like that one! On my $36k salary, I only got $300! And I’m a union member! Oh, wait…she was awarded $42k over 4 years…basic math says that’s $10.5k/year, or around 6% of her salary. Given who it is, I have the personal belief she should be repaying every penny given to her out of the public trust. Regardless, before you complain, try to have your facts straight and not construct a strawman attacking the entire org out of one political hack.

We hear the argument that government pay is lower than private sector, but it is not any more; through all the recessions and lack of income growth over the last 20 years in the private sector, federal pay is as good or better than most. And the benefits are THE gold standard compared to any private sector companies. Retirement alone would more than offset any lower wages, but tag on cadillac health care, the fact that they don’t really do that much, they have no measurements that they are held to, no one can be fired, etc, etc and then the bonuses?

Statistics is a wonderful thing…you can make it say anything you want. If you compare specific roles and capabilities, we are paid between 20% and 40% less than our private sector counterparts. That is made up for by generous benefits, yes, but they are hardly “THE gold standard” anymore. They also sure as heck aren’t free…we pay in 29%, which is 14% more than I’ve ever had to pay at a private sector company. Of course, the coverage IS better.

As to the rest of your tripe, the vast majority of departments are on production, which means minimum productivity standards. Meeting those does not earn a bonus; you have to exceed them in every regard. We are judged only by our LOWEST performance against standard. If one component is below minimum, it’s a write-up; 3 misses, you’re fired. Pretty much like the sales jobs I’ve worked in that regard. Now, once you’ve been there a few years, there tends to be some leeway, but there’s no guarantee of that.

And lastly…the bonuses. Did you know most IRS employees are seasonal? That means that earning a bonus means the work gets done faster, and we’re furloughed (let go with no pay, but a promise to be called back for the next year) sooner. In general, that means exceeding minimum performance by 10%-20% for a bonus worth 3%-6% of our salary, typically cutting our season by 1-2 months. Do the math versus us having no push to do anything beyond bare minimum.

Laugh in the face of anyone who claims that they are in public “service” or a “public servant”. We are the servants now.

GlobalTrvlr on April 23, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Tell that to the people I’ve had to help through finding out they’re the victims of identity theft.

Asurea on April 23, 2014 at 1:40 PM

No government employee anywhere should ever get a bonus. They do not produce anything and only suck the wealth out of the economy. This is just another example of why we have a criminal government.

earlgrey on April 23, 2014 at 4:26 PM

No government employee anywhere should ever get a bonus. They do not produce anything and only suck the wealth out of the economy. This is just another example of why we have a criminal government.
earlgrey on April 23, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Yep, sure haven’t earned my $36k, with the ~$2 mil in direct tax fraud I personally stopped and ~$12 mil in private sector fraud I helped stop or identify. Those victims of crime sure knew exactly how to go deal with the problems themselves.

That’s sarcasm, by the way. Those numbers don’t include the improvements I helped make in the program or the unofficial training sessions I conducted on my personal time to improve other reps’ performance.

Asurea on April 23, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Replace “piles of money” with “their fair share” and you have defined the DemoncRat Party hypocrisy to a tee.

aposematic on April 23, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Asurea on April 23, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Thanks for all the helpful information.
I think we are mostly reacting negatively to the idea of bonuses for the upper-management that are politicizing the IRS, rather than the “worker bees” that are actually getting the job done.

PS If I ever have an ID theft problem, how do I ask for you to handle our case??

AesopFan on April 23, 2014 at 9:40 PM