June 27 2013
Keystone Cops: IRS’ Amazing, Costly Blunders
Vicki E. Alger
If you’re preparing your quarterly taxes, your blood’s probably already boiling. The IRS’ recent blunders don’t help. The first are compiled by the Cato Institute’s Daniel Mitchell:
- In 2011, nearly 24,000 “unauthorized” alien workers received over $46 million in IRS refunds—all mailed to the same address. (For more see here and here.)
- The IRS sent more than $9 million worth of home-buyer tax credits to nearly 1,300 prison inmates, including 241 inmates who were on death row. In all, this credit scam costs taxpayers around $10 billion annually.
But that’s not all. According to audits by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA):
- IRS employees used purchase cards to wine and dine foreign officials with $100+ apiece lunches and dinners. “TIGTA did not find any Department of the Treasury or IRS criteria to assess the reasonableness of these charges, but TIGTA considers the costs related to this entertainment to be high.” Ya think?
- Between 2010 and 2012 more than 2,600 IRS higher-ups partied hard to the tune of $4.1 million at three swanky California hotels. (More here.)
As we know, bureaucratic accountability is an oxymoron. So how about this: dock the paychecks of the 100,000 or so IRS employees at the highest income tax rate until all the money this agency has squandered is paid back to the taxpaying public. It’s more likely no one would want to work at the IRS any more.
We may not get our money back, but then again we’d have fewer people willing to work for the IRS.