February 05,2015

Press Contact:

Aaron Fobes, Julia Lawless (202) 224-4515

TIGTA: IRS Rehired Employees with Substantial Conduct Issues

WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today highlighted a new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) which found that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rehired hundreds of employees with performance and conduct issues.  The inspector general found that between January 2010 and September 2013, of the more than 7,000 former employees hired by the IRS, 824 of those employees, or 11 percent, had prior substantiated employment issues.

“As if asking for a budget increase while still awarding bonuses to IRS employees that owe back taxes wasn’t rich enough, today we learn the IRS spent federal funds to rehire those with known, and often serious, employment problems,” Hatch said.  “IRS employees must be held to high standards to ensure that taxpayers are protected, and there is no reason to hire employees who have already failed to uphold those expectations. Sadly, such double standards often fall on the backs of hard-working taxpayers. I look forward to working with the Commissioner to ensure that the IRS takes measures to prevent these practices from continuing in the future.”

Findings of the report include:

  • Between January 2010 and September 2013, the IRS hired more than 7,000 former employees.  824 of these employees (11%) had prior substantiated employment issues:
  • 141 had a prior tax issue, including 5 who were found to have willfully failed to file their tax returns, which requires termination of employment under section 1203 of the 1998 IRS Restructuring and Reform Act.
  • Other types of prior misconduct include unauthorized access of taxpayer accounts (11 employees), fraud (4 employees), falsification of documents (17 employees), and threats, sexual harassment, and criminal misconduct (5 employees).
  • Some of the re-hired employees had been formally removed from federal service during their previous employment with the IRS.
  • Some of the re-hired employees were placed into their former positions in which prior performance deficiencies had been documented.
  • In a sample, TIGTA found that 20% of rehired employees with previous problems had new conduct or performance issues during their re-employment, including unauthorized access to tax account information and tax noncompliance. TIGTA found that these employees may put taxpayers at increased risk.
  • “The IRS stated that, during the process of evaluating qualifications of applicants, prior IRS conduct and performance issues do not play a significant role in deciding the candidates who are best qualified for hiring.”
  • TIGTA recommended that the IRS consult with its legal counsel and the Office of Personnel Management to determine if it can take additional measures to consider prior conduct and performance issues during the hiring process.