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AS I SEE IT

Posted 4/29/14 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

It is a good time to be an employee of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). A very good time!
Most Americans dread the April 15 deadline for filing their income taxes the same way that they dread going to the dentist for a root canal. The fear and angst isn’t so much the huge process of annually sorting through all of your income statements and then trying to find receipts for all of your deductions. And it’s not laboring hours over the income tax form which has become so complicated that most people now rely on paying someone else to do the job for them. What has them tossing and turning before and after April 15 is the thought that maybe, just maybe, they mess up and put the wrong figure on the wrong line. Or maybe they forgot to include something. And what then happens when the IRS comes knocking on their door and hits them with a hefty penalty for making a mistake.
If you’re an average American and you screw up at tax time, you just know that there is going to be “hell to pay.” And you know that the IRS is going to find you and make you pay dearly for making a mistake. And God forbid, should you be so foolish as to decide not to file your income taxes, you know that the government will hunt you down and throw you in jail.
But, according to a recent government investigation, if you happen to be an IRS employee, you don’t have to worry about such trivial things as paying taxes. Heck you don’t even have to worry about being a good IRS employee.
And to make matters worse, if you are an IRS employee who decides not to pay their taxes, you may just be in line to get a bonus, more paid time off and even be promoted faster than your counterparts.
According to J. Russell George, the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, from October 2010 through December 2012, more than 2,800 IRS workers received bonuses despite facing disciplinary action in the previous year for such things as misusing government credit cards for travel, drug use, violent threats and fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits. And by the way, 1,150 of those who received bonuses owed back taxes. To add insult to injury, some of those same IRS employees, who decided not to pay their taxes, received more than 10,000 hours of extra time off and received 69 faster-than-normal paygrade increases.
Indeed, it is a great time to be working for the IRS.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. It is just the latest news on how badly out of step with reality the IRS has become and how badly government agencies are out of control.
In the world of private business, employees who cheat or commit crimes are usually fired. And employees who are reprimanded don’t get bonuses, receive more paid time off or get promoted.
The IRS really blew it when they decided to dole out these bonuses and other perks to undeserving employees.
In fairness to the hardworking American taxpayers who are footing the bill for this foolishness, the IRS should immediately rescind those bonuses to the non-deserving employees. And for those IRS employees who owe back taxes, unless they have received the same type of tax extension that any normal taxpayers would have to obtain, they should immediately be terminated.
American taxpayers deserve better from the IRS than this.