IRS employees who owe taxes received money, rewards

(WJLA) - An agency tasked with holding Americans accountable is now the subject of some bitter irony.

IRS employees who are in trouble for either not paying their own taxes or guilty of other disciplinary problems have been receiving big bonuses.

Over a two-year period, employees in trouble from issues ranging from misuse of government credit cards to drug use to violent threats and fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits to lying on time sheets, were rewarded.

More than 2,800 employees with recent conduct issues received more than $2.8 million and 27,000 hours in time-off awards. More alarming, more than 1,100 of those workers with tax problems of their own got more than $1 million in cash and 10,000 hours in time-off awards.

"Certainly, someone that's an egregious tax offender working at the IRS probably shouldn't be getting a performance reward," said Gregory Kutz, Assistant Inspector General with the Treasury Department.

The inspector General’s Office, which uncovered the problems, calls what’s been happening here a lack of common sense. But even the IRS points out that policies considering conduct while granting awards is rare, saying that out of 28 federal and state agencies it examined, only one specifically prohibited bonuses for employees in trouble.

Senator Tim Kaine, however, wants to make a change, demanding a thorough examination of other agencies as well.