A report released Tuesday examining a reward system for the Internal Revenue Service employees exposed a rather significant flaw — sometimes the employees receiving rewards owed federal taxes.
The Associated Press reports that, between October 2010 and December 2012, more than $2.8 million in bonuses were paid to more than 2,800 employees who faced disciplinary action within the previous year. This new information comes from a report released today by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.
Of those 2,800 rewarded employees, 1,150 failed to pay their federal taxes and received about $1 million in bonuses. The rewards were not entirely monetary, though, as USA Today explains:
Employees with tax problems received a total of 10,582 hours of paid time off — valued at about $250,000 — and 69 received permanent raises through a step increase, the report said. The report looked at bonuses in 2011 and 2012.
The other employees who faced discipline and received performance bonuses were real winners, too. Their crimes include "misusing government credit cards for travel, drug use, violent threats and fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits," according to the AP.
Astonishingly, not paying taxes does not exclude IRS employees from receiving performance rewards. The report mentions that while the IRS did not violate employee regulations by rewarding these employees, "it is inconsistent with the IRS mission to enforce tax laws."
The IRS tried to find some silver linings in the report's conclusions — at least the IRS didn't reward any executives or senior employees. "Even without a formal policy in place over the past four years, the IRS has not issued awards to any executives that were subject to a disciplinary action," the IRS said in a statement. "We are also considering a similar policy for the entire IRS workforce, which would be subject to negotiations with the National Treasury Employees Union." All of the questionable money went to the little guy.