It’s Tax Week. Should your money be going to bonuses for IRS employees who don’t even pay their own taxes?
The IRS is the agency tasked with collecting taxes — yet during the past two fiscal years, 26 employees of the IRS who had tax violations themselves nonetheless received financial bonuses.
During that same timeframe, more than $1.7 million in financial bonuses and awards were given to employees of the IRS who had received any form of disciplinary action during the previous year, according to a February reportfrom the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the chief watchdog for the IRS.
What the bill does
With H.R. 1599: No Bonuses for Tax Delinquent IRS Employees Act, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would no longer be able to give financial bonuses to agency employees who themselves owe back taxes. It also prevents giving extra time off to such employees as well.
The bill was introduced in March 2017 by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX3).
What supporters say
Supporters argue the bill prevents an ill-advised use of funds from tax-paying citizens to tax-avoiding citizens.
“The fact that the IRS has given out bonuses and other rewards to its employees who owe back taxes is disgraceful,” lead sponsor Johnson said in a press release. “The people who are hired to enforce our tax laws should not be delinquent on their own taxes, let along be rewarded bonuses. Even worse, these bonuses are paid for by tax dollars. What has been going on is a slap in the face to law-abiding, tax-paying citizens, and I’m working to end this now.”
What opponents say
Others say the IRS is largely solving these problems on their own, without the need for federal legislation.
As the report notes, the number of IRS employees with tax compliant problems who received financial bonuses is down substantially, from more than 1,100 employees between 2010 and 2012. The report also notes that the IRS denied financial awards to dozens more.
Odds of passage
The bill has attracted 27 House cosponsors, all Republicans. It awaits a possible vote in the House Ways and Means Committee, where Johnson sits.