As tax day approaches, here’s an enraging story; so many federal workers—especially at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—blow off paying taxes that legislation has been crafted to ban the offenders from receiving millions of dollars in bonus pay, which of course comes from public funds.
Federal employees were delinquent on $3.4 billion in taxes, according to a federal audit released last year yet Uncle Sam rewarded the violators with millions in bonus pay. At the IRS alone, staff members with violations received close to $3 million in awards on top of their regular salary. Some got the extra cash despite being cited for using drugs, making violent threats, fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits and misusing government credit cards, reveals the U.S. Senator, Pat Roberts of Kansas, who introduced the new law to stop the madness.
“This cannot be tolerated,” said Roberts, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Finance, in a statement. So the lawmaker recently introduced a measure (Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act) to stop the costly fraud, which has long been the norm in government. The law would require federal employees to be current on their income taxes—like the rest of us—and prevent those who are delinquent in paying federal tax liability from receiving a bonus or cash award. It’s pathetic that this culture is so flagrant that a law must be passed to correct it. The respective agencies should simply end this corrupt practice on their own.
Although tax-evading IRS employees aren’t the only ones benefiting from this fraud-infested system, the agency is the biggest offender. In fact, the previously cited federal audit, conducted by the IRS Inspector General, reveals that nearly 70% of IRS employees receive some sort of performance reward. This is especially enraging because the agency is perpetually embroiled in scandal, including a huge one uncovered by Judicial Watch; the IRS illegally colluded with other federal agencies to crack down on conservative nonprofit groups during the 2012 election cycle. In the last year JW has obtained droves of IRS records that expose the depth of the disgraceful scandal.
A multitude of other transgressions have also landed the famously inept tax agency in hot water over the years and JW has reported many of them. For instance, the IRS has long allowed prison inmates to fraudulently receive tens of millions of dollars in tax refunds. This atrocity has been well documented for more than a decade by the agency’s watchdog yet it continues. In fact, just a few years ago one of its probes revealed that the number of jailed convicts that swindled the government increased from 18,000 to over 91,000 during a six-year period and refunds skyrocketed from $68 million to $757 million. This hasn’t stopped the IRS from cutting checks to convicted felons.
The agency, which operates under the Treasury Department, has also given illegal immigrants billions of dollars in refunds by allowing them to improperly claim tax credits that they don’t qualify for. It doesn’t end there. A few years ago the IRS granted $33 million in bogus electric car credits to gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles and even a bicycle. The credits, worth up to $7,500 per filer, are part of the Obama administration’s aggressive plan to reward consumers that purchase costly “advanced-technology” vehicles so the IRS just pushed them through without much scrutiny.
While all this has been going on the agency sits idly by when federal lawmakers like veteran Congressman Charles Rangel fail to pay their taxes. When the Harlem Democrat chaired the House Ways and Means Committee, the committee in charge of writing tax policy for the entire nation, he “forgot” to pay taxes on income he received from a rental property in the Dominican Republic and the IRS did nothing. Renowned civil rights activist and one-time presidential candidate Al Sharpton also owed the government around $1.5 million in taxes and penalties a few years ago and nothing happened to him. The IRS also let former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, best known for appearing in an FBI surveillance video smoking crack, slide on paying his taxes for years.