April 23, 2014

Manchin to IRS Commissioner: No Taxes, No Bonuses

Manchin sends letter to IRS Commissioner calling on immediate action to rescind bonuses of IRS employees who owe federal taxes

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today sent a letter to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen demanding immediate action to rescind bonuses given to IRS employees who have serious federal tax issues. According to a recent Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s report, between October 2010 and December 2012, more than 1,100 IRS tax-delinquent employees received an excess of $1 million in cash bonuses and 10,000 hours in time-off rewards.

Please read Senator Manchin’s full text of the letter to Commissioner Koskinen below.

Dear Commissioner Koskinen,

I am appalled by the findings outlined in the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s recent report that exposes millions of dollars in bonuses and awards paid to Internal Revenue Service employees with conduct issues and federal tax compliance problems. This is completely unacceptable and must be remedied immediately.

The faith of the American people in the integrity of their government is corroded every time gross negligence and indecency of this sort comes to light. How can we expect the American people—many of whom are struggling to make ends meet—to trust their government when they learn that the very agency charged with collecting their tax dollars is rewarding employees who haven’t paid theirs? According to the report, between October 2010 and December 2012, more than 1,100 IRS employees with federal tax compliance problems received more than $1 million in cash bonuses and 10,000 hours in time-off awards. No federal agency should reward tax-delinquent employees with taxpayer-funded bonuses and rewards, least of all the IRS.

While I understand that the time period covered by the TIGTA report preceded your tenure at the IRS, it is now your responsibility, as Commissioner, to take swift action. Not only should the IRS implement the Inspector General’s recommendation that all future bonuses and performance awards be limited to IRS employees who are fully compliant with federal tax law, but the IRS should also rescind the $1 million-plus in awards provided to the 1,100 IRS employees with substantiated tax compliance problems between 2010 and 2012. Each employee’s cash bonus should be held in escrow by the IRS until his or her outstanding tax compliance problems are addressed.

The IRS’s unique and sensitive responsibility of collecting taxes from millions of hard-working Americans puts the agency under a greater degree of scrutiny, requiring the utmost accountability and integrity from your 98,000 employees. I look forward to your expedient response and offer my assistance to enact any statutory changes required to comply with the policies outlined in this letter and the TIGTA report.

Senator Joe Manchin III