IRS Agents Caught Snooping on Taxpayer Data Rehired

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Friday, February 6th, 2015, 3:08 PM PERMALINK

The IRS is failing to perform basic due diligence in its rehiring decisions, a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) shows. The agency has rehired employees who engaged in misconduct during previous stints of employment, including unauthorized access of taxpayer accounts, failure to file or pay taxes, and fraud and falsification of employment forms.

But the portion of the report that ostensibly provides details of the breaches of taxpayer information has been redacted:


From this sample of rehired employees, the IRS also found “an additional 108 of the rehired employees had prior substantiated employment conduct issues.” Violations included 11 employees found to have made ‘unauthorized access of taxpayer accounts, four that committed fraud and 17 that had falsified employment forms.

As TIGTA points out, rehiring these employees presents a danger to taxpayers:

“Rehiring prior employees who have experienced conduct and performance issues during their IRS employment presents increased risk to the IRS and taxpayers.”

It is alarming that the IRS is rehiring employees that have inappropriately accessed taxpayer data, given the agency’s history of mishandling sensitive information. Just last year, the IRS admitted it had illegally leaked the confidential tax information of the National Organization for Marriage. For its crime, the agency paid a token fine of $50,000.

"Following previous scandals, the IRS insisted they would deal harshly with IRS staff who abuse the privacy of American taxpayers," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "We now know what that means: they would give them a job.”

In its response to the report, the IRS claims that the problem has been resolved. However, TIGTA directly refutes this claim. In fact the report finds that a number of cases occurred after the IRS supposedly resolved this problem:

“The IRS stated that it completely revamped its process in 2012 and appropriately considers prior conduct and performance in hiring decisions. However, we remain concerned because IRS records indicate that in 2012 and 2013 it hired individuals with prior significant IRS-substantiated conduct and performance issues.”​

See also: 
IRS Chief: "We Still Have Applications That Were Running When JFK Was President"
IRS Breaks Law, Refuses to Produce Tax Complexity Reports
IRS Watchdog: Elderly and Disabled Taxpayers Not Allowed to Leave Messages

 

 

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