Man working from home in bed by Microbiz Mag is licensed under CC BY 2.0 DEED.

During the Feb. 15 House Ways and Means Committee hearing, IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel revealed that only half of IRS employees bother to come into the office.

Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kansas) asked what percentage of workers come into the office.

Werfel: “It is 50% on site versus 50% working in some remote location.”

Estes: “How can somebody in a remote location be handling those tax returns? That just seems to me that it’s not doing the job that needs to be done to help serve as American constituents.”

Click here or below to see Werfel’s brief comment.

IRS chief Werfel also said in-person attendance in the Washington D.C. IRS headquarters building itself was likely less than 50%. This was in response to a line of questioning from Congressman David Kustoff (R-Tenn.)

Kustoff: “Do you know on an average day, Commissioner, how much of your headquarters building is being used?

Werfel: “In Washington, I don’t have that number at my fingertips.”

Kustoff: “Would you say it’s less than 50 percent?”

Werfel: “It may be because as I mentioned earlier, overall the IRS is roughly in line with the government wide standard of 50 percent. So because it’s an average, it may be under.

Werfel should have been able to provide an exact percentage. Future hearings should re-examine this topic.

Bizarrely, many IRS agents are allowed to use their personal phones and laptops to access, handle, store, and transmit the most sensitive taxpayer information. This is referred to as “Bring Your Own Device” — as opposed to accepting a government-issued device. The official IRS watchdog — the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration — has raised significant concerns about the data security risks of such devices.

If housemates, significant others and kids have access to these personal devices at home, common sense indicates there are more opportunities for sensitive data breaches.