Paul L. Caron

Monday, March 19, 2012

TIGTA: IRS Failed to Adequately Screen 77% of New Hires

TIGTA The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration today released Inspection of the Employee Pre-Screening Process (2012-IE-R003):

In Fiscal Year 2010, taxpayers filed over 230 million tax returns that contained sensitive financial information. Because many IRS employees must have access to sensitive taxpayer information to administer the Nation’s tax system, the IRS must be particularly cognizant of hiring only those applicants who hold themselves to the highest standards of integrity. The IRS uses several controls to deter and detect the abuse of sensitive information. Pre-screening applicants and conducting background investigations on them are the initial steps in the process of ensuring that the IRS meets the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and security.

The IRS has implemented controls designed to ensure that applicants pursuing permanent or temporary employment with the IRS are suitable, and background investigation requests are properly initiated. However, our review at four of nine Employment Operations branch offices revealed that nearly 77% of the cases reviewed (507 of 662 cases) did not have sufficient documentation that would allow us to verify that the Employment Operations offices completed all of the required pre-screening steps before the employee reported for duty.

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This is no big deal. It's not like the IRS new hires were brought on board to do anything particularly important, like operate the fiscal management and enforcement activities of Obamacare.

Oh wait a minute...

Posted by: Joe Blow | Mar 19, 2012 12:20:33 PM

When I was hired as an IRS trial attorney in 1972 I underwent an FBI background check, a three year audit of my tax returns, and had to move out of my home state (OH) in order to avoid even the appearance of a potential conflict of interest.

I was also trained rigorously to be cognizant of the powers vested in us at the IRS (liens, levies, audits, prosecutions, etc.). The Service was restrained and professional.

I cannot say that today with the attorneys being unionized and the politicization of the audit process. The job I took out of law school no longer exists; I would no longer recommend it to any young tax lawyer.

Posted by: Dan Westerbeck | Mar 19, 2012 11:21:05 AM

The wife used to be an IRS Contracts Lawyer. One additional factiod is that they (may still do) run a file compare on April 16th between the IRS payroll and the tax returns filed. If your name doesn't show up, expect a painful meeting with your boss.

The wife handled the taxes. She filed Jointly, listing herself first and me as the spouse. When we got our refund check, My (male) name came first and hers showed her first name and a truncated last name. I expect their SW didn't expect Joint returns with different last names. (1986). Anyway, for most folks it doesn't matter, but for us, yes, after April 16th, she had to prove she had filed.

Posted by: The Drill SGT | Mar 19, 2012 11:17:45 AM