June 5, 2013

It’s been a rough few months for the IRS, between mandatory furloughs and the latest news on the IRS and gross overspending… They can’t catch a break.

First, the IRS came under fire for allegedly targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny when those groups filed for tax-exempt status. Now, the IRS is under the microscope for gross overspending on conferences. According to a congressional briefing by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the IRS spent over $50 million at 225 conferences between 2010 and 2012.

What exactly did the IRS get for that $50 million, you might ask? That’s a good question. $17,000 went to a speaker who conducted a workshop on “Leadership through Art” in which the speaker drew pictures of Bono and Einstein in order to encourage IRS employees to adopt an outside-the-box approach to problem solving. Another speaker was paid $27,500 for two speeches about how “random combinations of ideas can lead to radical innovations.” At a 2010 conference 132 IRS employees stayed in hotel presidential suites—rooms that can run between $1500 and $3500 a night.

In 2010, the agency held a conference in Philadelphia that cost $2.9 million, one in San Diego that cost $1.2 million and another in Atlanta that also cost $1.2 million.

All of these conferences would violate new rules imposed by the White House budget office in 2012 that cap expenses for a single conference at $500,000. In 2010 alone, the IRS had 13 conferences that cost more than that. – Concord Monitor

Other expensive included producing motivational videos such as a Star Trek parody and a video of government employees learning the Cupid Shuffle.

Though recent events will put the IRS under additional scrutiny, the IRS will continue to fulfill its most important job: enforcing United State tax laws and collecting federal taxes. Though the IRS’s overspending is good fodder for the late night comics, if you owe the IRS money the bad publicity doesn’t mean that you can take your tax debt any less seriously.

Actually, facts show that the IRS is getting more efficient and more effective at processing collections. In 2012 the IRS audited 1.5 million individual returns—about 1% of all individual returns filed. Of that 1% audited, 75% of returns received a letter stating that there was an error on their return. Overall, the IRS spent about 48 cents for every $100 they collected. Those are pretty impressive numbers—impressive enough to give you pause if you’re the person on the other end of the collection letter.

Despite the bad press, the IRS isn’t getting lazier or more forgiving. Reconciling tax debt can be intimidating, but our tax-relief experts can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.