Lawmakers Want IRS Tax Cheats Blocked from Getting Bonuses

A group of Republican senators introduced a bill today to cut off bonuses to misbehaving IRS employees -- including ones who cheat on their taxes or are late filing.

Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) unveiled the No Bonuses for Delinquent IRS Employees Act, which would "prohibit the IRS from providing any performance award to any IRS employee who owes an outstanding federal tax debt" and "block any performance award to an employee who has entered into an installment payment plan for an outstanding tax liability until the payment plan has been completed."

A companion bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas).

A report from the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration released last week found that nearly 70 percent of IRS staffers received some sort of performance bonus.

About $3 million of those awards, though, went to employees who had violations on their work records including citations for drug use, making violent threats, fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits, and misusing government credit cards.

And about half of that $3 million consisted of bonuses to 1,100 employees who have been delinquent in paying their own taxes or otherwise violated U.S. tax law.

“To reward employees who violate the very tax laws the IRS is responsible for enforcing is inexplicable and outrageous,” said Isakson. “I’ve heard from Georgians from across the state who have lost all confidence in the IRS and this is exactly why. We must hold the IRS accountable on behalf of the American taxpayer to ensure we put an end to the unacceptable behavior exhibited by this agency.”

Johnson said the report confirms that the IRS is "simply out of control."

"This bonus scandal comes at a time when the IRS is under fire for targeting Americans based on their beliefs and amid reports that reveal IRS workers broke the law by engaging in political activity on the job," the Texas congressman said.

“IRS employees are failing to comply with the very laws they were hired to enforce. Worse, it further proves that Washington doesn’t respect nor care how Americans’ hard earned tax dollars are spent. It’s time for the IRS to respect hardworking American taxpayers."