Last Updated:July 28 @ 07:05 pm

IRS execs rack up big travel bills

By USA Today

Two high-ranking IRS employees may have traveled more days than they worked over the past two years, according to a Treasury inspector's report released Tuesday.

And at least 15 executives traveled to another office -- typically Washington -- for more than half of their workdays, raising questions about whether they should have been assigned to IRS headquarters in the first place, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said.

The inspectors are looking into whether the tax agency may have itself evaded taxes by failing to disclose the benefit of the travel on withholding statements for those employees. Under IRS regulations, travel expenses are taxable if the employee works at a site for more than a year.

The review is the latest in a string of reports critical of management failures at the tax agency, including the processing of tax-exempt applications for political groups and excessive conference spending.

The inspector general said the agency's overall travel does not appear to be excessive. The 373 most senior executives spent $4.7 million on travel in fiscal year 2012, down slightly from the previous year. Most spent less than $10,000 on travel during the year. The report does not allege that executives claimed reimbursements above the government rates or took improper perks like suite upgrades.

A number of executives took repeated trips to the same cities. In many cases, the IRS recruited managers for jobs at the Washington headquarters but didn't require them to move to D.C., Deputy Inspector General David Holmgren said.

"To us, that's important," Holmgren said in a conference call with reporters. "There's nothing improper about staying the weekends and holidays, but when it was to the same location over and over again, it appeared those individuals may not have the proper or appropriate place of duty."

One executive -- identified only as "Executive D" -- spent 413 days on the road in 2011 and 2012, spending $283,491 on travel, according to the report. Almost all of that travel was to Washington.

The IRS says executive travel is necessary in an organization with 90,000 employees in 620 locations. "The employees best prepared to handle these demanding and complex jobs may not always live where the position is located and may not be in a position to relocate, necessitating some additional travel," IRS Chief Financial Officer Pamela LaRue said in a written response to inspectors. But she acknowledged that "long-term travel by a few executives represents an excessive expense we cannot sustain."

Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel must now personally approve any executive's traveling more than 75 days a year on business, she said.

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25 Comments

  1. inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
    July 24, 2013 @ 8:04 am

    The more you travel, the more you can pad your expense account at the taxpayers expense.

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    • mrwilsonComment by mrwilson
      July 24, 2013 @ 12:15 pm

      I could use a few extra millions of dollars every year. When I just consider the great numbers of little hungry American children that could be fed….
      There must be a fortune to be made as the “Travel Agent” for a part or even all of these federal employees. Has this been done? What am I thinking or rather, not thinking? “Travelgate,” circa what? 1993 or 4? That was all about “The White House Travel Office,” and the alleged firings and hirings of the Clinton friends. Some one on these pages must know. Does the State Department also have it’s very own inner-office travel agents? How about the Pentagon and the DOD?
      I don’t know how big the take is for a travel agent. I know the last time I crossed the Atlantic by ship, I was able to save, or rather “not-spend,” some 20% by buying my tickets directly from the owners of the ship over the price quoted to me by my travel agent.

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    • dickgComment by dickg
      July 24, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

      All major government agencies have an integral “travel office” which arranges for employee travel.
      .
      As best I can remember from DoD experience, there was no discount, but travel could be cancelled without any penalty.
      .
      The way to make money with government travel, is with the “per-diem” (daily expenses) reimbursement. The amount of per-diem depended upon the area you traveled to.
      .
      Washington, DC would be a “high” per-diem area, as would Anchorage, Alaska or places like Vail, CO or Maui, Hawaii.
      .
      Vail and Maui, I might add, are also very high per-diem spots, and favorites for agency “conventions”.
      .

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    • mcrankComment by mcrank
      July 24, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

      Abolish the Irresponsible Revenue Service

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    • tinawilsonComment by tinawilson
      July 24, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

      my neighbor’s sister makes ($)76/hr on the computer. She has been fired for eight months but last month her paycheck was ($)16318 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this web site… c­a­n9­9.ℂ­ℴ­M

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  2. sam236Comment by sam236
    July 24, 2013 @ 9:04 am

    If someone takes a job based in Washington D.C. but “isn’t in the position to relocate,” the cost of travel should be covered by the employee, not the IRS. Why should taxpayers be on the hook for an employee’s poor decision to live far, far away from their work site? This is yet another example of the IRS playing fast and loose with our tax dollars.

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    • stopspendingComment by stopspending
      July 24, 2013 @ 9:16 am

      Also got to wonder when they were traveling? Was it between 9-5, Monday – Friday or were they also traveling on our dime when they should have been working?

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    • sumitchComment by sumitch
      July 24, 2013 @ 10:59 am

      There are many reasons why an employee might not move from one job location to another. Ultimately it’s their decision. Sometimes a company will threaten the employee with the loss of any future opportunities for promotion or even to terminate an employee if they refuse to move which seems to me to be rather short sighted of the company or extortion (that may be a stretch). If the employee that is offered the position refuses to relocate, terminating the employee that has obviously preformed well or they would not be offered the relocation is cutting off the company nose to spite their face. If they are unable or unwilling to relocate for personal reasons then another employee should be offered the position. There’s no way under normal conditions that a single employee is so vitally needed in a position that they must move. If the entire company is relocating, that’s a different circumstance. In some cases occasional travel from the employees existing location to another may actually be cheaper than the cost of moving them. Obviously (to me) if an employee is traveling as much as is reported above, and the travel is always to the same location a close look should be taken at the reasons for travel and the expense reports. If the travel is to different locations it may simply be the nature of the job. As reported this seems to me to be another case of the government committee responsible for oversight not doing their job.

      On a personal note, I worked for a major company whose human resources department decided to not let any traveling employee stay over the weekend when they traveled. In several instances I showed my boss that paying for the motel and meals and possibly a car for a weekend would be cheaper than the cost of flying out on Friday and returning to the same place on Monday. There was no way they were going to make an exception regardless of the circumstances or facts. It seemed to me to be a waste of my working hours and company money. Then the human resources decided that any frequent flyer miles must be turned over to them. Somehow I (and several others) never got around to joining any of these programs. My decision was based solely on my hard head that decided that if I was to suffer the inconvenience of the travel and earned the miles there was no way some tie in the human resources was going to get free travel from me.

      P. S. Nassau’s not bad, but pretty expensive. Barbados is a waste of time and money.

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  3. faaqComment by faaq
    July 24, 2013 @ 9:06 am

    In the private sector, you might be put up in a hotel or temporary housing for no more than 6 months. If you take the job, you are required to move. If you don’t want to relocate, don’t take the job. And if you’re adament about not relocating, a private company won’t offer you the job. It’s as simple as that.

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  4. MadeinAmerica33Comment by MadeinAmerica33
    July 24, 2013 @ 9:19 am

    Come on , They needed to travel to DC to get their marching orders from the BHO Administration. On how to mess with the Tea Party people or anyone else that speaks out against the administration.
    Oh yes! and to party on on the taxpayer’s dime!

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  5. DeliaComment by Delia
    July 24, 2013 @ 9:34 am

    The IRS should be abolished. It is expensive, inefficient and used as a political tool. We need to return to import tariffs and excise taxes as stated in the Constitution. Ben Franklin et al started a 5% across the board import tariff and that should be reinstated on everything from everywhere and income taxes eliminated. Congress ability to change import tariffs and tax laws allows them to benefit those who donate to their campaigns. The greatest industrialized, most prosperous nation was created using that system. Back before “big government” began “taxing the rich to help the poor” about 8% were poor, 88% were middle class. Now 20% are on food stamps I’d call that poor, the middle class is being eliminated and “wealth inequality” is at an all time high. As our government has become entirely rogue and corrupt they are getting rich.

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    • Cape ConservativeComment by Cape Conservative
      July 24, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

      If John Boehner had anything on the ball, he would take this GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY that has fallen right into his lap and have Paul Ryan or one of the other numbers guys come up with a SIMPLE reform of one of the worst agencies in our government. But…of course, he will let this one slip by just as he has so many others.

      TIME FOR NEW LEADERSHIP! Someone who has the backbone to stand up for what is right for America and for Americans!

      The income tax laws have grown exponentially and MUST be tossed aside for a flat or fair tax.

      Sorry our leadership is so lame as to not address this matter.

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  6. capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
    July 24, 2013 @ 9:47 am

    I.R.S. = GESTAPO

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  7. reelmanComment by reelman
    July 24, 2013 @ 10:21 am

    Wake me up when the GOP has a list of those fired or suspended WITHOUT PAY!

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    • sumitchComment by sumitch
      July 24, 2013 @ 11:15 am

      Enjoy your nap.

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  8. shafawnComment by shafawn
    July 24, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

    IRS is being used to liquefy the Republican party.

    Now we see why our forefathers were so paranoid about protecting the United States from government tyranny.

    When we hang the capitalists they will sell us the rope
    Joseph Stalin

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  9. lihartkeComment by lihartke
    July 24, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

    Someday America will look back at these Democrats and realize how self-serving they were. To be given such trust and then use that trust and that power AGAINST the American people is a crime. The whole IRS should be scrutinized and SERIOUS jail time should be given. Lois Lerner should be tried in a court with a jury. Obamas hand picked attorney that made up the questions to ask the tea party and patriot groups should be held to the same scrutiny he gave the groups. All over this country Democrats have PROVEN they are power mongers and use the power they have been given to enrich themselves. Democrats are CRIMINALS and are hurting this Country.

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    • shafawnComment by shafawn
      July 24, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

      You say “Someday America will look back”

      You are assuming America will survive turning it’s back on God.
      There is no mention of a western civilization in the book of Revelation. China, Russia, Europe and the middle east are all mentioned but there is no mention of a country in the west. All my life I wondered why until the last 4 years. Obama is the front runner for the anti-Christ.

      To whom much is given much is required and America has been given very very much more than any other nation on earth and now spits at God contemptuously. While God is merciful He is not a big cosmic sugar daddy. We entered into a contract with Him at the founding of this nation and we have broken that agreement making promise of protection and prosperity null and void.

      Remember that saying ‘Be careful what you ask for you just might get it’?
      America has demanded to be rid of God and God is going to let America have what it’s asked for and all the consequences that go with it.

      I don’t think America is going to look back and realize anything until the coming of the Son of Man and all the nations will mourn because only then will they realize God wasn’t playing around when He said ‘Choose this day whom you will serve’.

      Today if you feel God calling do not deafen your ears and harden your heart. Let Jesus have His way in your life because that is the ONLY abiding peace in the midst of this storm.

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    • sumitchComment by sumitch
      July 24, 2013 @ 8:12 pm

      Of course “America” is not mentioned in the bible. Neither was Russia, China, Europe or the Middle East. These locals were either not known about or they were known about but under different names. The Americas (Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central and South America weren’t even known about when the various books of the bible were written.

      As for “America” turning its back on God and spitting on Him, I’d just as soon you leave me out of that all inclusive grouping.

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    • shafawnComment by shafawn
      July 24, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

      Sumitch sorry this is involved but such is the subject

      The nations mentioned in the Bible who gather together against Israel at the time of Christ’s return.
      Hang on Russia involved in the end time prophecy is believed to be called the lands of Gog, Magog and Rosh Ezek. 38:1-4

      China and the Orient
      “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared” (Rev. 16:12).
      I view that coming juggernaut as the king of the kings of the east ‘the leader of all countries of the oriental world. This Revelation 16 prophecy correlates to Revelation 9: 16-18.
      I believe Bible prophecy predicts’ to eventuate in the 200-million-man army prophesied in Revelation chapter 9.

      Europe represents the revived ‘Roman Empire’ from Daniel concerning end time prophecy. Revelation 13 indicates the most tyrannical government that will ever exist and the anti-Christ will rise from the Roman empire because it was Rome who destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish temple.

      and middle east – Syria
      ‘the burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap” (Isa. 17:1). The country hosts the headquarters of every major terrorist organization in the Middle East. (Damascus will cease to be a city in prophecy so I believe Israel is going to make a parking lot there)

      Iran and Others
      “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet” (Ezek. 38:5). The Ezekiel Gog-Magog prophecy says they will be at the forefront of invading to the south toward Israel to take great ‘spoil’. Note here* this particular author states because natural gas has been found off the coast of Israel recently he believes huge caches of oil will soon be found in Israel and upset the global balance for oil and become a catalyst for the war of Armageddon.

      Turkey
      “Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee” (Ezek. 38: 6).
      Turkey, we believe, will one day join the Islamic world in marching with Russia and the other nations in the Gog-Magog attack on Israel.

      Saudi, England, and Others
      ‘sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezek. 38:13).
      These nations seemingly will observe the Gog-Magog attack from the sidelines. There seems no more opposition offered from them than diplomatic notes of protest. They will not resist the attack. Sheba and Sedan seem to be Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations; perhaps the Emirates and small countries of the Persian Gulf area.

      Iraq
      Zechariah, Chapter 5. That prophecy foretells a time when the concentration of the geopolitical evil of the world will be drawn back to the land of ancient Babylon. The heart of that area is, of course, present-day Iraq.

      We all believe in something even if you say you believe nothing… that is a belief in itself. I choose to believe The Bible and I believe it is the inspired Word of God. Every character in the Bible was a deeply flawed sinner who repented and was blessed in every way. Except Jesus of course who never sinned.

      As far as any other countries not being mentioned .. I do not believe God didn’t know America would be what it is today or where it is headed in the future. God sees the end from the beginning. The only countries mentioned in prophecy are the countries who will play a role in the end times. Only the ‘big players’ are mentioned except for Egypt.

      Egypt
      Strangely, little is prophesied about Egypt for the end-time period just before Christ’s return. There are Scriptures to indicate that Egypt will yet receive blessings from the Lord “but during the millennial era, which will follow the tribulation.

      **For this reason I believe America is taken out of the way and no longer a super power playing a role in the events surrounding the return of Christ. There may be some error in the countries mentioned but I doubt there is much error. Because of this all my life I have thought all these events were for some far distant future time but after the last few years and the next few years the world should be just about at the right place for it all to unfold before our eyes.

      I understand you aren’t spitting at God sumitch and neither am I but this country has broken faith with the contract – In God we Trust. Our forefathers prayed and fasted and sought God’s protection and blessing and dedicated this country to God under a sycamore tree in New York City which was once the nation’s capital. We broke away from God and are now in open rebellion as a nation.

      For this reason God has no choice but to allow us to have our own way. Individually .. no there are those of us who live for Jesus every day.
      Christians have been murdered and hunted and persecuted in great numbers increasingly all over the world in recent years except in America. In fact, more Christians were martyred in the 20th century alone than in all the previous centuries combined.
      We are coming to a place that we will see it here in America. We are coming to a place where it will become dangerous to practice Christianity openly. They are trying to bring that about.. I know you must be able to see this.

      We aren’t driving along aimlessly. There is a destination, design and purpose of our enemy just as there is a destination, design and purpose of God. (I’m not talking about Obama here. I am talking about the god of this world.)

      There are many articles which say the same thing and parts of it but this one is concise so I chose it for you in case you might want to read the whole thing.
      http://www.raptureready.com/rr-nations.html

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  10. kenlunde1Comment by kenlunde1
    July 24, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

    Hola Dudes:
    My son has a job that requires him to travel more than half of the weeks in a year. This is the nature of his job. He gets to keep the travel miles for his personal use. His company did relocate and he did not because he is gone more than half of the weeks in a year.
    In the past if IBM offered you a promotion in a different location and you did not accept they felt you were not cooperate and you may never be offered another promotion. Also in the past they would buy your house for the appraised value and if you could not sell it.
    Ken

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    • westtexaslibraryladyComment by westtexaslibrarylady
      July 24, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

      It seems reasonable that all government employees should be treated the same — I remember how much “choice” we had every time the military told us we needed to move. If the taxpayers are going to foot the bill, then government employees shouldn’t expect to be treated like, or better than, their private industry counterparts.

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  11. joejacksonComment by joejackson
    July 25, 2013 @ 7:07 am

    This is what you get when you hire a community organizer as President he is inept in all aspects of governing and has no control over any department, agency or person. He never managed anything or anyone he never made a budget, and still hasn’t, he never was held accountable his entire life and you elected him and now wonder how things could be in such disarray. Shame on you!

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    • sumitchComment by sumitch
      July 25, 2013 @ 7:48 am

      I agree with you in all respects joejackson excepting that he has no control over any department. I think he has far too much control and that they are marching to his orders without regard to legality or our constitution. I wish I didn’t think this way.

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  12. thedoveComment by thedove
    July 25, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

    I’m surprised so many of you in this normally-atute group are missing the obvious. They had to travel to Washington to get their orders, because if they had gotten them by ‘phone, the NSA would have known all about it.

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