IRS Executives Accused of Taking Improper Tax Deductions

Friday, February 21, 2014
(AP photo)

Top officials at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have taken tax deductions on travel-related expenses they were not entitled to under the law, according to the IRS’s watchdog agency.


In a new report (pdf) by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, many IRS executives had improperly classified their travel as something other than “long-term taxable travel” (LTTT).


LTTT is used when employees travel to another city for more than one year, or work away from their “official station” for an indefinite amount of time. This classification means they are required to pay taxes on any travel-related reimbursements they receive.


The audit discovered that nine out of 31 IRS senior executives did not use LTTT to avoid paying taxes in 2011 and 2012.


Three other employees were faulted for not submitting their records on time.


The average travel reimbursement for the 31 executives was $51,420.


The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said the IRS needs to do a better job of ensuring compliance by workers when doing their taxes.


“The IRS has established adequate guidance defining when travel is taxable and employees’ and managers’ responsibility to make that determination,” the auditors wrote. “However, the guidance was not consistently followed.”


A previous inspector general report (pdf), released last July, showed that the IRS spent $9 million on executive travel in 2011 and 2012 combined, and that a small percentage of IRS officials had very high travel expenses compared to others. That report was produced during congressional inquiries into extravagant IRS spending on training conferences and comic video productions.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

IRS Senior Execs Took Improper Tax Deductions (by Eric Katz, Government Executive)

IRS Executives Incorrectly Classified Their Travel as Nontaxable (by Michael Cohn, Accounting Today)

Internal Revenue Service’s Executive Long-Term Taxable Travel (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) (pdf)

IRS Contractors Owe $589 Million in Back Taxes (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


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