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As this report notes, new Internal Revenue Service boss John Koskinen has announced that the IRS will pay out a total of $62.5 million in bonuses to IRS employees. Koskinen says the “performance award payouts are recognition of that great work done in very trying circumstances” and are needed to boost morale. Embattled taxpayers have a right to wonder what “great work” Koskinen is talking about.
As former IRS boss Steven Miller noted, the IRS had been guilty of “horrible customer service.” Sarah Hall Ingram, the IRS manager heading the division that provided the horrible service, was not punished but promoted to head the IRS division working with Obamacare.
The IRS has also provided horrible service at fighting fraud, and ignored those who blow the whistle on fraud. Last year the IRS sent some $3.6 billion in fraudulent tax refunds to people using stolen identities. The IRS sent 655 tax refunds to a single address in Lithuania, and 343 refunds went to one address in Shanghai, in the People’s Republic of China. All told, the IRS issued 1.1 million refunds based on stolen Social Security Numbers, and paid out $385 million in 141,000 refunds based on stolen taxpayer identification numbers. As the president might have put it, if you like your fraudulent refund you can keep it, period.
Beyond all that, and much more incompetence, the IRS has been targeting groups that advance the cause of lower taxes and smaller government. That kind of targeting is likely the “great work done in very trying circumstances,” that new IRS boss John Koskinen had in mind when he announced the bonuses. The $62.5 million rewards the IRS for riding herd on groups less than worshipful of the current administration in Washington. The payouts make no sense on any other level.
Koskinen said the bonuses were needed to retain and attract good employees in a time of cutbacks. “This investment in our employees,” he said, “will directly benefit taxpayers and the tax system.” Actually, the bonuses rub taxpayers’ faces in ruling-class rot, and that should come as no surprise.
As Frank Zappa said, those people up in Washington are looking out for number one. And number one ain’t you. You ain’t even number two.