IRS Spent $50 Million On Employee Conferences, Investigators Say

The IRS reportedly spent $50 million on hundreds of employee conferences between 2010 and 2012.

An audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) on the matter will be released on Tuesday. The report shows that the IRS spent excessive amounts of money on several conferences for employees in the IRS Small Business-Self-Employed division.

According to investigators, the IRS spent $50 million on around 220 conferences spread across the country over the span of around three years. The briefings were given to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

One conference in particular cost upwards of $4 million. Held in Anaheim back in 2010, the audit shows that employees stayed in presidential suites while attending the event. These rooms cost an estimated $1,500 and $3,500 per night.

In addition to pricey accommodations during these conferences, some employees received expensive perks such as baseball tickets. The Anaheim conference reportedly paid $135,000 for 15 people to speak at the event. One individual reportedly spoke about the leadership through art to the tune of $17,000.

Acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel said the excessive spending on employee conferences by the IRS was a relic from a bygone era. He said steps are being taken to ensure that this sort of behavior doesn’t happen again.

“This conference is an unfortunate vestige from a prior era. While there were legitimate reasons for holding the meeting, many of the expenses associated with it were inappropriate and should not have occurred,” Werfel explained.

He continued, “Sweeping new spending restrictions have been put in place at the IRS, and travel and training expenses have dropped more than 80 percent since 2010 and similar large-scale meetings did not take place in 2011, 2012 or 2013.”

Reports suggest that the IRS has yet to take disciplinary action against those who organized the Anaheim conference. In fact, it’s believed that those who helped plan the event were rewarded for their efforts.

The Internal Revenue Service recently landed in hot water after it reportedly subjected tea party and other conservative groups to tougher scrutiny than other tax-paying citizens.

What do you think about the IRS spending $50 million on pricey employee conferences?

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