September 25, 1997

September 25, 1997 | Testimony on Taxes

Prepared Statement of Witness 5 before the Senate Finance CommitteeOversight Hearing of the Internal Revenue Service

I am a long term employee of the Internal Revenue Service employed as a Revenue Officer. I am appearing before you today to bring to your attention concerns share by many of the employees in my District office.

In the past two years all of the standards of ethics by which we have been lead to believe were an integral part of our job, and responsibility in dealing fairly with both taxpayers and employees, have been replaced with practices that were widely viewed as not only unethical, but often illegal.

To elaborate on this statement let me refer you to IRS policy statement, P-I-20, which essentially states that employees will not be evaluated on statistics. This mandate was made in an effort to insure that taxpayers would be treated fairly by the IRS so as to curtail the IRS from being overly zealous in their collection activities. However, our office has taken to disregarding this policy and has unfairly targeted long-term, good employees in an effort to "motivate" others into making more seizures. We are told that if we are to "justify" our jobs, we must "prove" that we are willing to take strong enforcement action.

I would like to point out to you that my evaluations over the years have always been very high. I am considered to be one of the most effective collection officers in this district. However, I find it disturbing to learn that even though I collect more money with a substantially high number of my cases paying in full, that I am now evaluated on my number of seizures rather than my over all effectiveness. The message we are receiving from upper management is let's take the action that will get us noticed. Don't worry about whether it's the right thing to do or not. Many other issues have come to my attention over the course of time that have created a threatening environment for myself and many other employees. Examples of these issues are: -- managers are targeted for termination on the basis of who their "friends" are -- statistics are manipulated to make it appear that our office is producing much higher statistics than what is factual -- selected employees are encouraged to file EEO complaints on the basis of trumped up charges with the promise that their claim will be settled so they can then be promoted -- unfairly -- without having to compete for the job against more qualified employees -- Revenue Officers have been directed to release seized assets because management personally feels indebted to the taxpayer's representative -- a former IRS employee and a friend of management. The list of code and ethics violations is too long and cumbersome for me to further elaborate in on at this time. (I will be happy to provide the Committee with further documentation and information under proper disclosure guidelines) However, I am willing to answer any questions you may have.

I am not revealing my identity hear today for fear I would run the risk of retaliation, not only for myself but for colleagues with whom I work. However, I am thankful that you permitted me this opportunity to come before you and make my concerns for the Agency known to you. If I did not believe in this Agency, I would not have dedicated eight years of my life working for it. However, motivation to execute one's responsibility should not be based on statistics at the expense of quality, nor should motivation be based on unfair competition among colleagues for promotion, nor for any other reason I sadly offered to you today. I hope you can bring integrity back to the IRS and allow the good and ethical employees to do their jobs well while serving the American taxpayers with the fairness and integrity they deserve. Thank you.

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Related Issues: Taxes