TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION

Highlights

The Office of Chief Counselís Disciplinary Process is Generally Effective

Final Report issued on December 23, 2015

Highlights of Reference Number:† 2016-10-010 to the Internal Revenue Service Chief Counsel.

IMPACT ON TAXPAYERS

As the IRSís legal advisor, the IRS Office of Chief Counsel (hereafter referred to as Chief Counsel) plays an important role by providing legal guidance and representing the IRS in litigation.† Although Chief Counsel employees are part of the Department of the Treasury but not the IRS and are thus not subject to IRS conduct and discipline policies, their conduct may have a negative effect on the IRSís or Chief Counselís mission and the publicís confidence in the tax system.

WHY TIGTA DID THE AUDIT

The overall objective of this review was to determine whether Chief Counsel has an effective process for administering employee disciplinary actions.

WHAT TIGTA FOUND

Chief Counsel has an effective process for responding to allegations of misconduct for its employees.† In the last three fiscal years, the IRS and TIGTA forwarded more than 600 allegations of potential employee misconduct to Chief Counsel.† Through a review of selected case files, TIGTA found that Chief Counsel appropriately documented the allegations received and the investigation conducted by Chief Counsel management and Chief Counsel Labor and Employee Relations function personnel.† Case files showed evidence of the facts and circumstances considered and provided a rationale for whether or not disciplinary action was necessary.

TIGTA found that allegations of credit card misconduct had initially gone unaddressed, but delays in responding to credit card misconduct were addressed during Fiscal Year 2015.† By May 2015, Chief Counsel had responded to more than 91 percent of all reported credit card misconduct cases.† In addition, Chief Counsel could improve its management of employee misconduct cases by consolidating its employee misconduct files into one central location so that an employeeís entire conduct history could be considered when reviewing alleged misconduct.

In a few cases, TIGTA found that disciplinary actions imposed did not appear to be commensurate with the substantiated misconduct.† While Chief Counsel documented its actions in these cases, the disciplinary action imposed appeared to be too lenient given the egregious nature of the substantiated misconduct.† Specifically, for several instances of sexually related misconduct, employees were given suspensions of five days or less.

WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED

TIGTA recommended that the IRS Chief Counsel implement a centralized database that includes all employee misconduct cases in one location.† In its response, Chief Counsel agreed with the recommendation and stated that it will implement a centralized system by March 2016.

 

READ THE FULL REPORT

To view the report, including the scope, methodology, and full IRS response, go to:

http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2016reports/201610010fr.pdf

 

Phone Number ††/† 202-622-6500

E-mail Address †/TIGTACommunications@tigta.treas.gov

Website†††††† ††††††/https://www.treasury.gov/tigta