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Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Press Release

July 23, 2013
TIGTA - 2013-26
Contact: David Barnes
(202) 622-3062

TIGTA Reviews Cost of IRS Executive Travel

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) spent over $4.8 million in Fiscal Year 2011 and $4.7 million in Fiscal Year 2012 for executive travel, according to a report released publicly today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

TIGTA found that a small number of executives had extremely high travel expenses compared to the rest of the executives, and that several executives reside outside the Washington area but frequently travel to the Washington, D.C. area to conduct day-to-day operations.

Moreover, 12 executives (seven in FY 2011 and five in FY 2012) were in travel status for over 200 days out of the year. The cost and frequency of travel for these executives indicate that they may not live in the best location to economically accomplish their roles and responsibilities.

TIGTA found that about 4 percent (15) of IRS executives accounted for about 26 percent ($1.1 million) of the total spent on executive travel in Fiscal Year 2011 and about 23 percent ($1.2 million) in Fiscal Year 2012. Additionally, in Fiscal Year 2011, the top 15 executive travelers traveled an average of 202 days and each incurred an average of $81,544 in expenses. In Fiscal Year 2012 the top 15 traveled an average of 184 days and spent an average of $73,054 each, according to TIGTA’s report.

TIGTA recommended, and the IRS agreed, that the IRS Chief Financial Officer require an analysis that compares the costs and benefits of a long-term travel situation to that of a temporary or permanent change of station, and demonstrates that the more favorable alternative was selected before placing an executive in long-term travel.

While the review was ongoing, the IRS instituted a change in its travel policy in April 2013 that generally restricts executives from being in travel status more than 75 nights in any fiscal year.

Additionally, the IRS issued guidance in June 2013 that requires that each executive position have an identified position post of duty and that the official station be identified as either location-specific or location-neutral (the work activities can be performed in virtually any geographical location).

“It is encouraging that in response to TIGTA’s findings, the IRS is taking action to better control executive travel,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Read the report.


Note: The difference between the date TIGTA issues an audit report to the Internal Revenue Service and the date TIGTA publicly releases the report is due to TIGTA's internal review process to ensure that public release is in compliance with Federal confidentiality laws.

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