So, Sequester The IRS!

Why not?  With all of the handwringing Obama has been doing for the last two months, why isn’t he looking right in his own back yard for a little waste to cut?

So saith the Washington Times in a recent report regarding the results of an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which found that in fiscal year 2011, IRS had approximately 35,000 active aircards and more than 4,400 BlackBerrys assigned to employees, providing them with mobile Internet and e-mail access.  But a whole bunch of these high tech devices were neither wanted nor used – and improved IRS policies and procedures could result in savings of $5.9 million over five years, “which would help to support the President’s November 2011 Executive Order to cut waste in Federal Government spending and identify opportunities to promote efficient and effective spending.”

It seems to come down to the fact that processes for assigning and monitoring the use of aircards and BlackBerrys “are not adequate to ensure that employees have a business need for the devices.  Assignment of these devices is generally based on job series classifications without adequately ensuring a business need exists.”

On the other hand, another recent TIGTA missive finds that in the last two fiscal years, the IRS workforce has decreased by about 10,000 full-time equivalents, and many of its most experienced leaders and employees will be eligible to retire in the next five years.  All of this, while significant changes to the Internal Revenue Code are on the horizon, making it even more difficult for IRS to make needed improvements in its processes in order to “stop billions of dollars in fraudulent or improper tax refunds resulting from identity theft and erroneous claims for tax credits.”

All of which, of course, drowns out one of the more famous anniversaries which recently went largely unnoticed (while you were watching the Super Bowl):  the 100th celebration of the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified on February 3, 1913:  “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

And not to be left out, of course, cometh California, which recently announced that it will be contacting more than one million people who did not file a state income tax return for last year!   This annual rite seems to generate a pretty good payoff for the Franchise Tax Board:  last year, more than $714 million was generated from a similar effort!

CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISOR – This article contains general information about various tax matters.  You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation.

Jeff Quinn, the author of this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno.  He can be reached at 831-7288, welcomes comments at, and invites readers to consider his other commentary at

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