IRS bonus system baffles the rest of us

Anyone who has ever been on the wrong end of an Internal Revenue Service audit knows that the nation’s tax collector doesn’t take kindly to overdue and uncollected tax payments. The IRS will hit you with fines and late penalties and garnish your wages until you pay up.

Unless, of course, you work for the IRS, in which case they are likely to give you a bonus.

The Associated Press reported this week that the IRS has paid $2.8 million in bonuses to workers who probably didn’t deserve them, including $1 million to 1,150 workers who owed back taxes.

Other workers received bonuses who had faced disciplinary actions for things like misusing government credit cards for travel, drug use, making violent threats and fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits.

We’re not sure the IRS understand the concept of bonus pay. In most businesses, bonuses are given to employees to reward them for doing a good job. Sometimes they are given to share a company’s extra profits.

The federal government sure can’t boast of having a lot of surplus money, so the bonuses couldn’t be for that reason. And giving bonuses to problem employees, including those who are behind on their taxes, just makes no sense. Somebody in the agency ought to get their pay docked for this.

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