Daily Tax Update - June 4, 2013: Treasury Inspector General Releases Report on IRS Spending on Conferences

Treasury Inspector General Releases Report on IRS Spending on Conferences:  Today, a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) showed that, in 2010, the “SB/SE Division conducted a conference for an estimated 2,609 SB/SE Division executives and managers at a reported cost of $4.1 million” at several hotels in Anaheim, California.  The report said it focused on this conference because it was the “most expensive IRS conference” during a three-year period.  The report concludes:  “TIGTA determined that the IRS did not use available internal personnel to assist in searching for the most cost-effective location as required. Instead, SB/SE Division management approached two non-governmental event planners to identify a suitable off-site location for the conference.”

The report continues, “The IRS may have been able to negotiate a lower lodging rate to reduce conference expenses if it had not used non-governmental event planners and eliminated some of the negotiated concessions provided by the hotels. . . TIGTA also identified other questionable expenses related to the conference including planning trips, outside speakers, video productions, an information corridor, and promotional items and gifts for IRS employees.”

The report adds, “TIGTA recommended that the IRS verify that costs are being tracked for recent conferences; track conference attendance; ensure that applicable IRS personnel are used to plan future applicable IRS personnel are used to plan future conferences; develop procedures outlining the appropriate use of non-governmental event planners for IRS conferences; establish procedures related to planning trips, information corridors, videos, and other technology for future conferences; evaluate whether hotel upgrades should be used for future conferences; and ensure that taxable travel is identified and Forms W-2,Wage and Tax Statement, are issued to applicable employees.”  The report said that IRS management agreed with all of the recommendations and plans to issue additional guidance.