Investigation Finds IRS Credit Cards Used for Inappropriate Purchases Staff • May 11, 2015

Even the IRS seems to have trouble managing credit responsibly.

A government watchdog organization reviewed the IRS’ credit records and found agents were using government credit cards for a range of inappropriate purchases, including pornography and bottles of wine.

For this report, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reviewed the IRS credit card records for fiscal 2010 and 2011. This meant going through the statements of more than 5,000 different credit accounts and roughly $103 million worth of purchases.

In this review, the group found the vast majority of IRS credit card usage was appropriate. However, the audit turned up some highly inappropriate purchases as well.

For example, there were times when IRS agents would spend more than $100 on lunches and dinners. Government rules limit these purchases to between $20 and $40.

Another cardholder spent roughly $2,600 on personal items like diet pills and romance novels, while two other IRS credit cards were used to purchase pornography, though the agents responsible for the cards reported them stolen before the purchases.

This is another black eye for the IRS, which came under fire this year for possibly inappropriate audits of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

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