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IRS Commissioner Koskinen in the cross hairs

This week the House Judiciary Committee reviewed misconduct allegations against the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Missing at the hearing was the Commissioner himself. He had sent a written statement defending himself, however.

The issue dates back to the Lois Lerner email scandal and allegations that evidence was destroyed. Congressmen at the hearing called for impeachment.

Here is a refresher on the Lois Lerner scandal. In 2013, Lerner admitted and apologized for the actions of IRS employees who had targeted conservative and tea-party groups. Evidence surfaced that groups seeking tax-exempt status with “Tea Party” or “patriots in their title were more likely to be audited.

Improper handling of evidence

Back to the present, Chairman Bob Goodlatte alleged that volumes of information had been destroyed and information requests ignored. While Koskinen testified earlier that emails had been preserved, some of the backup tapes containing emails had been destroyed on Koskinen’s watch in 2014.

One congressman noted that the IRS would not allow a taxpayer facing an audit to act the way that it had during the congressional investigation.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) discovered that the IRS failed to look in some of the places that official emails could have existed. TIGTA found about 1,000 emails that hadn’t been turned over.

“Simply hadn’t looked for them”

TIGTA didn’t believe that the emails were hidden, but they simple weren’t looked for by the IRS. The committee will hold another hearing to discuss possible impeachment in June.

Is there a lesson to learn? For individual taxpayers, failing to locate documents, receipts, and support for deductions is not an excuse that will work in an IRS audit. While you won’t face impeachment, back taxes, penalties and interest could be on the table.

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