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Audit Shows IRS Often Lacked Proper Proof on Employee Screening Procedures

It's no secret that dealing with the IRS is best done with plenty of documentation. To protect yourself against an audit, or to handle one if it occurs, it's helpful to have your tax records in good order.

When you do, IRS audits are much more manageable.

So you'd think that the agency itself would follow through on its own internal procedures. But according to an audit of the IRS released last month, the agency frequently lacked proof that people hired as IRS employees had been properly investigated for truthfulness and possible security issues.

The audit of IRS employee-screening procedures was done by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The inspector found that in 507 of the 662 hiring actions under review, the IRS employment office did not have records to show that proper background checks had been conducted.

The regulations on the books say that job applicants to the IRS must submit to a rigorous screening process. This is supposed to include fingerprint checks using FBI records, for example, as well as verification that the applicant has fulfilled his or her tax obligations in the previous three years.

The audit found that these regulations were not uniformly followed in the four employment centers examined in the audit. Two of the centers lacked fingerprint and other records in about three-fourths of the cases under review.

Clearly the IRS must do a better job with its own record keeping, particularly regarding the hiring process for employees who will be trusted with sensitive and confidential financial data.

Source: "IRS employee-screening records found lacking," Eric Yoder, Washington Post, 3-20-12

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