An inspector general audit has found weaknesses in controls over international travel expenses for IRS employees, including employee use of business class airfare upgrades without proper justification, per diem expenses claimed in excess of allowable limits, and reimbursement for unallowable or questionable expenses.
The report said that over fiscal 2016-17, the IRS spent nearly $5 million associated with almost 1,600 claims for international travel by employees to secure records for tax cases, meet with foreign officials on tax matters, participate in conferences and for other reasons.
In a sample of 115 claims submitted by 106 employees, auditors found unallowable expenses in 20 and that reviewing officials certified claims for reimbursement without complete supporting documentation for 25. Also, 20 of the claims representing more than $900,000 did not have completed travel authorization forms.
The report said that management agreed with recommendations to strengthen controls, pursue collection of amounts in excess of allowable claims, and reemphasize the importance of completing the authorization form.