About a tenth of those the IRS hired in fiscal 2010-2013 had previously worked for the agency, an IG audit has found, but of that group of about 7,000, several hundred had performance or conduct issues associated with their prior employment—and many of those exhibited similar problems upon their rehire.
The report noted that of those rehired, about four-fifths were brought in to fill temporary or seasonal employees. It reviewed a random sample of more than 300 employees who had significant prior performance or conduct issues, and said that 141 of them had prior substantiated tax issues, including five who the IRS found to have willfully failed to file their federal tax returns. Other issues from prior employment included unauthorized access to taxpayer information, leave abuse, falsification of official forms, unacceptable performance, misuse of IRS property, and off-duty misconduct.
The IG sampled those with prior substantiated or unresolved conduct or performance issues and found that 20 percent had new conduct or performance issues after returning, including tax noncompliance and unauthorized access to tax account information.
“IRS officials stated that prior conduct and performance issues do not play a significant role in deciding the candidates who are best qualified for hiring and that they believe they are applying OPM suitability standards appropriately,” the report said. However, management did agree with a recommendation to work with OPM and legal advisors to determine whether and during what part of the hiring process the IRS can fully consider prior conduct and performance issues.