More than a dozen Internal Revenue Service employees misused their government-issued charge cards, but the extent of the confirmed purchases totaled less than $600, while another case of potential misuse totaled less than $2,350, according to a new report.
The report, from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, found the IRS properly identified and reported 13 instances of confirmed purchase card misuse and two instances of purchase card misuse pending final agency action. TIGTA’s own independent review found one additional instance of potential purchase card fraud and four additional instances of purchase card misuse pending investigation or final agency action. The 13 confirmed purchase card misuse cases reported by the IRS collectively totaled almost $600.
However, the potential purchase card fraud case involved the purchase of two electronic tablets and 37 other items for personal cardholder use, totaling almost $2,350.
The violations represented a small fraction of the total number of cardholders and purchases. Between April 1 and September 30, 2015, the IRS purchase card program included 3,095 purchase cardholders. IRS records show that these cardholders made 41,328 purchases totaling almost $14.5 million with their purchase cards. In addition, cardholders with the authority to write convenience checks (an alternative method of payment used with vendors who do not accept purchase cards for payment of goods and services) wrote 164 checks totaling a little more than $73,000.
TIGTA also reviewed the IRS’s current charge card guidance and determined that the IRS established policies and controls designed to mitigate the risk of fraud and inappropriate government travel and purchase card practices, including controls that address centrally billed travel card accounts. The report, which TIGTA is required to issue on a semi-annual basis, made no new recommendations, but key IRS officials reviewed the report before it was issued and agreed with the facts it presented.
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