The Internal Revenue Service may soon need to go on the TV series “Hoarders” if it doesn’t let go of its old furniture.
A new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the agency has been spending about $862,000 a year to store old furniture and other equipment in warehouses. As of September of last year, the service had 22,486 items that had been in storage for at least 18 months without any signs of activity.
“The amount of time these items remained unused, combined with a lack of information on the future need, age or condition of the stored items, raises significant questions about the likelihood that these items will be placed back into use,” said the report.
The old furniture occupied 34,194 square feet of warehouse space for a rent of $862,000 annually.
The IRS has a five-year, $90 million contract with a company called URS Federal Technical Services, which covers furniture moving and storage, inventory management, and property and locksmith repairs. URS moves desks, chairs, computer monitors, and other furniture and equipment from IRS facilities into warehouse spaces at the IRS national headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the federal building in New Carrollton, Md.; and 12 other IRS facilities around the country.
“While storing new or used furniture and equipment for future use may seem like a good use of taxpayer funds, the IRS needs to periodically evaluate and determine whether the storage of such items makes continued sense,” said TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George in a statement.
TIGTA also found that the IRS could not confirm that contract employees returned their identification badges and building access cards when they changed jobs.
TIGTA offered several recommendations, including a nationwide review of all the IRS’s items currently in warehouse storage to identify any items for possible disposal; the maintenance of documentation for all future items being considered for storage or disposal; and the development of criteria to guide further decisions on the costs and benefits of storing items. TIGTA also recommended that the IRS ensure that its contract employees return their badges and building access cards when they leave the contractor’s employ.
The IRS agreed with TIGTA’s recommendations and said it would implement them.
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