The Internal Revenue Service needs to do a better job of managing the credit cards used by employees in the IRS’s Small Business/Self-Employed Division when they are visiting gas stations to enforce fuel excise tax laws.

The Citibank credit cards, known as “fleet cards,” are used by employees to buy gas and make minor repairs on government-leased vehicles. In a new government report, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration assessed the SB/SE Division’s Fleet Card Program to determine whether the IRS has established effective controls and whether those controls are sufficient to identify and prevent errors and instances of waste, fraud and abuse.

TIGTA found that the Fleet Card Program lacks sufficient management oversight and internal controls. TIGTA established that in some cases, reconciliation and certification of the monthly Citibank statements were not conducted in accordance with procedures. TIGTA reviewed a sample of monthly statements and found instances of no managerial approval, no employee certification of charges, and missing receipts.

From Oct. 1, 2001 until July 28, 2010, the Fleet Card Program did not have approval by the Treasury Secretary for home-to-work authority, but employees nevertheless used its fleet vehicles for that purpose. As a result, inappropriate charges were placed on fleet cards, according to TIGTA. Without adequate internal controls, IRS management cannot be assured that the fuel and repair charges are incurred only for official purposes, TIGTA warned. Consequently, this increases the risk of paying for inappropriate vehicle expenses.

TIGTA did not identify specific transactions indicative of waste, fraud, or abuse. However, the audit determined that the SB/SE Division did not retain adequate documentation to justify that all of the transactions charged to the fleet cards during the audit period were appropriate and legitimate.

“It is imperative that the IRS ensure that purchases made by its employees using Government-issued credit cards are solely for Government use,” said TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George in a statement.

TIGTA recommended that the commissioner of the IRS’s SB/SE Division develop and implement formal fleet card policies, procedures, and management controls that comply with the Office of Management and Budget and other federal requirements.

IRS management agreed with the recommendation. SB/SE Specialty Tax Program staff plan to develop formal fleet card policies, procedures, and management controls to enhance procedures not covered in the interim guidance and to ensure compliance with OMB standards.

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