While it had been the practice of the Internal Revenue Service to periodically conduct training meetings of a national scale, under the leadership and increased scrutiny of the Treasury Department, the agency has dramatically cut the number of meetings involving travel since 2010. We did not hold any similar, large-scale nationwide meetings like these in 2011, 2012 or 2013, and we do not have any plans to do so going forward.
While there were legitimate reasons for holding the meeting, many of the expenses associated with it were inappropriate and should not have been incurred. Taxpayers should take comfort in knowing that these kinds of expenses are no longer permitted and such a conference would not take place today.
IRS Cost Savings
- The IRS has achieved $1 billion in budget cuts and efficiencies since 2010.
- Travel and training expenses are down more than 80 percent since 2010:
- In FY 2010, large conference costs were $37.6 million.
- In FY 2011, large conference costs were $6.2 million.
- In FY 2012, large conference costs were under $4.9 million.
- The IRS has also increased the use of virtual meetings and trainings to cut costs:
- In FY 2010-2011, the IRS achieved a 51 percent savings in training related travel.
- In FY 2011-2012, the IRS achieved an additional 35 percent savings in training related travel.
- Additionally, paid outside speakers are no longer being used at IRS conferences and trainings.
- The conference trained 2,600 managers from 350 offices around the country.
- The group trained, the Small Business/Self Employed Division, accounts for the majority of the $50 billion collected in annual IRS enforcement revenue each year.
- The purpose of this meeting was to ensure that managers had proper training to lead their employees and adapt to significant changes that were occurring. At the time of this conference, almost 30% of the SB/SE managers were either new to the division or new to management within the prior two years.
- The focus of the meeting included employee safety and security training due to a substantial increase in security threats following the suicide attack on an IRS facility in Austin earlier in the year.
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Report
- The TIGTA review found no instances of fraud or misconduct.
- It is also important to note that many of the issues raised in the report, such as the use of event planners, the receipt of room upgrades, and the welcome reception and breakfast provided by the hotel, were complimentary and did not entail the use of any additional government resources.
- Chart depicting IRS spending on conferences FY 2010-2012
- Statement of IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel