A watchdog agency report found that the IRS gave bonuses and other performance awards to nearly 3000 employees under disciplinary action in 2010-2012. Over $1 million in bonuses and 10,000 hours of paid time off were awarded to employees who still owed federal taxes. Seems a little hypocritical, doesn’t it? Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George thinks so too: While not prohibited, providing awards to employees who have been disciplined for failing to pay federal taxes appears to create a conflict with the IRS’s charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration. Willful failure to pay taxes is supposed to mandate removal for an IRS employee. But it looks like the IRS has been a little slow to implement that 1998 ruling. In the meantime, tax-delinquent employees may not only keep their jobs, but receive bonuses – as can those who misuse government travel cards, violate official-conduct standards, and engage in fraud. George audited the IRS’s awards program and found that that the IRS does not currently consider tax compliance or misconduct when issuing performance awards – except for senior executives and permanent pay raises. All other employees can rest assured that their record will have no bearing on whether they get a bonus. Clearly, this should have been part of the policy from the start. The IRS says it’ll get right on that. (Though first they’ll have to conduct a study, then negotiate with the union, so it might take some time.) This policy loophole is just one of many in the tattered cloak covering the corrupt and inefficient IRS. “Even IRS employees who follow all the agency’s rules end up violating taxpayers’ basic liberties,” says James Freeman, thanks to legal loopholes that exempt the IRS from abiding by certain U.S. Amendments. They aren’t required to get a court order before seizing records or to conduct a trial by jury when their tax calculations are contested. If the IRS opens a case, the burden of proof is on the citizen, not the accuser. And he didn’t even mention intentional targeting of certain political affiliations. “Many taxpayers may be left wondering why any IRS employees receive bonuses,” Freeman concludes. We think that’s an excellent question. And who is going to hold them accountable?