Former employee: IRS is 'understaffed, under-resourced'

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - FOX19 spoke with IRS workers outside their Cincinnati offices on Monday. While employees were hesitant to discuss the IRS making headlines for targeting conservative groups, many were quick to chat about the first of five furloughs coming up on Friday.

Workers also talked about having to do more with less; a challenge they say they have been facing for years.

"I'm quite sure morale is not what any of us would like it to be," Stephen Miller told legislators during a hearing earlier in the month.

On May 8, the then acting IRS Tax Commissioner touched on the impact of budget cuts on employees during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.

Miller testified the total cuts including the sequester impacts totaled $618 million.

"We've trimmed so much and so many areas that I would think while being clever managers and efficient people will get us part of the way it won't get us all the way," Miller said.

A former IRS worker says limited resources are nothing new for the agency.

"The IRS is really underfunded, understaffed for what their expected to do," Paul Streckfus said.

Streckfus, who worked as a tax law specialist back in the 70's in the Exempt Organizations division, believes the IRS scandal may have resulted from those limitations.

"As of this moment I don't believe there is any hard evidence that there was any political interference," Streckfus said. "You just have the usual dysfunctional IRS: understaffed, under-resourced, trying to make sense out of sort of an impossible situation."

He went on to argue the responsibility spreads all the way to Capitol Hill.

"While we're blaming people, Congress should also be blamed for not giving the IRS the necessary resources and oversight," Streckfus argued.

Representative Steve Chabot strongly disagrees, however.

"It's a bogus argument," Chabot maintained. "If they got shoveled more money to the IRS I don't think it would have changed their behavior, we just would have seen more of this behavior. It's the behavior that has to change."

Workers outside Cincinnati's federal building Monday told FOX19 while some people assume employees can do what they want to, their hands are tied by federal rules and regulations. One worker argued it would not make sense to try and create more work for oneself by adding paperwork. IRS employees in other offices maintained they found out about the controversial practices along with everyone else.

The furloughs, brought on the by the sequester, will be spread out through the end of August. One or two addition furlough days may be added if necessary.

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