IRS awards bonuses worth a total of $1 million to 1,100 employees who owe back taxes

1,700 workers who'd been disciplined got bonuses

WASHINGTON - A government investigator says the Internal Revenue Service paid $1 million in bonuses to employees who owed back taxes.

An additional 1,700 workers got bonuses even though they had been disciplined for some kind of misconduct within the previous year.

Overall, the IRS's inspector general says the agency paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses from 2010 to 2012 to employees who had conduct issues.

In a report issued Tuesday, the inspector general says the bonus program complied with federal regulations. But, the report says, paying bonuses to workers who owe back taxes conflicts with the IRS mission to enforce tax laws.

The IRS says it has stopped issuing awards to executives with disciplinary problems. The agency says it is considering a similar policy for union workers, subject to negotiations.

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