IRS Employees Using Computers For Personal Mail, Pornography

Treasury Department inspectors have found that Internal Revenue Service employees are using government-provided computers for sending and receiving personal e-mail, reading the news, listening to music, and visiting pornography Web sites.

During one one-week period last October more than 19 million government computers were used by IRS employees while working on government time to access more than one million so-called questionable items on the Internet. "The magnitude of the results clearly indicates significant misuse of the Internet in the IRS," said Treasury inspector Gordon Milbourn III in a memo to the tax collection agency.

Close scrutiny of the computer abuses showed that more than one-fourth of the computer misuse occurred on only 122 IRS computers, suggesting that only a small percentage of IRS employees regularly abuse their computer rights. Some of the employees who were found to misuse their computers regularly have been fired, others have resigned.

The Treasury Department has tried to crack down on abuse of computers by IRS employees in the past. An investigation in 2000 showed similar abuses and prompted the IRS to create a written policy setting out rules for computer usage while on the job.

Senator Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee which oversees the IRS, referred to the abuses as "stunning" and recommended that the IRS take further measures to correct employee behavior. Mr. Grassley recommended the IRS use blocking programs to prevent employees from viewing inappropriate Web sites while at work.

You may like these other stories...

Treasury prepares options to address tax inversionsDamian Paletta of the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that US Treasury Department officials are assembling a list of administrative options for Treasury Secretary...
Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria to retire to pursue public serviceMichael Rapoport of the Wall Street Journal reported that Deloitte LLP CEO Joe Echevarria plans to retire later this month to pursue his interest in public...
If your clients include retailers, pending federal legislation allowing states to tax Internet sales could mean big changes in the way they process and account for their sales and use taxes.In July, the Marketplace and...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Aug 21
Meet budgets and client expectations using project management skills geared toward the unique challenges faced by CPAs. Kristen Rampe will share how knowing the keys to structuring and executing a successful project can make the difference between success and repeated failures.
Aug 26
This webcast will include discussions of recently issued, commonly-applicable Accounting Standards Updates for non-public, non-governmental entities.
Aug 28
Excel spreadsheets are often akin to the American Wild West, where users can input anything they want into any worksheet cell. Excel's Data Validation feature allows you to restrict user inputs to selected choices, but there are many nuances to the feature that often trip users up.
Sep 9
In this session we'll discuss the types of technologies and their uses in a small accounting firm office.