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Is It Really True an IRS Employee Cannot Be Fired for Murdering Someone?

Congressman Renacci is proposing to add to the list of offenses for which an IRS employee can be fired,

(10) performing, delaying, or failing to perform (or threatening to perform, delay, or fail to perform)
any official action (including any audit) with respect to a taxpayer for purpose of extracting personal
gain or benefit or for a political purpose.’’

I sent him a letter with some suggestions.

Dear Mr. Renacci,

I am a professor with expertise in law-and-economics. I took a look at your IRS firing bill and had a couple of thoughts.

1. Our current policy is very odd in restricting the firing crimes to a list. Am I correct in understanding that the Commissioner cannot fire an employee convicted of murder or rape? (so long as it not a taxpayer who is murdered or raped) I think you may be able to make some entertaining speeches on how stupid our current law is.

2. I don’t know what “final administrative hearing” means, but as for “judicial determination”, if the Commissioner has to wait for the employee to be convicted of a crime, fiddling with the details isn’t going to help much. What is needed is language so that the Commissioner can (I’d not say “must”) fire an employee who has committed a felony or committed a crime on a list like teh part (b) list, with the burden of proof being “preponderance of the evidence”. It will be quite common that we will be pretty sure the employee has committed a crime, but not “beyond a reasonable doubt”, so there will not be any prosecution and conviction. We want the COmmissioner to be able to fire such an employee. Then, if the employee sues for unjust dismissal, the court will have to decide whether he more likely than not committed the offence, and since the court will give deference to the COmmissioner, the suit will lose.

3. I would have hoped that item (b)(6) would cover everything in the proposed item (10). If there isn’t anything in the REgulations or Manual saving that an employee should not give intentionally poor service to a taxpayer, there ought to be.

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