In the interest of full disclosure I should say that being an employee of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was not the most fulfilling experience of my career.  I was not destined to be there for long.  I am attaching for your review a copy of my letter of termination.  In it I terminate the IRS as my employer for failing to meet my expectations as an employee.  I share it with you in the hope that you will have some small insight into what IRS employees experience.

Contact Representatives of the IRS are subjected to myriad conflicts, insults, humiliations, slights, threats and arbitrary practices from their employer.  This is in my opinion intentional and consistent with the perfect design of the IRS's human resource management goal to keep employees on edge.  It is what I call the "kick the dog" theory of management.  Employees who are treated like dogs by their employer might be inclined to lash out at the next dog who comes along.  If you contact the IRS, you may find that you are the next dog in line.  Fearful and/or angry IRS bureaucrats may be more likely to make mistakes or deny you important information about your eligibility for penalty abatements or tax exemptions.  This could cost you in higher taxes, greater penalties or more interest charges; not to mention the time and expense you may expend to correct an error that you may not have caused.

Here are excerpts from the letter that I sent to the IRS:

February 10, 2012

Mr. James E. Rogers, Jr.
Accounts Management Field Director
Cincinnati Accounts Management Center (CAMC)

Mr. Rogers,

For the following reasons I am compelled to take actions that will terminate the IRS as my full time employer.

  • IRS management sets and gets low levels of performance.  The quality goals of the CAMC show a lack of imagination and leadership capability.  Call center goals range from 89% to 95% defect free performance versus the Six Sigma performance goal which is 99.99966% defect free.
  • The prevailing CAMC leadership tactic is to catch employees making errors rather than preventing the errors from occurring.   This practice is described as “job security” during new employee training.  It leads to an inflated staff and commensurate budget.
  • The IRS Total Quality program is focused on blaming employees for errors instead of examining the systemic causes of the errors.
  • CAMC management can’t be trusted to protect its employees from abusive (verbally and physically) managers.  This compels some IRS employees to seek protection through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • CAMC management consistently fails to authorize employee annual leave requests in a timely fashion.  This is in violation of the leave rules that the IRS has approved.
  • CAMC leadership devalues the education and work experience that employees bring from outside of the IRS.
  • While the Congress continues to increase the complexity of tax law, the IRS tax codes compound tax law complexity and burden the smallest and most defenseless business taxpayers with arbitrary rules and regulations, i.e. Form 944 vs. Form 941 filing requirements.
  • Despite the increasing complexity of the work caused by the Congress, the federal government has frozen pay indefinitely for its employees, including IRS employees.
  • IRS management has unilaterally eliminated the Tuition Assistance Program for employees.
  • The IRS has failed to act on employee recommendations to eliminate thousands of unintentional taxpayer errors in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) by simply fixing the default date.
  • Taxpayers are unnecessarily kept waiting on phone lines while CAMC Contact Representatives perform clerical tasks because managers are manipulating “wrap time” performance measures.
  • CAMC leaders have cancelled the traditional Employee Appreciation Day.
  • CAMC leaders fail to exercise good judgment regarding employee safety.  They fail to close the facilities during snow emergencies (as declared by local government agencies) thereby exposing employees to dangerous traffic conditions.
  • CAMC management shows poor judgment when assessing disclosure errors where the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) provides ambiguous guidance.
  • CAMC managers enforce “local procedures” that are not published and can only be learned by trial and error.
  • The CAMC facilities expose employees and their families to bed bugs.
  • CAMC management undermines team cohesion and social bonding by staggering employees’ breaks and lunch periods. 
  • The IRS is not family friendly.  All of the vacation and holiday disruptions, insect exposures, process failures, stress and annoyances visited upon IRS employees are experienced by proxy by their families and friends.
For these and other reasons I declare:

I have realized that the IRS does not provide and is unlikely to provide in the future the work environment that I expect and require from my employer.  I refuse to work any longer under the conditions listed above.  My family has encouraged me to leave the IRS.  I hereby terminate the IRS as my full time employer effective...

Very truly yours,

Lex Hannan
Contact Representative
Internal Revenue Service

cc: ...

Thank you for your attention,

Citizens for Tax Complexity

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