For the Good of Illinois

Tax Notes: IRS Counters Accusation It Cannot Account for CI Firearms

July 1, 2016 11:28 AM
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 2016-07-01_21-50-32
 
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OpenTheBooks.com Note to Subscribers:
TaxNotes, Washington, DC, in an investigative report helps to clarify whether or not the IRS has ‘an asset inventory of guns and ammunition.’  In this column, the IRS admits that it doesn't have a centralized inventory for ammunition but tracks it at the local level. According to a 2011 Treasury audit of the IRS, there have been inventory problems. On guns, IRS claims to track the inventory on a centralized basis out of Georgia. But in March, 2016, the IRS was unable or did not provide an asset inventory list in response to our request for such a document.

IRS Counters Accusation It Cannot Account for CI Firearms

POSTED ON JUL. 1, 2016

logoZOE SAGALOW

logoLUCA GATTONI-CELLI

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The IRS tracks its Criminal Investigation division's inventory of equipment, including weapons, via an electronic system accessible to IRS management and executives in Washington, the agency said, responding to an accusation that it lacks a centralized record of its firearms.
 
Weapons used by the CI are accounted for in the IRS's Criminal Investigation Management Information System (CIMIS) by agents at the headquarters of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Georgia, the IRS said. CI field offices also can use the CIMIS to review their own individual inventory, the agency added.   The IRS commented June 23 and 24 in response to questions about an accusation by the head of Open the Books, a project of the nonprofit organization American Transparency, that the agency lacks documentation to quantify the CI's total inventory of firearms, ammunition, and tactical gear such as ballistic vests. (Prior coverage.)
 
The IRS explained that CI agents receive all of their initial training, including firearms certification, at the FLETC in Georgia. Established by the Treasury Department in 1970, the FLETC network of facilities has been under the Department of Homeland Security since 2003, according to its website.   CI agents "continue to receive firearm training in the field throughout their law enforcement career and are required to qualify with their firearm twice annually," the IRS said. Ammunition inventory is tracked by local CI offices, the IRS told Tax Analysts in a written statement, noting that its agents, "like those of all federal law enforcement, are required to visit the target range regularly to maintain their training."   "Since the use rate varies by office, we've found it best to track ammunition this way," the IRS added.   Open the Books asked the IRS to provide the most current inventory accounting of guns and ammunition it possesses, the group's CEO, Adam Andrzejewski, told Tax Analysts in an email June 17.   "The IRS didn't have a document or audit to produce as an answer to this question," Andrzejewski added. "The response shows that the IRS was not in possession of the information on a national, aggregated basis. The information may exist at the local IRS field office level, but headquarters couldn't produce an audit or asset inventory document."
 
Open the Books made the request while preparing a report listing annual spending by the IRS and other federal agencies on firearms, ammunition, and tactical gear from 2006 to 2014.
 
In 2011, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that CI had not implemented all of the recommendations it made in 2005 for keeping track of investigative equipment.   For example, TIGTA "determined during [its] office visitations that functional security reviews were not being conducted." It had recommended annual reviews of storage areas for investigative equipment and firearms, the 2011 report noted.   TIGTA found that CI management did not properly conduct annual inventories of the equipment, update the CIMIS about purchases, or restrict access to the equipment.
 
Follow Zoe Sagalow (@thesagaofzoe) and Luca Gattoni-Celli (@TheGattoniCelli) on Twitter for real-time updates.
 
 
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