The IRS Efficiency Argument

Okay, let’s go down the rabbit hole again. In testimony by outgoing acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steve Miller he explains the targeting of groups with “tea party” and “patriot” as an inadvertent result of trying to improve efficiency in the IRS group for non-profit applications. So let us assume that you are in charge of this group and you are being swamped with new applications. You are confronted with several choices. The “efficient choice” is to let most of them through with just a cursory review. Desperate times calls for desperate measures and this is the choice that cleans up your backlog the quickest. If upper management wants a more thorough review then the they need to increase the budget for this group.

Instead IRS management chose the least efficient method to deal with the backlog. Instead of quickly dispensing with the non-profit applications, they chose to scrutinize primary small “tea party” groups in greater detail. These groups are pretty small fish in the pond. Whatever! As shown in the hearings this involved a lot of communication between the IRS and the applicants. A lot of the questions asked by the IRS in these communications do not appear to be relevant to the application. Some of the questions were against IRS policy and some are probably illegal. So as Hillary Clinton might say, “What was the point of all of this?” If efficiency was the primary concern, the IRS created more work for themselves in processing the backlog and opened the door to increased Congressional oversight and public scrutiny. Yea, that is how we improve efficiency in the IRS!