Audit Finds $119 of Unused Nerf Footballs in IRS Cabinet

The Internal Revenue Service lacks sufficient oversight of agency credit cards issued to employees, leading to purchases such as $119 in Nerf footballs sitting unused in a filing cabinet, according to an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

During an international tax executives’ conference in 2010, the IRS spent more than $50,000 on receptions, meetings and meals, including $140 a person for a dinner and $100 a person for a lunch that included more than 28 bottles of wine for 41 guests.

The audit also found almost $4,000 in what the inspector general deemed “improper decorative and give-away items,” including the footballs and $418 in kazoos, bathtub toy boats and other “novelty decorations.”

The IRS said the purchases were appropriate for managers’ meetings and team-building exercises, according to the report.

In a statement issued today, Danny Werfel, the interim leader of the IRS, said he is directing agency employees to review spending.

“Clearly, any inappropriate card use impacts our bottom line and is cause for concern,” he said. “Wasteful spending cannot be tolerated, and any employees found to be abusing the system will be held accountable. In fact, we are following up on several inappropriate incidents mentioned in the report, ranging from internal actions to criminal charges.”

One person, who has since been charged with embezzlement, made personal purchases on an IRS credit card, the audit found. Those purchases included romance novels, steaks and diet pills.

Two other employees used their cards at “merchants affiliated with online pornography.” Both reported their cards stolen or compromised, though one had seven accounts, five of which were reported as lost or stolen.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Rubin in Washington at rrubin12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at jschneider50@bloomberg.net

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