IRS Slashes Spending on Videos by 90 Percent

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

The Internal Revenue Service on Friday said it has cut spending on video productions by 90 percent over last fiscal year, in response to more criticism from House Republicans.

The agency’s release of video spending figures comes after the House Ways and Means Committee pushed out another parody IRS managers made to liven things up at a conference. The take-off on the Donald Trump TV show “The Apprentice” -- with the names of featured IRS executives redacted -- involves play-acting to promote assertiveness training and innovation.

Said to cost $10,000, according to Ways and Means, it was prepared for a conference of the IRS’ Small Business/Self-Employed Division. The video stages a “You’re Fired”-type panel of judges chaired by Faris Fink, the Small Business and Self-Employed Division Commissioner who also appeared in IRS’ “Star Trek” parody released earlier.

Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., R-La., chairman of the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, said in a statement, “Another day, another example of abuse and waste at the IRS. Months ago, I demanded the IRS come clean about the time and money it spent to produce these frivolous videos. While we may have no answers, we do have an endless supply of what appears to be the IRS’ idea of entertainment. Whether it is wasteful conferences and videos or the inexcusable targeting of taxpayers based on their personal beliefs, there is nothing amusing about the American people footing the bill for this rogue and out-of-control agency.”

Asked for a response, the IRS said in a statement that the video “made in 2011 is from a prior era and [does] not reflect the stringent policies IRS now has in place to ensure that all training videos are made at the lowest possible cost and with appropriate content. Simply put, this video would not be made at the IRS today.” General video costs at IRS have come down from $ 2.2 million in fiscal 2012 to an estimated $139,000 for fiscal 2013, the statement continued, adding that “the use of videos provides critical taxpayer information and employee training, which helps the IRS save millions of dollars each year.” The agency regards those savings as crucial during a time of tight budgets.

Some 2,300 IRS videos on topics ranging from tax refund information to identity theft since 2010 have been viewed by employees more than 6 million times, the agency said. Since February, new controls on video production have required that the productions clearly focus on substantive issues and receive final approval by a deputy commissioner.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.