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100 dollar bills Hearing you have been selected for audit will concern anyone. When two Minnesota businesspeople received their audit letter, they were likely dismayed. However, like good law-abiding citizens, they met with their accountant and the IRS auditor, Roger Anthony Coombs, at their attorney’s office. You can imagine their surprise when the auditor offered to minimize their taxes owing with a $9,000 payment to himself!

That’s right! He requested a bribe in exchange for a favorable audit result. Fortunately, the quick-thinking businesspeople met again, recorded the conversation, and brought it to the attention of the authorities.

Coombs was arrested early in June and, if found guilty, could serve up to 15 years in prison. (Read the full story about the us IRS officer being bribed here).

This is a shocking news story but it prompts me to think further. Coombs only started working for the IRS in June 2009. If this was his very first foray into bribery, it took him a total of 11 months. Eleven months! Was this guy not vetted before his job? Did he have a squeaky-clean record and only turned bad in less than a year? Is this, in fact, his first attempt at stealing from taxpayers?

Another thing I’m prompted to think about is this: There are about 120,000 people working for the IRS. This is one story of one tax agent who was caught. How many more are there are operating a successful bribery scam? I’m sure it is incredibly tempting for anyone facing an income tax audit and a lot of money owing to the IRS to instead give a small amount to an agent to make the situation go away.

The last thing I’m prompted to think about: If the businesspeople in the story really do owe $60,000 in back taxes, is the IRS still going to send in an auditor to finish the job? These people did the right thing in the face of a very tempting crime. Their possible reward might be an actual audit!

[Image source: AMagill]

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