The IRS has spent approximately $96 million on office furniture since fiscal year 2010, a striking revelation that comes on the heels of the agency pleading with Congress for an increase to its annual budget.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew confirmed at a congressional hearing last month that the IRS is seeking an increase of roughly $1.2 billion to its annual budget for fiscal year 2015. This would represent a 7 percent increase to its current annual budget of $11.29 billion.
But despite what Lew characterized as a lack of funding, the IRS was able somehow to spend $96 million on refurbishing its offices across the country, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
For perspective, the amount spent by the IRS under President Barack Obama already surpasses the amount spent during former President George W. Bush’s eight years in the White House.
The bulk of the cash was spent in 2010 when the IRS allotted nearly $44.4 million for office renovations. This was also the first fiscal year budget that Obama was responsible for as president.
Items purchased for the IRS’ refurbishment efforts include chairs, showcases, partitions, shelving, and wood furniture, the Beacon reported, citing a review of IRS contracts.
The IRS disbursed cash for refurbishment to its offices across the county: An office in Philadelphia received $2.8 million in 2011 for “furniture systems”; an office in Colorado was awarded a contract worth $2.67 that same year for “purchase of systems furniture”; an office in Washington, D.C., was awarded $2.6 million for “new system furniture/service”; and an office in Iowa was awarded $1.06 million for a furniture makeover.
Michigan spent more than $2.93 million renovating its six offices. Separately, an IRS office in Jasper, Indiana, was awarded a renovation contract worth $689,719 in 2010 and another contract worth $805,515 in 2011.
Meanwhile, an IRS office in Haverhill, Massachusetts, spent thousands of dollars on new chairs, allotting nearly $618,881 on “Task Chairs Phase II.”
Having now renovated its offices at an enormous cost, the IRS now maintains that it lacks the proper funding to serve the American taxpayer.
“The IRS continues its commitment to carrying out its responsibilities, providing quality service to taxpayers and preserving the public’s faith in our tax system, but the lack of sufficient funding in recent years has made it difficult to provide the kind of services American taxpayers deserve,” Lew told Congress in April.
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This post has been updated.