IRS Apologizes for Costly Star Trek Training Video

Sometimes the government does things that make you want to shake your head. This post is about one of those instances. The Today Show reported in a segment titled “Live Long and Squander?” that the IRS is under fire for two training videos in particular a “Star Trek” parody the Agency thought would be good for employee training. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports that a congressional committee was angry about the $60,000 price tag of the Star Trek spoof especially since it shows very little training value at all. Watch the Today show video here. Here are some main points the story covered:

  • According to NBC, the IRS spent $60,000 for training videos including the “elaborate” Star Trek parody. The IRS stated that the video was made for a 2010 conference.
  • The House Oversight Committee which handles matters relating to government management of Agencies like the IRS, demanded that the IRS turn over the video and explain how much was spent to make it. The Committee believes the video did not contain “meaningful content.”
  • Critics have called the video “expensive silliness” and argue that American taxpayers will be disappointed in how their tax dollars are spent.
  • The IRS response acknowledged that the video was not the best use of resources and conceded that a similar video would not be made today.

Apparently, another training video was made from the $60,000 – a Gilligan’s Island spoof but in this case, the Committee found it to have actual “training value” for the dollars spent. The IRS has beefed up its video making in recent years finding videos to be a great way to get out information to consumers, tax professionals and its own staff. According to the Today show, the IRS YouTube channel has had more than a four million views.

Let’s just hope the “creative” tax dollar spending or squandering by the IRS has been reigned in.

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