A new report from the Treasury inspector general for Tax Administration found that millions of sensitive, individual tax records have gone missing.

The inspector general…

…identified significant deficiencies in the IRS’s safeguarding, accounting for, and physical storage of its microfilm backup cartridges. For example, our physical inspection found empty boxes labeled as including microfilm backup cartridges with no explanation as to the location of the missing cartridges. In addition, our discussions with responsible officials at the current three Tax Processing Centers that house microfilm backup cartridges identified that required annual inventories have not been performed.

And that’s just the beginning:

…the IRS was unable to locate any of the FY 2010 microfilm cartridges that should have been sent from the Fresno Tax Processing Center to the Kansas City Tax Processing Center. As a result of the lack of adequate inventory controls, the IRS cannot account for thousands of microfilm cartridges containing millions of sensitive business and individual tax account records. The personal taxpayer and tax information included on these backup cartridges is key information that can be used to commit tax refund fraud identity theft.

Unlike many IG reports, which are walls of bureaucratic text, this one includes pictures. Included are empty boxes with notes in them (one note saying the documents have been sent away for reformatting…in 2013).

Other pictures are of boxes stacked here, there and wherever or broken open with their data-rich contents on full view.

The IG takes pains to add other photos, these of how documents should be stored – in a locked cage.

The IRS is also required to destroy microfilm after 30 years. But here, too, the agency fell down on the job. The excuses for not complying with the regulations?

IRS management indicated that staffing challenges (staff reductions, turnover, retirement, etc.) and competing priorities made it difficult for the IRS to follow guidelines and dispose of the microfilm at the appropriate time.

Just don’t try using those excuses in the taxman comes calling for you.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard. It was originally published in American Liberty News.