WASHINGTON (AP) -- A government watchdog says nearly 1,600 IRS workers were found to have willfully evaded taxes over a 10-year period.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) headquarters building Washington (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

It's a small percentage of the agency's employees -- about 160 workers a year out of a workforce of 85,000.

A new report by the agency's inspector general said most were not fired, even though a 1998 law calls for terminations when IRS workers willfully don't pay their taxes. The penalty must be waived by the IRS commissioner.

The report looked at workers from 2004 through 2013, before IRS Commissioner John Koskinen started.

The IRS said more than 99 percent of its employees pay their taxes on time, the highest compliance rate of any major federal agency. The agency said those who weren't fired faced strong disciplinary actions.


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