Old tricks for Abusing Purchase Cards Apparently Still in Use, Audit Finds

October 11, 2011

Some Internal Revenue Services managers appear to be circumventing the dollar limit on credit card micro-purchasing by splitting the transactions into two or more parts, according to a new federal audit.

Selected IRS employees are allowed to use the micro-purchase credit cards to make authorized purchases of low-cost items such as office supplies and training. Under federal acquisition rules the limit per transaction is $3,000.

However, some IRS employees may have improperly skirted those rules by splitting the purchases into two or more parts. For example, to buy $5,000 worth of office equipment on the card, the purchase could be itemized into two invoices each showing a value of $2,500.

"Our analysis identified 843 potential split purchases involving 3,066 individual transactions made by 437 purchase cardholders," said the Oct. 11 report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. 

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