That “Star Trek” video was produced for the same 2010 conference. The agency called the “Star Trek” video, which lasted six minutes and featured employees dressed as characters from the popular show, a mistake.
The “Star Trek” and “Gilligan’s Island” videos cost about $60,000 combined to make, the IRS said in March.
The “Gilligan’s Island” parody was used at the beginning of a 12-hour video the IRS used in 2011 to train its workers on various tax issues, Eldridge said. The entire video was used to train 1,900 workers who assist taxpayers over the phone and in offices around the country, she said.
In a separate statement, Danny Werfel, the IRS’ new acting commissioner, called the 2010 conference “an unfortunate vestige from a prior era.”
He added, “While there were legitimate reasons for holding the meeting, many of the expenses associated with it were inappropriate and should not have occurred.”
Werfel said the IRS has since instituted spending restrictions that include scaling back travel and training expenses by more than 80 percent since 2010.
“Taxpayers should take comfort that a conference like this would not take place today,” Werfel said.
In a statement, the Treasury Department — of which the IRS is part — said it puts “the highest priority on protecting taxpayer dollars.” It said it would work with Werfel as he reviews his agency’s operations and tries to “restore public confidence in the IRS.”
The 2010 conference was attended by 2,600 IRS workers from 350 offices around the country that handle tax returns for small businesses and self-employed individuals, Eldridge said.