The Star Trek video was shot at the IRS’s in-house studio in Maryland on a set faithfully depicting the command bridge of the starship “Enterprise.” IRS employees in the roles of Mr. Spock and the show’s other familiar characters, declare themselves on route to the planet Notax, to combat identity theft.
In the second video, "FA Quality Island," also shot in the Maryland studio, castaways discuss field assistance, or FA, the IRS term for face-to-face help provided taxpayers. The set is not as elaborate as the one built for the Star Trek video, but in the spririt of the 1960's television sitcom on which it's based, the video has a music and laugh track.
The two videos cost taxpayers about $60,000. The videos came to light after Congressman Charles Boustany (R-Louisiana), chairman of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, demanded that the IRS provide more information about its video budget and productions.
“There is nothing more infuriating to a taxpayer than to find out the government is using their hard-earned dollars in a way that is frivolous,” Boustany said in a statement issued by the subcommittee.
The IRS has issued a statement that reads: “The space parody video from 2010 is not reflective of overall IRS video efforts, which provide critical information to taxpayers and cost-effective employee training critical to running the nation’s tax system. In addition, the IRS has instituted tough new standards for videos to prevent situations similar to the 2010 video.”
Your tax dollars at work, folks.