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Move irks IRS employees

WASHINGTON -- The planned move of two Internal Revenue Service computer operations from the agency's headquarters in Washington to suburban Virginia has irked some of the employees involved, according to an IRS memo released Tuesday.

The memo outlined employee concerns over the proposed move of the IRS internal security division and the systems development branch, which are part of the agency's Office of Inspection.

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'We believe this move will inhibit the effectiveness of our on-line audit process,' the memo said. 'There is also a perception by some branch employees that top IRS executives are forcing this move in order to minimize the impact and lessen the effectiveness of our systems development work.'

The memo was prepared July 6 by E. John Thomas, who served at the time as chief of the IRS systems development audits branch.

Frank Keith, an IRS spokesman, said the move was required because the two operations have expanded and plans call for further expansion. Keith said the agency's headquarters can no longer provide the 'professional space' for the additional employees.

'The reason for the move was because the space here was not adequate,' Keith said.

The move to Arlington, Va., just across the Potomac River from Washington, involves between 25 and 30 people and is expected to be completed early next month.

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The memo was released by an unidentified IRS employee to the National Coalition of IRS Whistleblowers, an organization formed after a Church of Scientology magazine called for former and current IRS personnel to come forward, said Lisa Lashaway, a coalition spokeswoman.

Lashaway said the coalition is connected to the church 'just in the fact that Freedom magazine established it.'

The magazine is published by the Church of Scientology, which has filed many lawsuits over the years, taking on the IRS, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligency Agency and others.

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