Obtaining the D.C. tax office audit

August 22, 2012

In March, internal investigators delivered a draft audit of the District’s troubled tax office to Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi. City officials said the report was finalized within days and has been available ever since for public review.

Gandhi’s office, however, did not disclose the report when The Washington Post, through the Freedom of Information Act, sought in June to review all of the agency’s audits from 2002 to 2012.

Gandhi’s office has said that draft audits are exempt from public disclosure. The Post was able to obtain a copy of the draft through other means.

On Friday, after The Post submitted questions about the draft audit, officials provided a copy of what they said was the final report, saying in a written statement: “As an internal audit document, the report is not publicly circulated, although it is available for review, upon request. The report that you referenced was finalized as of March 15, 2012.”

The draft audit and the final audit are virtually identical.

Other final audits and reports have typically been signed by the head of Gandhi’s internal affairs unit, the Office of Integrity and Oversight. The copy provided to The Post was unsigned.

Agency officials did not respond to repeated requests to provide a signed copy of the audit. In a written statement, the agency said the report was not disclosed earlier in response to The Post’s public-records request because of “human error.”

Two people familiar with the tax office, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they fear termination, said tax office supervisors met with the staff on Friday to review the contents of the audit and discuss recommended changes.

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