irs-emailsYou may never – ever, ever, ever – feel sorry for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). But, surely, you can appreciate the migraine-like headache that officials from the US government’s tax agency are experiencing.

You don’t have anything in common with the IRS? What? You’ve never misplaced critical emails?

Or outright lost them?

Or accidentally deleted them?

Well, this time around, Uncle Sam has to point his famous finger right back at himself. Congressional and Senate committees as well as the Justice Department and IRS inspector general are investigating how former IRS official Lois Lerner, among others, handled tea party applications from 2010 to 2012.

According to the Associated Press:

“The Internal Revenue Service has lost more emails connected to the tea party investigation, congressional investigators said Tuesday.

“The IRS said last Friday it had lost an untold number of emails when Lois Lerner’s computer crashed in 2011. Lerner used to head the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status.

“On Tuesday, two key lawmakers said the IRS has also lost emails from six additional IRS workers whose computers crashed.”

Equipment failure resulted in the lost emails, according to Rep. Sander Levin, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, which discovered that IRS technicians learned Lerner’s emails were lost months before making it known.

However, multiple sources, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, told Politico.com something entirely different:

“We’ve been informed that the hard drive has been thrown away,” Hatch said.

If the latter is true, recovering those lost emails in their entirety seems as likely as the IRS ignoring next year’s tax day deadline to atone for this massive mishap.

Whether you believe this was an ill-timed system crash or something conspiratorial, this much seems to be certain: Working to recover any information from this gaffe has proven time-consuming and costly. The IRS, according to the AP, enlisted 250 of its workers to help with the investigations. It has cost close to $10 million to collect more than 750,000 documents. (The IRS reportedly recovered 24,000 of Lerner’s emails from 2009 to 2011 via computers of other employees who were copied on the communications.)

Republicans, Fox News reported, “consider Lerner’s communications to be critical to their investigations into the agency’s heavy scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.”

Now, your company may not deal with a comparable volume of email. But the information contained in your communications is no less valuable. For this very reason, implementing an email archiving solution that automatically archives your email history to a central store should be a top priority.

Picking the right product can save you time, storage and money. It can also help you reduce legal and regulatory risk, which protects your business-critical communications, your customers, and your reputation.

Otherwise, if the worst should happen, you – much like Lerner – may have some explaining to do.

Learn more about how your business can benefit from robust email archiving today.