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U.S. News and Commentary



Monday
Mar112013

Chaffetz tries again with bill on federal employees’ delinquent taxes 

Rep. Chaffetz (R-Utah) continues to call for federal employees to pay their taxes. (Photo: U.S. House Web page for Rep. Chaffetz)Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) hasn’t given up on his bill to bar individuals who have “seriously delinquent” tax debts from being eligible for federal employment in the executive and legislative branch. The term “seriously delinquent” means a tax lien has been filed. An employee attempting in good faith to resolve the problem would be exempt.

There’s justification for the bill. The yearly amount owed by delinquent federal employees increased, from $599.8 million to a whopping $1.034 billion, from 2004 to 2010.

The bill should be a bipartisan win. Instead, Chaffetz had to reintroduce it in 2013.

After Chaffetz introduced the bill in 2012, it passed the House of Representatives. It went nowhere in the U.S. Senate led by Democrat Harry Reid (Nev.) although Reid continues to call for more “revenue” (tax hikes).

Chaffetz gave a snapshot of a single year. For fiscal year 2009, a total of 184,240 civilian federal employees owed $1.5 billion in taxes. Of that number, 85,000 had set up installment agreements with the IRS.

Bloomberg featured an analysis of federal employees’ delinquencies, and another puzzle emerged:

The highest delinquency rates among federal employees were at two small agencies -- the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation. Both had a 9.1 percent delinquency rate, or four people at the rights commission and five at the scholarship foundation.

Bloomberg also said, “The number of tax-delinquent federal workers and retirees increased by 11.5 percent in 2011, according to Internal Revenue Service data.”

Ironically, although President Barack Obama has sought and obtained numerous tax hikes on the general public, the delinquency rate for employees in the Executive Office of the President was 2.1 percent. Ideally that figure would be zero.

Chaffetz noted, “Under current law, only IRS employees can be terminated for failing to file a federal income tax return.”

The most recent Internal Revenue Service Data Book said the IRS had a total workforce of 104,403 for fiscal year 2011. During the same year, the agency processed more than 234 million returns and collected $2.4 trillion in taxes. That year the IRS issued $416 billion in refunds.

The number of IRS employees will necessarily continue to increase as provisions of the ObamaCare Tax Bill begin to be implemented.

Chaffetz refilled his bill in January, 2013 as H.R. 249, the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act. It has been referred to committee in the House.

Federal government employees and their families were listed as top contributors to Obama's reelection campaign.

Chaffetz also recently introduced a bill on Feb. 28 to make sure federal contractors pay their taxes. In a statement, Chaffetz said, “The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported that government contractors owed over $5 billion in unpaid federal taxes.” 

The Chaffetz bill, H.R. 882, the Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2013, would bar companies with seriously delinquent federal tax debts from receiving new federal contracts.

(Filed by Kay B. Day/March 11, 2013)

 

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