Here’s a group the IRS should go after…employees of the federal
government who do not pay their federal income taxes. Senators Tom
Coburn (R-OK) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) have introduced a bill that would
allow agencies to fire any federal employee who are seriously delinquent
in paying their taxes (defined as they have an outstanding tax debt for
which a federal lien has been filed in the public records).

Based on the 2011 tax year federal employees owe a $3.5 billion dollars
in back taxes. And while the IRS has a rule which punishes delinquent
taxpayers in its employment, other agencies do not:

 According to the most recent IRS data, as of 2011, more than 311,000
current and former federal employees owed more than $3.5 billion in
unpaid federal taxes, an 11.5 percent increase in the delinquency rate
of federal employees from 2010, in which the rate also increased from

Of the nearly 312,000 employees with tax debts, 107,658 were current
civilian federal employees owing $1.013 billion in unpaid taxes, while
141,980 were military and civilian retirees owing $2.1 billion.

IRS data indicated that 2,552 employees in the Department of Justice
owed more than $20 million in back taxes. The Department of Health and
Human Services had a delinquency rate of 4.03 percent, as 3,454
employees owed the government $44.6 million. In addition, 22,404
employees of the U.S. Postal Service owed more than $215 million in
delinquent taxes, while 2,453 employees of the Social Security
Administration owed more than $22 million in back taxes. The Smithsonian
Institution’s delinquency rate was more than 6.6 percent, as 328
Smithsonian employees owed more than $3 million in taxes.

Congress and the executive branch too, there were employees with
substantial tax debts. As of 2011, 688 employees of the House and Senate
owed more than $10 million in taxes. Similarly, 40 employees in the
Executive Office of the White House owed $333,485 in unpaid federal

 The money lost is substantial but just as important is that the people
who’s jobs depend on tax dollars should be first in line to pay their
“fair share” of federal taxes (as the vast majority of federal agencies

“This bill helps fill a gap created by the IRS by prohibiting the
federal government from employing tax cheats. It’s wrong to force
American families to fund the paychecks of federal employees who don’t
feel like paying their taxes. While most federal employees are
hard-working and responsible citizens who pay their taxes, others are

He and Pryor noted that the bill would help federal
agencies avoid issuing indiscriminate furloughs by favoring employees
who pay their taxes.

“In today’s tight budget environment,
we need to ensure that we’re getting the most bang for our buck,” said
Pryor. “Taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to foot the bill for federal
employees who are delinquent. These employees—like the rest of
America—need to pay their taxes or face the consequences. Our
common-sense bill helps us meet this goal.”

This legislation would only apply those workers who have consciously
neglected to pay their incomes taxes and would exclude employees from
suspension if there is a good faith effort on their part to pay up.

The bill would exclude federal employees from suspension if the
individual is currently paying their taxes, interest and penalties owed
to the IRS under an installment plan; the individual and the IRS have
worked out a compromise on the amount of taxes, interest and penalties
owed and the compromise amount agreed upon is being repaid to IRS; the
individual has not exhausted his or her right to due process under the
law (a broad exception that references administrative or judicial
remedies); or the individual has filed a joint return and successfully
contends that he or she should not be fully liable for the taxes,
interest, and/or penalties owed because of something that the other
party to the return did or did not do.

 Senator Coburn has also  proposed additional legislation that would bar
tax scofflaws from receiving government assistance including federal
grants, contracts, loans and agriculture-related tax credits. That
measure was submitted as an amendment to the Senate’s  farm bill which
should be voted on during the next few weeks.