On March 1, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced HR 828 which would terminate the employment of current federal employees and prohibit the hiring of future federal employees who have a seriously delinquent tax debt. Rep. Jason Chaffetz also introduced HR 829, The Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2011. (A similar bill was introduced in the 110th Congress by then Senator Barack Obama.) The bill prohibits any person who has a seriously delinquent tax debt from obtaining a federal government contract or grant.
“Federal employees, contractors, and grantees have an obvious obligation to pay their taxes,” said Chaffetz. “Because they draw their compensation and funds from the American taxpayers, they owe it to the taxpayers themselves to be compliant. Those that do not, should be fired or lose funding.”
According to the IRS, nearly 100,000 federal civilian employees owed $1.0 billion in unpaid federal income taxes in 2009. While the number of delinquent federal employees has remained fairly constant since 2004, the amount owed has increased nearly 70%.
|Year|| # of Delinquent Federal Employees
|| Amount of Delinquencies (in millions)
Source: Internal Revenue Service FERDI. Excludes federal employees who owe taxes but have entered into repayment agreements.
Currently, only IRS employees can be terminated for non-payment of federal income taxes. This legislation would expand this to include all federal employees. This legislation would not impact federal employees who enter installment agreements to pay off their tax debts. Moreover, designating a taxpayer as “seriously delinquent” is a multi-step procedure that affords the federal employee due process.
The Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2011 is designed to mandate tax compliance as a prerequisite for receiving a federal contract. In 2008, The Federal Acquisition Regulation was revised, requiring contractors to certify that they do not have a delinquent tax debt to the federal government. HR 829 would codify that regulation and provide a means to verify the contractor’s certification. The bill also defines “seriously delinquent tax debt” as an outstanding tax debt for which a notice of lien has been filed in public records.
This bill was introduced in the 111th as HR 572 and in the 110th Congress as HR 4881. During the 110th Congress, the House passed HR 4881 by voice vote. Then Senator Barack Obama sponsored an identical Senate companion, S. 2519.