Since we publicized the House vote on the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act, we have received numerous questions from FedSmith.com users who wanted to know if the legislation would also apply to members of Congress. Here are some answers.
The Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act introduced by Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) in March of 2011 would terminate federal employees who are delinquent on their taxes. According to the legislation, it applies to employees of an “Executive Branch agency, the United States Postal Servcie, the Postal Regulatory Commission, or an employing authority in the legislative branch.”
So in short, no; from what I could find in reading the legislation, it only applies to federal employees and not members of Congress.
And that actually makes sense because that brings us to Mr. Chaffetz’s second legislation, also introduced in March of 2011, and one which we reported on at that time.
The Members of Congress Tax Accountability Act (H.R. 1866) would require members of Congress to disclose their delinquent tax liability, would require an ethics inquiry into that delinquency, and would garnish the wages of a Member with a delinquent federal tax liability.
So Congress has not been left out from the tax delinquency legislation as this particular act was written specifically for them.
There is also a third piece of legislation in the tax delinquency arena, also introduced by Chaffetz, that was written for government contractors.
The Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2011 (H.R. 829) states that it is prohibited to award a contract or grant unless the “prospective contractor or grantee certifies in writing to the agency awarding the contract or grant that the contractor or grantee has no seriously delinquent tax debts.”
As of the time of this writing, neither the Contracting and Tax Accountability Act nor the Members of Congress Tax Accountability Act had passed the House.
So if you’re a federal employee and are feeling singled out by the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act, it may be somewhat comforting to know that it came with companion legislation to target members of Congress and government contractors.
For more information, see also: