Firing Tax Delinquent Feds Still on the Table

A bill that was introduced last year to terminate federal employees with “seriously delinquent” tax debts appears to slowly be making its way through the Senate.

A bill that was introduced by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) appears to slowly be making its way through the Senate.

Introduced last year, the legislation (S 1045) would require all federal employees to be current on their federal income taxes, and would allow for the termination of any worker with seriously delinquent tax debt. Additionally, any individual in debt to the government because of unpaid federal taxes would be ineligible for employment with the federal government.

The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the measure this week. If the bill ultimately passes the Senate, it likely will move forward in the House as well since the House has voted in the past on legislation to fire tax delinquent federal workers.

“Seriously delinquent” tax debt is defined as “an outstanding debt under the internal revenue code of 1986 for which a notice of lien has been filed in public records.” Exceptions are made for tax debt being repaid pursuant to an agreement with the IRS and tax debt subject to a collection due process hearing. The bill requires the Office of Personal Management to prescribe a regulation for carrying out the bill including authorizing each agency to establish an appeal process for affected individuals.

The measure would apply to executive and legislative branch federal employees as well as Postal workers.

According to a 2011 report, tax delinquencies for federal employees topped the billion dollar mark starting in 2009, triggering the original impetus for the legislation in the House.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.