Lawmakers are again making an effort to target federal employees with seriously delinquent tax debts.
The Federal Employees and Retirees with Delinquent Debt Initiative (FERDI) (S. 489), introduced by Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), would bar federal employees with significant unpaid tax liability from employment with the federal government. However, federal employees or applicants working to settle their tax debt and resolve outstanding liabilities would be exempt. The bill also provides a financial hardship exemption if the individual’s service is in the best interests of the United States.
“Those who cheat from Uncle Sam and have a significant delinquent debt to the IRS should not be able to accept a paycheck from the federal government until they pay their delinquent tax bill, and this legislation will fix this problem,” said Braun.
The bill is being co-sponsored by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).
A press release on the bill states that in 2015, the Internal Revenue Service issued a copy of the Federal Employees and Retirees with Delinquent Debt Initiative (FERDI) which showed that current and former federal employees collectively owed over $3 billion in delinquent taxes. In 2009, the figure was $1 billion. The Senators say that taxpayer dollars should not pay the salaries of individuals who refuse to pay taxes themselves which is why they are introducing the legislation.
The bill would also require that the FERDI be published annually as it is currently not published on a regular basis. The Senators say this will allow “policy makers and practitioners will be better prepared to track and collect taxes from federal employees.”
Braun introduced a similar bill last year that would have published the tax debts of current and former federal employees annually in a publicly available report. It ultimately failed to advance.
Efforts in Congress to target tax delinquent federal employees date back to at least 2011. None have become law thus far.