With the IRS scandal over targeting conservative groups still making headlines, two senators – one from each party – say that it is time to go after a real, proven target: federal employees who cheat on their taxes.
Senators Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, and Mark L. Pryor, Arkansas Democrat, have introduced a bill that would allow federal agencies to fire any employee with “seriously delinquent” tax debt. This qualifies as outstanding debt for which a notice of lien has been filed in public records.
According to the most recent IRS data, almost 312,000 current and former federal employees owed more than $3.5 billion in unpaid federal taxes as of 2011. That is an 11.5 percent increase in the delinquency rate of federal employees compared with 2010, which also was up from the previous year. The 2011 figure included more than 107,000 current civilian federal employees who owed more than $1 billion in unpaid taxes, and almost 142,000 military and civilian retirees who owed $2.1 billion.
Senator Coburn has proposed additional legislation that would bar tax evaders from receiving government assistance- including grants, contracts, loans and agriculture-related tax credits. He has submitted the additional legislation as an amendment to the Senate’s $955 billion farm bill — a measure that includes agricultural subsidies and the food-stamp program. A vote is expected in the coming weeks.
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