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Deadbeat Feds: Employees Owe Uncle Sam $3B In Unpaid Taxes

Mark Segraves | WTOP.com

December 14, 2009

The agency with the highest percentage of delinquent employees is the National Capital Planning Commission at 10.42 percent. Forty-eight employees owe $26,947.

NCPC is committed to working closely with the Department of The Treasury to resolve issues of federal income tax delinquency involving its staff,” NCPC spokeswoman Lisa MacSpadden said in a statement.

“The agency takes this matter very seriously and recognizes that federal employees must adhere to the highest ethical standards regarding financial matters.

“We remind our employees of this responsibility as part of our mandatory annual ethics training. Upon receipt of an official notice from the IRS about a specific employee’s noncompliance, NCPC will take appropriate administrative action.”

Other notable agencies on the list:

  • Executive Office of the President (includes the White House): 50 employees owe $812,917;
  • U.S. Senate: 231 employees owe $2,469,026;
  • U.S. House of Representatives: 447 employees owe $5,809,631;
  • U.S. Tax Court: 3 employees owe $39,752;
  • Active Duty Military: 27,111 employees $102,474,672.

While some taxpayers may scratch their heads and ask why the federal government doesn’t garnish the wages of these employees, the reality is they can’t. According to federal tax laws, employees are treated the same as any other taxpayer who doesn’t pay their taxes.

The IRS must go through the same procedures and court process with feds as it does with John Q. Public. Once a court awards the IRS a judgment or if the employees enter a voluntary payment plan, the IRS can garnish wages. However, federal employees do jeopardize any security clearance they may have if they don’t pay their income taxes.

As for the general public’s voluntary compliance rate, the IRS no longer tracks those numbers, so it is impossible to compare. But an IRS report from 2001 (PDF) showed the total tax gap to be about $345 billion. The tax gap is the difference between what is owed each year and what is paid, and includes income, corporate, employment, estate and excise taxes.

(Copyright 2009 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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