irsIf a worker owes their employer thousands of dollars and refuses to pay the debt, should they be fired or have their wages garnished? What if the employer is the federal government?

Astoundingly, more than 100,000 federal employees owe more than $1 billion in federal taxes. To provide an incentive for them to pay up, a House committee approved legislation that would require the firing of government workers who are “seriously tax delinquent.”

The Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013 requires the termination of employment for tax delinquent federal employees, while also prohibiting the hiring of new federal employees with a substantial amount of delinquent tax debt.

“The intent of the bill is simple,” Chaffetz said. “If you are a federal employee or applicant, you should be making a good faith effort to pay your taxes or to dispute them, as all taxpayers have the right to do.”

Chaffetz explained that the term “seriously tax delinquent” is defined as having an outstanding federal tax debt where a notice of lien has been publicly filed.

The bill exempts employees who can demonstrate financial hardships and an effort of working to settle tax liabilities.

Democrats on the committee opposed the bill.

Of course they do. Public sector unions—which represent many federal government workers—overwhelmingly support Democrats and would be less than thrilled if the legislators in their pocket were to support such common-sense legislation.

Still, kudos to Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz for sponsoring the legislation. He deserves credit for a valiant attempt at reform, even though the status quo cronyism will likely win this battle.

  • montanajack1948

    It makes perfect sense to me that the political party that fiercely opposes taxes with every bone in its collective body is also genuinely appalled that government employees (!) are failing to pay their taxes in a timely fashion. Otherwise, I’d have to believe that Jason Chaffetz and other Republicans are just trolling for partisan advantage and doing their best to embarrass public sector workers (who have, I believe, a lower tax delinquency rate than private sector workers).