Anyone with a “seriously delinquent” tax debt - those for which a public lien has been filed - would be ineligible for civilian employment in the executive and legislative branches under a bill introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. (via Flickr)
Federal employees could lose their jobs if they don’t pay off tax debts, under a bill that passed the House on Tuesday.
Anyone with a “seriously delinquent” tax debt — those for which a public lien has been filed — would be ineligible for civilian employment in the executive and legislative branches under the bill, HR 828, sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
More than 98,000 federal civilian employees owed more than $1 billion in unpaid federal income taxes in 2010, according to the Internal Revenue Service. While the number of employees with tax debts has declined 4 percent since 2004, the amount owed has increased 72 percent, up from about $600 million in 2004.
Employees who have payment plans to settle their tax debts or have asked the IRS for a collection due-process hearing would be exempted under the bill. Employees would be given 60 days to show that they are working to pay off the debt before action would be taken.
“The intent of the bill is simple: 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 said in a statement. “In short, if you refuse to pay your federal taxes, you should be fired.”
The bill passed with a 263-114 vote and awaits action in the Senate.
Agencies would have to review public court records to find out if current and prospective employees have tax liens. If a lien is found, the agency would need permission from the employee or applicant to get the Treasury Department to disclose information about his or her tax liens and the actions being taken to settle the debt.
Job applicants would have to certify that they do not have tax debts.