House Rejects Bill to Fire Federal Workers with Tax Debts

By Jason Bramwell

A bill that would have required the federal government to terminate workers who were delinquent on paying their taxes was rejected by the House of Representatives on April 15.
 
House members voted 250-159 in favor of the legislation, called the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act; however, the bill failed to receive the two-thirds majority vote needed for passage, according to an April 16 article in the Washington Post.
 
Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which opposed the legislation, could not be reached for comment by AccountingWEB on April 18. However, in a statement made on April 16, Kelley says she was pleased the House voted down the bill.
 
"This was nothing more than a political stunt by House leadership to bring this measure to the floor on tax day," she adds.
 
Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who introduced the bill last year, says he will continue to pursue a remedy for tax delinquency in a bipartisan way.
 
"Tax delinquency continues to be a major problem," Chaffetz says in a written statement. "If we are going to protect the overwhelming majority of good and decent federal workers, then we have a responsibility to root out the bad apples."
 
The House approved a similar bill in July 2012 by a vote of 263-114, but the legislation was never brought up by the Senate. At that time, Chaffetz cited IRS data indicating that federal workers owed a combined $1 billion in delinquent taxes in 2009, up from roughly $600 million in 2004.
 
According to the NTEU, the bill was unnecessary due to the high compliance rate of federal workers who pay their taxes, the system that is already in place to deal with those who owe back taxes, and the likelihood that someone without a job is far less likely to be able to pay taxes owed.
 
Kelley also noted that federal employees are in the third year of a pay freeze, and many are facing unpaid furlough days resulting from sequestration.
 
"Furlough days will result in an actual pay cut," she says. "I would think and hope Congress would be working to avoid these kinds of consequences for this dedicated workforce. I note, with some irony, that Congress is exempt from the furloughs facing the federal workforce and would have been exempt from the Chaffetz bill, as well."
 
Related articles:
 

You may like these other stories...

Truckers and other owners of heavy highway vehicles take note: Your next federal highway use tax return is due on September 2.The September 2 due date, which was pushed back two days because the normal August 31 deadline...
The head of the IRS has a message for taxpayers and tax preparers who have endured long wait times while on the phone with the tax agency: Call your member of Congress.During his keynote speech at the 69th Annual Meeting of...
Regulators struggle with conflicts in credit ratings and auditsThe Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), which was created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002, released its third annual report on audits of...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Aug 26
This webcast will include discussions of recently issued, commonly-applicable Accounting Standards Updates for non-public, non-governmental entities.
Aug 28
Excel spreadsheets are often akin to the American Wild West, where users can input anything they want into any worksheet cell. Excel's Data Validation feature allows you to restrict user inputs to selected choices, but there are many nuances to the feature that often trip users up.
Sep 9
In this session we'll discuss the types of technologies and their uses in a small accounting firm office.
Sep 11
This webcast will include discussions of commonly-applicable Clarified Auditing Standards for audits of non-public, non-governmental entities.