Back Taxes Owed by Members of Congress

It seems that those who make the laws aren't always known for setting the best example. A recent report by the IRS on tax compliance by government employees showed that 5.03 percent of House members their employees and 4.44 percent of Senators and their aides owed back taxes or have one or more delinquent tax returns.

The total amount owed by government employees in all agencies totals $2.53 billion. This amount does not include any amounts owed for which an installment agreement has been entered into.

"Our system of taxation relies on voluntary compliance," Charles O. Rossotti, Commissioner of the IRS, wrote in a letter to heads of the various agencies. "Tax delinquency among federal employees can damage the credibility of the tax administration system. If the public perceives that federal employees do not maintain the highest level of tax compliance, public confidence in government will suffer."

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