318,000 fed workers owe $3.3B in back taxes, IRS says

More than 318,000 federal workers and retirees owe just over $3.3 billion in back taxes, the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.

That works out to nearly 3.3 percent of all 9.8 million federal workers and retirees who are behind on their taxes — significantly lower than the proportion of delinquent taxpayers in the overall population. The IRS estimates that to be at least 8.7 percent.

Those behind in their tax payments include 714 people working for the House and Senate. IRS officials said the data used to compile the report does not indicate whether any of those delinquent taxpayers were members of Congress.

In addition, 821 employees of the nation's federal courts have overdue tax bills. IRS officials said the data did not indicate whether any of them were judges.

Agency officials said the IRS pursues delinquent taxes from federal workers the same way it goes after money that others owe. The agency will initially send at least two bills for the taxes it believes are due, a process that eventually can evolve into garnishing wages from paychecks or seizing property.

Almost 4.1 percent of active civilian government workers owe back taxes, the report said.

Among Cabinet-level departments, the highest rate of delinquency is at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where 5.3 percent of workers have overdue taxes. The lowest was at the Treasury Department — which includes the IRS — where 1.2 percent of workers were delinquent.

The IRS said 1.7 percent of active duty military personnel are overdue. So are almost 2.7 percent of those in the Reserves and National Guard.

Among retirees, 2.6 percent of retired civilian workers and 4.2 percent of retired military are delinquent.

The figures are as of Sept. 30, 2013.