Congressman Calls for Crackdown on Tax Delinquent Federal Workers

Federal employees who owe Uncle Sam could face pink slips if a new bill gets passed by Congress.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced the bill Tuesday that would terminate the employment of federal employees and prohibit the hiring of future federal employees who have a seriously delinquent tax debt.

Chaffetz also introduced another bill that would prohibit anyone with a seriously delinquent tax debt from acquiring a federal government contract or grant – a measure that is similar to one introduced in 2007 by-then Sen. Barack Obama.

"Federal employees, contractors and grantees have an obvious obligation to pay their taxes," Chaffetz said in a written statement. "Because they draw their compensation from the American taxpayers, they owe it to the taxpayers themselves to be compliant. Those that do not, should be fired or lose funding."

The bills are under review in committee.

Currently, only IRS employees can be fired for not paying federal income taxes. Chaffetz's bill would expand that to include all federal employees. But federal workers who enter installment arrangements to pay off their tax debts would not be affected. Chaffetz also said the multistep procedure required to designated a taxpayer "seriously delinquent" offers federal employees due process.

Nearly 100,000 federal civilian employees owed $1 billion in unpaid federal income taxes in 2009, according to the IRS. The number of delinquent federal employees has remained consistent since 2004, but the amount owed has soared nearly 70 percent from $600 million to $1 billion.