House passes Chaffetz bill that would fire federal employees who owe back taxes

The House voted Tuesday to pass a bill that would fire federal employees for being tax deadbeats.

The bill, which was proposed by second-term GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, also would keep tax scofflaws from getting hired by the federal government in the first place.

It passed by a vote of 263 to 114 and will be sent to the Senate.

Federal civilian employees “draw their compensation and funds from the American taxpayers (so) they owe it to the taxpayers themselves to be compliant,” Chaffetz said. “Those that do not should be fired or lose funding.”

Chaffetz, R-Utah, cites IRS data that shows nearly 100,000 federal civilian employees owed $1 billion in unpaid federal income taxes in 2009. That number has remained fairly constant since 2004, but the amount owed has increased nearly 70 percent, from $599.8 million, according to the agency.

The bill specifically targets applicants with tax liens.

Those on a plan to repay back taxes or in negotiations with the IRS would be exempt from the proposed change. IRS employees already can be terminated for non-payment of federal income taxes.

In April 2011, the bill was passed out of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, of which Chaffetz is a member.

The bill would include those seeking federal contracts and grants, but exempts uniformed military personnel. In addition, federal agencies would be required to give 60 days notice before taking personnel action.