The tax delinquency issue has been a long-time priority of Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who this year became chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Last month, he released IRS data showing that about 4 percent of federal employees, including postal employees, collectively owed more than $1.1 billion in what the agency called “unresolved” federal taxes in 2014 — a slightly lower percentage, but a slightly higher amount, than in 2013.
“It is disconcerting that federal civilian employees owe more than 1 billion dollars in back taxes,” Chaffetz said in a statement at the time. “These employees are not exempt from their civic responsibility to fulfill tax obligations and those who refuse to pay what they owe should be held accountable.”
However, the percentage of federal workers who pay their taxes as they should is “much higher than the 91 percent compliance rate for the general public for 2013, the latest statistic available for the general public,” the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.) said when the panel voted on the bill.
The House also is set to vote on a companion bill imposing similar restrictions on contractors.
Also scheduled are votes on several bills arising from the controversy over the tax agency’s handling of applications for tax-exempt status by organizations whose names evoke conservative points of view.
One would make it a firing offense for an IRS employee to take or neglect to take certain actions such as audits for personal gain or political purposes. Another — a response to the controversy within a controversy over the unavailability of internal e-mails that may have been pertinent to investigations into the handling of tax-exemption applications — would bar IRS employees from using personal e-mails for official purposes. A third would require the agency to make sure its employees are trained in and comply with taxpayer rights.
In addition, the House has scheduled votes on several bills related to tax policies.