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Effort to fire federal tax cheats on hold

For a brief while Thursday, it looked as if Rep. Jason Chaffetz's effort to fire federal workers who owe back taxes might proceed.

The proposal was an amendment offered by the freshman Republican from Utah to the Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2009.

The contractor bill would prohibit companies that don't pay their taxes from getting federal jobs, an effort that has the support of the Obama Administration.

Chaffetz wants to extend the no pay, no play (or rather no work, but I like alliteration) principle to "seriously delinquent" federal employees, including Congressional staff. Chaffetz cites government data that shows there are around 100,000 federal employees with "unacceptable" tax debt.

Here, I'll let Chaffetz tell you about it himself.

"This is not just the person who missed a payment," Chaffetz said. "These are the most serious offenders. They've gotten to the point where the IRS is having to put a lien on their property."

In addition to taking delinquent taxpayers off the federal payroll, Chaffetz's bill also would prohibit the feds from hiring individuals who haven't paid their taxes.

Yes, then no: Things looked pretty good for Chaffetz's proposal early on.

Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was favorably disposed toward the amendment. To woo his fellow Democrats, Towns tweaked the measure to allow delinquent federal workers to hang onto their jobs if they have set up a tax payment plan with the IRS or if they're facing serious financial hardships.

But the modified language wasn't enough. Several Democrats balked, expressing concerns that individuals could be severely penalized before it was determined that the IRS was correct in its tax delinquency assessment.

So Towns pulled the entire bill. There are indications that the Chaffetz/Towns amendment could resurface during possible Committee hearings on the topic of unpaid taxes and jobs.

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Yes the Democrats know that if they let this become law they will be next. They don't want to have to pay taxes. Just look at John Kerry.

Toni McIntyre, CPA, E. A.

I always did think it was not fair that IRS employees are the only people in the entire country who have to file their returns timely & be current with payments. There is no excuse for not holding all federal employees & businesses that do business with the federal government to the same standard. However, you pointed out why it will never happen - too many federal employees (including members of congress) are not compliant.


The amendment seems very interesting and the insighte you gave on the topic along with the clip was great in trying to understand what they are tryoing to do for businesses!

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