Chaffetz sponsored Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act passes House

Jul 31, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Federal employees with seriously delinquent tax debt may be terminated under a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. H.R. 828, the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act, sponsored by Congressman Jason Chaffetz, passed by a bipartisan vote of 263 - 114.  This legislation would not only terminate the employment of current tax delinquent federal employees, but would also prohibit the hiring of future federal employees who already have a seriously delinquent tax debt.

“Employees who consciously ignore the channels and processes in place to fulfill their tax obligations must be held accountable,” said Chaffetz. “In short, if you refuse to pay your federal taxes you should be fired.”

According to the IRS, over 98,000 federal civilian employees owed more than $1 billion in unpaid federal income taxes in 2010. The average delinquency rate for federal civilian employees was 3.33 percent. While the number of delinquent federal employees has remained fairly constant since 2004, the amount owed has increased nearly 72%.


Number of Delinquent Federal Employees

Dollar Amount of Delinquencies



$599.8 million



$681.3 million



$693.4 million



$844.4 million



$962.1 million





$1.002 billion

$1.034 billion




Source: Internal Revenue Service FERDI. Excludes federal employees who owe taxes but have entered into repayment agreements.

Under current law, only IRS employees can be terminated for failing to file a federal income tax return. H.R. 828 would expand on this and requires all federal employees to pay their taxes or lose their tax-payer funded job. The legislation would not impact federal employees who enter installment agreements to pay off their tax debts. Moreover, designating a taxpayer as “seriously delinquent” is a multi-step procedure that affords the federal employee due process. In other words, under this legislation, if a federal employee is trying to do the right thing and pay their back taxes, they will remain an employee of the federal government.

“The intent of the bill is simple: If you are a federal employee or applicant, you should be making a good faith effort to pay your taxes or to dispute them, as all taxpayers have the right to do,” added Chaffetz.

Under H.R. 828, individuals with serious delinquent tax debts are ineligible for federal civilian employment in the executive and legislative branch.  “Seriously tax delinquent” is defined as an outstanding federal tax debt for which a notice of lien has been publicly filed. 

H.R. 828 now moves to the Senate for consideration.