Congressman Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) have authored bills that would force federal agencies, the U.S. Postal Service and congressional offices to fire employees who purposely avoid paying taxes. Exceptions would be made for employees suffering from family turmoil or working to correct significant financial hardship. Chaffetz’s bill was approved by a committee last spring, but Coburn’s still awaits consideration by a Senate panel.
At the U.S. Postal Service, 25,640 employees, or 4 percent of the 667,000-strong workforce, owed $269.6 million. Figures for USPS dipped from 2009, likely due in part to ongoing staff reductions.
H.R. 828, the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2011, also introduced by Rep. Chaffetz, passed on a voice vote. The bill makes an individual who has a seriously delinquent tax debt ineligible to be appointed, or to continue serving, as a federal employee. Chaffetz introduced an amendment in the nature of a substitute which exempted uniformed military personnel from this act. The committee also adopted an amendment on a voice vote from Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., that would require a notice period before personnel action is taken by an agency, among other technical changes to protect due process. Mr. Chaffetz and Mr. Lynch negotiated a notice period of 60 days notice at the markup.
Senator Tom Coburn’s bill has 3 co-sponsors:
John Isakson [R-GA]
Claire McCaskill [D-MO]
John Thune [R-SD]