Congressional employees owe $8.6M in back taxes

Congressional employees owe $8.6M in back taxes

Credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

The US flag flies over the US Capitol October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. US lawmakers embarked on another day of high-stakes political brinkmanship Wednesday, battling to scrape together an eleventh hour deal to protect Washington's battered financial standing. At midnight (0400 GMT), the US economy will sail into uncharted waters and the Treasury will no longer be able to guarantee it will be able to meet its obligations and avert a devastating debt default. The only way to avert this peril, which could send global markets into turmoil and threaten another recession, would be for Congress to agree to raise the US government's $16.7 trillion debt ceiling.

Print
Email
|

by Gregory Korte, USA TODAY

NWCN.com

Posted on May 22, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Updated Thursday, May 22 at 2:24 PM

WASHINGTON — More than 700 congressional employees are delinquent on their taxes for a total of $8.6 million, according to Internal Revenue Service statistics, giving Congress a tax delinquency rate above average for federal employees.

The rate of delinquency for the House of Representatives is 4.87%, as of the end of the 2013 fiscal year. In the Senate, it's 3.24%. That's more than one employee per representative or senator, according to IRS data obtained by USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act,

Tax delinquencies on Capitol Hill are four times more common than at the Treasury Department, which has come under congressional scrutiny over bonuses paid to tax-delinquent IRS employees.

At just 1.2% delinquent, the Treasury Department has the highest rate of tax compliance in the federal government, according to the reports. A report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration last month found that the IRS paid more than $1 million to employees who didn't pay their federal taxes.

Across the federal government, 318,462 federal employees owe a total of $3.3 billion in back taxes.

The statistical reports tally tax delinquencies at the agency level, so it's unclear who's not paying their taxes and whether any members of Congress are delinquent. The reports are part of a 20-year-old IRS effort, called the Federal Employee/Retiree Delinquency Initiative, to increase tax compliance by federal employees. The report also doesn't break out the IRS, which is part of the Treasury Department, but IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said recently that more than 99% of IRS employees are current on their taxes.

The highest rates of tax delinquency are at small federal agencies dealing with civil rights and the disabled: The National Council on Disability (11.54%), the Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind (10%) and the Civil Rights Commission (9.52%).

Thirty-six employees in the Executive Office of the President are delinquent on their taxes, for a rate of 2.06%.

Outside the Treasury Department, the most conscientious taxpayers are active-duty military personnel, who have a delinquency rate of just 1.7%.

Follow @gregorykorte on Twitter

Print
Email
|