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Pepperdine University School of Law

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Over 279,000 Federal Workers Owe $3.4 Billion in Back Taxes

DeadbeatOver 279,000 federal workers and retirees owed more than $3.4 billion in back income taxes in 2010 (up from $3.3 billion in 2009, $3.0 billion in 2008, and $2.7 billion in 2007).

The cabinet departments with the largest percentages of employee/retiree tax deadbeats are:

  1. Housing & Urban Development:  3.89%
  2. Education:  3.88%
  3. Army:  3.83%
  4. Veterans Affairs:  3.78%
  5. Commerce:  3.54%
  6. Health & Human Services:  3.51%  
  7. Defense:  3.19%
  8. Air Force:  3.11%
  9. Navy:  3.05%
  10. State:  2.94%

Other departments and agencies:

  • U.S. Office of Government Ethics:  6.49%
  • Federal Reserve Board:  4.86%
  • U.S. House of Representatives:  4.24%
  • U.S. Senate:  3.08%
  • SEC:  2.50%
  • U.S. Tax Court:  2.25%
  • Treasury Department:  0.96% (the lowest delinquency rate among cabinet departments)

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Comments

Views from the man on the street:
According to the IRS, federal, postal, and congressional employees owe billions in unpaid taxes. What do you think?

"That's horrible. Where ever did these employees of the United States government get the idea that it was acceptable to let their obligations amass into an incomprehensibly large sum and not do a thing to pay it off?"

Posted by: Woody | Jan 29, 2012 8:17:13 AM

What can we expect when the Treasury Secretary, former head of the NY Fed, and in charge of the IRS has a "little problem" using Turbo Tax and is still confirmed?

Posted by: Rick Caird | Jan 30, 2012 6:23:01 AM

Shouldn't the people supported by taxpayers pay all the taxes they owe before we raise taxes again on the people who pay all their taxes when due?

Posted by: Solane | Jan 30, 2012 6:37:20 AM

US Office of Government Ethics leads the pack of deadbeats to the trough.

Posted by: Patty | Jan 30, 2012 6:38:57 AM

Is the AVERAGE percentage rate of delinquency similar, or LOWER than the rest of the US populace? A one sided ratio is meaningless and presumes a bias, in this case feeding the backlash against Federal employees as a proxy whipping group. Federal employees by and large are NOT the same as political appointees and elected officials, yet bear the brunt of the animosity and rancor from the public against failed political policies.

Posted by: SMGCaver | Jan 30, 2012 7:22:34 AM

When the figures were posted last year, it was pointed out that one reason for the low percentage for the Treasury Department is that the IRS is the only agency that could fire someone for being a tax delinquent.

Posted by: Guy Helvering | Jan 30, 2012 7:58:29 AM

How does that compare with nationwide rates?

Posted by: Lea | Jan 30, 2012 8:44:39 AM

I'd be curious how these numbers compare to U.S. taxpayers as a whole

Posted by: Rob S | Jan 30, 2012 8:53:37 AM

Not to defend these people (because all of these percentages should be at most 0.01 at most) but what are the rates for comparable folks outside of govt?

Oh, and what are the rates for comparable folks in state and local govt?

Posted by: Andy Freeman | Jan 30, 2012 9:16:10 AM

How does this compare with the population at large? With people who work for state governments? It seems like kind of a meaningless statistic just standing on its own.

Posted by: Conor | Jan 30, 2012 9:51:33 AM

Taxes: Only the little people and Republicans pay taxes....progressives get to complain and ignore them.

Posted by: BWP | Jan 30, 2012 10:09:21 AM

Will Obamacare keep them on the Federal Payroll and alive until they accumlate enough wealth to pay what they owe?

Posted by: Delfin J Beltran MD | Jan 30, 2012 2:30:41 PM