Paul L. Caron

Saturday, March 9, 2013

312,000 Federal Workers Owe $3.5 Billion in Back Taxes, Up 11.5% From Prior Year

Deadbeat311,566 federal workers and retirees owed more than $3.5 billion in back income taxes in 2011 (up from $3.4 billion in 2010, $3.3 billion in 2009, $3.0 billion in 2008, and $2.7 billion in 2007).

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Better than a lot of Bush year's, it seems.

Posted by: D | Apr 4, 2013 9:48:06 AM

Federal employees and retirees, like everyone else, can fill out their W-4 forms to have insufficient withholding. That said, the federal employee/retiree delinquency rate is 40% of that of the general public; conversely, the general public's delinquency rate is 2.5 times that of federal employees/retirees. In addition, failure to meet standards of financial responsibility is grounds for dismissal from federal service.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Mar 14, 2013 10:39:17 AM

Having federal workers behind on their taxes is like having health club workers behind on their diets -- they are not good examples.

Posted by: Woody | Mar 11, 2013 4:38:41 PM

This may be a naive question, but why isn't the amount owed simply withheld from their paychecks and pension checks?

Posted by: PapayaSF | Mar 11, 2013 1:10:09 PM

Aren't we hearing that a bunch of Federal workers will have to be furloughed or laid off because of the "sequester"?

All of a sudden, I have an idea which ones should be first in line.....

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 11, 2013 8:04:13 AM

You may have your cause and effect wrong.
Federal employees are presumably have more experience filling out government forms carefully, and are comfortable fighting other bureaucrats, compared to the average US citizen. Maybe the IRS is wrong, and the 312k federal workers are correct and are being bullied. Extrapolate in reverse, and the IRS owes trillions of dollars in over-collection to taxpayers.

I couldn't find the source on that the papers are using. Are federal workers singled out for more careful audits? If the IRS is reporting by profession, I would wonder if they are double counting (e.g. doctors and doctors who are federal employees, secretaries and secretaries who are government employees).

Posted by: dustydog | Mar 11, 2013 7:29:24 AM

And how do these numbers compare to the population at large when adjusted for the same income distribution as your target?

Simply to say population X owes Y in taxes is incomplete, and highly misleading. If say for example, Lawyers, were to owe the same percentages listed above, would that justify the great amount of horn-blowing and hyperventilation that will undoubtedly follow from the above story?

I look forward to seeing the numbers, and comparing them to (as an example) Congressional Staff, in particular the Democratic staff who whine about how the wealthy are not paying "Their fair share."

Posted by: Georg Felis | Mar 11, 2013 6:40:06 AM

Nut graf from WaPo version:

"Overall, the 9.8 million workers included in the data had a delinquency rate of 3.2 percent. That’s better than the general public. The IRS says the delinquency rate for the general public was 8.2 percent."

So Feds are better than the general public at paying taxes, which is to be expected given that most Feds aren't worried about losing their job outright - furloughs notwithstanding.

Posted by: Jacknut | Mar 11, 2013 6:25:13 AM

The government should start deducting these "employee advances" from the paychecks of those who owe the money. After all, shouldn't they pay their "fair share?"

Posted by: Woody | Mar 9, 2013 8:07:14 PM