Federal workers owe billions in back taxes
Two percent of the president's staff, 3% of the Senate staff and 4.2% of the House staff are among the 279,000 U.S. government employees who owe the IRS a cumulative $3.4 billion.
This post is by Ken Thomas of The Associated Press.
President Barack Obama has preached that all Americans should pay their fair share in taxes, but a government report finds that tens of thousands of federal employees -- from staffers in Congress to those in federal agencies and even Obama's executive office -- collectively owe the government billions in back taxes.
Data from the Internal Revenue Service show that more than 279,000 federal employees and retirees owed $3.4 billion in back income taxes as of Sept. 30, 2010.
The data includes 467 employees of the House of Representatives, or about 4.2% of the workforce, who owed more than $8.5 million. In the Senate, 217 employees, or about 3% of the workforce, owed $2.13 million.
Obama's staff was not immune, either, with 36 people in Obama's executive office of nearly 1,800 workers -- about 2% -- owing the government a total of $833,970 in back taxes.
Obama used part of his State of the Union address Tuesday night to promote economic fairness, arguing for changes in the tax code that would create a minimum tax rate of at least 30% on anyone making more than $1 million. The finances of one of his chief Republican rivals, Mitt Romney, have come under close scrutiny. Romney, like many millionaires, gets most of his income came from investments, so is taxed at a lower rate.
The IRS report attracted the attention of Republicans, who said it undercut the president's argument on taxes. "If Obama wants people to pay their 'fair share,' perhaps he should start with his own staff," tweeted Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
White House officials noted that the delinquency rate among executive office staff had fallen from nearly 3% in 2008. In 2009, 41 employees in the president's executive office, representing about 2.3% of its workforce, owed a total of about $830,000.
White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said the annual report was released by the IRS because there is a "high standard for government employees."
"Though the report shows that fewer executive office employees owe taxes than in the last year of the previous administration and we expect all employees to pay their taxes in full, more needs to be done to ensure compliance, and the president has asked his team to work on this issue," Brundage said.
Overall, the total amount owed is up slightly from September 2009, when more than 282,000 federal workers owed $3.3 billion in taxes.
The report does not offer specific explanations for the delinquencies. Many people who owe back taxes file returns but cannot pay the full amount when their taxes are due, said Anthony Burke, an IRS spokesman. Others may be disputing their bills, may have filed jointly with a spouse who owes taxes or may have had their tax bills increased by an audit and cannot pay the higher amount.
The statistics on federal employees do not include those who are on payment plans.
The IRS doesn't provide a comparable delinquency rate for income taxes paid by the public.
Among Cabinet agencies, the departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development had the highest delinquency rates, at nearly 4%. The Treasury Department had the lowest delinquency rate, at nearly 1%.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Amen, Jean Nasatka!!!
Place automatic yearly audits on all federal politicians. Remind them that they are SERVANTS of the CITIZENS of America.
RE: Buffett's Secretary
She pays 35%, she makes between 200,000.00 and 500,000.00, and pays her taxes on that. I have never earned $200,000.00. I would be thrilled to have her salary, and would gladly give up 35%. Let's see That would be $130, 000.00 after taxes, I would live well!!!
How come someone always comes to the defense of union/government workers? What bothers me is that the president and congress (both parties) always talk about cutting payments to older retired people but never discuss changing the government's 25 ot 30 year retirement plan with great benefits. The only way to make it fair is put everyone on SS including congress! They'd fix the issues then. I know the liberals that work for the government will complain that this is unfair but why? Why should taxpayers without a retirement plan, fund one for the people they pay in most case better than they make themselves.
Backgrounds and credit checks are required in the "private" sector, and may preclude one from a career or advancement, in some cases lead to termination. We should demand more of those placed in the positions of "trust" overseeing the daily affairs of all the people of this Country!
Quoting Chaucer, "....if they are foul in whom we trust, no wonder that the common man should rust..." They need to pay all of their taxes including back taxes with penalty & interest by April 15th or loose their positions and allow those more ethical & deserving to take over! A large, corrupt federal government vaunts itself and leads its people with tyranny!
Who are these "lucky" Federal workers? I pay taxes every year and boy have they been increasing. This year I will pay about 33% and by the way if I don't keep current with my $900.00 per month student and parent loan payments, I will be fired!
IRS do your freaking job and go after these Federal deadbeats!
Obama is not responsible for everyones behavior! Just ask Wesley Snipes! Oh he's in jail you gotta wait. Many Tea Party people don't pay taxes either and the list goes on. Personal responsibility comes independent of party affiliation. When found out suffer personal conquences!
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