If you're a postal worker whose tax filing got, uh, lost in the mail, or if you're a Capitol Hill staffer who is just too busy making democracy happen to fill out a W-2, the time to call Uncle Sam to settle up might soon be here.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is co-sponsoring a bill with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) which would demand that federal employees keep up-to-date on their federal taxes or risk being issued a pink slip.
In a press release, Coburn described the legislation by saying: "This legislation will save taxpayers at least $1 billion by requiring
the Internal Revenue Service to collect unpaid federal income
taxes from federal employees. The bill requires all federal employees to be current on their
federal income taxes or be fired from their jobs."
There might be a whole lot of
new job vacancies soon. The current unpaid tab that federal workers have built up is $1 billion.
Coburn first introduced the bill last September, when the Washington
Post reported that the IRS estimated that 4 percent of Capitol Hill workers owed back
taxes, higher than the 3 percent of people nationwide who do. And the average
debts weren't light. Those working in the Senate owed an average of
$12,787, and House employees needed to pay an average of $15,498.
McCaskill says the legislation is the most sensible approach to getting
government employees to cut checks to the IRS. GovExec.com reports
that McCaskill said in a press release: "All federal employees, not
just IRS employees, should be held accountable for failure to pay their
federal taxes. This legislation is just common sense."
But GovExec also points out that critics of this legislation have a decent point: Won't it be even more difficult to collect cash from federal employees if they don't have jobs?