A recent report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that close to 149,000 federal civilian employees (4.93% of the federal civilian workforce) had not filed their federal tax returns for 2021, a 32% increase in the number of nonfiling federal employees since 2015.1 Of these 149,000 employees, 42,000 of these hadn’t filed for multiple years, and over 7,900 of these repeat nonfilers had incomes over $100,000 per year. As of 2021, the total unpaid tax balance equaled $1.5 billion.
How can that be?
While IRS employees can be terminated for willfully failing to file a tax return,2 there is currently no similar provision for other federal employees. To add insult to injury, due to the IRC confidentiality provisions, the IRS can’t even report nonfiling federal employees to the agencies for which they are working.
If we’re concerned about budget shortfalls, there’s a $1.5 billion immediate fix right at hand. If you don’t pay your federal taxes, you can’t work for the federal government. Fortunately, the IRS has agreed to follow the TIGTA recommendations to address this situation.
It is just this type of absurdity that feeds into the lack of confidence in our government.
It’s like telling someone to go to:
- A vegan butcher;
- A hairdresser who prefers the “bald” look;
- An obese (for nongenetic reasons) physical trainer or dietician; or
- An accountant who can’t add (or more importantly, subtract).