State of taxes in Obama's State of the Union address.
Tax refunds delayed by fraud fine-tuning

Federal workers and retirees owe more than $3 billion in taxes

Lost in the political sniping this week about which candidate pays how much in taxes was a report on which federal workers aren't paying what they owe.

The latest tax delinquency data shows that at the end of fiscal 2010, about 98,000 federal, postal and Congressional employees owed $1.03 billion in unpaid taxes.

Add in federal retirees and military personnel, and the Internal Revenue Service says the total comes to nearly 280,000 people owing $3.4 billion.

The numbers are from the IRS' Federal Employee/Retiree Delinquency Initiative (FERDI). Since 1993, FERDI figures have been send to Congress as part of an effort promote tax compliance among current and retired federal employees.

It's not working so well.

The 2010 analysis shows a 3 percent increase in delinquent federal worker/retiree tax debt from the previous fiscal year.

The tax scofflaw percentage is a bit bigger on Capitol Hill. And no, I'm not talking about Representatives and Senators.

There were around 18,000 Congressional staffers in 2010 and 684 employees, or almost 4 percent, owed taxes that year. That was an increase of 46 workers from the unpaid federal worker tax bills in 2009.

Specifically, 4 percent of House staffers owed $8.5 million and 3 percent of Senate employees owed $2.1 million, according to the 2010 IRS data.

The Washington Post has created an interactive table where you can sort alphabetically by name or numerically by dollar amount to see just which federal worker and retiree groups owed exactly how much in 2010.

Congressional tax targets: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, noted that while the number of tax delinquent federal employees has remained fairly constant since 2004, the amount they owe has increased 72 percent from 2004 to 2010.

FERDI data 2004-2010_ChaffetzTable courtesy Rep. Chaffetz. Data from  IRS FERDI. Click image for larger view.
Excludes federal employees who have entered into tax repayment agreements.

Chaffetz has sponsored bills that would allow federal employees who owe the IRS to be fired. Current law only allows for the termination of IRS employees who haven't paid their federal income taxes. Companion legislation has been introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who most recently also went after tax breaks for the wealthy.

You can be sure these two lawmakers will cite FERDI's latest nonfiling numbers when they reintroduce their bills this year.

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Hey, if you work for the USDA Forest Service and own rental property you don't have to report the income! Especially if you've made over $100,000 in rental income. USDA Forest Service employees are exempt from paying taxes on income outside the Federal government!

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