The IRS currently offers a reward if you let them know about citizens cheating on their taxes, but it turns out they need to take a closer look at some of their own employees. According to a recent IRS report, federal workers owe nearly $1 billion in unpaid taxes.
ABC News reports that more than 3% of the 2.8 million federal civilian employees in this country owe money in unpaid taxes. That works out to be about 100,000 tax cheats who owe a total of $962 million in back taxes. If that’s not bad enough, when you factor in members of the military and federal employees who have retired, the number rises to more than a quarter million cheaters who owe $3 billion in taxes.
Jason Chaffetz, a Republican Congressman from Utah, is now pushing a bill that would force all federal agencies to fire employees who fail to pay their federal income taxes. (After all, these government employees should really be the role models for the rest of Americans come tax time.) According to ABC, this policy already is in place at the IRS, which is why it has the fewest tax dodgers of all the federal agencies.
It’s worth noting that some have argued that all citizens are not required to pay federal taxes because of this passage in the tax return instruction book: “our system of taxation is based upon voluntary assessment and payment, not upon distraint.” However, according to the IRS Web site, this simply means that citizens are allowed to “initially…determine the correct amount” that they owe, “rather than have the government determine tax for them at the outset.”
Of course, if the government did allow citizens to choose to pay their taxes, we probably wouldn’t need to waste as much time and money with our accountants every spring.