President Obama’s White House staff apparently are sequestering their own income tax payments because at least some of them are way behind in paying the Internal Revenue Service.
According to the IRS, some 40 White House aides owed a total of $333,485 in overdue tax. Last year at this time, some 36 White House aides owed a lot more — $833,000 — so it’s fair to conclude that there has been a significant improvement in tax compliance obligations year over year at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Congress requires the IRS to make this report every year of government employee tax arrearages, but of the vast federal workforce, only IRS employees themselves can be fired for nonpayment of their federal taxes. The specific identities of those White House employees who have failed to pay their taxes on time is confidential pursuant to privacy provisions under federal law.
Although White House tours have been canceled ostensibly because of the sequester-driven automatic budget cuts, 139 White House staffers earn $100,000 or more in salary, which is a lot more than the average American brings home, and are still on the payroll. The automatic budget cuts only account for about 2.4 percent of the entire federal budget.
Earlier this week, the IRS also announced that 312,000 federal workers and retirees owed more than $3.5 billion in back taxes as of September 30, 2011, an increase of 12 percent. Government employees apparently have a lower delinquency rate than the average American, however (3.2 percent versus 8.2 percent for the general public). The US Department of Housing and Urban Development had the highest federal-employee delinquency rate at 4.4 percent. Of the smaller federal agencies, ironically enough, the U.S Office of Government Ethics had the highest rate of tax-delinquent employees, at about 6.5 percent.
Given the current fiscal environment, do you think that federal employees should be held to a higher standard in terms of paying their taxes?