House to Vote on Bill Requiring Federal Employees Owing Taxes to be Fired


4/9/13: Next week the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 249, the “Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013,” which requires the federal government to fire federal employees if they have a tax debt.  

In advance of House consideration, NTEU has sent this attached letter to every representative detailing our opposition to the legislation.  In our letter, we note that requiring federal employees who are already facing a potential three-year pay freeze and unpaid furloughs, to immediately pay back taxes or be terminated, while exempting members of Congress, is unfair, and may ultimately increase the likelihood that the government will never receive the taxes it is owed.  We also note that the legislation is unnecessary as the compliance rate among federal workers is more than 96%, much higher than for the American public, and that there are already a number of laws and regulations in place that address tax debts owed by federal employees.  

While the bill provides federal employees with some due process rights and allows federal employees to continue to serve, in a situation of financial hardship, at the discretion of the agency on a case-by-case basis, we still believe the bill is excessive, and does not go far enough to accommodate employees facing financial difficulties. 

NTEU has consistently stated its belief that every federal employee should pay their taxes in a timely manner.  But we believe requiring the firing of federal employees that owe back taxes, while exempting members of Congress is unfair, and will only lessen the ability of federal employees to meet their financial obligations.