8/1/12: Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 828, the “Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2011,” which requires federal employees to be fired if they have a tax debt.
NTEU believes that requiring federal employees, already subject to a two year pay freeze, to be terminated if they cannot immediately pay back taxes is unfair, and would only serve to increase the likelihood that the government will never receive the taxes it is owed.
In a letter to House members in advance of the vote, NTEU stated its opposition to the bill noting federal employees were not immune to the recent economic downturn and that it was in the interest of the federal government to work with these employees to help them resolve their debts. We also noted that there are already various laws and regulations on the books to address taxes owed by federal employees, as well as a system to recoup debts owed by levying federal payments including federal salaries, until the debt is satisfied.
The letter further noted that while the legislation provides employees with minimal due process rights and provides agencies the authority to grant a financial hardship exemption in certain cases, the bill did not go far enough to accommodate federal employees facing financial difficulties.
NTEU will work to ensure that the Senate does not approve similar legislation.
For further information on H.R. 828 and the Senate companion (S.376), please visit http://capwiz.com/nteu/home.